The Palacio de Congressos in the old Spanish town of Palma proved a perfect setting for the prize giving of the 40th Oyster Regatta.
With nearly 300 owners and crew gathered together in this wonderful setting, the atmosphere for the evening event started to build as the first coaches arrived from the yacht club berths. The fleet had enjoyed a great last days racing and were looking forward to a stylish and exciting end to the regatta. Champagne, aromatic flowers, fine canapés and gentle chatter about the results, all helped to build the expectations for a wonderful and exclusive evening.
Who won what became – for a while – insignificant, as new friendships across the Oyster owner community developed and all shared the bond of being Oyster Owners and privileged guests and crew.
Then the drums started, the music piped up and the competitive spirit was back – the day had been tough, difficult conditions, again fickle winds in the Palma bay. Who had managed it best, who hit the lay line too early, who did too many tacks and was the gybe at mark 2 slow or better than others?
This wonderful formula of being able to race luxury cruising yachts, safely yet competitively, is a unique formula that is a credit to both the people who run it and to the participants.
Thanking the fleet, the sponsors, the Real Club Nautico de Palma and the event management team, David Tydeman, Oyster CEO, commented “…it never ceases to amaze me how both the first timers at an Oyster regatta (and for many of these it’s also their first time on a start line) and the experienced owners racing fully crewed up with experts on board – find a way of racing against each other in a true Corinthian style – its a great confirmation that being part of the Oyster family and enjoying the company of like minded individuals is what’s important.”
Race Day Four, sponsored by Dolphin Sails, had started with four yachts in Class 1 separated by just 0.25 of a point with Class 2 & 3 almost as close. As usual there would be a discard allowed, the best 3 out of the 4 races would count and so as the fleet motored out to the starting area, it was all about this last race.
The results were close – places being decided by small separations on corrected time – less than a minute between 1st & 2nd in Class 1, less than 10 seconds between 3rd & 4th in Class 3.
Starting had been keen and the prize giving started, as usual with the Pantaenius prizes for best starts – all 26 yachts had tried hard – 4 yachts in Class 1 less than 5 seconds behind the gun. Overall the prize for best start of the day went to Oyster 825 Maegan in Class 1 – just 1 second behind the gun.
WikiWiki voluntarily took a 20% place penalty in Class 2 for a Port & Starboard incident on the first beat letting Tiger through to take Class 2, less than a minute ahead of Lady Mariposa.
In Class 3, Ostra just sealed the day ahead of her close rival Pied Piper and similarly in Class 1, Firebird squeezed just 50 seconds ahead of Bacchus to take Class 1.
For the overall results, 5 out of 26 places were determined by count-back as yachts finished with the same number of points – a clear indication of close racing. Pied Piper won Class 3, just ahead of Ostra, WikiWiki secured Class 2 and the 575 Class, with 2nd, 3rd and 4th in Class 2 being taken by Oyster 625s.
The evening ended with the Class 1 results for the ‘battle of the 80 footers’ – as Oyster CEO, David Tydeman called it – and with Firebird and Bacchus both ending up with 4.75 points. The sailing instructions were reviewed, the rules checked by Willii Gohl, the Head Judge and Firebird was declared the winner. In her first ever regatta, Bacchus had shown her strengths and promises of ‘we’ll be back next year’ were made as the yachts toasted each others success.
Dancing continued late in to the evening as owners and guests celebrated another very successful Oyster Regatta.