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20th PalmaVela Day 3: Advantage Galateia as Maxi class goes into final light winds Sunday

by PalmaVela 4 May 18:52 BST 26 April - 5 May 2024

"This is not a training regatta, there is a title at stake and we won it last year so for sure we are out to win again!" Five times America's Cup winning Kiwi sailing legend Murray Jones, the tactician on the Wally Cento Galateia wears only half a smile when he rails against the suggestion that, for them, PalmaVela is a mere warm up before the Maxi season.

A win today for David Leuschen and Chris Flowers' Wallycento R/P around a 27 nautical miles coastal race round Palma Bay, contested over another perfect day of Spring sunshine and decent 11-14kts breeze, sees them back on course to defend the PalmaVela title they have won two years in a row.

With Jones calling tactics, the owner steering and Simon Fisher navigating Galateia took a very lead on the four miles long first upwind and was able to stretch slightly on the Mark Mills designed Wallycento V, their title rivals.

After being tied on points after yesterday's two windward leewards, Galateia go into Sunday's second coastal race with a lead of one point with the advantage now of three wins in their scoreline. Light to very light winds are expected for the decider.

"We will see tomorrow, it is going to be quite light and so it is hard sailing these big boats, you have to keep them going. And there is still quite a bit of sea state after the big winds of the week and that makes it difficult. It is quite demanding." Jones commented, "There is plenty of competition this season. We are really looking forwards to this season. And here, we want to win, this is not about training. We have a title to defend, but we have a great season ahead."

He recalled, "We were only just ahead at the top mark. We started well off the pin end of the line, it was quite light. V did not start quite as well and they peeled straight off to the right, hard right. After a big, big split we came across and were nearly bow to bow and then fortunately we got a lee bow and bounced them a couple of times. But once you have your nose in front on a coastal race you have to make sure you don't screw it up. The crew work really was good on board our boat and V's drop was not quite so good and they lost a little bit with that, and then we could kind of cover them."

V are poised in third on seven points to Galateia's six whilst the Swedish flagged J Class Svea are third on 12 points after a fourth today.

The hotly contested 6 Metre class swung in favour of Violeta Álvarez's Stella today after both top boats, the Juan K design originally built as Bribon, and Momo posted a first and a second apiece. Stella leads by one point ahead Dieter Schoen's Swiss flagged team on Momo led by Markus Wieser.

"It was a good day, it was hard with the wind shifting a lot, quite a lot of sea state. We made good starts, had good tactics for our two and a win. The wind was quite shifty; we just did good manoeuvres, keeping safe." Said Alvarez, and of tomorrow's tussle she added, "Momo is a good team. Tomorrow we'll stay focus on ourselves and try to execute well. They are very different boats; I think we need a little bit of wind. Tomorrow it looks like it is going to be lighter, so it is hard for us."

And Wieser smiled, "It was perfect sailing today, not too wet, not too windy, not too hard. It was just perfect. And it was good to share a 1 and a 2 with Stella. We lead all the way around the first one. And tomorrow let's see. All the time this is good practice for the 6 Metre Europeans in Sanxenxo."

In ORC Class 0 which has developed into a three cornered TP52 fight, Tomas Gasset's Urbania leads by one point ahead of the Spanish Navy's Aifos whilst Tony Guiu's Blue Carbon is third.

With two wins and a second Marcin Sutkowski's Grand Soleil 44P Windwhisperer has a three points lead in ORC Class 1, followed by two of Spain's top Swan 42CS's Nadir and Pez de Abril, both regular Copa del Rey MAPFRE winners.

María Bover leads the J/70 fleet by two points on Balearia, "The bay really was quite complicated today; you have to be very careful because pressure is coming in from time to time; you might be sailing on the right side and suddenly you get pressure on the left side. All this makes it more challenging."

And the ten strong Dragon class is super tight, Aurum (Jordi Cabau) and Yeannah (Ben Kolff) are tied on six points just one ahead of Capa (Carlos Carbajal) after four races have been sailed.

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