ClubSwan Racing teams play leading roles at 40 Copa del Rey MAPFRE
ClubSwan Racing teams play leading roles at Copa del Rey MAPFRE
The competitive spirit at the core of the ClubSwan Racing experience kept the outcome of several classes at the 40 Copa del Rey MAPFRE in the balance until the very end.
With the 40th edition of Spain's prestigious royal regatta featuring three one-design classes for the ClubSwan 36, ClubSwan 42 and ClubSwan 50 fleets, and with Swan yachts proving competitive in two of the open rating classes, there was all to play for in Saturday's deciding races.
Competition from start to finish is the hallmark of both ClubSwan Racing and the Copa del Rey MAPFRE, and Palma's reliable thermal wind – the 'embat' – allowed race organisers the Real Club Náutico de Palma (RCNP) to deliver a near ideal arena, with most days seeing a building breeze to around 12 knots along with wind shifts that kept tacticians and crews on their toes around the race courses.
ClubSwan 50 Hatari turns it on for the finals
Uniquely, the 40 Copa del Rey MAPFRE regatta features an initial qualifying series of six races, with the overall standings providing the first result in the following finals series – effectively a reboot at the midway point to deliver tighter competition.
Though finishing fourth in the qualifying series Marcus Brennecke's Hatari went on to win the 14-strong ClubSwan 50 class, the double world champion German yacht confirming her status as a proven winner.
Solid top four finishes in every final series race meant Hatari's untypical 11th in the decider was enough to keep her five points clear at the top of the table, in part because her nearest rival, Stefan Heidenreich's One Group, started early and had to recross the line.
One Group stayed second overall, though tied on points with Sonke Meier-Sawatzki's Niramo, with her two race wins settling the final positions in her favour on countback.
A delighted Brennecke said: "We are very, very happy to have won this year – in 2021, we came second when we sailed well in the first part and not so well in the second. This year we decided to do it the other way round. We had a good week and the team sailed very consistently. They are always hungry to win, and I love them."
And he added: "We decided we would sail our own race in the final, but we had to switch strategy to keep ahead of One Group, so we match-raced her and we were eleventh and she was twelfth, so she came second overall."
The combined performance by Hatari and fellow German racer Niramo saw Germany finish top of the Best-Placed Nation table at 40 Copa del Rey MAPFRE ahead of Spain and Monaco, and also open a clear lead over Italy in the season-long Nations League Med 2022 competition.
ClubSwan 36 result goes down to the wire
On the water the ever-competitive ClubSwan 36 class also went down to the wire, with the Monaco flagged G Spot – helmed by owner Giangiacomo Serena di Lapigio – taking victory by a single point from Lorenzo Mondo's Farstar, the Italian team finishing out of the top three for the first time in the final series. Mehmet Taki's Facing Future completed the podium in the 8-strong class.
"To win two consecutive years is really great, and we had a lot of fun today," said Serena, adding: "Experience helps but you always need a little bit of luck, and we had some here.
"We have been racing together now for seven years and we have become good friends, and I could not imagine racing without all of them, it is a really good team.
"Racing in Palma is great as it seems every day someone just turns on the wind around midday, and the organisation has also been super, on the water and ashore, so cheers to everybody."
Hard work pays off again for ClubSwan 42 Nadir
The ClubSwan 42 class saw Pedro Vaquer's Nadir – winner at the recent Swan One Design Worlds – go into the deciding race with a four-point advantage over Spanish compatriot Jose Maria Meseguer on Pez de Abril.
Meseguer made a great start, winning applause from supporters on a spectator boat, but Nadir fought back to take second and the overall win. Pez de Abril was edged into fourth in the final race by Mirko Bargolini's Koyre - Spirit of Nerina leaving both level on 21 points, with countback again the tie-breaker to put the latter in second place.
Speaking ashore Vaquer said: "Well I am very happy, and the team is delighted, and we are looking forward to celebrating the result tonight.
"I have been working on this for the past 10 years, so we are really, really pleased. In the early days we did not have the speed with the boat, so we have had to work on it. Now we sail the boat, and every race is very close."
Swans shine in open rating classes
The BMW ORC 2 open rating class was dominated by a trio of ClubSwan 42s, with Javier Banderas' Teatro Soho Caixabank taking her fourth win in the six-race final series to seal victory ahead of Christian Plump's Rivareno Gelato - Elena Nova and Aivar Tuulberg's Katarina II, with the latter duo only a point apart in the overall standings.
Meanwhile Fernando Chain's Argentina flagged Swan 45 From Now On went into Saturday's finale in BMW ORC 1 holding third place and succeeded in moving up to a well-deserved runner-up spot thanks to a hard won fourth place allowing her to fend off her nearest rivals.
A royal prize giving
The concluding prize-giving ceremony was presided over by His Majesty King Felipe VI, who skippered the TP52 Aifos 500 in ORC 1, and was held at Ses Voltes at the foot of Palma's magnificent gothic cathedral.
The Rolex Swan Cup in Porto Cervo next month will be the final event in the Nations League, with 16 countries having taken part across the 2022 season.
ClubSwan Racing organisers thank BMW, a leading partner, for their support with transfers at the 40 Copa del Rey MAPFRE and at other venues throughout the season.