PHOTO 2019 10 02 20 26 14

When Spiderman, Cat Woman and the Incredible Hulk turned up at the morning briefing it became harder than you think to concentrate. 

The morning dock stroll that followed didn’t help clear up matters either when we stumbled across a vicar presiding over a shot gun wedding on the aft deck of ‘Sionna’ while offering a confessional service to those in need shortly afterwards.

This was just the start to a very weird day. 

Those that had read the notice of race in detail knew that Day 2 was fancy dress day and while there were plenty of surprises in store as teams emerged from below decks in their kit for the day, the racing itself was to prove to be even weirder at times than the crews’ attire.

Here, Day 2 saw a change of gear with a course that took the fleet on passage from Palma, around to the west, to an overnight stop in the pretty port of Andratx. 

On the face of it and when compared to the around the cans race of the day before, this was a simpler looking point-to-point course. But as race officer Ben Mobley set out the conditions for the day it became clear that there were plenty of unknowns and variables to consider.

With a cold front lurking out to the northwest and making its way south along with mistral conditions to the northeast in France, Palma found itself in the middle of two distinct weather systems with a number of widely different outcomes possible depending on which weather feature won out. 

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Little surprise then as teams headed out towards the start area, all eyes we looking out for clues in the sky. 

The morning had started off well with typical Palma sunshine and heat to match. But as dark clouds swept across the island from the north and the rain hammered down over the town, a local breeze swept out towards the start area from the East bringing rain and white caps with it.

Such localised conditions had most teams wondering how long this breeze would last after the rain had passed through. The answer came around 30 minutes later, shortly after Class 4 and 3 had started. 

By this time the first two classes to start had covered the mile long beat to the first mark, rounded it and headed southwest to open water with spinnakers set. 

Behind them, Class 2 were approaching the top mark just as the breeze shut down altogether parking this fleet at a variety of angles around the mark as they struggled to find the breeze. 

As they ghosted downwind the big guns in Class 1, who had started last, were catching up and running in towards the back of Class 2. 

The result was an impromptu multi class gathering as another rain shower then threw a smattering of snakes and ladders over the area.

PHOTO 2019 10 02 20 25 46 2

But as the rain cleared and the fleet slipped around the next mark of the course, Ile del Sec, figuring out how to clear the next headland with kites set appeared to be harder than many had expected. Getting around Cap de Cala Figuera and clearing the rocky headland was the next challenge of the day. 

In such light breezes, aboard big boats that were struggling to keep their pace, no one dared take down their kites for fear of being passed by their competitors. The trip along the rocky coastline was beginning to feel like a game of chicken.

“I’ve never been that close to that corner of the island before and I’m not planning to again,” said the owner of the Oyster 675 ‘Amphora’ Klavs Bruun Kristensen. 

Plenty of others admitted to feeling the same later on.

Yet, even when safely around the corner there was another hurdle to overcome, namely a complete shut down in the breeze. 

As the rigs and sails slapped from side to side there were signs of a new breeze approaching from the northwest. As the rigs on the horizon started to heel to the breeze, the frustration built among those still waiting for the wind to arrive. But with no boat speed and a light current dragging the fleet along the coast, there was little else to do other than to be patient.

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 And when the breeze finally did arrive it was solid. 

Conditions were spectacular with15-20 knots, bright sunshine and a punchy sea state. It was difficult to image that just minutes before the same bows that were plunging through crystal clear waters had been motionless.

Adding to the superb conditions, the beat to the finish in Andratx was set along a spectacular coastline. This was Majorca at its best.

For most the upwind blast provided an opportunity to stretch their legs, but for some the long beat turned into a needle match to the finish. In particular, the two 745s ‘Satori’ and ‘Pitanga’ locked horns in a match race to the finish, crossing the line with little more than a boat length between them. All of which made for some great banter ashore at the dock party in Andratx where vicars, leprechauns, vikings, Cat Woman and many more filled the dockside to round off an extraordinary day.

Gallery

CLASS 1
ENTRY MODEL POSITION
GUARDIAN ANGEL 885 1
LUSH 885 2
SATORI 715 3
PITANGA 745 4
INTREPID 725 5
ISNL 825 6
STARRY NIGHT 82 7
BARE NECESSITIES 82 8
CLASS 2
ENTRY MODEL POSITION
BLOW 655 1
AMPHORA 675 2
ROCK OYSTER 655 3
METEORITE 655 4
RUTH II 625 5
KALIA 625 6
TIGER 625 7
DELICIA 625 8
CLASS 3
ENTRY MODEL POSITION
MASTEGOT 575 1
LISANNE 575 2
MISS TIGGY 575 3
JANUS 575 4
PANTHALASSA 565 5
IRENE III 575 6
PACIFICA 575 7
CLASS 4
ENTRY MODEL POSITION
SIONNA 56 1
OSTRA 53 2
OLANTA 56 3
YATTARNA 49 4
MOY TOAD 53 5
SABA OF HAMBLE 53 6

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