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38th Oyster Regatta at Real Club Nautico de Palma - Day 3

by Sue Pelling 9 Oct 2016 08:02 BST 4-8 October 2016

Winners begin to emerge after glorious day on the water

Conditions on the third day of the Oyster Palma Regatta 2016 sponsored by Dolphin Sails produced some of the best racing seen so far this week. In scorching sunshine and generally more consistent, steady winds, which ranged from 7-10kts, the 43 teams enjoyed an enjoyable challenging race, which put tactical racing skills to the test once again on the Bay of Palma.

Racing was close in most of the four classes; in some cases just over a minute separating boats on corrected time including Class 1 where Maxim Kudryashov's Guardian Angel, Oyster 885-04, beat Eddie Jordan's Lush, Oyster 885-01, by just eight seconds on corrected time in a three hour race.

Slightly further down the fleet in fifth place today, but equally competitive was John Noble's brand-new, American-flagged Graycious, Oyster 745-03 who beat her sistership Satori by just 13 seconds. Although Noble was sadly not on board due to work commitments back in the USA, the team headed by Rob Spets the skipper, said they are really enjoying the useful time learning about the boat.

"We took delivery of this new boat in July so we are loving it. It is a lot more fun to sail than the old generation boat we previously had. We have funky sails and it is just a little more responsive, and best of all in lumpy seas she just hammers through the waves."

"Although it looks racy with its carbon rigging and black winches, we didn't go crazy because it is still a cruising boat. We wanted a Superyacht but without all the super-crazy systems. We've kept it simple."

"It is disappointing that John the owner who normally helms is not here. Without him we have lost one of our good guys, so we are trying to do our best. The regatta has been a lot of fun so far with challenging conditions in the bay but one of the best parts of the Oyster Regattas is being out there and meeting happy people that are attracted to this unique regatta."

One of the two boats to take advantage of the port-biased line was Tiger – Oyster 625-04 sailed by Simon Pillar and team. This team executed a perfect port tack start, took the early favoured right-hand side of the course, and pulled out just enough of a lead to win her class by just seven seconds on corrected time from Lady Mariposa – Oyster 625-05.

Commenting on Tiger's impressive piece of sailing, Pillar said: "We knew it was going to be close and we are delighted, particularly because at 1230 there was no wind. I think I put our win down to making all the right tactical decisions at all the key points. The port tack gave us clear air, and then we initially headed up the right-hand side of the course, which paid handsomely and was definitely the way to go. We continued for a good while and tacked back at the exact right time when we saw the others being lifted under the cliffs. The benefit of going out on that port tack meant we only put in two tacks to get to the windward mark."

Nick and Alison Blazquez on Angels' Share – Oyster 575-31 – from the UK had their best race so far this week with a win in Class 3 yesterday. With a second and third place already in the 'bag', this team look set to give Eric and Ann Alfredson and their Swedish team on Lisanne, a run for their money for the overall top spot on Saturday.

Nick Blazquez, who has worked in the whisky industry for nearly 30 years explained the origin their boat's name – Angels' Share: "Scotch whisky has to be distilled in oak casks for a minimum of three years. During this oak maturing process you lose about three per cent a year. It goes through the wood and evaporates into the sky and that is called Angels' Share.

"Alison my wife and I thought that owning a boat is a bit like maturing Scotch whisky – money kind of evaporates – which is why we called the boat Angels' Share."

Charles and Nicky Manby's Oyster 575-15 Calliope not only took fourth in Class 3 yesterday's race but also won the Pantaenius-sponsored prize for the first across the start line just eight seconds after the gun.

The Manbys, who are keen Wayfarer dinghy sailors from Aldebugh, Suffolk on the east coast of England, are using the Palma event to make final preparations for the forthcoming Oyster World Rally, which starts in January.

"Once we finish the regatta, Calliope is having a mini refit in Palma then Charlie, one of our crew, will sail the boat from Palma to Antigua arriving mid December."

Commenting on yesterday's race, Manby said: "We had a very good day with enough wind and the course was good. I felt we were out-pointed by Lisanne. I thought we had a good start but went right and it ended up a bit of a mess, after which we had to play catch up. At one point we were behind Oyster Blew and Safiya but managed to fight back and get ahead of them. All in all in was a good day."

Peter Blackmore on Pied Piper – Oyster 49-12A – sailed an impressive race yesterday to finish second in Class 4, behind the consistent team on Ostra – Oyster 53-23 – owned by Ritchie Gatt. Blackmore commented: "We had a wonderful race today, sailing with friends from England and local guests. We just bonded as a team and did very well. Today, once we got over to the cliffs on the left of the course up the first beat, we benefitted from a fantastic lift and it was there where we were able to extend our lead. Although we are competitive, we are delighted to be here soaking up the fine Oyster hospitality with the 300 or so Oyster guests."

Others enjoying the splendid Oyster hospitality at the Palau March Museum in the heart of the historic City of Palma, were David and Wendy Braben who have just placed an order for a new Oyster 575 with an extended transom. The Brabens commented: "We are making a lot of decisions about the spec and details on our new boat so we thought we should fly in to this regatta to see the other boats and talk to other owners. We are also here to get a taste of what Oyster regattas are all about. First impressions? Impressive!!"

Interestingly the Brabens have decided to go for a centreboard option: "Although we plan to keep her here in Palma we decided to go for a centreboard option. This means that should we decide to take her home to East Coast we'll be able to sail her in the shallower waters."

The final race of the four-race, three-to-count regatta series is scheduled for 1230 today. This will be followed by the grand awards ceremony dinner to mark the end of the regatta, at El Nuevo Pueblo Espanol – Palacio de Congresos.

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