Heartbeat and Hanuman winners of the Superyacht Cup and J-Class at Palma

Hanuman proved that Friday’s third race and false start was just a minor glitch in an otherwise dominating string of races (seven wins from the last eight J-Class races in Palma and St Barths). Although Lionheart and Ranger led on points and could have challenged her for an overall win in Saturday’s final race, the Puma boys showed their skills and just how quick this recently optimized boat is, taking the race and J-Class win.

(Hanuman’s owner Jim Clark gives the thumbs up after winning the J-Class. Photo by Ian Roman)

And it was a cracking day for the 15 ‘normal’ superyachts too, split into two classes. P2 has been a model of consistency this week, and took home the Yachting World starters prize last night for the best starts of the regatta (5 seconds and under – impressive for staggered starts). The performance Perini enjoyed a close duel with Salperton and Rebecca in Class 1 – a perfect layline call on the final gybe helping them to achieve line honours over Barry Houghton’s 45m Dubois sloop. The dazzling blue Frers designed and Pendennis built ketch Rebecca had her best day yet under the expert guidance of helmsman Stan Pearson, leading the fleet for much of the race and it was a treat to see her back in European waters.
The wind was up and down, strong at the start but dropping down and averaging out at 14 knots from the south. Once times were corrected out however it was Highland Breeze with her second race who were Class 1 victors ahead of Salperton and Rebecca.

In Class 2, the stunning Classen built Heartbeat, one of six Hoek designs and one of two Truly Classic 78s (along with Drumfire) racing, carried the overall lead going into the final race. And although Maria Cattiva used her superior (40m) length to make it around the seven leg course the quickest, once the time correction handicaps had been applied, using live wind data feedback from each leg (for the first time at a superyacht regatta), it was Heartbeat that took the win. Together with her consistency of a second and a third, this was enough for the popular crew on Heartbeat to take the class and overall regatta win from Maria Cattiva.

(Heartbeat crew: Photo by Clare Matches)

Determined not to be trapped in again by her fellow Js meanwhile, Hanuman kept well to the pin end of the starting area, and were only just finishing hoisting their foresail as they squeezed inside the mark on the gun – a trick helm Ken Read used apparently to confuse his opponents. Lionheart and Ranger were alongside to windward, but the former got trapped, had to eat Ranger’s dirty air and fell off behind Hanuman’s stern, from where Ranger were able to keep a cover on them and their race became a battle for 4th with HJB built Rainbow.

(A sight to behold: five Js on the start with Velsheda to windward and Hanuman sneaking in at the pin end. Photo by Ian Roman)

The only original J competing, Velsheda, had a flyer, the most spectacular start of the week, crossing the line at full pelt right as the hooter sounded. Yet despite sailing their best race this week, they could still only watch Hanuman slip higher and faster away. A perfect one-tack layline call also helped the Royal Huisman built Hanuman win the crucial fight to the first windward mark, and after that they would never be challenged.
Despite Brad Butterworth joining Ranger for the final race, their consistent racing and third place was how they finished up overall on countback to second placed Lionheart, who have once again looked impressive and fast despite being the only other J alongside Velsheda to be owner-driven.

With a mass of sunburnt smiling faces present, the prize giving dinner was held last night at the spectacular old town setting of the Es Baluard Museum.

Full results and more at www.thesuperyachtcup.com

(Opening aerial picture of Heartbeat courtesy of Ingrid Abery)