Please select your home edition
Edition
Lennon Thermalite 728x90 2

Baby steps on the big beasts as Svea and J Class racing returns to the Superyacht Cup Palma

by J Class 23 Jun 10:31 PDT 29 June - 2 July 2022
Topaz will one of 4 J Class competing at the Superyacht Cup, Palma © J Class / Carlo Borlenghi

The J Class return to Superyacht Cup Palma next week (29 June-2 July), where four boats will race as a class at the event for the first time since Mallorca's 2014 showcase regatta.

The widely anticipated return of Svea, which is being campaigned by three passionate Swedish 'co-owners', sees the newest J Class yacht in the fleet set to race in Swedish colours for the first time, measuring up against Ranger, Topaz and Velsheda.

Svea, which was built to a 1937 design of Tore Holm and launched in 2017, will start in Palma with a team which is mainly new to J Class racing, and that has eight times round the world racer Bouwe Bekking as skipper. Bekking is one of the most experienced J Class sailors who not only skippered Lionheart to win the J Class World Championship when it was last raced in Newport USA in 2017, but under his guidance Lionheart were winners at the Superyacht Cup Palma 2014 when five boats last raced against each other on the Bay of Palma.

"Right now, it is baby steps," warns Bekking whilst leading training for the new Svea crew in Palma this week. "There are plenty of good sailors on board but we really are starting from scratch. At this first regatta we are just aiming to get around the course in good shape with no major issues. But it is so nice to see the Swedish heritage of Svea really coming to the fore. Tore Holm is very famous in Sweden, and it is going to be a pleasure to race with these Swedish owners and sailors."

Bekking asserts, "Palma is of course a great race course for a first regatta together on Svea. It should not be too breezy. Everyone is super enthusiastic, but it is all new to a lot of the team who are very used to small, quick boats. There is nothing quick and easy about gybing a J Class yacht, so we have spent the last week training, looking at the mechanics of the manoeuvres and practicing. It is such a privilege to sail these boats and there is a certain beauty to watch 30 or so people working together. Our three owners are all good sailors, but this is a different beast."

While expectations may be low, Bekking took the Dutch flagged Lionheart programme from initial baby steps to win all the main J Class titles.

The Superyacht Cup Palma is the first major European regatta of the 2022 season for the class, and comes after March's Saint Barth's Bucket, where Ranger with a new owner and crew, triumphed on their debut together racing in breezy, bumpy Caribbean trade wind conditions.

For Ranger's America's Cup winning helm Ed Baird, 'The Bucket' was his first J Class regatta. Looking ahead to Palma he said, "Palma is such a different venue to Saint Barth's and together we have no idea how we will go on the Bay of Palma on flat water and in much lighter winds. And don't forget that in Saint Barth's we were the appreciative beneficiaries of one of the two teams we were racing against doing two penalties out of three races and these two penalties were expensive on time and allowed us to beat them. We really have no idea how we will go. We are excited. The boat has been completely refitted (and a lot of weight taken out) since she last raced here. We put our overlapping jibs on for one morning of sailing in Newport back in November last year. We only just checked these sails. We have to learn the boat and that is exciting."

While she didn't race at Saint Barth's, Topaz is one of the most polished teams after continuing to race as much as possible in recent years, mainly against Velsheda. With Peter Holmberg steering and Francesco d'Angelis on tactics, ace Palma based navigator Nacho Postigo and a well drilled, settled crew, they have the potential to win in Palma.

De Angelis says, "We are really looking forward to be back racing and most importantly with four boats racing together. That is exciting on a very nice race course. We have such a great culture with our team, we are like a family. We race hard on the water, we push very hard, but it is enjoyable with a great atmosphere off the water that I really enjoy. Every year it is tough to start again from scratch with the others having raced in Saint Barth's but with these boats practice is never enough. These are big boats with a lot of mechanics involved and it is most complicated with the big pole and the asymmetrics but you are operating like on a small boat, the racing is close. You need to execute perfectly on time because you don't have time to react. And we will be pushing as hard as we can for the win."

Velsheda has some new sails and won their class last time they raced at the Superyacht Cup, so arrive back in Palma full of confidence.

"We need to come out the blocks firing on all cylinders," Velsheda's tactician Tom Dodson contends. "Palma is good for the J's which love these flat-water conditions. Sometimes it is a one-sided race course but that adds to the fun and the pressure. It can be quite challenging, not least getting off the start line is important, and I think we have been good at that historically. And we love Palma, the atmosphere is good, the food is good, the social is good, and we have a few drinks on the dock with the other teams. We are looking forward to it."

Racing for the J Class starts Wednesday and runs through to Saturday.

More information at jclassyachts.com.

Related Articles

Svea wins J Class at Superyacht Cup Palma
In her new Native Swedish Colours With a second place in today's final short coastal race, the Swedish flagged Svea are overall winners of the J Class at Superyacht Cup Palma after four days of racing. Posted on 2 Jul
Ganesha wins Superyacht Cup Palma 2022
By the narrowest possible margin In a testing final day amid challenging conditions the ultimate outcome of the 2022 Superyacht Cup Palma could not possibly have been closer. Posted on 2 Jul
Velsheda victorious but Svea lead into final day
Superyacht Cup Palma J Class racing set to go down to the wire Atoning for a less than perfect race Thursday when they finished a distant fourth, Velsheda today won a 22 nautical mile coastal round-the-buoys course, an upwind downwind which spanned the full width of the Bay of Palma. Posted on 1 Jul
Nail-biting day at Superyacht Cup Palma
Setting the scene for a dramatic finale Some big changes in fortune, along with a change in wind direction and the closest possible finish in one class, saw results in the Superyacht Cup Palma fleet set the scene for a dramatic finale after a day of frenetic activity out on the Bay of Palma. Posted on 1 Jul
Svea's coastal course success squeezes Topaz
On day two at Superyacht Cup Palma Svea won the first round-the-buoys 'coastal' race for the J Class at Superyacht Cup Palma today, a 22.7 nautical mile course which took the fleet on a long upwind SW across the bay, reaching and running back to complete a couple of smaller circuits. Posted on 30 Jun
Superyacht Cup Palma hits its stride
Kiboko 3 and Savannah stars of the show in classes A and B The entire Superyacht Cup fleet made the Bay of Palma their arena today as Europe's longest-running superyacht regatta hit its stride with another day of sparkling Mallorcan sailing conditions. Posted on 30 Jun
Topaz on top at Superyacht Cup Palma
After the opening two races While it was the new owners and crew of Svea that took first blood, winning the first J Class race of the 2022 Superyacht Cup Palma today, it is Topaz which are the early overall leaders. Posted on 30 Jun
J Class open Superyacht Cup Palma 2022
Svea and Topaz take race wins, Ranger and Velsheda keep the pressure on Superyacht Cup Palma 2022 got off to a flying start today with a quartet of J Class yachts conducting a superb symphony of sail racing out on the Bay of Palma to launch the latest edition of Europe's longest-running superyacht regatta. Posted on 29 Jun
All systems go for Superyacht Cup Palma 2022
Crews begin to assemble ahead of the racing The time has come and it is all systems go for the start of Superyacht Cup Palma 2022, with a diverse selection of some of the planet's most inspiring superyachts preparing to put on a show at the home of Mediterranean superyachting. Posted on 23 Jun
Superyacht Cup Palma at the St Regis
Superyacht Cup Palma 2022 - celebrating the welcome return of St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort Superyacht Cup Palma 2022 is getting ready to greet new entries and familiar faces to the mid-summer festival of sail, as well as celebrating the welcome return of long-standing Preferred Hotel Partner, St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort. Posted on 22 Jun
Rooster 2020 - Impact BA - FOOTERLloyd Stevenson Catalyst 45 728x90px1 BOTTOMVaikobi 2021 Boots - FOOTER