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Copa del Rey MAPFRE : The King and Aifos win coastal race

At the 41st Copa del Rey MAPFRE today the Majorica ORC classes raced an inshore coastal course of between 25 and 30 miles which saw King Felipe triumph in the showcase Majorica ORC 1 on the TP52 Aifos. The One Designs continued with their diet of windward-leeward races on the Bay of Palma.

Three years on from its introduction, the format of preliminary series followed by final series where the points carried into the finals are those equivalent to the finishing position in the preliminary series, still has its fans and its opponents. At this midpoint of the series, most can view the transition with a little humour.

Last year’s ClubSwan 50 owner-helm Marcus Brennecke laughs, “Well at this point last year we went into the final series in fourth and went on to win and so we are following the same strategy again, saving our best until the finals.” 

But Brennecke’s Hatari crew had amassed a big lead by this point in 2021 but went on to lose out in the finals to German rivals EarlyBird with Tom Slingsby calling tactics.

“We had an OK day, the first race was mediocre, it should have been OK, a third or fourth but we gybed and made a mistake and lost a couple of places just before the finishing line and dropped to sixth, losing a couple of points we didn’t need to, but we fought back to win the second race. And so now we are in fourth place, which is OK,” Said Brennecke.“But overall I prefer straight racing, maybe say with two training days but this makes it a long week. Anyway it is holiday time and I am looking forwards to the weekend when my daughter will come and sail with us on her 10th birthday.”

With a 1,3 Andrea Lacorte’s ClubSwan 50 circuit leading Vitamina is the best scoring ClubSwan 50 of the day along with the regatta leader Cuordileone which scored a 2,2. The Italian world champions see their five points lead reduced to just one point going into the Finals.

Vitamina’s navigator Francesco Mongelli admits he is not a fan of the regatta of two halves.
“It was not an easy day as the left is strong but there are some little bits of right to gain on and we were in phase with them to gain, so it was a good day for us. Personally I don’t like the system as it stands, it should not be six and six races for example, it could be three races in the first bit of the first series.”  Said Mongelli.

And of course there are winners and losers in the ClubSwan 42. Italy’s Massimo de Campo and his crew of Selene finally broke the run of race wins of Pez de Abril when they won Race 6, but even though they see their 14 pts deficit reduced to one point.

De Campo smiled as he reported, “Today was quite light and a bit difficult but we did two good races and won the second race, really in the second start we were on the good side and kept in front of the field, it all went well. But I don’t like the new format, I like all the races to count the same. But now if you counted every race we’d be more than ten points behind Pez de Abril but now it is just one. So we still have the target to win the Copa del Rey we were close in 2018 when we finished just one point behind Pez de Abril.” 

In Majorica ORC Class 1 HRH King Felipe and the crew of the Spanish Navy’s TP52 Aifos scored their second win in a row, triumphing today on the 30 nautical miles coastal race. Aifos go into the Finals in third place. Javier Sanz and Christian Plump’s ClubSwan 42 Palibex-Elena Nova finished fifth on the coastal race and finish the Preliminary Series with a lead of only half a point ahead of their Argentine rivals on the Swan 45 From Now On. Ironically, then, their lead actually doubles to one point as they start the Finals.

Sanz, past president of the RCNP said, “We wanted to keep that first place, to have a point for the Final Series, so we come back tonight with the objective fulfilled. Our biggest rival is the Argentinean (From Now On), the Swan 45, who have a good boat and sail very well. Today they beat us by one second after 28 miles. Not bad, eh? Tomorrow the wind conditions are going to change, with more wind and I think that favours us. We’ve shown that over the last few days: on Monday with more wind we won, and on Tuesday and today, with less wind, we didn’t win.” 

Majorica ORC 2 leaders, Javier Banderas’ defending class champions, Teatro Soho Caixabank maintained their unbeaten record when they won the coastal inshore race by nearly five minutes today. Their 21 points lead aggregated so far of course drops to a Finals lead of a single point!

Daniel Cuevas off Teatro Soho Caixabank rumimated, “What we have done so far is not worth much; it doesn’t matter if you finish 15 or 5 points ahead of second because now they disappear. Tomorrow, Thursday, we start sailing all over again. Personally, we don’t think it’s fair because consistency is not rewarded, but these are the rules of the game, we abide by them, and when we come to the Copa del Rey we know the game we are all playing. All in all, we are very satisfied, I think we have a team that is a real ‘dream team’ in all positions”.

A substantial lead in Majorica ORC 3 is trimmed to one point too for the Italians on Scugnizza C’an Eduardo who won the Coastal Race today. It is not, however, the same in class 4 where Arturo Montes – who first won here 25 years ago with his family on Estrella Damm  – won again today on his Dufour 34 Ybarra-Befsa. Helm Arturo Montes lost a leg in a swimming accident in 2011 and is aiming to be the first sailor with a disability to win an ORC class at the Copa del Rey MAPFRE .

Luis Albert Solana’s Patakin leads the Herbalife J/80s and in the Sotheby’s Women’s Cup the Vigo team of Patricia Suárez are on course to defend the title they won last year

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