Superyacht Cup Palma By Phil Riley

For more than quarter of a century, the magnificent island of Mallorca and its vibrant capital Palma has exerted a welcoming gravitational pull within the superyacht universe.

At the very heart of this enduring force is the Superyacht Cup Palma, which after a necessary pandemic hiatus in 2020 is now geared up to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Europe’s longest-running superyacht regatta from 23 to 26 June.

The event’s longevity speaks volumes for its lasting appeal, with the action out on the Bay of Palma combining with the many attractions offered by Mallorca itself, not to mention the superb support facilities provided in Palma, the home of Mediterranean superyacht sailing.

This year’s new look event has been fully adapted to observe local pandemic limitations, with SYC’s long-standing race management partner, the iconic Real Club Náutico de Palma, stepping up its involvement to provide shoreside facilities and hospitality, in the place of the usual race village.

Welcoming the enhanced relationship, RCNP President Emerico Fuster said, “The partnership that we are launching this year benefits both our club, which has increased the calendar of its prestigious events, and the SYC, which joins its name with that of a world-renowned entity.”

Velsheda, Charles Nicholson/Dykstra, Camper & Nicholson, 39,5m. © Sailing Energy / SYC
20 June, 2019.

The prestigious setting is well suited to the Superyacht Cup brand and will doubtless find favour with the ultimate decision makers – the superyacht owners themselves.

“The owners are the ones that choose the Superyacht Cup Palma time and again. It is always one of the ‘must-do’ events, and it tends to satisfy their styles and demands really well,” said SYC regular Peter Holmberg.

“It’s an added bonus that the racing crew really love sailing here as well.  So, it’s a great fit. Twenty-five years and still going strong, that speaks for itself!”

Buoyed by an already promising provisional entry list featuring several stars of the superyacht world, new racing classes offering something for all possible competitors, and the determined support of SYC’s partners, friends, suppliers and collaborators, organisers are optimistic they can meet the pent-up demand for competitive and fun sailing.

“We know the owners, their guests and crew are very keen to get back out racing again, to enjoy time onboard,” said SYC Event Director Kate Branagh. “For some, it is the competition that is important, for others it is the joy of sailing with friends and family.”

Tulip, Frers Yacht Design, K&M Yacht Builders, 26m. © Sailing Energy / SYC
21 June, 2019.

And she added, “Knowing that level of enthusiasm, passion and support is out there is inspirational. We’re doing everything we can to ensure Superyacht Cup Palma will deliver in our well-established style in June.”

With a fleet of provisional entries already received, the SYC team are clearly not alone in looking ahead with anticipation. Among those keen to join the spectacular celebration of sail are SYC first timers Shamanna.

“Superyacht Cup Palma has a fantastic reputation and the new owner of Shamanna is very keen to put her through her paces in what we are sure will be a competitive fleet,” said Tom Aiken, captain of the 35m Swan.

“Palma is a great place to be, with all the support services on hand, and the reliable breeze out on the Bay, pretty much guaranteeing we will get great racing. We know that Kate and her team will put on a great show and we can’t wait to get out there. June can’t come soon enough.”

Though a possible contender for the highly prized overall SYC title, the spritely Shamanna is likely to face stiff competition from SYC returnees such as the stunning Ganesha, elegant Missy, Baltic Yachts star Nilaya, and Wally regatta regular Saudade.

Huckleberry, Langan Design Ass, Alloy Yachts, 40m; Kealoha, Hoek Design, Claasen Shipyard, 27,5m and Meteor, Dykstra Naval Architects, Royal Huisman, 52m © Sailing Energy / SYC
20 June, 2019. © Sailing Energy / SYC
20 June, 2019.

Also set to return – and currently the largest entry to put their hat in the 2021 ring – is the impressive 47m Perini Navi creation Aquarius. While not in the lightweight flyer category, the inclusion of Aquarius on the entry list fully demonstrates that, as ever, Superyacht Cup Palma is a very broad church, adept at attracting an ever-wider congregation.

Among other newcomers in 2021 are the Swan 80 Umiko, the stunning 43m Ravenger (ex-Sea Eagle) from Royal Husiman, and the 34m Giles Vaton designed Baiurdo out of the Abeking & Rasmussen shipyard.

Adding to the SYC’s already broad attraction for both newbies and veterans is the prospect of a new racing class, with the Performance Class delivering the competitive element, the thrill of a mass racing start, and a separate course for the high-energy requirements of the go-faster contingent.

It will be joining the long-standing Superyacht Class and Corinthian Class, itself another popular addition when first introduced back in 2017. An obviously more relaxed counterpoint to the Performance Class, the non-spinnaker Corinthian option also – this year in particular – opens the door to owners and captains choosing to race with fewer crew.

Whatever class a yacht chooses to race in, the North Sails Trophy, the handsome Boat of the Day prize, awarded annually in memory of North Sails founder Lowell North, is there to be won.

Win Win, Javier Jaudenes, Baltic Yachts, 33m. © Sailing Energy / SYC
20 June, 2019.

“Over the past quarter of a century, Superyacht Cup Palma has gone from strength to strength, and a big part of that success has been listening to what owners, skippers and crews want from the event,” said Branagh, whose Aquamarine Events took the helm at Superyacht Cup Palma in 2013. “And this year, perhaps more than any other, we have heard them loud and clear.”

Underpinning the entire endeavour is the continuing support of SYC’s numerous partners, friends, suppliers and collaborators – described as “incredible” by Branagh. Front and centre in this array is the event’s Destination Partner, New Zealand, the campaigning project run by Tourism New Zealand, a long-standing sponsor.

Also continuing their not inconsiderable support and backing are the SYC’s Silver Partners, including some of the world’s leading superyacht services for whom Palma represents the focus of their Mediterranean operation.

Astilleros de Mallorca, Southern Spars, Rondal, RSB Rigging and Vitters Shipyard, as well as Evolution Sails, North Sails, Pantaenius Yacht Insurance and Marinepool, are all fully behind Superyacht Cup Palma.

It’s also arguable that the biggest supporter of Superyacht Cup Palma is the location itself – and more specifically, the fantastic sailing weather it provides.

Velsheda, Charles Nicholson/Dykstra, Camper & Nicholson, 39,5m. © Sailing Energy / SYC
20 June, 2019.

In the words of offshore racer and SYC regular Bouwe Bekking, “The great thing about racing in Palma is the conditions. You can look at your watch and know that in a couple of hours you will have 12 or so knots of breeze, maybe even a little bit more.

“It’s as close to guaranteed sailing as you can get anywhere, so it’s not surprising that owners and crews look forward to returning to the Superyacht Cup Palma year after year. The event atmosphere is great too – serious racing but relaxed afterwards. A magic combination.”

It’s a view shared and endorsed by another high-profile round-the-world sailor, Mike ‘Moose’ Sanderson, who says, “Mallorca is a very special place to sail, and you just know that Palma Bay is going to turn it on with beautiful conditions. I have raced a lot of different yachts in a lot of different places, and superyachts and Palma just go together.

“I love this event, it’s the full package – good sailing and good fun – it’s always a pleasure to race here and that is a big part of the enduring appeal of Superyacht Cup Palma.”

For an event that began life back in 1996 as a simple end of Mediterranean season sail loft get-together for crews waiting to go trans-Atlantic, Superyacht Cup Palma has come a long way.

Responsive and versatile over the past quarter of a century, 2021 is an anniversary that deserves to be celebrated in any circumstances. In the context of more than a year that has been dominated by a global pandemic, Superyacht Cup Palma is aiming to provide a celebration that will have even greater significance.

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