The Embat provided a magnificent debut for the Club de Mar classic regatta in the Bay of Palma.
The XXVII Regatta Illes Balears Clàssics set sail today at the Club de Mar with good wind and a legendary fleet. Twenty boats, with launch dates ranging from 1917 to 1984, gathered in the Bay of Palma for the first day of the most important classic and vintage sailing competition in Mallorca. The Embat, the characteristic thermal wind of the Balearic capital, appeared early and blew more generously than expected, with an average of 12 knots.
The Race Committee set up a 12-mile course in the shape of a figure eight, starting and finishing in front of the Palma Cathedral. The race started punctually at midday and finished at around half past three in the afternoon. The fleet was divided into three classes, depending on the year of construction and the characteristics of each boat: Vintage (pre-1950), Classics (from 1950 to 1976) and RI Classics. The Club de Mar also has a so called presence class, allowing participation of boats that do not compete in the regatta, as they may not have a certificate or by decision of the owner. These boats are exhibited on the pontoons due to their historical relevance or heritage value, such as the Merrymaid, a 1904 Camper & Nicholson.
Barbara Trilling’s Argos (1964), one of the most successful boats on the vintage sailing circuit in the Mediterranean, took the lead among the Classics after a tough battle with Giraldilla (1964), the boat that was owned by Don Juan de Borbón (the grandfather of King Felipe VI) and which is now owned by the Fundación Vela Clásica de España. The yachts crossed the finish line separated by just one second, but the Argos had a nine-minute advantage once the time correction had been applied. The yacht Stella Polare of Marina Italiana (1965), skippered by Samuele Mondino and the fastest of the Classics fleet in real time thanks to its greater length and sail area, is in third place provisionally.
Trilling was very satisfied with the work of her crew. “Today’s race was beautiful, calm and exciting. There was a bit of everything. I had to take the role of a deckhand and fold the spinnaker twice,” said the New York skipper on her arrival in the harbour.
The oldest boats, grouped in the Vintage class, are led by Fjord III (1947), owned and skippered by W. Scott Perry after the disqualification of Meerblick Clàssic (1917) for having started with the Classics group. The jury applied a DNS (did not start) to Gaby Pohlmann’s yacht, which was leading in the classification prior to the protest lodged by her rivals. Jordi Cabau’s Sonata (1937), a John G. Alden design fully restored in Mallorca, performed remarkably well and was in second place, less than two minutes behind the leader. Griff Rhys Jones’ Argyll (1948) moved up to third place.
Cabau described the conditions in the Bay of Palma as “frankly exceptional”: “We’ve had a great day of racing thanks to the traditional Embat coming in. The Sonata crew is confident of staying in podium positions.
The Sparkman & Stephens designed January Sails (1973), skippered by Gabriel Catalá, was the best in the RI Classics, where only three units compete.
The competition will resume tomorrow, Saturday 13th August, when weather conditions are expected to be similar to today. “The forecasts give little wind, but we are confident that around midday the thermal breeze will come up, as it did on the opening day, and we will be able to complete the scheduled race without any major problems,” explained Manuel Nadal, commodore of the Club de Mar and director of the regatta.
The XXVII Illes Balears Clássics Regatta is supported by the brands Howden Sturge, Allianz, BASJOSA, Gin Gipsy 1927, Absolut BBQ, Estrella Damm and Trueworld.