The scent of competition is in the air as many of the world’s finest superyachts begin to gather for the start of the Superyacht Cup Palma next week.
With 14 impressive examples of nautical design and technology assembling – ranging in size from the stunning 52m schooner Meteor to the 24.9m Nautor Swan classic Stay Calm – thoughts are turning to the racing to come in the reliable conditions out on the Bay of Palma.
It is a feature of Europe’s longest running superyacht regatta that the overall SYC trophy is within reach of every owner and crew taking part, a reality highlighted by the range of yachts that have topped the leaderboard since 1997.
By example, this year will see the return of two previous winners, with the venerable 1933 J Class yacht Velsheda back to defend her 2018 title while the lightweight Baltic Yachts carbon flyer Win Win will be out to repeat her victory of 2016.
As Event Director Kate Branagh points out, it is a tribute to the effectiveness of the handicapping produced by the Offshore Racing Congress Superyacht Rule (ORCsy) that racing is so close and competitive.
“The Superyacht Cup Palma has always been at heart a celebration of sailing, old yachts and new, traditional and modern, and ORCsy has been brilliant at bringing the racing alive for everyone involved,” said Branagh.
“While it is an exclusive event for the owners taking part, out on the race course it is absolutely inclusive and, in a word, fun.”
And she added: “The ultra-modern high-performance flyers, and we have a few of them this year, are all in with a chance. But so are the more traditional, elegant designs – they will be out there, strutting their stuff and showing their speed.”
Among those racing is Topaz, who will be out to claim J Class bragging rights against Velsheda, while competition will also be close between Nilaya, Missy, Open Season and Child of Lir in the 30 to 34m range.
SYC first timers Kealoha and Huckleberry will be out to make their mark, as will the modern classic Tulip and the Spirit of Tradition yawl Bequia.
Meanwhile on the dock, though not racing will be the well-travelled and high-profile Leopard III, and the 46m Christopher. The Ron Holland Design superketch, launched by Pendennis in 2010, will be soaking up the SYC atmosphere with a view to full participation in 2020.
The fleet will be divided into classes, with the splits to be announced on June 14 before registration begins on the SYC Dock on June 19. The vibrant social side – an integral and highly valued component of the Superyacht Cup experience – begins the same evening with the welcome cocktail party presented by DYT Yacht Transport in the Race Village. Three days of racing begin with the Pantaenius Race on Thursday 20 June.