NEWS

07 May 2017

Sail Racing PalmaVela’s Tales of the Unexpected

Several key victories went against expectation to provide an exciting finale to Sail Racing PalmaVela, the showcase regatta which for 14 years has lifted the curtain on the Mediterranean competition season.

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Dario Ferrari’s new Botín Partners Pepe Cannonball triumphed at her debut regatta, emerging from an impossibly close three-way points deadlock in the white hot Maxi72 class. Nahita with Croatia’s 2016 Olympic gold medallist Sime Fantela calling tactics supported by talismanic coach Santi Lange, won the Wally fleet and so registered their first ever regatta victory as a crew. And the inaugural ClubSwan 50 regatta in Europe saw Morten H Kielland winning on tiebreak thanks to a final race victory.

Surprise and elation were evident in equal measure aboard these, and many other winning boats among the more than 130 representing 19 different nations which competed in 20 different classes at the four day regatta on the Bay of Palma.
“I never expected that at all. Never.” Grinned a delighted Dario Ferrari, Italian owner of the shiny new Cannonball, admitting he first raced in Palma as an 18 year old more than 50 years ago. Backed by many of the crew who previously raced successfully on the Maxi72 Robertissima including tactician Vasco Vascotto and helm Guillermo Parada, Ferrari has made a successful, happy return to grand prix racing some five years after his Farr 40 programme.

With Cannonball wining Sunday’s only race, a 28NM coastal, all three Maxi72s not only finished on exactly the same 9 points aggregate but all took two firsts, two seconds and two third places apiece in the three boat fleet. So the final outcome was ultimately set by today’s finishing order, Dieter Schön’s Momo – leader throughout – dropping to third overall.

“It is like a movie script. And come to that this is exactly how we would like this game to finish, with us on top. It is great for the owner Dario and for the crew.” Vasco Vascotto enthused.
“Listen, no one was expecting this result!” Owner Ferrari added, “The boat is brand new and every new boat needs time to learn, and for myself to learn it having been some years out of it. It is a long time since I raced, five to seven years, and even now I have ‘fake’ knees and a hip. So I am delighted.”

“And Palma is the best place for sailing, I really enjoy it. It is probably 55 years ago when I came here as an 18 year old.”

“Now we are looking forwards to the Copa del Rey.”

Swan Surprise
At the first European racing event for the ClubSwan 50 there was, of course, no form book. But the chartered Earlybird, with Karol Jablonski on tactics, was two points ahead going into the last day. But Morten H Kielland’s crew – lead by French former 470 helm Sacha Pelisson – engineered an upset when they won the final race with Earlybird third.

Kielland, who moves to the pacy Swan 50 footer from his classic 1928 12 Metre commented
“It is totally unexpected. This a totally new boat. I had never sailed this type of boat before. I had a classic 12 metre from 1928. So this is a 180 degree change of direction. We have sailed together as a crew for just five days now, so it is all new. We will be back for Copa del Rey. We have a very good tactician and made a good start today and from there we did well.”

Wally: A First First
The 12 boat Wally Class start their race season with a new winner topping the leaderboard at Sail Racing PalmaVela. A new rig, new sails including a more powerful square top mainsail and a reduction in overall weight – changes made through the winter – may have given Nahita a competitive edge among the eighty footers, but Olympic champion Fantela admitted that it was a bit of a surprise to come out on top:
“This is our third year together but even so I did not expect us to be winning,” Fantela commented, “But here we are, we followed our strategy of making the changes to the boat, working with the rating and sailing well. It means a lot to the owner. He is new to sailing and this is his first boat three years ago and his first win, so it is great for him and for our whole crew. This is the first ever win for the Nahita. I feel really grateful to our boat captain who did an amazing job through the winter. We see today that all that hard work is paid off today.”

There was no such surprise in store for the Swan 45 class. Christian Plump’s crew’s residency at the top of a class – Swan 45 or ORC – is a notable feature of the showcase spring regatta. Elena Nova won with a race to spare.

The IRC Class 1 saw a group of Palma based friends who take a Spring break from their usual vintage 12 Metre Seven Seas take the overall win aboard the chartered Rogers 80 Aegir/Seven Seas. Navigator Marcus Kemp explained.

“We charter for this regatta. We have done this the last three years with different boats and love it. It is so different to the 12 Metre. It has been very close racing. I think because we know and sail with each other as friends then it helps, some of us have sailed together for 20 or 30 years.”

In IRC Class B there was a repeat win for Germany’s Ruedi Huber and his well travelled crew on the Baltic 50 Music, so too for Scotland’s Scott Beattie and his crew in the Andratx based J97E Just the Job, who also has raced twice at Palma Vela and won both times:
Beattie said: “We have a good crew, a good boat and it is testament to them, we had a slice of luck. It is our own fault if we don’t do well. We have won here twice now and are looking forward to Copa del Rey.”

In the ORC Classes the winners were Audax Energía (ORC 0-A), Porrón IX (ORC 0-B), Airlan Aermec (ORC 1), Just the Job (ORC 2), Yabadaba (ORC 3), Diafreo Mallorca (ORC 4). And in the One Designs, Code Zero (AICO J80), Speedy Gonzales (Flying Fifteen), Mr. (Sotheby’s Dragon), the classics Spartan (Cangreja), Sonata (Bermudiano) and Calima (Espíritu de Tradición), and the Hansa 303 Fundación Alex (both in Individual and in Double).