A perfect start for the Horus Superyacht Cup Palma saw victory for the Perini Antara on Abu Dhabi Race Day

As days out on the water go it doesn’t get much better than this, with the 18-strong Horus Superyacht Cup Palma 2009 fleet enjoying a perfect sea breeze on a billiard table smooth Bay of Palma. Day one of this three-day regatta, rounded off with a Caribbean themed party back on a dock bathed in warm afternoon sunshine, saw the event off to a flier.

The well sailed 46m Perini Navi Antara was first away on Abu Dhabi Race Day holding her lead to the finish of the pursuit race. She successfully saw off Thomas Bscher’s 28.6m Wally Open Season which stormed round the course to finish ahead of Marco Vogele’s Huisman-built, Briand-designed sloop Gliss.

Regatta director and officer of the day Patrick Whetter postponed proceedings before a sea breeze began to build and then got the timing of the resumption spot on to see this impressive gathering of supersailing yachts take advantage of a wind that peaked at 15 to 16 knots. Inter-yacht water fights and the return of Whetter’s lighthearted VHF banter are distinguishing features of this fun regatta, but there were stern words for skippers (and owners) about sailing safely with elimination from the event being threatened if yachts were deemed to be sailing dangerously close to each other. No-one stepped out of line?

There were some great sights out on the water including Mari Cha 111, Windrose of Amsterdam and Sojana all sailing down the run in a flurry of gybes and spectacular crossings. On board Michael Ryan’s 40m Ed Dubois sloop Tenaz I enjoyed a fault free race with Nick Maloney calling the shots for helmsman Ryan who had recently completed a major world cruise to the Far East and Pacific via Suez with his wife and three young daughters. The pictures shows Michael Ryan at the helm with Windrose and Hyperion in hot pursuit. Here’s a bit of foredeck action with Meteor in the background.

He just had time to put Tenaz in for a refit at Pendennis Shipyard in Cornwall UK, who built the yacht as Mamamouchi back in 1996, before coming to Palma for his first superyacht regatta. The atmosphere on board the yacht was relaxed, organised and fun and despite Tenaz’s original suit of sails she fairly slipped along to finish 11th less than a minute astern of Peter Harrison’s Sojana and just ahead of Windrose.

By the time the fleet returned to their new and much praised regatta village close to the heart of the old town, the Caribbean band was in full swing, crews were in an astonishing array of West Indian fancy dress – I wasn’t sure about the pith helmets aboard Anny – and the smiles were back on the faces of organisers and competitors alike. Last year everyone realised that they needed to raise their game to keep this much loved regatta alive. Judging by today’s performance on and off the water it would appear that the SYC have succeeded admirably.

Tomorrow your author will be joining Mike ‘Moose’ Sanderson for a ride on the old but nonetheless still slippery Mari Cha 111 – watch this space.