The Multihull Cup holds all the cards when it comes to atmosphere. The annual regatta not only unites multihull aficionados from all over the globe but also prides itself on being an event where a fun and friendly vibe is as important as the on-water rivalry. A perfect example of the regatta’s pulling power was last night’s gathering of the clans: owners, hallowed-sailors and racing fans talked shop until long after the sails had been squared away. But even though the Multihull Cup is known for its low-key camaraderie, come race-o’clock the tension at the start line is tangible.
Stronger, 12-16 knot east, south-easterly winds set the scene for today’s penultimate day of racing. The race committee elected a stunning 24.45 nm course, which took the fleet around Sa Dragonera island and saw competitors fighting for clean air and tacticians pressed to think on their feet.
Both the 62ft Dragon and the 66ft R-Six went over the El Toro start line early, so were recalled and had to cross again. Yesterday’s winner, the Nigel Irens-designed Allegra, got off to the sweetest start and led her adversaries towards the first offset mark. The record-breaking Allegra not only boasts carbon-fibre hulls and high-tech sails but also a team of grizzled professionals, such as Helena Darvelid and outright sailing speed world record holder, Paul Larsen.
However, yesterday’s runner-up Coco de Mer was quick to catch up with Allegra resulting in both boats screaming, neck and neck, on the downwind leg towards Sa Dragonera. An exciting downwind-duel also raged between 2016 champion R-Six and the 62ft Bañuls-designed Dragon.
The battle between Allegra and Coco de Mer continued on the upwind leg to the finish: they each managed to outmanoeuvre the other on multiple occasions. Coco de Mer tactician Loïck Peyron commented: “We arrived (to Dragonera) in first position. We all knew that it was going to be tricky and it definitely was. The wind jumped and bounced on the sea so we never knew from where it was coming, but on the exit the wind turned to the left and we were in a good position to overtake again. It was a good fight, very interesting.”
Race-followers were also treated to an on-going tussle between Dragon and R-Six. Although the latter rounded the island first, Dragon succeeded to edge out R-Six on, also, Dragonera’s N-E corner.
The Nigel Irens-designed Allegra ended up finishing first, two minutes and 12 seconds ahead of Coco de Mer. Dragon, in turn crossed seven minutes and 23 seconds before R-Six.
And, in fact, a strong showing of Dragon’s top-performing team led to her victory today, whipping second-placed R-Six and third-placed Allegra by 2 minutes, 33 seconds and 5 minutes, 42 seconds on corrected time, respectively.
Allegra holds one point over both R-Six and Dragon: they are both tied on 5 points. Coco de Mer goes into tomorrow’s final show-down with 6 points to her name.
Once back on the dock, the discussion of today’s adventures at the Regatta Village Bar made for a lively warm-up act for a sumptuous dinner, to take place at seaside-chic Restaurante Bruno. An evening expected to feature delicious cuisine and scenic views and with tomorrows racing likely to overtake every other topic, from start to finish.
Multihull excitement is set to continue tomorrow at 11.30.
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