21 of the Fastest Superyachts Ready to Race Palma’s Superyacht Cup!

While only last month we got to see no less than 35 stunning sail yachts on display, during the Palma superyacht show, this month we’ll be able to feast our eyes on some of the sleekest and fastest vessels fighting it out in the Bay of Palma during the Superyacht Cup, the longest running superyacht regatta in Europe. What started out as an ‘end of season’ party for those leaving the Med for the Caribbean, almost 20 years ago, has grown into one of the top events on the racing calendar, and a regatta not to be missed.

The Cup is conveniently held smack-bang in the middle of Palma de Mallorca, a key hub for the industry’s main players; with hotels, restaurants, bars and even the island’s airport, all being close-by. Add the bay’s acclaimed blissfully consistent sea-breeze, pretty palm tree lined Paseo Maritimo, and the dramatically lit cathedral as a backdrop, and it comes as no surprise that the world’s most impressive sailors gather annually to be a part of the action. And although this catchall ‘Sailors’ Regatta’ has plenty to boast about, much focus remains on the fun on terra firma, which is one of the reasons it’s such a crowd favourite!

The Vitters built, Briand designed stunning sail yacht Inouï © Carlo Baroncini / Foto Arcobaleno

The Vitters built, Briand designed stunning sail yacht Inouï
© Carlo Baroncini / Foto Arcobaleno

Also this year’s line-up of 20-odd yachts is a mixed bag of boats, penned up by different architects and built by different yards. The 2015 fleet ranges from the beautiful Truly Classic 24m Heartbeat (overall winner of the Superyacht cup 2013), to the giant of the fleet, the freshly launched 60m Perseus^3. Her towering 75,8m carbon mast is one of the 3 tallest rigs ever built in the world, and her A2 with its 2602 square meters, is likewise the largest sail ever made. If you find this impressive…wait until you see what’s depicted on her spinnaker!

Perini navy built 60m super yacht Perseus^3

The Perini navy built 60m superyacht Perseus^3

Another newbie to the fleet is the Baltic beauty Win Win. With her sleek lines, wide transom and minimal weight, she has been designed to dominate on the race course and built to kick stern. This boat is the brainchild of Javier Jaudenes, a local Mallorquin designer who not just bagged winner of exterior design and styling award, but also Sailing Yacht of The Year, at this year’s World Superyacht Awards. From the whale-like 500 tonnes of the 60m Perini Perseus^3, to the ‘light as a feather’ Frers-designed 26m Tulip, the disparate in competing yachts is huge.

It’s this immense imbalance in type, size and shape that makes it challenging for all boats to sail a fair race. This year the brand new ORCsy will be used during the cup, which promises each of the different kind of boats partaking in the regatta, a more equal chance to win. Tried and tested first at the Loro Piana Caribbean Regatta, and then again at the St Barths Bucket, this new rating not only proved the concept, but kicked it squarely at the goal. As Robbie Doyle, founder of Doyle Sails said: “For this rule to be working as well as it is, I’m blown away. I’m on the rules committee, just as a consultant, and I kept warning that there were going to be some teething issues, but right now people should be ecstatic.” Tweaked by its predecessors, the new ORCsy rule will come out stronger than it already was for the SYC, ensuring that, as Mike Sanderson (Elfje) said: “If you do a nice job with the variables, you should be able to win no matter which boat you’ve got, and that’s a really cool thing”. Well said.

The Baltic Beauty Win Win, here depicted high & dry in STP

Apart from the new entries, we’ll also see a lot of cup veterans. Back to battle it out is the 2012 winner, Royal Huisman’s Maria Cattiva. This will be her 5th consecutive SYCup. The beautiful 34m Nautor Swan Highland Breeze will also be making her 5th successive appearance. The 45m Visione, regatta regular P2 & the bright green Inouï were neck-and-neck at the finish of the St. Barths Bucket 2015, and will continue their close racing at the Superyacht Cup in June. Visione, P2 and Inouï have all participated at the Superyacht Cup before, but not all at the same year. Competition is going to be as tight as ever!

As every year, dockside drinks and off-board banter will continue during happy hour at the Regatta Bar, long after the sails have been packed away.. This year, enhanced by the amped up tunes from party-professional-Pacha’s prime DJ’s. And although after this 19th edition the Cup might be another year weathered and wiser, ‘our little island’s’ very own Superyacht Cup will continue to lure in the world’s top launches, the most prestigious regulars and the most talented sailors, ..and knows how to throw a party… 

Ten questions for one of Spain’s top sailing photographers: Jesús Renedo

If you’re not interested in the world of sailing, don’t follow the big regatta’s, the best teams and would call the bow the pointy end of a boat you might not have heard of world renowned sailing photographer Jesús Renedo. Anyone else however is sure to have seen his work a myriad of times adorn the front pages of high profile yachting magazines like Classic Boat, Vela and Yachting World. He travels the world taking photo’s of the best teams and the fastest boats on the regatta circuit and is well known for his striking and powerful action shots. Jesús was raised on the water in Santander but made the move to Mallorca many years ago which is where we caught him just after he got back from NY to hit him with the next ten questions..

©2014 Pedro Martínez/Sailing Energy

©2014 Pedro Martínez/Sailing Energy

1) Are you a keen sailor yourself?

Yes, I’ve been sailing ever since I was a kid, I learnt to sail on Optimists, Vauriens, and 470’s in the Bay of Biscay on the North Coast of Spain. Also my parents had a 25 ft sailing boat on which we used to spend all our family holidays so I’ve been messing around on boats for as long as I can remember.

2) Have you crewed on boats as well?

Yes, I have. I was 29 when I quit my office job to join a sailboat about to embark on a round the world race. Since then I never looked back: I got my skipper’s license and worked in the superyacht industry for quite a few years, first as a deckhand later as mate and captain running all sorts of yachts and taking part in many regattas.

3) So, have you always taken photo’s while at sea?

Yes, I always had a camera in my hands. I also used to work as a scuba diving instructor and so took (and still take) many shots underwater as well.

4) When did you start taking photo’s professionally?

I think it was back in 2006.

5) How did you learn your photography skills? I’m self taught. Lots of studying and plenty of practice.

Copyright: Jesús Renedo

Copyright: Jesús Renedo

6) How would you describe your style?

Action!! I love working during regattas and concentrating on those ‘action shots’!

7) How many regatta’s and other sailing events do you travel to per year? And which is your favourite?

I travel a lot, which is a pain!  Carrying all that heavy photography gear is becoming a big problem at airports.
It’s difficult to choose one event, I enjoy them all! But I can say I really love the olympic sailing and the big, mighty J Class racing!

Copyright: Jesús Renedo

Copyright: Jesús Renedo

8) What do you look for when you’re on a shoot?

I like to capture the essence of what is going on by taking close ups of sailors and show exactly what they’re doing, their efforts and concentration. I also like to use the landscape, the sea and the whole environment we’re in at that moment.

9) Do you know immediately if you’ve taken a spectacular photo?

Yes! Most of the time when I download the images, I can’t wait to see if one particular shot is focussed and sharp. It’s fantastic when you get the feeling you’ve just taken that extra special shot! Then you keep your fingers crossed for it to be razor sharp!

Copyright Jesús Renedo

Copyright Jesús Renedo

10) Any advice for us sailors who like to take pictures of our own?

Enjoy!! And take care not to drop your camera in the splash!! Trust me I’ve done that a few times! 😉

Thank you Jesús!

No problem!

If you want to see more of Jesús Renedo’s high-impact photo’s check out the galleries on his website here.

Copyright: Jesús Renedo

Copyright: Jesús Renedo

Only me all at Sea

With the VOR having kicked off leg one recently I’ve been thinking about the different kind of sailors I know. ..Rock star racing sailors, coastal cruisers, casual sailors, day sailors, dinghy sailors, dead serious sailors, drunken sailors, solo sailors, multihull and maverick sailors.

And then there’s me, the world’s worst sailor who for some strange reason has happened to spend many years on all sorts of sail boats. From classics to carbon fibre racing machines I’ve confounded many crew by making all kinds of boating blunder’s and sailing snafu’s. Only last week I tried to silence a B&G alarm by setting off the fire alarm, the week before I managed to get myself and a fender stuck between the spokes of the helm while trying to get the thing from starboard to port. “Fabulous fending Dani!” I’m happy enough chewing the fat on the rail, slurping gatorade and eating mini mars bars but don’t ask me to tie a bowline or fetch a boat hook from the fore peak ‘cos you’ll get both the blank look and the big eyes. (He wants what?) I don’t like hearing raised voices either. It frightens me and I think we’re about to sink.

All of you that have ever spent even one second on a yacht with me I can see you nod and I can hear you snigger. Seriously, all the way from Australia, so stop.

In any case it comes as no surprise that the world of ocean racing and solo sailors completely eludes though totally fascinates me. Like a homebody who gets Michael Palin to bring the world to their living room I regularly get 50 knot Southern Ocean swells right here on my Santa Catalina sofa by re reading Naomi James’ ‘Alone around the world’ and Moitessier’s ‘The long way’ and all while snuggled up in a thick fleece with frequent breaks not to have to adjust sails but to pad back and forth from the couch to the kettle in slippered feet.

Anyhow with this blog I’d like to give a shout out to my four favourite sailors and take my proverbial south western hat off to them by listing some of the super human and incredibly daunting things they’ve done while I was watching dvd’s and eating chocolate biscuits.

Laura Dekker

Laura Dekker

1) Let’s start with Dutch Laura Dekker who at an age where my main concerns were how to get out of P.E. and why my hair wasn’t straight started her 27,000 nautical mile voyage around the world. She was 16 when she finished her 518 day trip which made her the youngest person to have ever sailed solo around the globe. Laura Dekker was born aboard a yacht off the coast of New Zealand and first sailed solo at six years old, (six!) and at ten began dreaming about crossing the planet.. I love that during her trip she found a new hobby: playing the flute, which she said was easier to play than a guitar in bad weather!

2) Another female pioneer is seasickness suffer-ess Naomi James who was the first woman to circumnavigate the globe by herself. She completed her voyage on the 8th of June 1978 after having spent 272 days at sea. During the cruise, 16m ‘Express Crusader’, endured a few minor distresses like losing her mast, capsizing and having no radio for a couple of weeks, so small stuff really 😉 Actually Naomi James was not the sole soul aboard – she had a cat named Boris, which unfortunately fell over board off the coast of Africa.

Moitessier Voyage

Moitessier Voyage

3) One of my favourite Frenchies is long-distance sailor Bernard Moitessier who christened his 12m ketch Joshua in honour of Slocum. It was on this boat that Moitessier competed in the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race (predecessor of the Vendee Globe), making fantastic time, only to abandon the race near the end, blowing off the chance to win the first non-stop singlehanded round-the-world race. What? Yup, he kept on sailing halfway around the world again to Tahiti to “save his soul.” Without breaks and mostly in the roaring forties this voyage resulted in Moitessier setting the record for the longest nonstop passage, sailing a total of 37,455 nautical miles in 10 months.

Jean le Cam

Jean le Cam

4) Then there’s the colourful Jean Le Cam, he broke an Atlantic record in 1982, won the Transat in 1994, the 1,000 miles of Calais and is three times winner of the Figaro, so boasts a pretty serious sailing CV. He brought big smiles to everyone’s faces during the 2013 Vendee when we saw his dark curls go wilder everyday and met his set of soft animals who did the journey with him. We watched on webcam how they regularly fell over and how Le Cam would put them back in place while talking us through his days at the office. His gang of furry fluffies all made it up to the stage with him as well on arrival in Sables-d’Olonne. Gold.

Of course these amazing people and what they’ve done has helped shape what sailing and racing is today and although they couldn’t be more different to whom I am and what I can do I’d just like to finish of with mentioning that if you need someone to coil a line the wrong way around the winch, to speak on VHF without pushing the button or to repeatedly throw an increasingly heavy line not on the dock but in the water, look no further, I’m your woman. And while I tuck into a slice of hot pizza and crack open a smooth Rioja, the VOR guys and girls are gearing up for short sleeps, freeze dried food and wet and windy weather. I might take this vino out to the terrace but if it gets too nippy I’ll just slip back into my house, the one that never moves, moans, heels, slides or shudders.. Thank god.

Good luck all you VOR people, I admire you, you’re amazing!