In the lead up to The Superyacht Cup, being held next week from 17 to 20 June, the first of the yachts due to compete have arrived in Palma to take their places in the regatta village inside STP and Moll Vell. The 2015 edition will see an impressive turnout of 21 yachts ranging from 24m to 60m, participating in three races over the course of the three days in the Bay of Palma.
“The emphasis is on fun and fair racing but the competition is definitely a higher priority than it used to be,” says event director Kate Branagh, contemplating how the regatta has evolved over the years. “Boats are being designed more with competition in mind so they have much higher expectations. What is critical is to make sure that the race management is always totally professional – we have constantly made changes to look at ways we can improve the experience for owners and boats.”
As part of this focus on evolution, The Superyacht Cup has adopted the latest handicapping system to hit the superyacht regatta scene, the ORCsy rule, which was debuted earlier this year during the Caribbean regattas. “The main thing with the new rule is that It is transparent and you can understand how your handicap is achieved,” Branagh explains. “It has brought people back into the game that had previously been out; boats want to know they are being treated fairly and that they have a chance of winning. It shows the owners and crew that it is being taken seriously – there is an awful lot of science, thought and process that goes into it.”
The boats have access to all the measurements that have gone into it, there is a science behind it that can be understood and there is access to everyone else’s certificates, which was not available in the previous system. As with any number crunching the data is only as good as the results that come in, so the ORC has also made a very big effort to work with captains and designers to get the data correct in the first place.”
Speaking about the event in terms of its atmosphere, Branagh explains that the Cup is unique to other events on the superyacht regatta circuit, bringing value to the local industry. “The regatta is informal, relaxed and fun and I think a big advantage is having all the boats together at the dock,” she says.
“Palma has such a big scene for superyachts, which makes it quite a gathering point to meet up with old friends and people who work in the industry, so I think we benefit from the location hugely.
“A lot of our suppliers, who are also sponsors, work with the boats all year round but the Cup provides a special opportunity for them. Often they sail on a participating boat and it becomes quite a unique situation for the local businesses to actually be involved on a boat out there as well as just servicing them.”
The 21-strong line-up was complemented only last week with the latest addition, the 30.6m Gaia, and of particular interest will be the recently launched Perini Navi, 60mPerseus ^3, as the Cup will be her debut regatta performance. A full list of participating yachts can be found here.
By Bryony McCabe