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Bella Mente finishes third in Copa del Rey MAPFRE

by Barby MacGowan 6 Aug 17:14 BST 29 July - 3 August 2019
The Maxi 72 Bella Mente (center) during the 2019 Copa del Rey MAPFRE © Bella Mente Racing / Andrew Palfrey 2019

In a hard-fought three-way battle with Cannonball and Proteus, Hap Fauth's (Naples, Fla.) Bella Mente wound up third in the Maxi 72 class at the 2019 Copa del Rey MAPFRE held in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

The six-day event, which concluded on Saturday, August 3rd, started with a four-day series (Monday, July 29th - Thursday, August 1st) comprised of seven races (one discard) that put Bella Mente in second place behind the Italian-flagged Cannonball. Then, in a unique twist on traditional scoring, Bella Mente was required to carry forward her resulting two-point score to be counted in her score line for the final racing series that saw three more races completed over two days (Friday and Saturday).

"After posting finishes on Friday of 3-1 to Cannonball's 1-3, we had a chance to win it all going into the final race on Saturday," said Bella Mente's tactician Terry Hutchinson, "but in order to do so we had to win the race. If Cannonball took second, we would share the same score but beat them on countback in a tie breaker."

In the final race, the American-flagged Proteus became the spoiler, winning the final race to secure second overall, while Cannonball finished second in the race to claim overall victory.

"Bella Mente had spent five days at the end of June tuning against Cannonball and Proteus," said Hutchinson, explaining that Bella Mente's primary focus now is September's Maxi 72 World Championship, which Bella Mente has won three times. "To be successful at the Worlds in Porto Cervo, it is critical to know our strengths and weaknesses against our competition, and both the tuning and the Copa del Rey Mapfre regatta helped us further to determine those, so it was a good gain for Bella Mente."

The Copa del Rey Mapfre was the first regatta to put the new Bella Mente (launched in September 2018) and its 20+ crew members through their paces since they competed in the Wirth M. Munroe Miami to Palm Beach Yacht Race last December. (For various reasons, Bella Mente had to bow out of competing in two Caribbean events and the Rolex Capri Sailing Week, which had originally been entered on its competition schedule.)

"It was good to set a base line for Bella Mente's performance," said Hutchinson. "To be successful in these boats, you have to develop in a smart manner. Cannonball is very fast and refined; Proteus and Bella Mente are much closer, but I would give a slight advantage to Proteus, especially upwind."

Hutchinson added that while the Bella Mente Racing team delivered on all aspects of shore-side and racing excellence, there is work to do in the areas of "consistently good starts" and "putting together" races from start to finish. "The other boats are very well sailed and for Bella Mente, it means we have some work to do, which is all good!"

Sponsors for Bella Mente Racing include Churchill Yachts, DICKEY-john, ESC, New England Boatworks, Spectrum, Tekran and TSI.

For more information, visit bellamenteracing.com.

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