The Bay of Palma delivered in full measure today, with 15 to 20 knots of breeze turbo-charging racing at the 2023 Superyacht Cup Palma across the entire shimmering blue arena on New Zealand Race Day.
Following a short postponement for the wind to decide its strength and direction the fleet was launched on a racecourse that saw each competitor hitting hull speed at almost every angle of sail.
When the spray finally settled Ribelle and Rose took their respective class honours, setting the scene for tomorrow’s finale which will decide the recipient of the 27th Superyacht Cup Palma trophy.
With both classes starting in reverse order to their opening day results, it was Class A’s Ribelle who led the fleet away followed by Pattoo, who later in the race had to retire having suffered technical issues.
In the event the modern 33m Ribelle was able to hold off the powerful challenge issued by second placed Svea, who in turn were able to claim victory in the J Class sub-plot over Velsheda.
The captain of Ribelle, Federico Biatturi, was delighted with their day out: “It was a great day for us, starting first is a good opportunity as in these conditions it allowed us to stay ahead of everyone. Having some good wind gave us an advantage over the J-Class yachts too which we needed!
“Palma is special, the breeze is special, the people here are special. Kate (Branagh) has been organising this event for many years and knows exactly how to do it well – it’s always good fun and it is great to be here,” he added. “The forecast for tomorrow is for a little bit less wind, for us 15-16 knots is perfect to keep us competitive with the Js, so we will see!”
Today’s result leaves Svea and Velsheda tied at the top of Class A on four points, with Ribelle just a point behind heading into the final day.
Meanwhile, following the same reverse starting pattern, in Class B the last yacht to start was Thursday’s winner Rose. The 24m Farr-designed Wally was again able to save her time around the course to claim a second successive win ahead of the Swan 100 Onyx and the Swan 80 Umiko.
The 36m Dubois duo in Class B, Miss Silver and Lady M, switched their race results with Lady M taking the honours today in fourth.
“This is my first Superyacht Cup and it’s really neat!” said Gavin Brady, tactician on Onyx. “It’s not often that we all get together the sailors, owners and their guests – plus the industry, it’s a great mix. It’s very competitive out on the water and really social ashore which is very nice and something that we don’t get an opportunity to enjoy on some of the grand prix circuits – there’s a more friendly feel here for sure.
“Palma’s a great place to sail, and the race committee made an excellent decision today to delay until the sea breeze filled in – these big boats have got air conditioning so it’s a very comfortable wait! I’ll be back for sure, the organiser schedules well, not overlapping with other events, so we are able to do it all,” he added.
“It’s very competitive out there – make no mistake, we’re pushing the boats and trying to sail hard. I certainly didn’t feel like I was on a superyacht when the 5-minute gun went!”
After a great day on the water the owners and crews were welcomed ashore with the North Sails Happy Hour at the Real Club Náutico de Palma’s dock. Following the daily prize-giving, the SYC’s social programme switched to the exclusive invitation-only Owners’ Summer Barbecue at The St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort. Guests were welcomed at the venue with the offer of a Bloody Mary cocktail, in celebration of its creation at the company’s hotel in New York during the 1940s.
Racing concludes at the 2023 Superyacht Cup Palma with the deciding St. Regis Race Day on Saturday, followed by the final prize-giving on the RCNP terrace.