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CoastWaterSports 2014

20th PalmaVela Overall: Galateia win again at PalmaVela… but only just

by PalmaVela 5 May 19:28 BST 26 April - 5 May 2024

David Leuschen and Chris Flowers' Wallycento Galateia won the Maxi class at PalmaVela for the third time in a row today in light winds on Palma Bay. Whilst last year's triumph was something of a whitewash, this time they were made to work all the way down to the wire by the crew of rival Wallycento V. Winners today, led by tactician Kenny Read, V only lost on countback to Galateia.

With Leuschen steering all regatta the defending champions decided their best strategy was to stay close to the heels of the beautiful black Mark Mills design which led off the start line, making sure that no other boats could compromise their challenge. Around the 30 miles, six leg 'old school triangle sausage' course in about 8-9 kts V could do nothing more than win, which they did by a comfortable seven minutes.

Both teams finish on eight points after six races including one discard, the Reichel Pugh 100 footer counting three firsts in their aggregate to V's 2.

The Ocean Race winning navigator Simon Fisher off Galateia confirmed the crew, which includes Murray Jones calling tactics, are delighted to have laid down a marker for what promises to be a thrillingly close season for the big boats,

"Strategy wise it was about staying within a point of V and making sure no one got between us. It's been quite a one sided track." Fisher summarised, "They were ahead around the racecourse and we were hot on their heels trying to minimise time and distance behind them."

He continued, "Everybody is obviously happy, I think it's three PalmaVelas in a row for this boat. It is a great result for the boat. It's been a lot of work over the winter and we're already seeing that I think it's going to be a competitive fleet this year so we're obviously very happy to get the right result, albeit by the skin of our teeth. It's a good start to the season for us and we are looking ahead a season of really close racing. So we are happy to come out and get the result. We're just going to have to make sure we're improving all the time because it is a tight season, that's for sure."

The curtain raiser for the season has proven the values of the winter changes to both boats, "We're just starting to figure out the strength and weaknesses in comparison to V, we have had a good range of conditions. We've always been more comfortable in this boat in the windier weather and they've always been stronger in the light. I think we are definitely more comfortable in a breeze. We've seen here that we are pretty competitive in all conditions, we've done a lot of work to the boat with the addition of the water ballast but they've done the same along with a few other things so I think it's about trying to keep up to date and we're going to see some good competition." Fisher concluded.

Awesome season ahead, South African Paul Wilcox, helm and trim coach on V, reported, "We had a really nice race in about eight knots of breeze a fairly typical left track. Our plan was to be left hand boat and get out to the left side. We were super, super close to being over the line it was a tense moment waiting for the clear call. The boss did a nice job steering the trimmers got us up to speed quickly and it was a rich get richer, which was why we out so much emphasis on the start. It was a very biased starboard side run we had a gybe peel to the Code Zero at the bottom mark and then a long upwind, you always wanted to be left.

It has been an amazing event. We got this boat exactly a year ago to the day and it was a rush back then to have the boat ready and now we have made some big changes. At the beginning of this event there were a few nervous people around wondering if we had made the right calls in terms of changes and we have come along way to be the same speed and at times faster than Galateia. We are looking forwards to an awesome season."

The Swedish flagged J Class Svea, racing for the first time at PalmaVela took third.

The hot 6 Metre class also finished with a tie which sees Violeta Álvarez's Stella prevail ahead of Momo. Both top boats finished on 11pts.

Stella's coach Andrew Palfrey detailed, "In the first race there was 8-9 knots but breeze faded and it was tight between Stella and Momo, Stella led and it stayed like that all the way around the race course. But the breeze died and filled back from the right and Astra passed Stella to win by ten feet. In the second race Momo had to win or put two boats between them and Stella. Momo started better, Stella started very badly and took three tacks to clear the line but Momo lost in the right. Coming down the final run Stella had to pass one boat to win and did so at around half way down the last run."

He confirmed, "We are on a journey to the Worlds next year and the Europeans this summer and so PalmaVela is a nice event to win, it's a great regatta. It is a decent result for us in light winds that are not a noted strength for us usually so the result is important."

Three TP52s monopolise the ORC 0 podium. Urbania of Tomás Gasset win ahead of Aifos of the Spanish Navy and Blue Carbon but Urbania's margin is only a single point and in ORC 1 it is the Polish Windwhisper44, leader from the first day which won with a race to spare.

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