06 May 2017

Best Day Sets Up Super Sunday Finale

The best wind conditions yet of the 14th edition of the Sail Racing PalmaVela have set up numerous tantalising finales for Sunday’s decisive races. After a third in the first race for the Maxi72 class today, if they were to give themselves chance of beating Dieter Schön’s Momo to the Palma title in the Maxi72 class, Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente crew faced a ‘must win’ situation at the second start. They responded perfectly, and now Sunday’s Maxi72 showdown is a ‘winner takes all’ coastal race between class leader Momo and Bella Mente.


The ClubSwan 50 crews returned to the dock at the RCNP exhausted after three physically tough races but all of the teams wearing big smiles, each having scored a first, a second and a third apiece. The Wally class sees Nahita’s superior consistency rewarded so far as they go into their second coastal race of their 12 boat regatta with a lead of two points after scoring a pair of solid third places today.

But the pressure is off in the Swan 45 class where Christian Plump’s dominant Elena Nova team are assured of overall victory, so retaining the regatta title they won here last year. With a 1,2,1 today they lead their class by 13 points with just their coastal race to go.

Dario Ferrari’s debuting, new Botín Partners design Cannonball won her first ever race when they escaped showing good downwind speed to win the first race for the Maxi72. In the second race Cannonball started best at the pin end of the start line and crossed the fleet. Bella Mente had to tack out to the left to clear herself and hooked into extra wind pressure while both Momo and Cannonball slowed momentarily in a zone of lighter airs. With Terry Hutchinson and Adrian Stead conspiring to keep Bella Mente in the best breeze they extended comfortably to win and keep themselves in contention.

But with two second places today Momo still hold the upper hand, leading into the last day by one point.
“It felt like a tough day for us.” asserted Momo tactician Markus Wieser, “In the first race we leebowed Cannonball they went right and got the right shift. In the second race us and Cannonball got stuck in a wind hole with ten knots less breeze and Bella Mente got away. Bella Mente were 50 metres to the left and were gone.” “So it is all on between us for tomorrow, whoever wins between us wins the regatta. We know where we can be better. A coastal race to decide it is still fun. Here, everyone wants to sail very well but it is effectively a practice event. But a longer race tomorrow should be good.”

If the Momo tactician Wieser maybe felt their tactical choices went a little against them, spare a thought for the renowned Wally 80 J One. The class winners at this regatta last year have now had two DSQ’s in succession. They returned to shore today having seemingly posted two back to back wins but a subsequent protest annulled that Race 3 victory. With Rio 470 gold medallist Sime Fantela calling tactics Nahita now have a second and third from today’s races and their margin is two points.

The crew of the chartered Earlybird, under tactician Karol Jablonski, charterer-helm Pit Finis and navigator Wouter Verbraak, have proven quick learners and lead the nascent ClubSwan 50 fleet. Their day improved with each successive race, going 3,2,1 today. With a two point lead going into their last race, also a coastal, Earlybird are well placed to win the first ever ClubSwan 50 regatta in Europe. Tactician Jablonski is already a big fan of the exciting new one design class, but admits their three race day in more than 20kts of shifty breeze, was taxing:
“With three races it was a tough day for all the teams. In 18, 20 up to 23kts we really were pushing the boats and the crew towards their limits, it was hard work. So we are exhausted. The boats are very much different to sail in 18 to 20kts to what they are in 14 or 15kts because the loads get so much bigger. You need a strong team which has sailed together a lot. We are learning every day, every race.”

He adds:
“ In the first race we made a few mistakes but we say we lost against the boat, not against the opposition. It was our biggest opponent. But we kept the momentum up after our third in the first one, then getting a second, then winning. Every boat had a one, two and three. We are happy with our performance considering it is crew we did not really know each other, a mix of good guys and some amateurs. We had to go through the Wally fleet in the first race and make a split from the fleet that lost us the lead.”

The other class leaders are Audax Energía (ORC 0-A), Fifty by Storax (ORC 0-B), Airlan Aermec (ORC 1), Just the Job (ORC 2), Yabadaba (ORC 3), Diafreo Mallorca (ORC 4), Code Zero (AICO J80), Speedy Gonzales (Flying Fifteen), Mr. (Sotheby’s Dragon), los clásicos Spartan (Cangreja), Sonata (Bermudiano) and Calima (Espíritu de Tradición), and the Hansa 303 Fundación Álex (Individual) y Team RCNP (Double).

The 14th Sail Racing PalmaVela regatta concludes Sunday with a final Coastal Race scheduled for the Wally, Maxi 72, IRC, ClubSwan 50s, Swan 45s and the Vintage, Classic and Spirit of Tradition fleets. The AICO J80, Sotheby’s Dragon and Flying 15s race windward-leeward courses on Bravo area. The first starts are scheduled for midday local time.