© Sailing Energy / The Superyacht Cup

© Sailing Energy / The Superyacht Cup

Svea finish on top at The Superyacht Cup Palma


By J Class
23/06/2024 - 09:21

With a carefully crafted victory in today’s final 25 nautical mile coastal race, the Swedish flagged Svea won the J Class at The Superyacht Cup Palma. Counting three race wins and a third, Svea won by three points. Highlighting just how close the racing was over the three days of competition on the Bay of Palma, Velsheda may have pipped the debuting Rainbow team, but it went to tie break.

It was soon after the downwind start that the Svea crew made their winning move. On the short initial downwind they were able to extend just enough to gybe in front of their two rivals and so lead around the leeward mark. With the wind averaging 10-13kts and peaking at a sporty 16kts just before the finish, Svea were able to control the race from that first turn and so clinch their third race win from four starts. 

“The regatta turned out really close even if we had a nice win today,” Svea’s navigator Steve Hayles affirmed. “The downwind start today made it interesting. It all came down to a few metres and we just made the cross we needed to lead around the first mark and then we sailed a really strong race from there. But it was touch and go to start with.”

Led by Erle Williams with six times America’s Cup winner Murray Jones as tactician, Rainbow showed all of the potential expected of her. Three second places and a third, achieved with less than a week of sailing time together as a team, is a powerful message for the future. 

Svea execute
Rainbow’s navigator Simon ‘SiFi’ Fisher loved his return to the J Class fray: “Well, they threw us a little curve ball with the downwind start! That made it quite exciting with all three boats lined up trying to get to the leeward mark first, but Svea executed best, they did a nice job of extending forwards so she could gybe and cross us and Velsheda. And they extended from there. But it is all pretty new to us, we had a few small issues on board but we got round the course in good shape and every day sailing for us is a big plus because this is our first week with the boat. Now to have a regatta under our belt with all the learning that has brought is a great achievement for the team so hats off to them.”

Velsheda 1, 2 on the coastal races
Second place overall for Velsheda is a timely confidence boost to the class’s most experienced crew and a reminder that if they can get in front off the start line they will be contenders at the J Class America’s Cup regatta in October.

Velsheda strategist Grant Simmer said, “Second overall is good after getting those two third places on these first two windward-leewards. Svea is fast and they are sailing well. Rainbow is going pretty fast but it’s the first time they have raced the boat. But all in all, it is looking good for Barcelona we are going to have a nice event.” 

A good thing
Obviously it is very early days but the new ORCj VPP rule – utilised for the first time at this event – achieved high praise from all the teams, as did The Superyacht Cup race management on the water. 

Hayles commented, “It was so nice to have the three Js racing around. We obviously want to build the class and have more boats. And this was a nice, solid start to a new rule. Everybody had their moment. No question about it. If you can get your nose in front, these are tough boats to sail past.”

And Rainbow’s Fisher concurs. “It has been a great fun regatta. It was a shame to lose yesterday (no racing no wind). We have had some great racing and it so special to see the Js out racing again. And whoever wins on the water wins the day. I think the class have good job of implementing this ORC rule and it is scientific, equal and fair for all the boats. Once there is some wind pressure, we are all quite even on rating and that reflects performance on the water. Hopefully it is a good thing.”

The Superyacht Cup Palma, J Class. Race 4 (Coastal)
1 Svea elapsed time 2hrs 42mins 48secs
2 Velsheda +2 mins 40 secs 
3 Rainbow +7 mins 31secs 

Overall results after four races 
1 Svea 6pts 
2 Velsheda 9pts 
3 Rainbow 9pts 


ETNZ’s AC75 Taihoro has arrived at the team base in Barcelona
Canada takes the spoils on opening day of the Mubadala New York Sail Grand Prix