Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre - Racing gets underway tomorrow 1st August

Preparing the boats - Copa Del Rey Audi Mapfre 2011
Fito Carreto/Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre
Copa Del Rey Audi Mapfre 30th edition, organized by the Real Club Náutico of Palma, is being held from 1st to 6th August in Palma de Mallorca.

More boats, the best sailors in the national and international sailing scene, and more real time racing during a week of sailing. These are the three main features of the 30th Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre.

In spite of the current economical situation, the Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre has managed to reach 120 entries, just ten units under the race's own record set at 130 boats. A total of 1,200 sailors from 16 countries will take part in the 30th edition of the regatta, a very special event which many did not want to miss. As a major development, the organizing committee, chaired by Javier Sanz, has intensified its focus on real-time sailing with the addition of two one-design classes: J-80 and Melges 32.

SaR la Infanta Cristina - on board AIFOS - Copa Del Rey Audi Mapfre 2011
Fito Carreto/Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre

The IRC division will gather the fleet's largest vessels, subdivided into IRC1 and 2. Audi MedCup proceeding TP52's and mini maxis will be racing in the former. Among them, Jose Cusí's Bribón, HRH Felipe de Borbón's Hispano, Markus Wieser's Container, HRH Cristina de Borbón steered Aifos and George Sakellaris Shockwave are some of the favorites. Swans and X-41's will race in compensated time in the IRC 2 division, which includes Bouwe Bekking's Team Premier Farr 400, the sailor's debut in the class designed by Bruce Farr.

The world's top Melges 32 and J-80 sailors
2010 Melges 32 World Champions Luca Lalli and Lorenzo Bressani on, 2007 Iberdrola's America's Cup campaign skipper Jesper Radich on Opus One, 2000 and 2007 America's Cup winner Cameron Appleton onboard American Argo, and two times Audi MedCup Circuit's winner Vasco Vascotto on Samba Pa Ti are some of the big names in the regatta's new class, the Melges 32. A total of 17 boats will build a top level fleet which will have in Marc de Antonio's Bribón Movistar and Turismo Rías Baixas-Casaldog the Spanish representatives.

The J-80 class debut will add another highlight to the regatta, a one-design boat already acquainted with the waters of the bay of Palma, for it's a regular participant in the sailing season's opening event, the Palma Vela regatta. The world's three top classified, Ignacio Camino's Nextel Engineering, Factoría Energía – Great Sailing Quum of Jose María Van der Ploeg, and Carlos Martinez's Mapfre, will be at the start line.

With 12 boats coming from five different countries; Spain, Italy, Russia, Netherlands and Great Britain, the X-35 fleet will run a classification of its own. Newcomer Javier Banderas Iberostar and Javier Sanz's Red Eléctrica Española will try to bring the honors back to Spain.

Finally, those units with a rating over 1,080 will race in RI1. Four times round the world sailor and Camper Emirates Team New Zealand's VOR campaign driver Roberto Bermúdez de Castro will helm Sercotel Hotels. Among RI2 VOR Telefonica's boat owner Pedro Campos' Tanit IV and Power Plate of Gustavo Martínez Doreste stand out as favorites.

A week of racing
All classes will jump on the stage tomorrow Monday except for the Melges 32 which will do so on Tuesday. Following last year's pattern, the fleet will race in three race areas. All compensated time classes will have their coastal race on Wednesday. A total of 12 races and a maximum of three per day shall be held, and a discard will apply from the eighth race onwards.

As in past years, the prize giving ceremony will take place on Saturday evening at Ses Voltes gardens, next to Palma Cathedral.

Preparing the boats - Copa Del Rey Audi Mapfre 2011
Pedro Martinez/Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre

Copa Del Rey Audi Mapfre website