Copa del Rey MAPFRE
Copa del Rey MAPFRE: split tacks, split opinions
With a strong Mistral wind blowing on the Mediterranean to the north of Mallorca, the third day of the 38 Copa del Rey MAPFRE was the most challenging yet. Racing in gusty offshore NE’ly winds of 12-25 knots, the winning watchwords were keeping it safe and simple in many of the 11 divisions.
Certainly that was the case for three Maxi 72s in the Mallorca Sotheby’s IRCClass where Dario Ferrari’s Cannonball sailed to a second and a first to maintain a one point margin over Hap Fauth’s newer Bella Mente which mirrored their scores going 2,1. Proteus suffered a technical breakdown in the first race and their DNF drops leaves the class’s early leaders in third. Previously this class has seen all three boats tied on points and the tie break deciding the title.
“ The first rule yesterday was not to break anything and we were successful on that front.” Smiled Cannonball’s Italian navigator Bruno Zirilli, “First race we were a bit conservative and were behind early on but managed to stay close and see if an opportunity came our way but there was nothing. Second race there was a massive split, a big scary split. We banged the right corner and the other two banged the left corner. At the end we had a tiny little right hander and we crossed by only two boat lengths.”
Today’s races conclude the Preliminary Series. The class leaders then carry one point into Friday and Saturday’s Finals, second get two and so on in what is a new initiative for this edition.
“The scoring system is interesting but it will not make too much difference in this class. But in general this is the longest and hardest regatta of the year, and this way it all starts again near the end. Before, say in the TP52 it was nice if you got some points ahead you could be a little bit safer on the last day. Now? Well…let’s see…I will tell you Saturday.” Zirilli concludes.
French sailing hero Loick Peyron has won many Transatlantic races and held the outright Trophée Jules Verne round the world sailing record but he is a newcomer to a TP52 and to the Copa del Rey MAPFRE, but is proving no rookie when it comes to inshore, windward leeward races calling the moves for Jean Luc Petithuguenin’s Paprec Reciclaje. They take over the BMW ORC Class 1 lead after a first and second yesterday.
“Sailing the TP52 for the first time and it is a new discovery. I am really impressed by the level, the way the boats are made and it is now nice to be back racing in ‘slow motion.” Said Peyron who has just completed La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro multi stage solo one design race in France and the Transpac on a Multi 70 trimaran.
“I have been to Palma only two or three times, the first time 40 years ago. But I am not really a tourist kind of guy, but I am really enjoying sailing on the Paprec, there are a lot of very young kids who are very, very good. And the good thing here is that we are here speaking French which is nice.”
Paprec’s skipper Stéphane Neve grinned, “It looks like Loick does a good job, eh?
“ I think we are better when it is windier. Our manoeuvres were good and we had good speed downwind. It was not so good on the second race because we expected the wind to get lighter and we changed from the J3 to J2 and it didn’t so we were not good upwind in the second race.”
Paprec, which has twice finished runner up in this class but never won, now lead by one point over their compatriots on Team Vision Future. Neve is more objective about the change to the scoring system, not least because Beau Geste won with a day to spare in this division last year.
“We think it is good because last year if you remember Beau Geste had won with a day to spare and that was not very fair but maybe if we had a big lead we would think something different…..maybe, but I do think it is good for the event.”
One team which are not looking very favourably on the new scoring method are the Italians who lead the ClubSwan 50 class. Leornado Ferragamo’s Cuordileone are six points clear after six races,
“We hate it. It keeps it interesting to the end but for the guy who gets well ahead iIt can be very unfair but, hey, it is what it is. Let’s see.” Tomasso Chieffi, the tactician comments, “Otherwise we had a good day with a second and a fifth. You can’t expect to win them all.”
Natalia Via Dufresne and her Dorsia Sailing Team also have built themselves a six points lead in the Viper640s racing for the Purobeach Womens Cup. But the points are tied in BMW ORC 2 between the Swan 45 Rats on Fire and the DK46 Estrella Damm, both previous class winners. So too in the GC32catamarans where Ernesto Bertarelli’s world champions Alinghi are equal with Oman Air skippered by Adam Minoprio. “It was really gusty,” said Alinghi’s helmsman Arnaud Psorafaghis. “We didn't sail the first three races really well, but then the last two were really good and we sailed clear of the pack, got some luck with the windshifts.”