The Copa del Rey- as the name already says, is the regatta of kings. On the one hand, the regatta venue since 1982 is the honourable Spanish Real Club Nautico (RCNP) and on the other hand, the Spanish king Felipe takes part in the regatta himself as well. He also visits the event and honours the winners personally. Just like his father did before. “The Copa” is one of the biggest and most important regattas in the Mediterranean Sea. This year was another highlight since the 35th anniversary of the Copa del Rey was celebrated.
Many international athletes from all over the world take part in this event since the Copa del Rey MAPFRE stands for sportive regatta sailing on a high level. This year, 116 boats and 120 teams from 19 different countries have been counted as participants.
To me, it was the first time I visited a regatta of this size internationally. Of course, I informed myself about teams, classes, the point system and the history of the regatta beforehand to be well prepared.
Training sessions started on Saturday and Monday, and on the 1st of August things started to get serious. All in all, the races were distributed over the next six days and from Wednesday on I was on site and got a chance to join the event myself. During this year’s regatta, sailors had the chance to take part in eight different classes: Montblanc Maxi72, Singular Kitchen IRC 1, MRW Swan 45, BMW ORC 1, BMW ORC 2, GC32 and den One-Design Klassen Herbalife J80 and Air X-35.
And for the first time, there were spectacular races of multihull boats which can reach up to 70 kilometres per hour.
During the whole week Palma de Mallorca presented itself with the best sailing conditions. Blue skies, 30 degrees and wind speeds between 6 to 20 knots. But unfortunately on Friday all races had to be cancelled because the wind speeds were too high. After this decision you could see a lot of disappointed faces amongst the sailors.
Amid many new participants, you could spot former winners with the intention to defend their winning positions. Vittorio Codecasa’s “BMW Sail Racing Academy in BMW ORC 1, Pedro Campos “Movistar” in BMW ORC 2, Javier Sanz “Red Electrica de Espana” in Air Europa X-34 and Daniel Pedraja’s “Ono” in Herbalife J80.
Every morning the sailors met at their boats in front of the RNCP, prepared all necessities and between 11:00 and 12:30 it was time to set sail. After all boats were out at sea, the different classes spread out into four fields and at one o’clock the races started. Around four o’clock, the boats came back to the harbour and the athletes waited eagerly for the day rating to be announced.
After 9 races the winners of the Copa 2016 were:
- Montblanc Maxi 72: Boot Bella Mente from the Club New York YC
- Singular Kitchen IRC 1: Modell TP 52 – Boot Azzura from the Club YC Costa Smeralda
- MRW Swan 45: Boot Early Bird from the Club NRV
- BMW ORC 1: Boot Maserati from the Club Puerto Portals
- BMW ORC 2: Boot Movistar from the Club RCN Sanxenxo
- Herbalife J80: Les roches-Puente Romano Marbella from the CN Sevilla/RCM Sotogrande
- Air X-35: Boot Red Electrica De España from the Real Club Náutico
- GC32: Boot Norauto from the Club YC de France
To me, it was an unforgettable event with lots of sailing theory and many goose bump moments.