The 15th Sail Racing PalmaVela regatta may have endured a little more rain than expected today but racing remains extremely tight going into Sunday’s finale. Two classes – IRC and ORC4 – see the top two boats tied on points going into the final day. The TP52s, Wally, ORC 2 and ORC 3 Classes all have only one point separating the class leader from second. And after a couple of days of light rain the weather forecasters might even be promising some sunshine for Sunday.
A thrilling showdown is in prospect in the TP52 class where Azzurra’s lead has shrunk to just one point going into the final day. They were caught on the wrong side of a big shift on the first beat of the first of today’s two races and consequently rounded the first top mark in ninth place. The regatta leaders could only recover to score eighth in the contest which was won by Takashi Okura’s Sled which now has America’s Cup winner Ray Davies as tactician.
The second race saw fleet newcomer Hasso Plattner and his team lead by Ed Baird winning their first race on his new Phoenix. Even after being over the start line early – their second such transgression this event – Harm Müller-Spreer’s Platoon recovered to second and so overhauling Quantum Racing on the overall standings. The world champions lie second overall going into the final day, one point ahead of Quantum Racing and one poised one point behind Azzurra. Best scoring boat for the day was Sled’s 1,3.
Sled’s Ray Davies said: “It was a good day for the Team Sled today. The boat is going really well and the trimmers really are dialled in very nicely. Adam Beashel (strategist) was really good on the weather calls and got us on the right side of the course and we started well. Those three things combined nicely and we focused on keeping ourselves out of trouble. It was a very shifty day. There were lots of snakes and fortunately we were going up the ladders when the finish came. Mr Okura is very happy, he is steering well and he has a very nice feel for the boat and is very, very calm.”
After eight races for the Melges 40 class, debuting as a class at their first big multiclass regattas, it is Richard Goransson’s Inga from Sweden which holds a slender two points lead going into the Sunday showdown. Staying clear of other boats from other classes is one essential strategy which teams on the high speed, canting keeled Melges 40, are learning here. Inga from Sweden, which has Cameron Appleton on tactics, went 1,4,1 today.
Owner-driver Goransson – who successfully raced a Melges 32 before – said: “We have set up a really calm, quiet boat and in the first and second races we were fast and focused and had out trim really sorted out. On the first day we were really fast then I think the other teams looked at our rig shots and came back and it did not seem we had the same edge yesterday. And today we calmed things down. It is team sport and with nine people we are pretty short handed on these boats everyone has to do their job and so there is a lot of choreography to make the manoeuvres work.”
Hendrik Brandis Earlybird remains in control of the ClubSwan 50 fleet after following their strategy for the day of sailing solid, simple and safely in order, looking for high average results. That they did in the seven boat fleet and so lead by six points going into the final day, looking favourites to retain the PalmaVela title they won here last year when the class made its world regatta debut. Morton Kielland’s Mathilde lies second, British Olympian calling tactics to earn 1,1,3 today.
“Once the rain cleared we had great racing in 10-12kts of wind. We got two wins which represents a fantastic effort from our whole team. We were fighting for every inch around the course and that is what made the difference. It is tough fleet and we are having great racing.” Said Mathilde’s Leigh McMillan. Of their 2,4,2 scoreline today Hendrik Brandis explained, “We have a good lead overall and so the objective today was to stay in the leading part of the fleet. Today our upwind speed was stunning. I think we have a good rig balance, and the general balance and trim of the boat is very good. We made the right sail calls, on the light headsail in the first race and that made a difference, and on the medium in the third. Now we just need to do the same tomorrow.”
If Thursday’s first coastal race proved to benefit the smaller Wally class yacht, the Wally 80s, when the breeze filled in later in the race and compressed them into the trio of Wally Centos, today the tables were turned and the Centos were home and finished and the smaller cousins were left languishing in lighter wind. The three WallyCentos took all the top positions lead by Galateia. After their second place today it is Magic Blue, the Wally 80, leading the new Tango by only one point. “On the downwind Magic Carpet went out to sea and we and Tango stayed left and in the end we all came together at the leeward mark, nose to tail. Close after 50 minutes of running. We put a Code Zero up at the next windward mark in the collapsing breeze and that is what made the difference because we could coast with it and keep moving better.” Recalled Galateia’s tactician Jeremy Robinson, “The ‘hundreds’ (Centos) are having great racing.”
Overall leaders in other classes include Pelotari Project (IRC), Elena Nova (Swan 45), Selene Alifax (ClubSwan 42), Dktegoria (ORC 1), Petrouchka III (ORC 2), Airlan Aermec (ORC 3), Mestral Fast (ORC 4), Fehurihi (ORC E), Opera Season (J80), Dottore Falafel (Dragón), Speedy Gonzales (Flying Fifteen), Marigan (Cangreja), Cippino (Bermudiano), Legolas (Espíritu de Tradición) and Team CVP Andratx 1 (Hansa 303).
Racing concludes Sunday with starts at midday for all classes. Windward-Leeward races are planned for all but the Classics.