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Nations Trophy Mediterranean League at the 38 Copa del Rey Mapfre - Day 1

by Nautor's Swan 29 Jul 2019 23:06 BST 27 July - 3 August 2019
Day 1 - 38 Copa del Rey Mapfre © Martina Orsini

The decisive round in Nautor's Swan 2019 The Nations Trophy Mediterranean League commenced in style today. Racing at the 38th edition of the Copa del Rey MAPFRE, organized by the Real Club Náutico de Palma (RCNP), 31 yachts across three Nautor's Swan One Design classes are not only contesting supremacy across the historic weeklong competition but this four-event series as a whole. Furthermore, the prize for the best competing nation is on offer, including the all-important bonus point carried through to The Nations Trophy in October.

In line with the contrasting competitions and conditions during the three events held to date in Monaco, Scarlino and Saint-Tropez, the 2019 Copa del Rey offers another exacting programme, testing consistency, teamwork and stamina. All factors evident today as two of the week's maximum 11 races were successfully held. Six different crews won the six One Design races as Palma offered a consistent 10-15 knot sea breeze.

In the BMW ORC 1 class, Rats On Fire, enjoyed an excellent day, claiming third place and a bullet to lead the standings. Another Swan 45 sits in second place, From Now On.

"Being at the Copa del Rey this year, with more than 30 Swans is something we are proud of," explains Giovanni Pomati, CEO of Nautor's Swan. "We are delighted to be surrounded by our owners, all linked by their common enthusiasm, love and passion for the sport of sailing. There's a real good vibe at the RCNP. Everyone can feel the genuine competitive atmosphere".

Watch Day 1 Highlights

ClubSwan 50

Leading the 2019 League standings by seven points heading into the start of racing in Palma, Leonardo Ferragamo's Cuordileone, Italy, has some margin for error. However, she will need to be on her guard. The ClubSwan 50 class is one of the most competitive and unpredictable in professional sailing. Crews can alternate virtuoso winning displays with back of the fleet performances. The slightest lack of concentration or tactical error are mercilessly punished by skilled rivals and typically difficult to recover from.

The 14 competing yachts comprise stellar crew and some of the world's leading tacticians. In attendance this week, are the likes of Bouwe Bekking (Niramo), Tommaso Chieffi (Cuordileone), Pietro D'Ali (Drifter Sail), Chris Larson (Earlybird) and Jochen Schumann (Onegroup). Cuordileone's main challengers in the overall standings are Dmitry Rybolovlev's ever-improving Russian entry Skorpios and August Schram's Stella Maris of Austria, outstanding both inshore and offshore at the Rolex Giraglia. However with eight crews across the season's 16 races before Palma having tasted race victories, it demonstrates the quality of the fleet.

Today that statistic became nine different winners with the new entry in the Class, Andrea Lacorte's Cetilar - Vitamina, Italy, triumphant in the first race, in dramatic fashion, following an epic final leg with duel with Cuordileone and after slipping to the back of the fleet ahead of the final mark rounding. Just seconds separated the two crews with Stella Maris finishing third. Cuordileone was not to be outdone during race two, edging out Stefan Heidenreich's Onegroup for victory. Ross Warburton's Perhonen took an excellent third.

"It is a big fleet, and the level is high," explained Cetilar - Vitamina's Gabriele Benussi after racing. "It is our first time in the Class. Today was a good day and our performance will improve across the week. The owner and crew are very happy."

Also making her seasonal debut is Fram XVIII. Ahead of racing today, the yacht's owner H.M. King Harald V of Norway commented: "After a few years away, I am back with my old crew. We are all looking forward to having fun and competing in the Copa del Rey with the new ClubSwan 50."

Standings after Day 1:

1. Cuordileone (Italy), 3 points
2. Cetilar - Vitamina (Italy), 7 points
3. Onegroup (Germany), 7 points

Swan 45

Porrón IX, Spain, arrived in Palma with The Nations Trophy Mediterranean League Swan 45 class already sewn up. However that will not alter the unrelenting ambitions of owner Luis Senìs Segarra who will want to maintain his crew's impressive form going into the calendar's main event, October's The Nations Trophy at the same venue. The perfect test. In today's first race, Porron IX had to settle for second place, defeated by Paolo Leonardi's Swing Cube. Rival Italian yacht, Ulika, took third. In race two, Porron IX claimed the bullet to assume leadership of the standings. Swing Cube finished third with Klaus Diederichs' Fever taking second.

Standings after Day 1:

1. Porron IX (Spain), 3 points
2. Swing Cube (Italy), 4 points
3. Fever (Great Britain), 7 points

ClubSwan 42

Five yachts started the week in Palma with realistic ambitions of winning the 2019 League. The three leading yachts are separated by just four points. Eleven yachts are in attendance in Palma. The form of Lorenzo Mondo's Far Star, Italy, and Natalia Brailoiu's Natalia, Romania, the two leading yachts among the Copa del Rey entrants, have alternated dominant displays with more disappointing performances.

Natalia, featuring renowned Spanish sailor Roberto Bermudez de Castro, took the first race of the day, with the crew living up to their reputation for peaking at the right time. Natalia was followed by two Spanish entries - Pedro Vaquer Comas' Nadir and Jose Maria Meseguer's Pez de Abril. The three yachts occupied the leading positions in race two, suggesting a pattern for the week has been set. This time Pez de Abril claimed the bullet with Natalia finishing third. After day one, they are tied on four points each.

"The races were very tight today and the competition between the leading four to five boats will be very tough," admitted Meseguer.

Standings after Day 1:

1. Pez de Abril (Spain), 4 points
2. Natalia (Romania), 4 points
3. Nadir (Spain), 4 points

Swan Handicap Entries

In addition to the 31 Swan One Design entrants, a further six Swans are participating in the handicap divisions. In the BMW ORC 1 class, Rats on Fire, enjoyed an excellent day, claiming third place and a bullet to lead the standings. Another Swan 45 sits in second place, From Now On. In BMW ORC 2, Teatro Soho Caixabank lies second following two commendable second place finishes.

Racing continues tomorrow, Tuesday 30 July. Will today's top performers again prove the stars on the water? Or will competition intensify?

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