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Eins, Zwei… Germany’s Momo and Earlybird Open Best at 36 Copa del Rey MAPFRE

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 Eins, Zwei… Germany’s Momo and Earlybird Open Best at 36 Copa del Rey MAPFRE
Eins, Zwei… Germany’s Momo and Earlybird Open Best at 36 Copa del Rey MAPFRE

On the first day of the 36 Copa del Rey MAPFRE on the Bay of Palma tacticians and strategists in the big boat classes racing on the outermost course area had their work cut out. Rather than the super consistent, solid sea breeze that the Balearic race track is known for, there was a regular difference between the windward and leeward extremes of the course area which tested and teased some of the best afterguards in the world.

But it is German flagged teams which are the only two crews to have started with a perfect pair of wins. In the Maxi72 class Dieter Schön’s Momo, which has German ace Markus Wieser backed up by Kiwi strategist Murray Jones who clocked up his sixth America’s Cup win last month as part of the winning performance coaching group along with Ray Davies and Rod Davis.

And in the ClubSwan 50 fleet Hendrik Brandis’ Earlybird, which has German four times Olympic medallist Jochen Schümann as tactician, also started with two wins.
 
“It was tough, certainly not easy.” Mused Markus Wieser, tactician on the German flagged Momo which leads the Maxi72 class with two wins.
“It was all mixed up, especially downwind when it was so hard to know when to gybe. Sometimes we were seeing 40 degrees of difference between the windward and leeward gates. But we did OK. I’m glad that one is done!” 

In the four boat Maxi 72 Schön’s Momo leads overall by three points ahead of Diego Ferrari’s new Botin designed Cannonball which has Vasco Vascotto calling tactics and George Sekallaris’ Proteus which both scored one third and one second place apiece. In the 11-13kt sea breeze the starts were vital but Momo seemed to have a speed edge which last year’s winner Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente was slightly lacking today. The owner is not here this week and the boat is being steered by recently crowned Farr 40 World Champion owner-helm Alex Roepers.

“Alex did some great work, really lovely today considering it is only his second day on the boat.” Remarked Terry Hutchinson, Bella Mente’s tactician, “We came off the start line and I am sitting at the wheels and looking at Proteus bow and six minutes into the leg they pinched us off. It is about speed. We will keep working at it. These guys have done good work in the off season with their boats. We are pushing Bella as hard as we can and she does good work for us when we do all the right things and put her in in the right spots but we have to sail perfectly.”

Earlybird’s two wins sets them on course to repeat success they shared in the Swan 45 class last year and in in the ORC fleet in 2010, now moving up to the bigger, new one design class which has six entries. Brandis commented, “There will be other days this week but this was our day today. Our first race was great we were always on the correct side and had a start to finish victory. The second race we gave the lead away twice but with good downwinds we won the second race. It was a tricky day with 20 to 30 degree shifts and that is about sailing. We were consistent.” 

“I love this boat. It is light, it is one design and it is fast. All the boats are alike and anyone can win.”

With ten TP52s racing in Mallorca Sotheby’s IRC Class 1 it is Jean Jacques Chaubard’s Team Vision Future which leads by one single point. The crew which recently won the IRC European Championship in Marseille have two pro sailors on board and otherwise are mainly friends of the owner and the helm Mikael Mergui. Winning the first race, when they started well and got left early, is the foundation of the Swiss flagged team’s lead. Their boat is based from Lavandou YC, just the east of Hyeres and this is their sixth Copa del Rey. Last year they were third with the TP52 which started life as the 2008 Artemis.
Mergui said, “We had a good start with the ‘old lady’ at the first top mark we were fourth and by the leeward gate we were second. On the second beat there was a change of course, Phoenix and Paprec passed us. But we finished one or two boat metres behind them and won on handicap.”

“The main thing for us is to have a good battle on the water. Winning is a bonus but we are all friends with the other 52s off the water. This is a great class.”

The second race of the day was won by Andy Soriano’s Alegre.
In BMW ORC Class 1, the biggest division in the record breaking regatta, it is Aifos the Farr 45 which leads overall, helmed today by H.M. King Felipe VI, racing two windward-leewards. In the Swan 45 class Monaco’s Ange Transparent 2 of Valter Pizzoli leads after a 1,3 opening. In the Swan 42 class two boats share the same points, Nadir of Pedro Vaquer and Pez de Abril of Jose Maria Meseguer.

BMW ORC 2 is an all Spanish podium lead by Maverta, the Rodman 42 which scored 3,2 today, eight times winner Pedro Campos lies third on SUM Innovation after a sixth in the first race and winning the second contest. Scotland’s Scott Beattie and his crew on the J97E which won Sail Racing PalmaVela shares the overall lead with Javier Banderas’ Dufour 34 Grupo Ceres.

In the Herbalife J80 class the race wins were shared between Marc de Antonio's Bribón Movistar and Les Roches Jeunesse Marbella of Pepequín Orbaneja which is helmed by Eric Brezellec who finished second at the recent world championship. Jose Maria Van Der Ploeg lies third.

The second day of competition Tuesday sees windward-leeward racing scheduled for all classes. The GC32 foiling catamarans will warm up with an official non-scoring training regatta prior to racing starting on Wednesday.

Results. Day 1
(Position/Boat/Country/Skipper/Results/Points)
 
BMW ORC 1
1. Aifos (ESP), S.M. King Felipe VI, 2+3=5
2. Zappy´s (FRA), Christophe Wargny, 4+6=10
3. Adrian Hoteles Macaronesia (NED), Daniel Adrián Rueda, 1+10=11
… hasta 35 clasificados.
 
BMW ORC 2
1. Maverta (ESP), Jose Ballester, 3+2=5
2. L´immens – Laplaza Assesors (GBR), Carlos Rodríguez, 2+4=6
3. Sum Innovation (ESP), Pedro Campos, 8+1=9
… hasta 21 clasificados.
 
BMW ORC 3
1. Grupo Ceres (ESP), Daniel Cuevas, 4+1=5
2. Just the Job (GBR), Scott Beattie, 1+4=5
3. Lanzarote Sailing Paradise (ESP), Alejandro Morales, 3+3=6
… hasta 9 clasificados.
 
Maxi 72
1. Momo (IVB), Dieter Schon, 1+1=2
2. Cannonball (ITA), Dario Ferrari, 3+2=5
3. Proteus (USA), George Sakellaris, 2+3=5
4. Bella Mente (USA), Alex Roepers, 4+4=8
 
Club Swan 50
1. Earlybird (GER), Hendrik Brandis, 1+1=2
2. Ulika (ITA), Andrea Masi, 2+4=6
3. Skorpios (RUS), Andrey Konogorov, 3+3=6
… hasta 6 clasificados.
 
MRW Swan 45
1. Ange Transparent 2 (ITA), Valter Pizzoli, 1+3=4
2. K-Forze (USA), Jan de Kraker, 3+2=5
3. Negra (ECU), Rizzo, 6+1=7
… hasta 8 clasificados.
 
Swan 42
1. Nadir (ESP), Pedro Vaquer Comas, 2+1=3
2. Pez de Abril (ESP), José María Meseguer, 1+2=3
3. Voloria IV – Regina 2.0 (SWE), Jacob Wallenberg, 3+6=9
… hasta 9 clasificados.
 
Mallorca Sotheby´s IRC
1. Team Vision Future (SUI), Mergui Mikael, 1+4=5
2. Alizee (FRA), Laurent Camprubi, 3+3=6
3. Phoenix (USA), Hasso Plattner, 5+2=7
… hasta 16 clasificados.
 
Herbalife J80
1. Les Roches Jeunesse Marbella Team (ESP), Eric Brezellec, 2+1=3
2. Bribon Movistar (ESP), Marc de Antonio, 1+3=4
3. VSA Comunicación (ESP), José María Van Der Ploeg, 3+3=6
… hasta 20 clasificados.