The 31st Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre kicks off tomorrow backed up by some of the best teams and most magnificent racing boats of the world. The full mini-maxi international fleet, six TP52`s, and eight Soto 40`s are just a part of the 119 boat fleet from 19 countries which will gather 1.200 sailors in the bay of Palma.
Organised by the Real Club Náutico of Palma, the event`s racing schedule will run from Monday to Saturday, and will gather a total of 1.200 sailors in five categories competing in real and compensated time.
For the first time in recent history, the Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre will be held in mid July, so as not to coincide with the London Olympic Games. On the other hand, the Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre sticks to its commitment to real-time racing by adding a new division: the Soto 40 class, a box rule design which has rapidly grown in Europe, currently featuring eight units. The one design X-35 and J-80 classes, and the RI and IRC divisions make up the rest of the fleet. A key highlight is also the participation of the full international mini-maxi fleet, with six units two of which are brand new builds: Italian flagged Stig and Hap Fauth`s Bella Mente. Irvine Laidlaw`s Highland Fling XI stands as the boat to beat by the rest of a fleet which features units such as Niklas Zennstrom`s RÁN, winner in Palma in 2010, the always-competitive “Jethou” owned by Sir Peter Ogden, or Shockwave of George Sakellaris.
The TP 52`s make up the bulk of the IRC 1 division, a fleet of six boats which features new builds such as Alberto Roemmers Audi Azzurra, the Italo-Argentinean defending champion, French-German Audi All4One, or Tony Langley`s Gladiator. The box ruled design will compete along with other IRC converted 52 footers such as Aifos or Provezza 7, and 60 feet Swans such as Emma or Bronenosec.
The Soto 40 class also promises thrilling and intense racing, with teams such as the European Soto 40 Championship leader Ngoni, second classified Iberdrola, Bigamist of renown boat owner and sailor Pedro Mendonça, or Noticia IV of Luís Martín Cabiedes.
Also for the first time since the Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre started, sailors, sponsors and citizens will have a meeting point outside the Real Club Náutico of Palma: the “Village”, a space which aims to bring the race closer to the city, is located in Sa Feixina Park, and its activity will start upon completion of racing each day.
All classes will run a maximum of twelve races, with a scheduled agenda of two windward-leeward races each day. As in previous years, the bay of Palma will be divided into three race courses. The J-80 and X-35 classes will compete in race area Alpha, the one closest to the city, whereas the Soto 40 `s , IRC and RI will share the remaining two, Charlie and Bravo. These last two divisions will have their coastal course on Tuesday. Competition will begin tomorrow at 13:00 hours, with the exception of Soto 40, which will jump onto the stage next Tuesday.