While only last month we got to see no less than 35 stunning sail yachts on display, during the Palma superyacht show, this month we’ll be able to feast our eyes on some of the sleekest and fastest vessels fighting it out in the Bay of Palma during the Superyacht Cup, the longest running superyacht regatta in Europe. What started out as an ‘end of season’ party for those leaving the Med for the Caribbean, almost 20 years ago, has grown into one of the top events on the racing calendar, and a regatta not to be missed.
The Cup is conveniently held smack-bang in the middle of Palma de Mallorca, a key hub for the industry’s main players; with hotels, restaurants, bars and even the island’s airport, all being close-by. Add the bay’s acclaimed blissfully consistent sea-breeze, pretty palm tree lined Paseo Maritimo, and the dramatically lit cathedral as a backdrop, and it comes as no surprise that the world’s most impressive sailors gather annually to be a part of the action. And although this catchall ‘Sailors’ Regatta’ has plenty to boast about, much focus remains on the fun on terra firma, which is one of the reasons it’s such a crowd favourite!
Also this year’s line-up of 20-odd yachts is a mixed bag of boats, penned up by different architects and built by different yards. The 2015 fleet ranges from the beautiful Truly Classic 24m Heartbeat (overall winner of the Superyacht cup 2013), to the giant of the fleet, the freshly launched 60m Perseus^3. Her towering 75,8m carbon mast is one of the 3 tallest rigs ever built in the world, and her A2 with its 2602 square meters, is likewise the largest sail ever made. If you find this impressive…wait until you see what’s depicted on her spinnaker!
Another newbie to the fleet is the Baltic beauty Win Win. With her sleek lines, wide transom and minimal weight, she has been designed to dominate on the race course and built to kick stern. This boat is the brainchild of Javier Jaudenes, a local Mallorquin designer who not just bagged winner of exterior design and styling award, but also Sailing Yacht of The Year, at this year’s World Superyacht Awards. From the whale-like 500 tonnes of the 60m Perini Perseus^3, to the ‘light as a feather’ Frers-designed 26m Tulip, the disparate in competing yachts is huge.
It’s this immense imbalance in type, size and shape that makes it challenging for all boats to sail a fair race. This year the brand new ORCsy will be used during the cup, which promises each of the different kind of boats partaking in the regatta, a more equal chance to win. Tried and tested first at the Loro Piana Caribbean Regatta, and then again at the St Barths Bucket, this new rating not only proved the concept, but kicked it squarely at the goal. As Robbie Doyle, founder of Doyle Sails said: “For this rule to be working as well as it is, I’m blown away. I’m on the rules committee, just as a consultant, and I kept warning that there were going to be some teething issues, but right now people should be ecstatic.” Tweaked by its predecessors, the new ORCsy rule will come out stronger than it already was for the SYC, ensuring that, as Mike Sanderson (Elfje) said: “If you do a nice job with the variables, you should be able to win no matter which boat you’ve got, and that’s a really cool thing”. Well said.
Apart from the new entries, we’ll also see a lot of cup veterans. Back to battle it out is the 2012 winner, Royal Huisman’s Maria Cattiva. This will be her 5th consecutive SYCup. The beautiful 34m Nautor Swan Highland Breeze will also be making her 5th successive appearance. The 45m Visione, regatta regular P2 & the bright green Inouï were neck-and-neck at the finish of the St. Barths Bucket 2015, and will continue their close racing at the Superyacht Cup in June. Visione, P2 and Inouï have all participated at the Superyacht Cup before, but not all at the same year. Competition is going to be as tight as ever!
As every year, dockside drinks and off-board banter will continue during happy hour at the Regatta Bar, long after the sails have been packed away.. This year, enhanced by the amped up tunes from party-professional-Pacha’s prime DJ’s. And although after this 19th edition the Cup might be another year weathered and wiser, ‘our little island’s’ very own Superyacht Cup will continue to lure in the world’s top launches, the most prestigious regulars and the most talented sailors, ..and knows how to throw a party…