Jesus Renedo / Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre

Ran and Audi Azzurra in the chocolates

Big boat classes sail their coastal race at the Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre

Wednesday July 18th 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: Spain

Today's 25 mile long coastal race at Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre allowed both Niklas Zennström's mini maxi Rán and the Audi Azzurra Sailing Team TP52 to extend their leads in the IRC 0 and 1 classes.

The remaining classes sailed two windward-leeward races in the Bay of Palma with Andres Soriano's Alegre retaining first place among the Soto 40s, Hotelplan–Spirit of Nerina increasing her lead in X-35s, but on the J/80 scoreboard, Mapfre losing first place to Nextel.

Unlike precedent years, this year's coastal race scored just one point, and there was no scoring mark mid-course. No discard can be applied for this year's long course either, so the IRC and RI class boats couldn't risk a bad result.

Conditions were perfect at the start with a nice southerly breeze of 15-18 knots.

Sir Irvine Laidlaw's Wally 82 Highland Fling XI was the first mini maxi to finish today, but ended up third on corrected. Ultimately the winner was American George Sakellaris' Shockwave, followed by Rán, which remains leader holding a seven point advantage.

In the IRC 1 boats, Olympic and America’s Cup champion Jordi Calafat chartered a winning course in his home-waters to secure victory for Audi All4One, the first line honours win in this regatta for the Palma-born sailing legend’s team, but it wasn’t enough to challenge overall leaders Audi Azzurra Sailing Team, which finished second and continue to lead overall.

Once again the 52s dominated the 13-strong IRC fleet on corrected time with All4One taking the win, with Azzurra second followed by PowerPlay, Gladiator, Provezza 7, Paprec Recyclage and Aquila.

The two Audi-backed boats started the coastal course with their usual match-racing style ferocity, but it was the Franco-German All4One which got the early jump after edging ahead on the opening downwind leg. They remained neck-and-neck approaching the Islote del Sech mark, but it was All4One which played a massive right hand shift best.

“It’s not about local knowledge, because everyone sails here so much,’’ Calafat said. “We won because we moved into a strong position in the first run and had the strong start that we planned.”

Azzurra skipper Guillermo Parada said the importance of the coastal race was not lost on his crew as they hit the water with a strong overall lead. Finishing the day in second place across the line and on corrected time was the perfect way to mark the half-way point of the regatta, the largest in the Mediterranean, Parada said.

“This was the critical race, we wanted to make sure we had a good result and we managed to do it,’’ Parada said. “From now on we will play it more looking at the situation and the points. There’s still a long way to go, but for sure we are in the position we wanted to be in at the start of the week.”

A 19 seconds advantage over the Chuni Bermúdez-skippered Swanderful at the finish line, gave Grupo Clínico Luis Senís the victory in the RI1 coastal race, but the former remains leader of her division, ahead of Earlybird and Rats of Fire - second and third overall respectively.

In the Soto 40s, the first race of the day saw Iberdrola put together a perfect performance, dominating the first windward-leeward from beginning to end, and starting better than yesterday. Alegre was hot on Iberdrola's heels but Pichu Torcida finally got away to claim victory with the Spanish on Noticia IV third.

The second race of the day was won by Alegre after Ibedrola missed a wind shift in the first upwind leg, leaving them first and second respectively overall, just four points apart.

Ignacio Camino's Nextel Engineering put on a perfect show on the water today with two back-to-back wins, catapulting them to the top spot in the J/80 division. Mapfre managed two second places and is now tied on 13 points with Camino, whereas Olympic sailor José María van der Plough has lost ground after being OCS in the last race. Despite this, he managed to finish third and remains third overall.

In the X-35 class, Hotelplan–Spirit of Nerina is now clear ahead, with third and first place finishes today increase her lead over Margherita and Audi Ultra.

Tomorrow all the classes will sail two windward-leeward races in the Bay of Palma. Following the race instructions, discards will apply as from race eight, with the exception of the Soto 40 class.

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