Oyster Regatta – Palma – 2013

Oyster’s CEO, David Tydeman, welcomed the 26 yachts, representing 11 nations to the 9th Palma Regatta. As usual there was a very friendly mix of family crews who had never raced before and the crews who had notched up several Regattas.

With such a wide spectrum of boats, it was decided the fleet should be split in to 3 classes and that Superyacht rules be introduced to ensure safe and fun sailing.

The forecast was for the winds to lighten as the Regatta progressed and so it was decided to get racing underway as quickly as possible and complete the series whilst the breeze held. With great race management and the wind gods looking favourably on the fleet the 4 fleet races and the pursuit race enjoyed excellent conditions.

With close racing guaranteed across all 3 fleets, it was going to be a fantastic Regatta.
Whilst each class had a clear winner there were many individual battles to keep everyone on their toes.

The two 885’s topped Class One with Karibu coming out ahead of Clare. Spirit of Phantom sailed consistently to claim 3rd overall and she was always very keen to fly her personalised asymmetric.

In the mid fleet class the Russian entry, Guardian Angel stormed to victory in the first 3 races leaving Rocas and Lady Mariposa to sail for the other podium places. The Brazilian entry, Rocas, claimed the ‘silver medal’ with a neat score of four seconds, but Lady Mariposa proved a point by winning the last race. It was easy to spot this 625 on the race course as she flew her beautifully ornate asymmetric with the butterfly image when ever she could!

Class 3 had the largest number of entries, with the majority of yachts being either a 56 or 575, racing was always going to be very tight. The 575 Zaybo sailed wonderfully to take three first and a second, she probably would have had a perfect score if they had not touched the top mark in race 2. Filling the other podium spots were the still very competitive 56’s of Cat B and Rock Oyster. Dolphin Sails boats filled the to 5 positions.

The now traditional Regatta finale, the Pursuit Race, adds to the Race Officers pressure to ensure start times are spot on and boats are all closely bunched when the two hour time limit expires. One of the early starters, Helen (575) slipped away and sailed very well to claim the coveted prize, but she was closely followed by a group of boats including On Liberty (winners in Grenada!), Acheron and Dama de Noche. Helen had been sailed from the East Coast of the UK just for the Regatta.

The weather and courses were perfect for each boat to set downwind sails for each race. Whilst the snuffer is still the most common form of setting the sail, as we have reported from previous Regattas, the trend for yachts to have either ‘top down’ furlers or coded sail furlers is still growing. Most suppliers have something that is suitable for the whole Oyster range, however the Karver system is the most popular within the fleet. Dolphin have been supplying the Karver systems and specialist torsion cables to many of the boats from the 46 up to the 72 – but they can be used on the Oyster 27 up to the 125! Nearly half of the 575’s afloat have the Karver Top Down furler on board.

The Top Down furler system is easier and safer to set than the snuffer system. The furler allows for a quicker deployment and furl of the sail – this can all be done from the cockpit with the help of a primary winch. It was noticeable that those boats using furlers had their sail set quicker and for longer than those with snuffers.

Despite the Regatta taking place in October the weather was still very good, with plenty of sunshine. After each days racing the crew of Oyster Reach were able to quickly and simply erect their bespoke tensile awning. Having had the awning since June they have used it so much that they can put it up in under 5 minutes. At over 8m long and with mesh side panels it gives brilliant protection from sun (and the one rain shower!). The 885, Clare, enjoyed using her simple but very effective awning that when sailing is stowed in the boom

With boats packed up and crews changed everyone headed off to the prize giving in the beautiful grounds of Cap Rocat.

This was another fabulous Oyster Regatta that proved to be a great success all round. Those who were new to racing certainly got bitten by the bug and plan to be back as often as possible.

Oyster Regattas are supported by Dolphin Sails, Lewmar, Pantaenius Yacht Insurance, Pelagos Yachts, Raymarine and Formula Marine.

Next Regatta – Antigua April 2014.

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