Meerblick Fun y Rockall, winners of 'La Larga' in 2022 in A2 class & ORC 2-3 class respectively © Nico Martínez/PalmaVela
Dragonera, Menorca and Cabrera, protagonists of The Offshore Race of PalmaVela
On Saturday 29th April at 12h00 local time the Bay of Palma will see the start of "La Larga", the prologue to PalmaVela. 35 boats, divided into five classes, will take the start line as participants in the Real Club Náutico de Palma's principal offshore regatta.
The Real Club Náutico de Palma continues to create its sporting legacy for another year, officially launching the 19th edition of one of its most iconic events, and the first major regatta in the Mediterranean calendar, the PalmaVela.
On Saturday at 12.00h local time, the competition begins with "La Larga" -The Offshore Race of PalmaVela-, a competition that takes the fleet of 35 offshore and serves as the prologue to the multi-class competition, which begins on Thursday 4th May.
Two race courses
The IRC and ORC 1 classes will complete a race course of 240 nm that begins at Portitxol, leaving the islands of Mallorca, Menorca and Cabrera to starboard and with the finish line just opposite the Palacio de Congresos in Palma.
The course for the ORC 2-4, A2 4-5 and A2 0-3 classes covers 200 nm, leaving from the same point as the others. They will leave the island of Mallorca and the island of Aire (southeast of Menorca, alongside Mahón) to starboard and then head to the finish line.
As far as sailing conditions are concerned, the forecast shows a maximum intensity of 18 knots with gusts that may reach 22, and a minimum wind speed of four knots. The average wind throughout the regatta is expected to be approximately 10 knots.
"The instability of the meteorological forecast is currently the main hurdle due to the low-pressure system moving eastwards and predictions are always just predictions. They may not materialize, and we may see some areas of calm where the fleet may be brought to a halt. However, if the forecast we have plays out, it could be a relatively fast race: eight knots of average wind speed for the larger boats and six on average for the smallest, and that is a decent speed," explained Gaspar Morey, PRO.
35 participants in five classes
In the IRC the Volvo Open 70 "I Love Poland" will be the fastest boat in the fleet, and the main candidate in all the classes to cross the finish line in first place. A touch of colour will be added with the legendary 1961 Maxi "Stormvogel", a boat from the famous film "Dead Calm" starring Nicole Kidman, Sam Neill and Billy Zane, which has amounted victories in some of the most mythical offshore races including the Fastnet Race and Sydney-Hobart.
In the ORC 1 the Dutch team, "Silver Swan" (Swan 53) will be one of the major favourites following its second place in the 2022 edition. The class includes nine participating teams measuring between 44 and 56 feet, with the exception of the Austrian team, the Schuler family's "Stargazer", the smallest on the fleet (40 feet).
In the ORC 2-4 two rivalling teams: Jaime Morell's "Mestral" (Sun Fast 36) and Toni Marqués' "S'Avenc" (Salona 37) will start as strong competition for the other class participants.
The ORC A2 (doublehanded boats) has been divided into two classes, the 0-3 with larger boats such as Tito Moure's "Smerit" and Alberto de Castro's "Brujo" both Swan 45s, and the major favourites in the fleet of ten. The other A2 class, the 4-5, sees Gabriele Pohlmann's "Meerblick Fun" (J99) back to defend their 2022 title against the other six competing teams.
The fleet will have until Tuesday May 3rd at 10:00h local time to complete their corresponding course.