A great windward leeward race on the final day of the Superyacht Cup saw a sparkling finale to the regatta

Ranger and Hyperion ran out respective winners in the IRC Performance and Traditional Pursuit classes in the Superyacht Cup Ulysse Nardin after a cracking final day’s windward leeward racing in Palma Bay. Hyperion took the famous Bent Cleat Trophy while Ranger also picked up the Yachting World Performance Trophy for winning the final Abu Dhabi race day.

An event which at one time looked threatened by a competing event in Porto Cervo starting next week, turned out to be a great success, due in part to the smaller, more manageable fleet, but on the final day the weather nearly upset proceedings.

At 1100 yesterday not even the most optimistic meteorologist would have forecast what was about to transpire in the Bay of Palma. A glassy calm, a leaden sky and a rather gloomy announcement from the committee boat that ‘there was no sign of wind at all in the bay’ led to thoughts of water fights, wake boarding behind yachts under engine and Event Director Patrick Whetter thinking up something silly for us to perform.

Thankfully Patrick’s services were not required because at around midday we spotted a telltale line of breeze to the south east – to be fair to the met boys this had been forecast.

The race committee and GWM Racing didn’t waste any time, upped anchor and headed straight for it, getting proceedings underway on Abu Dhabi day in impressively short order.

Not only that, they opted for a windward leeward course, a decision which proved popular and ideal for the third and last day of racing, by which time crews were ready for a bit of A sail gybing and some tactical upwind decision making.

With the weather co-operating and the cloud dispersing the fleet enjoyed a good 5-mile beat out to the east of the bay. Aboard Nimrod in the IRC division (see picture) we were thrilled with our committee boat end start, crossing the giant Senso One in the process and followed Ranger on a long port tack. We had a pretty good view of her sail handling expertise as her headsail halyard parted. They had another clipped on in no time and the hiccup certainly wasn’t enough to prevent her scoring her third 1st and taking the Yachting World Performance Trophy for the day.

Hyperion lost a massive gennaker during a hoist, which didn’t prevent her from winning, and poor Anny retired when a main halyard parted, but for the rest of us it was champagne sailing on a billiard table smooth Palma Bay.
The breeze held and the sun shone for the two-lap, windward leeward and when we discovered we had chalked up our best result of the week – 3rd – and beaten Senso One and Gliss in the process there was more than a glass or two raised back on the dock.

In the Abu Dhabi Race Ranger won the IRC division from Open Season and Nimrod while Hyperion took the classic event division from Ganesha.

I have to admit I was concerned when the number of entries for this event dwindled to 11 but I shouldn’t have worried. The racing and the atmosphere in general have been terrific and there’s a lot to be said for the advantages of a smaller fleet. No scrums (sorry, I shouldn’t refer to rugby – but well done you All Blacks) on the dock, no queues at the bar and time to have a civilised chat with your mates.

There’s no doubt that size matters in superyachting but in this event it was quality not quantity that applied and it really worked. Apart from anything else it allowed rare fleet starts for superyachts which many sailors appreciated. It’s taken the racing to another level. A great regatta – bring it on for 2009…

11-14 JUNE
Overall Results
Traditional Class
Elapsed Points Elapsed Points Elapsed Points Points Position
ANNY 3:21:26 0.1 3:19:55 6 Ret 12 18.1 6
AMEENA 3:27:48 0.4 3:23:04 5 3:17:19 10 15.4 5
GANESHA 3:15:00 0.3 2:58:16 3 2:47:18 4 7.3 2
HYPERION 3:12:01 0.2 2:50:05 1 2:38:47 2 3.2 1
KALIKOBASS II 3:26:12 0.5 3:10:20 4 2:53:26 6 10.5 3
SCHEHEREZADE 3:22:13 0.6 3:00:12 2 2:59:26 8 10.6 4
Performance Class
Rating Elapsed Corrected Points Elapsed Corrected Points Notes Elapsed Corrected Points Points Position
GLISS 1.443 02:59:35 04:19:08 3 02:53:50 04:10:53 5 1% Pen 02:35:58 03:45:04 5 13 5
NIMROD 1.325 03:24:36 04:31:19 5 03:02:25 04:01:42 4 02:47:29 03:41:55 3 12 4
OPEN SEASON 1.577 02:35:00 04:04:26 2 02:22:27 03:44:39 2 02:07:44 03:21:26 2 6 2
RANGER 1.402 0.117 04:02:34 1 02:33:12 03:34:47 1 02:17:42 03:13:03 1 3 1
SCORPIONE 1.397 03:16:16 04:34:11 6 03:04:37 04:17:55 6 1% Pen 02:48:44 03:55:43 6 18 6
SENSO ONE 1.847 02:21:48 04:21:54 4 02:02:58 03:47:07 3 02:01:23 03:44:12 4 11 3