Palma – Another Classic Regatta
26 Oysters flying the flags of 9 nations gathered in Palma for the 30th Oyster Regatta and the 8th to be hosted by Real Club Nautico.
Sponsored by our friends at Lewmar, Race One saw the fleet set off in the rain and gusty conditions for the 20 mile race around to the picturesque town of Andraitx.
After a short windward leg, most boats set asymmetrics and headed for the finish. Racing was tight and a number of gybing duals took place.
Rounding the top mark was simple for the Oyster 66 Goodwins. At the beginning of the summer she took delivery of her new Dolphin asymmetric sail and Karver Top Down furling system. Having practised earlier in the summer and learnt the few tricks necessary she quickly hoisted the furled sail and unfurled it. In a blink of an eye Goodwins had a filled sail and was taking time out of her competitors. She went on to claim second in Class One just behind the very well sailed 72, AlbertOne3.
The Oyster fleet have been at the forefront of taking advantage of the benefits that the Top Down furlers offers. Owners and crews are seeing the benefits of a system that is simple to store, easier to deploy, reliable and easy to use as the furling can all be done from the saftey of the cockpit.
In Class Two a gybing dual ensued between Sarabande and Light Lana – two 54’s. It was very close all the way with Light Lana finishing just 11 seconds behind Sarabande.
After the wet start to the day the sun finally came out and the fleet enjoyed a private wine tasting at the nearby Santa Catarina Bodegues Cellar.
The return trip to Palma was a lively affair. In lumpy conditions the wind built to 30+ knots at times. The testing conditions were no match for the Oyster fleet and apart from a few minor issues the boats revelled in the conditions.
In Class One Billy Budd got off to a flier, she hit the line at a full speed and didn’t look back. Her Italian crew worked her hard and this paid off to claim well deserved line honours. Billy Budd is one of the most widely travelled Oysters with adventures around the globe recorded in a fabulous book that includes many stunning photos.
3rd in Class One and sailing a very good race were the German team on board the 655, Anabasis.
Class Two was again won by Sarabande, however she was pushed very hard by the 53 from Sweden, Lisanne and Light Lana.
Race Three was sponsored by Dolphin Sails, the course was set around the bay in the shadow of the magnificent Cathedral. With more wind than forecast the Race Officer was busy trying to keep track of each boats down wind sail declarations. Initially the fleet were opting for ‘coloured’ sails but as the breeze developed to a steady 20+kts the VHF was conjested with boats urgently changing options.
With cruiisng chutes now stowed, the fleet got off to a cracking start. Satika was first away but was soon under pressure from the larger 72’s and 82’s. Sadly gear failure prevented Satika from competing for an overall victory. The custom 82 Starry Night sailed on to take line honours and the win on handicap.
It was the usual battle in Class Two between Light Lana and Sarabande, but on this occassion they were joined by the 56 Magic Spirit. In a close finish Sarabande scored her 3rd win, followed by Light Lana and then the Swiss team of Magic Spirit.
With just enough time for one more race, a box course was set up in the bay for the end of regatta pursuit race. With a projected 2 hour time limit the staggered start got underway. The slower boats fought hard to keep the big boys behind them. With clean air the early starters got away and despite a masive wind shift in the final 20 minutes that favoured the bigger boats Gaia held onto to win the much prized Pursuit Trophy and in fact she led a British 123!
Overall the windy conditions served as a good test for the boats embarking on the Oyster World Rally. From everyone at Dolphin we would like to wish them well on what is going to be a great adventure.
Next stop is Antigua in early January for the start of the World Rally and then it will be back in the Caribbean for Regatta number 31 in the fantastic setting of Grenada.