Excitement was palpable this morning as mini armies of amped sailors made last minute preparations for today’s first day of the Multihull Cup, an annual regatta that celebrates some of the most technically advanced machines in sport: performance catamarans.
Competing sailors have reason to be aflutter as outgunning the competition will be quite a challenge this year. From the 66ft lightweight flyer Dragon to this year’s largest entrant, the 84ft Allegra, this third edition of the regatta boasts a glorious selection of omnipotent multi-power.
The race committee selected a scenic course with the island of Dragonera, Mallorca’s western-most point, the upwind mark. This 24.74nm course made for a good match for today’s westerly winds (light at the start but a stronger 15-20 knots later on). Racing got underway at 12.25pm and those who weren’t there certainly missed out: experiencing a souped-up fleet of multis sail across the start line is quite something!
Coco de Mer and R-Six got away from the pin-end while Dragon went over the committee end of the line. Both R-Six and Allegra made quick gains on their way to the initial offset mark and it was the latter, the 78ft Allegra, who arrived first. Coco de Mer and R-Six followed 3 minutes, 37 seconds and 5 minutes, 37 seconds later, respectively. The upwind leg to Dragonera saw some close racing between last year’s winner Allegra and the 66ft Gunboat Coco de Mer, while the 60ft Dragon, sailing with acclaimed designer Renaud Bañuls onboard, managed to keep seasoned racer R-Six at bay. The first of the Gunboats 66 built,Coco de Mer, led this year’s giant of the fleet, Allegra, around Dragonera’s North and South marks. Dragon, a lightweight cat, held the upper hand over the HH Super Cat R-Six, she rounded fourth.
The downwind leg saw Coco de Mer’s bright red spinnaker proudly puffed out and the team comfortably maintain her lead over Allegra. Coco de Mer crossed the finish line 15 minutes and 42 seconds before the Nigel Irens-designed Allegra. Dragon not only got to give her brand-new spinnaker a good run, this sharp-looking cat kept her control over R-Six, the youngest cat in the fleet, and sped over the finish line third.
“The start didn’t go as planned for us but there was a shift right at the last minute which let us off the hook. We then had a drag race out to the left with Allegra, they are always our main competitors here. Then they tacked off, we tacked off with them. We struggled to hold them when they had the J0 up, which we don’t have in our wardrobe. However, they opened the door for us at the wind mark and let us back into the race. We got into the pressure going right and from there on we were just boat-speed, boat-speed, boat-speed” enthused Coco de Mer’s tactician Hugh Fletcher.
The 66ft Coco de Mer turned out a stellar performance today as the team’s spot-on maneuverings resulted in a first, and well deserved, bullet. She finished 28 minutes and 42 seconds before second placed Dragon on corrected time. Allegra, in turn, crossed the finish line 8 minutes and 56 seconds after today’s runner-up, also on corrected time.
Celebratory drinks and a paella dock party in the Multihull Cup’s regatta village will complete today’s thrills and spills on the race course. Terraza Balear, high-end interior design studio and outdoor furniture suppliers, are behind the Regatta Village’s inviting set-up, ensuring sailors can unwind in comfort and style after a demanding day on the MHC-circuit.
Multihull excitement is scheduled to continue tomorrow at 12.00. Connect with us on Facebook and Instagram for updates of all the action on and off the racecourse and/or follow the race live via TracTrac