Copa del Rey Day One (Photo by Max Ranchi / www.maxranchi.com

Today was the first day of competition in the 32nd Copa del Rey MAPFRE. The wind has blown unevenly in the three race courses throughout the Bay of Palma, but allowed all classes to debut. “Jethou”, “B2″, “Rán”, “Natalia”, “X-Spain”, “Vamos Spain”, “Margherita” and “Turismo do Algarve” are the first leaders of the week. On shore, the attention has focused on the opening of the public Village at Sa Feixina. Tomorrow, the competition returns at 13h00.

A north-easterly wind of 10-12 knots received the fleet in the Bay of Palma in order to race the opening day of the 32nd Copa del Rey MAPFRE. Conditions have been uneven in the three race courses, but all classes were able to sail at least one race. The Alpha race course was the most favoured, where the X-35 and J80 were the only two fleets that managed to sail two races.

Copa del Rey Day One by Max Ranchi

The first leaders of the week are: British “Jethou” in the Hublot IRC 0 class, Italian “B2″ in Hublot IRC 1, Swedish “Rán” in Gaastra IRC 52, Romanian “Natalia” in G.H. Mumm ORC 1, Spanish “X-Spain” in G.H. Mumm ORC 2, Spanish “Vamos Spain” in Nespresso Soto 40, Italian “Margherita” in La Caixa X-35 and Spanish “Turismo do Algarve” in Mahou J80.

 

Hublot IRC 0 and IRC 1
Today the best out of the spectacular Hublot IRC 0 fleet was the smallest boat, Sir Peter Ogden’s 60 feet “Jethou”, who won with a 50 seconds delta over the also British “Alegre” in handicaped. The third place was for American “Shockwave”.

In Hublot IRC 1, victory went to Michele Galli’s “B2″, first on elapsed time and on handicaped. He was followed by Johann Killinger’s German “Emma” and Spanish Armada’s “Aifos”, skippered today by Jaime Rodríguez-Toubes.

Gaastra IRC 52
Niklas Zennström’s “Rán” has dominated the only race held today, and is the first leader in the Gaastra IRC 52 class. Ahead of Italian “Azzurra” skippered by Alberto Roemmers and American “Quantum Racing” skippered by America`s Cup Champion Ed Baird.

Azzurra Day on Copa del Rey by Max Ranchi

G.H. Mumm ORC 1 and ORC 2
In the multitudinous class G.H. Mumm ORC 1 (36 entries), just eight seconds separated the top three classified after applying the handicap system. The winner was Natalia Brailoiu’s “Natalia”, followed by Sander Speet’s British “Antilope” and François Duguet’s French “Axelle`s”.

Among the 23 teams in Class G.H. Mumm ORC 2, there was a new clash of titans between “X-Spain”, skippered by Iñaki Castañer, and Pedro Campos’ “Movistar”. Javier Banderas’ “X-Spain” is the first leader after beating “Movistar” for three seconds on handicaped. Third was Toni Guiu’s “Marina Port Vell/Sailing Control”.

Nespresso Soto 40
The only race sailed today in the matched Nespresso Soto40 class was won by Jose Maria Torcida’s “Vamos Spain”, followed by Stefan Jentzsch’s German “Black Pearl”. The podium was closed by the Chilean team “Mitsubishi Motors” who had an excellent debut in Europe.

 

Copa del Rey Day One by Max Ranchi

La Caixa X-35
Roberto Mazzucato’s “Margherita” scored with a decisive victory his intention to defend the Copa del Rey MAPFRE title. The winner of the 2012 edition won both races today, and rules the La Caixa X-35 class with five points ahead of Javier Sanz’s local “Red Eléctrica de España” and with six over Alessandro Solerio’s “Lelagain” (ITA).

Mahou J80
The two races sailed in the Mahou J80 class have been dominated by Hugo Rocha’s “Turismo do Algarve”. The 2013 world champion in J80 is the first leader, ahead of José María Van der Ploeg’s “Factor Energía” champion in 2012, who scored two second places. Carlos Martinez’s “Deltastone” closes the provisional podium.

Copa del Rey Day One by Max Ranchi

 

Tomorrow, second day
The regatta program continues tomorrow in the Bay of Palma. The Race Committee will attempt to organize three races in all classes except for La Caixa X-35 and Mahou J80, which has scheduled a maximum of two races tomorrow. The first start of the day is scheduled at 13h00.

Nespresso in the club, Village in Palma
On shore, the attention was today focused in the Real Club Nautico de Palma and the public Village. The club hosted this morning their “Brunch by the Sea” for their guests. The Village opens today at 18h00 with an intense social program which will run until next Monday. DJ Fonsi Nieto is responsible for opening the live performances with the best music at 22h00.

Photos by Max Ranchi   see more of Max’s Photos here

 See all provisional Results HERE

Copa del Rey Day One by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com

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Copa del Rey Day One by Max Ranchi www.maxranchi.com

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Safaran (Photo by Jean Marie Loit / DPPI)

Safaran (Photo by Jean Marie Loit / DPPI)

The Imoca skippers are due to meet up again in St Malo on 31st October for the Route du Rhum-la Banque Postale and in Barcelona on 31st December for the Barcelona World Race. 9 boats are set to compete in the Rhum and at least ten for the Barcelona.

At the present time, some skippers are finishing off their projects in order to make it to the start line, while others are adding the final touches to their brand new prototypes.

The new projects:
Four major projects are under way at the moment. The most advanced of these belongs to Vincent Riou (PRB), whose new boat has been on the water since the spring, and Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac – Paprec 3), who recently moored up in Lorient at the end of a long delivery trip from New Zealand via the Panama canal. Meanwhile, Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) is completing a race against the clock so as to make the start of the Route du Rhum, before gearing up for the Barcelona World Race. The three sailors have all opted for a Verdier – VPLP design, acknowledging the respective performances of Safran and Groupe Bel. Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) is continuing with the construction of his Kouyoumdjian designed boat at the Decision yard in Switzerland.

Continuing to sail
Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement) has traded in his Lombard design, which was beginning to get a bit dated, for the Farr designed boat previously skippered by Sébastien Josse during the last Vendée Globe. Bilou’s aim is to defend his title during the next Route du Rhum. Roland will once again be competing against Kito de Pavant (Groupe Bel), who is continuing to optimise his monohull, as well as Marc Guillemot (Safran), who is keen to repeat his performance from the last Transat Jacques Vabre.

For this year’s Route du Rhum, Arnaud Boissières (Akena Vérandas) is now in possession of a boat which once belonged to Vincent Riou, while Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air), winner of the Solitaire du Figaro, will be racing on his Finot designed boat again.

Looking ahead to Barcelona, Dominique Wavre and his new partner Mirabaud will be at the start of the next Barcelona World Race; while Dee Caffari will be teaming up with Anna Corbella (GAES Centros Auditivos).

Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) will also be at the start of the race, aboard a boat previously skippered by Brian Thompson (Pindar). Alex is gambling on the boat’s power and his new boat is certainly a looker.

The Spanish are also intending to be out in force on the IMOCA circuit as several crews are actively preparing for the Barcelona World Race. Alex Pella is teaming up with Pepe Ribes (Estrella Damm) on Loïck Peyron’s former Farr design; Pachi Rivero is partnering Tonio Piris (W Hotels Nova Bocana) on Jean-Pierre Dick’s former boat, while Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez (Movistar) are benefiting from the advice of Michel Desjoyeaux after purchasing the winning boat from the last Vendée Globe.

A few other projects will also be taking part in the next Barcelona World Race and they are discreetly being finalised.

Strategic choices for the future
By opting to register the next three editions of the Barcelona World Race in its schedule, Imoca had gambled on its internationalisation and the complementary nature of single and double-handed races.

They’ve pulled it off! The 2010 Imoca season will comprise over 20 entries in its World Championship.

Naturally, the 2008 Vendée Globe was an exceptional event, with 30 competitors at the start. 18 competitors lined up for the 2004 edition, so we should be able to count on the 2012 edition being just as exceptional.

Between these two round the world races, the Europa Race will go around Europe, starting in Istanbul on July 2nd 2011.
An action-packed season
As they all prepare for the two major events, namely the Route du Rhum and the Barcelona World Race, a number of races have welcomed the sixty foot monohulls, enabling a series of often highly instructive confrontations between boats from different generations.

As usual, the Douarnenez Grand Prix welcomed the IMOCA boats for an event which brilliantly combined speed runs and offshore courses. It proved to be a great opportunity for Vincent Riou to try out his brand new PRB and for Marc Guillemot to validate the latest modifications carried out on Safran. The Spaniards on Movistar, Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez, benefited from a prestigious guest in the shape of Michel Desjoyeaux, who was able to pass on a few of the secrets to powering up his former boat. Brit Air skippered by Armel Le Cléac’h and Veolia Environnement skippered by Roland Jourdain, completed the line-up. Ultimately the Spaniards took victory just a whisker ahead of PRB and Safran.

Estrella Damm and W Hotels Nova Bocana battled it out on an original double-handed course between New York and Barcelona with a view to achieving a new record.

The SNSM Record meantime saw the victory of Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) ahead of Akena Vérandas skippered by Arnaud Boissières.

At the same, the Vuelta Espana a Vela played host to eight IMOCA crews for a race between Hondarribia and Barcelona, passing through Santander, Gijon, Sanxenxo, Calpe and Palma de Majorca. Given the results of the first two stages, we could have imagined the race would be completely dominated by the two Verdier VPLP designs skippered by Marc Guillemot (Safran) and Vincent Riou (PRB). However, with every leg, the Spanish crews got stronger and stronger, to the extent that they were a regular source of worry for the two leaders of the fleet, twice just missing out on a leg victory that went right down to the wire. It is clear that the emergence of some top level Iberian crews is excellent news for the internationalisation of the class.

Finally, the Artemis Challenge around the Isle of Wight, an event reserved for IMOCAs, proved to be a must during Cowes Week with Mike Golding (MGYR), Roland Jourdain (Véolia Environnement), Dee Caffari (GAES), Ryan Breymaier and Boris Herrmann (VE1), Steve White (Toe in the water) and the Artemis team vying for the top spot. Mike, the outright winner of the event, was able to hand over a cheque for £10,000 to the R.N.L.I.

News
From 3rd to 5th September, the Happy Baie, a new nautical event in La Trinité sur Mer in Brittany, is inviting the 60’ IMOCAs to join in their races and festivities.

As has become the custom the day before a big meeting, the skippers of the 60’ IMOCAs will head for Port-la-Forêt, South-West Brittany, at the end of September and the beginning of October, for some training sessions in preparation for the next Route du Rhum. It will be an opportunity for the new projects to measure up against the tried and tested boats, which were extensively optimised over the winter.

Some of the Imoca sailors themselves have been subjected to some rigorous on-the-water training this summer, albeit on the smaller craft of the Figaro circuit. Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) has shown that he has lost nothing of his clairvoyance by scoring a blinder in the Transat AG2R La Mondiale in association with Fabien Delahaye, before totally dominating the Solitaire du Figaro.

We offer our sincere congratulations to our 2008 World Champion and his partner Brit Air.

Armel was not the only Imoca skipper to compete in the Solitaire. Jérémie Beyou (BPI), Kito de Pavant (Groupe Bel), Yann Eliès (Generali), Sébastien Josse (Vendée), Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) and Jonny Malbon (Artemis) also took part in this great summer classic.
Those taking part in the Route du Rhum – La Banque Postale
Arnaud Boissières – Akena Vérandas
Armel Le Cléac’h – Brit Air
Christopher Pratt – DCNS 1000
Michel Desjoyeaux – FONCIA
Kito de Pavant – Groupe Bel
Vincent Riou – PRB
Marc Guillemot – Safran
Roland Jourdain – Veolia Environnement
Jean-Pierre Dick – Virbac Paprec 3

Those taking part in the Barcelona World Race
Jean-Pierre Dick – Loïck Peyron, Virbac – Paprec 3
Michel Desjoyeaux – François Gabart, Foncia
Dominique Wavre – Michèle Paret, Mirabaud
Anna Corbella – Dee Caffari, GAES Centros Auditivos
Alex Pella – Pepe Ribes, Estrella Damm
Pachi Ribero – Tonio Piris,  W Hotels Nova Bocana
Iker Martinez – Xabi Fernandez, Movistar
Alex Thomson – , Hugo Boss
Juan Mederiz – Fran Palacio, Central Lechera Asturiana
Boris Herman – Ryan Breymaier – (VE1)

In addition to these ten entrants, three to four crews are finalising their projects. The former Roxy, Super Bigoud and Kingfisher may also be lining up at the start…