The 34th Copa del Rey, organized by the Real Club Nautico de Palma was held in hot and humid conditions from August 1 – 8th. The week was dominated by late afternoon light sea breezes and with a fleet of 135 yachts from 23 nations it was one of the largest events in recent years. The action off the water was also buzzing with numerous activities and social events.
There was also much excitiement around the Real Club Nautico de Palma as H.R.H. King Felipe VI competed onboard ‘Aifos’ on most days and brought the whole family with him for the final day. As per tradition he presented the trophies to the champions at a prestigious location at the base of Palma cathedral on the final day of the event.
Gaastra IRC 0
In the fairly small IRC 0 fleet, the Maxi 72 ‘Ran V’ was the only team to win all ten races sailed. The American boat owned and skippered by George Sakellaris, champion of the category in 2014 with ‘Shockwave’, won all her races sailed, diverting attention to the fight for second place. Stanislav Orlov’s Russian ‘Arctic Energy’, finally overtook Joern Larsen’s Maltese ‘L4’, by 3 points to complete the podium.
Rías Baixas IRC 1
The last day for the 10 boat Rías Baixas IRC 1 class went down to the wire on the last race. Japan’s Naofumi Kamei’s older generation TP52 ‘Mamma Aiuto’, skippered by Manu Weiller led the scoreboard at the end of each of the five days of competition but finished third in the final race whilst the Ker 43 ‘Otra Vez’ owned by William Coates (USA) finished strongly with a bullet in the final race but just fell short by 3 points overall. The Swiss ‘Team Vision Future’ a GP42 owned by Chaubard Jean Jacques sailed a consistent series to take third on the podium.
Singular Kitchen Soto 40
Luis Martin Cabiedes’ ‘Noticia VI’, skippered by Jose Maria Torcida, was the best team in a very tight week of racing in the six boat Singular Kitchen Soto 40 class. The Spanish team gained its fourth victory and a fourth place on the final day, enough to complete the scoreboard with 21 points and overtake second-placed Cedric Poulignys’ French team ‘Glen Ellen’ by 3 points. Afonso Domingos’ Portuguese ‘Bigamist’ finished third.
BMW ORC 1
The largest class with 44 boats, the BMW ORC 1 division was a real cliffhanger with a battle between 3 Swan 45’s. Half a point is what separated the top three finishers in the overall standings. The final day began with a tie at the top of the leader board between ‘Elena Nova’ and ‘Earlybird’. ‘Elena Nova’ broke the first tie facing the last race three points over her fellow countryman. But ‘Elena Nova’ finished sixth in the last race and her rival third, opening the door to Simone Ferrarese’s ‘BMW Sail Racing Academy’, who after starting the day in fourth overall, scored a fourth in the first race and won the last race in order to take the title. The Italian team finished the competition with a total of 38.5 points, ahead of the two German teams, tied on 39 points.
The Spanish Army’s Corel 45 ‘Aifos’, skippered by H.R.H. The King for four of the six days of competition, finished twentieth in the BMW ORC 1 class with a third as their best result of the week.
BMW ORC 2
The 31 boat fleet BMW ORC 2 division became a tussle between four Sinergia 40‘s. It was an exciting championship for José Enrique Terol’s ‘Movistar’. A week finishing always in the top 5 allowed the team to set a new record with seven victories. For Pedro Campos the record of absolute victories for a skipper with eight victories (1993, 1995, 2002, 2006, 2009, 2013, 2014 and 2015). José Coello’s ‘Elite Sails’ and Alex Laplaza’s ‘L`Immens’ completed the podium.
Air Europa X-35
‘Red Eléctrica de España’ won her first Copa del Rey in the 11 boat Air Europa X-35 class. A second and a third place in the final two races was the grand finale of a spectacular week in which the local boat took five victories out of 12 possible and never finished passed the fourth place. The team from the RCNP closed with 17 points ahead of Alessandro Solerio’s ‘Lelagain’, winner of the last race. Third was Daniel Cuevas’ ‘Grupo Ceres’.
In the 19 boat J80 keelboat class, ‘Ono Polaroid Tressis’ confirmed victory in the Herbalife J80 class after a great week in which she never got off the podium. There were two races scheduled for the final day, and after securing the title by finishing second in the first race of the day, the skipper Daniel de la Pedraja decided to return to the RCNP and not take part in the final race. Second was Javier Padron’s ‘Marbella Team’, seven points behind the champion and third was Jesus Amaliach’s ‘Herbalife four points adrift.
For full results see: www.regatacopadelrey.com
By Jonny Fullerton, Grand Prix Sailing, www.gpsailing.org