Kiwi Day, or the New Zealand Day was as you would expect, relaxed, chilled and fun, black shirts, silver ferns and great weather started the second day of Palma’s Superyacht Cup.
New Thinking being the brand proposition of the New Zealand Superyacht, was not overtly obvious in the race today with the committee laying the same course, but better weather, a more constant breeze and some competitive sailing added to the race atmosphere, creating the right conditions for a perfect second day to a smaller but perfectly formed Superyacht Cup.
The Kiwi Crew of Tony Hambrook, Stuart Robinson, Paul MacDonald, Owen Rutter and Linda Berry started the day with some slick marketing of BBQ T-shirts and after the day’s racing everyone returned to the dock only to witness swathes of Black decorating the BBQ and Bar’s for what promised to be a superb half way point.
With only 12 yachts in the fleet, you had to feel for the organisers and the NZ team, as the Southern Hemisphere fleet was limited, but as a photojournalist following the fleet around on a rib, while the bunching of the fleet improved today, it was hard to capture the impression that it matched last year’s mammoth gathering.
But I can assure you that with the rallying round of the key players in the industry and the overwhelming solidarity of the supporting Mega-Yacht Press, everyone wants the Superyacht Cup to be the one that everyone enjoys for the future. If only another 10 yachts had found the time to join the fleet this year, we would have achieved a ‘Utopian Extravanganza’. Let's hope the storm from earlier this week has moved to the other side of the Med.
The Kiwi Day fleet left the dock on time and went out for race prep, with a perfectly executed start time at 12.40 by SY Anny, followed by the rest of the cruising fleet hitting the line by 12.49, with precision timing of GWM Racing. 60 seconds later, the warning gun over the Vhf brought the Performance Fleet to heel for a start time of 13.00.
Ranger and her pursuers all hitting the line within seconds of each other and heading off for the rounding of I’le de Sec, with Senso One, Ranger, Hyperion, and Open Season slickly rounding the small rock and slipping through the water heading for the homeward mark. The cruising fleet all coming into closer proximity than the previous day and ensuring that the helicopter and press boats all got more than one yacht in their shot. This was The Superyacht Cup we all remember from old, a perfect fleet of yachts in excellent weather conditions, everyone on board in good spirits and ultimately remembering why they had a yacht in the first place.
Having followed the fleet in a bouncing RIB, we decided to retire to the committee yacht, SY Tiger Lily, where Patrick Whetter, one of the founders of the Cup, was extolling the virtues of the old pursuit race rules, the games they played and the fact that they never allowed anything to interrupt a good lunch. This was the laid back approach they always applied that would hopefully never evaporate, but in the same breadth everyone was applauding the slick operation and professionalism of GWM Racing.
This has been the first Superyacht Cup event run with IRC rules and the word on the dock is that while it has added to the image and professionalism of the event, it has not changed the atmosphere or spirit of the Cup, you still see children playing on the dock, Owners and Crew having beers together and everyone having a bloody good time.
I am confident that while the event is a fraction of the size of last year’s Cup, the quality of the yachts, the weather, the racing and the atmosphere all contributed to ensuring that Kiwi Race Day was Old Style Superyacht Cupping, with or without New Thinking.
With Ranger and Hyperion taking line honours, the day’s proceedings couldn’t have worked out better. It has been a great day and one that I am sure will be repeated tomorrow with similar forecasts for the Abu Dhabi Race Day, however the only horses we hope to see will be white and foamy alongside the hull of the Superyacht Cup fleet.