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X35s at Copa del Rey Regatta 2008 - Preview

by Robert Grieg-Gran 27 Jul 2008 23:23 BST

Over 200 sailors onboard 25 X-35s from 8 different countries have arrived in Palma de Mallorca to compete in the Copa del Rey Regatta 2008. As a one-design fleet they joined the ranks of the TP52s, GP42s and Swan 45s last year to compete as a separate fleet in the Mediterranean’s most prominent regatta.

The favourite Spanish boats are said to be Desafino, GD Campello and Jazz te Vale, whilst the regatta press office tips the favourites of the international fleet as two British yachts, Cool Runnings and Perfect Ten sponsored by Turnstone Estates. Other boats expected to be fiercely competitive are Holland’s Quantum Racing and the Italian Tixelio, who have the famous America’s Cup sailor Francesco Bruni (recent winner of the Melges 24 World Championships) calling tactics. He joins a number of famous faces to be sailing out of the Real Club Náutico de Palma this week.

Dean Barker, 2007 skipper of America’s Cup finalist Team New Zealand, steers TP52 Bribon which is owned by the King of Spain. His Royal Majesty Don Juan Carlos will be on board whilst his son, the Crown Prince, competes in the IRC class. There are also many Olympic medallists here of which the tacticians from the German Platoon and the Spanish Cam lead the medal-haul with three each.

The presence of both sovereign and sailing royalty has generated considerable media interest and we are told that close to 400 journalists, photographers, technicians and cameramen from 10 countries are here from more than 50 newspapers, magazines, radio and television networks. More than a dozen TV networks from around Europe will be broadcasting live action from the race area.

Dominating the interest of the television helicopters in today’s practice session were the two Telefonica Volvo Ocean Race 70s that will participate in an exhibition race. Also drawing attention was British X-35 Perfect Ten as they bought new crewmembers Nick Asher and Elliot Willis up to speed. The two-time 470 World Champions and current holders of both the World and European titles are just back from Bejing where they have been training partners to the British 470 entry of Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield. They join the Quantum powered Turnstone TEN for both this regatta and the X-35 World Championships to be sailed in Italy in September. Nick steps in to the role of tactician whilst Elliot picks up Trim 1.

Racing in Palma Bay begins Monday where I am sure all the competitors will hope for the current conditions of thirty degrees and 14 knots to continue.

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