ClubSwan 42 fleet. © María Muiña/Copa del Rey MAPFRE
Copa del Rey MAPFRE moves into the finals stage on Bay of Palma
As the 40th Copa del Rey MAPFRE passes from the Preliminary Series which finished today to the three day Finals there are winners and losers as the points scores carried forwards are those of the Preliminary finishing position.
In the highly competitive ClubSwan 50 division which has 14 boats competing there are just three points separating the top four boats but 12 points between fourth placed Hatari – the double world champions who had to relinquish a big points lead this time last year – and fifth placed Regina.
Hendrik Brandis' Earlybird – last year's winner – holds the overall lead after a 2,5 today. The German flagged boat has Aussie double Olympic medallist Will Ryan calling tactics at his first Copa del Rey MAPFRE. Pablo Garriga's second placed Tenaz is a lone Spanish boat in a top seven composed otherwise of German, Swiss and Swedish teams.
Santander native Antonio 'Talpi' Piris is one of Spain's most talented allrounders and is calling tactics on Tenaz for the Barcelona owner and a crew which includes Pablo Santurde, a J/80 world champion also from Santander, Italian America's Cup winning trimmer Lorenzo Mazza and Spanish navigator Alicia Ageno.
Quietly spoken Piris smiled, "We have not been in the leading group so far so this is good for us. We did not do the first two regattas of the season and then at the worlds we were only good in the last couple of days, so we are pleased. Now the start of this regatta has been good. I feel confident here on the Bay of Palma but everyone in this crew has been improving a little bit in their own area. And the starts have been more or less OK and the speed of the boat has been good. The little bit of luck you need to do well in these races has been with us to, so I hope that stays with us through the second half of the week."
He adds, "The owner is a young guy, just 42, and he is very concentrated. We have no pressure. We think if we finish in the upper part of the top half of the fleet then that is a success. We are quite young as a team to think of the podium."
"And we feel great to be a Spanish team in among this fleet, it is a great privilege. We have a great help with Lorenzo Mazza (Ita, America's Cup winner with Alinghi) he gives us so much knowledge, he is amazing."
Monaco based Scot Graeme Miller, a newcomer to the ClubSwan 50 fleet this season on Moonlight scored an excellent second place after leading the first race. Britain's double 470 Olympic medallist Saskia Clark is Moonlight's tactician and is at her first Copa del Rey, enjoying the contrast with Cowes Week.
"I finally got us off the start line which was fun." Chuckled Clark, "Our first start was not great but both times we wriggled out to the left and that was good. This is my first Copa del Rey because it normally clashes with Cowes Week and so it is a nice change from what I am normally experiencing. This a great team, we have great owners who are very open, I am new in this role as tactician on such a pro boat, but we have so much experience going forwards from so many different programs. It is trying to be all pulling in the same direction and allowing me to make the mistakes and stepping in to mentor me through the tough moments a little bit. But it is great to be in this fleet up against some of my mates in other boats (like fellow double 470 Olympic medallist Will Ryan on Earlybird), but there are some serious legends of sailing in the Swiss and the German boats here so it is a real treat."
The Italia 11.98 Scugnizza which had run out five back to back wins proved fallible in BMW ORC 3 with an unexpected fifth in Race 6. "We are human after all. We did not get off the start line and then it was difficult but it is all good." said the class leading navigator Andrea Visintini. They, of course, see their nine point lead pared back to just a single point ahead of second placed Brujo.
The best record at the regatta is now that of BMW ORC Class 2 leaders Teatro Soho Caixabank which has five firsts and a first equal.
Skipper Javier Banderas said "The important bit starts tomorrow, because now we have an advantage that will be reduced to the minimum when we move on to the final with the scoring system. It is clear to us that we have to try to reduce mistakes as much as possible, the one who makes the least mistakes will win the Copa del Rey MAPFRE."
Italy's ClubSwan 42 leaders Koyre-Spirit of Nerina have leading tactician Flavio Favini calling tactics. He has huge experience on the Bay of Palma, recalling that his first Copa del Rey was in 1990 on the Italian two tonner Mandrake.
He said, "A first and second for us today though it is much trickier than the usual Copa del Rey Palma sea breeze. It was a little light with some holes and patches. It was not so one sided as it usually is."
Italy lead the ClubSwan 36 class too as Farstar went 1, 2 today. Their Simon Sivitz recalled, "We were first in the second race too but there was a lot of matching and manoeuvres on the last downwind and so the boat which won did a great last run, but we are happy. We getting day by day better and we are ready for the finals now having tried some new things today, different settings on the rudder, the boat is fast and we have to keep working."
In BMW ORC Class 1 the three DK46s continue to dominate led by HM Hospitales which had a 2,3 today. But the format may yet work in the favour of the German youngsters on Carl-Peter Forster's TP52 Red Bandit which took a first and second today and have amassed only 10 points over the five races since being disqualified from Race 1 following a protest.