Sailing

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… 

Happy Birthday to A Bucket list regatta: The St. Barths bucket 2015

The St. Barths Bucket is recognised as one of the world’s top events in yachting, and the dinged and dented bucket trophy is one of the most coveted! And as this year’s event is extra special with the Bucket celebrating its 20th anniversary we take a look at how this race has become one of the regattas not to miss!

Saint_Barthelemy-CIA_WFB_Map

It all started during a particularly boozy evening ashore in Nantucket in 1986 when debate raged between the Captains of yachts Volodor, Flying Goose and Mandalay as to what each yacht and crew could bring about, and the stage was set for bragging rights!

So in between the clinking of glasses and the ordering of more drinks it was decided to settle the score the following day: seven yachts sailed a fifteen mile course in Nantucket Sound – marking the very first of the Bucket Regatta’s..

Between 1986 and 2001, the Nantucket Bucket boomed, becoming one of the leading big boat regattas attracting the planet’s most prestigious sailing yachts to sail in the sunny spirit of bona fida camaraderie and wholesome competition.

cc metoc

Under CC license image by Metoc

The first St. Barths Bucket was sailed in 1995 with a fleet of only 4 yachts. Just a handful of super yachts showed on the start line in the early years which was a pretty informal event – note: fishing played a big part of those first few races!

The turning point came during the year of the infamous LeMans start – With the fleet at anchor in Colombier, one of the crew would down a cocktail on the beach, jump in the tender and hightail it to the yacht to sail her off anchor. Then at the end of the race, sail back onto anchor, again dive in the tender to full throttle it back to the beach for another daiquiri. Wehey! This was the first and last time the “LeMans” start/finish took place although we can’t for the life of us figure out why.. 😉

But it is after this event that the sailing became a bit more serious and the event more polished albeit without losing those bucketesque shenanigans.. Think spinnakers packed full of feathers, so when it was hoisted, there were feathers everywhere, or crew arriving to their yacht to find it completely wrapped in police tape or even with a toilet placed on the foredeck, complete with a blow-up doll positioned on the seat!

CC Tiarescott

Under CC license image byTiarescott

Last year 38 super yachts including seven new launches making their bucket debut competed during which “The finishes were extra close, and class wins were decided by just minutes, if not seconds, on the last day” said event Director and Race Chairman Peter Craig. Combined with a consistent 15-22 knot trade winds -epic sailing conditions- it was Bucket racing at it’s best!

This year sees the bucket sailing towards it’s 20th anniversary and while yachts are making their way to their berth in swanky St Barths as we speak we’ll be able to look forward to seeing some great sailing in what’s known on the super yacht scene as the world’s leading super yacht regatta where ‘the fun comes first’.  I mean, which other regatta awards the Golden Pineapple for “Win the Party” hospitality or The Skulduggery for “non-adult behaviour”?

Apart from acres of colourful spinnaker, nail biting finishes and post regatta partying until well after the decks have been washed down, this particular regatta is also one of the racing calendars best events to both bump into old friends you haven’t seen in ages and meet new sailors and super yacht professionals, as seasoned sailors, newbie crew, owners and designers all crowd around the same bars to enthusiastically talk boats, slap each other on the back and congratulate each other on a job well done.

Under CC License image by James Temple

Under CC License image by James Temple

This year promises to be an equally grand event with no less than 33 sail yachts signed up ranging from the 56m Rosehearty which weighs a whale-like 500 tonnes to the sleek and slippery, Southern Wind carbon bullet Windfall.

Although we won’t be able to tell what the weather will do and how the racing will pan out one thing is surely certain: All crew members of the 33 strong fleet will wear the same ear to ear sun-cracked smiles after racing! Team Brunel’s Bouwe Bekking hit the nail on the head last year when he said: ”The racing is completely different,” it’s wonderful because you see so many friends and other beautiful yachts on the water, but of course you still try to do well. You always want to look back and say you did your best job or ‘what can we do better?,’ but the priorities here are (in this order) to sail safely, have fun and then do a good job on the water.”

French Super Yacht Captain Romain Mouchel goes Offshore Solo!

This winter Palma’s STP has seen plenty of prodigious tents hiding boats as big as the 74m M/Y Ilona, and while these oversized super yachts had their hulls painted or their teak replaced, an equally impressive amount of work took place inside STP’s smallest tent, where SY AEGIR Captain Roman Mouchel and his sailing sidekick Eric Santene spent 3 months grinding, laminating, melting, welding and weighing (lead!). Two weeks ago we saw the result: Romain’s 6.5 meter mini proto went back in the water, albeit now with a bigger rig and overall being a better boat than she was before.. and at the start of October Romain is going to cross the Atlantic on her!!

Back in the water!

Back in the water!

Romain got a taste for the wind and the water as a young whippersnapper when he spent all his summer holidays in Brittany but he never thought that sailing would be for him what it is today. Not only is Romain captain of S/Y AEGIR (twice winner of the Maxi Rolex World’s in Porto Cervo) he’s also scheduled to take part in this years Mini Transat: A transatlantic race starting in Brittany’s Douarnenez and 4020 nautical miles later finishing in sunny Guadeloupe, which means Romain will be spending 30 days alone at sea on a boat the size of a cramped crew cabin. No wifi, no chart plotter, no bunk and no snack cupboard 😉 as it’s back to basics with a simple GPS, VHF, paper charts, packets of freeze dried food and a jetboil kettle.

There will be no one else on board with him to stand watch and nothing else around him but 106,400,000 square k’s of Atlantic Ocean, so we’re sure you can understand why we had to meet Romain in STP’s DockBar to hit him with a few questions about this fascinating project..

When did you start offshore racing? I’ve wanted to sail on the mini 650 circuit since I was 16 years old and sailed my first big offshore singlehanded race, Les Sables-Les Açores, in 2012. Les Sables runs on alternate years to the Mini Transat and consists of two legs, France to the Azores and back again, covering a total distance of 2540 nm. Apart from Les Sables I’ve taken part in numerous mini races but this will be my first Mini Transat, the big one..

Ready to race!

Ready to race!

What can you tell us about the Mini Transat? And why do you want to compete? It’s the longest of the Transats on the most extreme of boats. It’s the breeding ground for the worlds’ top short handed sailors, including Michel Desjoyeaux and Dame Ellen McArthur. (Ellen MacArthur said in1997: “It is the Mini-transat which gave me the taste for Ocean racing. I will never forget”) The Mini is the most accessible offshore class for single-handed racing as compared to the other races it’s reasonably ‘affordable’ to run a campaign and sailing in the Mini will enable me to get together with 84 (other) crazy Frenchmen equally as passionate about sailing Mini’s and single-handed offshore racing. I know all these guys by now, we’re like a big family and although it’s war on the water, ashore we have a lot of fun!

And your boat? It’s a Prepreg carbon, super light boat. It’s a French design and well built by the boats’ previous owner. It’s a good boat, one of the ten best..

A bigger rig and even better boat than she was before..

A bigger rig and an even better boat than she was before..

How are you going to prepare for the race? I’ll be training here in Palma until the end of March then we’ll bring the boat back to France where I’ll be competing in 5 races prior to the Transat. I’ll be spending lots of time on the water and in the gym, getting fit and also gearing up for 20 min naps instead of my usual 8 hours!

What are your expectations? The boat’s capable of being at the front of the fleet. But ‘just’ crossing the Atlantic solo is no mean feat and I reckon 30 sunsets and 57 degrees of longitude later that first sip of rum in Pointe-à-Pitre is going to taste pretty sweet

How are you funding the project? I’ve paid for a lot myself but I’ve also had a lot of support from STP, Rolling Stock, RSB Rigging, TechnoCraft, Trabajos en Cabos, Wavelength electronics and Armare who donated ropes, paint and plenty of other racing essentials..

How can people get involved? Everybody that wants to get involved can get involved! (Please have a look at Romain’s website to see what you or your company can do and how you could help.) Amounts as little as 20€ really make a massive difference as with 100 20€ donations I would be able to get a new sail! But at least as valuable as the financial backing is the inherent moral support. I will be seeing the names of those assisting me written down in the cockpit which will continue to give me strength during those solitary days at sea!

At the age of 25 Romain has clocked up an impressive 50.000 miles and without a doubt will be one of the youngest competitors on the start line in October. We’ll definitely be keeping you posted on his progress!

Romain: Good luck!

©Jesús Renedo

©Jesús Renedo

Check out Romain’s website to find out more about him and his adventure here and/or follow him on Facebook.

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