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Gaastra PalmaVela starts up today

140 boats to set out on the Bay of Palma today

Thursday April 30th 2015, Author: James Boyd, Location: Spain

The twelfth Gaastra PalmaVela starts today, opening the 2015 Mediterranean racing season. 140 boats from 16 nations, ranging from Wallys and Maxi 72s to small one designs and sportsboats will race over four days on the Bay of Palma.

The regatta was officially launched today at the Real Club Nautico de Palma. Fernando Gilet, on behalf of Palma council; Chimo González-Devesa, President of the Balearic Sailing Federation; Bartomeu Berga, from the Obra Social La Caixa; Myouadeleine Heckel, head of Gaastra in Spain; Manuel Fraga, Race Director; and Javier Sanz, President of the Real Club Nautico de Palma (RCNP), presented the ceremony.

Fernando Gilet welcomed participants on behalf of the Town Hall and the City of Palma, adding: "A very sincere recognition to the yacht club for the leadership and the constant drive to promote the prestige of our city from the sporting point of view".

Manuel Fraga added: "Gaastra PalmaVela is the regatta which opens the racing season in the Mediterranean, and for years is a must for the professional crews. From tomorrow until next Sunday, the RCNP will host some of the best sailors in the world. This means that, once again, we are now in the centre of the sailing world".

Finally, after thanking the partners and sponsors of the race their contribution to the event, the president of the RCNP recalled that "12 years ago the Gaastra PalmaVela was born with three major objectives: the first was that it would be an open race, with boats from three to 35 or 40 meters; the second, that it was the first regatta in the annual Mediterranean circuit; and third, and very importantly, that it would involve both great professional and amateur sailors. After 12 years, we are pleased to see that this model of competition has worked so well".

With 140 boats from 16 nationalities, boat sizes ranging from 3.03m up to more than 33m will be competing in 2015. The organising committee has decided to divide the fleet into 17 classes, wth an intense competition program consisting of up to nine races for the J80, Flying Fifteen and Dragon one design, seven for IRC and TP52, up to six races for Wally and Maxi 72, and up to five for the ORC, Classic and Vintage, and up to four for disabled sailing 2.4 and Hansa 303. "If everything goes well, on Sunday we should have sailed 42 races, some boats would have sailed more than 250 miles and we would have been sailing for more than 20 hours on our beautiful bay", says Manuel Fraga.

Being the first regatta of the season, the event also provides the opportunity to see the first outing for new hardware and in Palma this week are several latest generation TP52 and the newly launched Maxi 72 Persico-built, J-V designed sistership to the latest Rán, MOMO.

Among the participants this year there are several defending champions in their respective categories, such as Magic Carpet 3 (Wally), Elena Nova (ORC 0), Pinyol Vermell (ORC 2), Bribón Movistar (J80), Violeta del Reino (Hansa 303), Gecko (Flying Fifteen), Robin Hennessy (Dragon) or Samurai (Classic).

The first starting signal is scheduled for 12h00 tomorrow Thursday, April 30th. At that time the nine components of the spectacular Wally fleet, the class Maxi 72, IRC and TP52, which include the expected debut of the new Quantum Racing, Azzurra and Alegre, will jump into the racing field. Representatives of these four classes attended this afternoon the skipper’s briefing in the RCNP.

Organizational effort
"The Gaastra PalmaVela is one of its best moments, as evidenced by this year’s registration, which is very close to our logistics limit", Fraga said. "From the technical point of view, it is a complex regatta, since the size of the fleet -and above all its diversity- forces us to set four race courses, the equivalent of 28 football fields, and to deploy more than one hundred people at sea in order to properly prepare the races".

Intense social program
The Gaastra PalmaVela is much more than the first big event of the Mediterranean racing season. Its attractive competition program is completed with an intense social agenda on shore, which confirms the organizational ability of the organizer, the Real Club Nautico de Palma.

The gastronomic and activities offer will start every morning with the breakfast supplied by Café Jurado and Family Fruit, before the fleet heads towards the battlefield. Upon their return, the activity is guaranteed thanks to Pachá, which proposes music each evening to liven up the food tasting of Majorcan products, Bodegas Muga, Heineken and Bacardi. The BBQ party for the sailors is scheduled for Saturday and the official prize giving ceremony on Sunday will complete a weekend which for the twelfth year pays tribute to the world of sailing in the Real Club Nautico de Palma.

The Gaastra PalmaVela 2015 regatta is the first scoring race for the official circuit in the Wally class, is part of the IMA (International Maxi Association) 2015 calendar and is also the Spanish Cup for disabled sailing in the classes 2.4, Hansa 303 individual and Hansa 303 double.

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