A final day of sublime sailing conditions brought the Superyacht Cup Palma’s landmark 25th anniversary regatta to a close on Saturday with a first time entrant stealing the headlines.
While broad smiles were in evidence across the entire fleet, the biggest perhaps were on the faces of the crews of the two class winners, Nilaya and Ravenger, with the latter taking the overall 2021 Superyacht Cup title at the Real Club Náutico de Palma prize-giving.
Making her SYC debut, the 43m Ravenger took a clean sweep of victories in Class B despite no racing pedigree and the crew having very limited training time together.
“The boat right off the bat had great potential but it had never raced before, and I don't think it had ever flown a spinnaker before,” said navigator Shaun Pammenter of the German Frers designed Royal Huisman built sloop.
“So it had the potential but we really didn’t know what to expect going into the regatta. I think the key to it was we had some really good sailors in key positions, most notably Justin Slattery on the bow, Simon Daubney as crew boss, and Stevie Branagh as tactician.
“Things happened at the right time, we didn't rush things, we didn't have any foul ups, so we got round the racecourse clean, and then on top of that the owner is just a really good driver, just quick in general – life is a lot easier when the owner is so accomplished.”
And he concluded: “We are all very, very happy. I certainly hope we will be back next year. The owner has had a great time so I am pretty sure he will want to do some more racing.”
Ravenger took the top place on the class podium alongside Ganesha and Baiurdo VI, with Scorpione of London and Aquarius completing the class.
Meanwhile the long and sleek Nilaya also took three wins on her way to the top of Class A, only missing out on the overall prize as she was racing in a slightly smaller class.
“Everyone is happy with the class win of course, that's always what you aim for,” said Nilaya crew member Bouwe Bekking.
“The competition has been really good and everyone sailed well. Missy is extremely fast upwind, a real weapon, and Shamanna also – we had some excellent racing.
“This year has been very different but I have liked it very much because it's all about the sailing. Of course the social part is always good, but here we have had the focus purely on the racing, which is the most important thing.”
Emphasising the closeness of the racing, Missy and Shamanna finished SYC tied on points, the former taking second place on the countback system, while the Swan 80 Umiko, the smallest yacht at Superyacht Cup Palma, had her best result of the regatta to claim a podium place in the last race.
And the final day was also memorable for Shamanna when the 35m Frers designed Nautor Swan won the special ‘Spirit of the Event’ award from North Sails at the prize-giving in memory of North Sails founder Lowell North. Baiurdo VI was also a winner, having produced the best race start at the event.
Seeing the final yachts over the finish line at the end of the landmark anniversary event, SYC Event Director Kate Branagh said: “It's definitely special having a first timer taking the big prize, great to have a new boat winning, so we are very pleased.
“All the feedback I have had from the boats has been very positive, so it certainly sounds that everyone has appreciated being able to go racing again and everyone is very understanding of the social limitations and the reasons why we can't be quite the same as usual.
“The boats themselves have had a sociable time within their group, so instead of being a party for two or three hundred it’s been a party with 25 of your best mates on board, so they've had a lot of fun on an individual basis but just very different to how it normally is.”
And she added: “We are hopeful of course that next year we will be able to return to the more usual combination of great racing and a vibrant social scene ashore – and we look forward to welcoming back old friends, and having the chance to make new ones.”
Superyacht Cup Palma 2022 will be held from June 22-25