190 boats for Hublot Palmavela
As every year, the largest boats in the fleet will start the first day of races of a regatta (tomorrow, Thursday). Represented by 16 countries, the twenty Maxis will be divided into four classes: Maxi Wally, Maxi Mini, Maxi Swan and Maxi Mini.
The Maxi Wally class includes the largest boats. Biggest by far is Esense, helmed by Riccardo de Magistris, at 143ft or 43 meters long. This is a three year old Bill Tripp design and currently the largest Wally ever built. Y3K belonging to German Claus-Peter Offen earily won the 2008 Hublot Palmavela with Pole Karol Jablonski at the wheel, a position filled this year by Danish match racer Jesper Radich. Open Season is another Wally familiar with the Bay of Palma. Like Y3K, she was designed by German Frers. She belongs to shipowner Thomas Bscher and will be helmed by Mike Atkinson.
The Mini Maxi class covers boats of a 20 feet range. Focus will certainly be on the two brand new STP65s, the Italian Luna Rossa with the Olympic double gold medalist Brazilian Robert Scheidt as skipper and Nacho Postigo as navigator. They will be up against their Judel Vrolijk sistership, Container of German Udo Schutz, with Markus Wieser at the wheel and Karol Jablonski on tactics. They will be up against the new 72ft Ran II of Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom and Andy Sorriano's Mills-designed Alegre, as well as American Hap Fauth's newly rebuilt Bella Mente where Dee Smith is calling tactics.
There is two Spanish boats also racing in this class: Wallyño of Fernando López, winner of the Hublot PalmaVela 2008 and Kiboko of Raimon Pasco.
In the Maxi Cruiser class we will see the three examples close to 100 feet, the biggest being Alarife Cien of shipowner Juan Entrecanales with Raúl Ramón at the helm. This boat belongs to the Club Nàutic Costa Brava of Palamós. The 93ft Lizard of Cornwall is helmed by Olympic medallist Toño Gorostegui from Cantabria, with round the world sailor Javier Sansó on board too.
The Swan class is represented by boats of between 18 and 25 meters long, including Ristaker, Robas, Grey Goose, Favonius and Astro Lest.
Races will start on Thursday at 12:00 am. The Maxis will take part in two windward-leeward races in the Bay of Palma. Tractrac is being used to track the boats during racing here
The TP 52s will also open their season in Palma. Attention will certainly be on the brand new Matador of Argentinian Alberto Roemmers, helmed by Guillermo Parada, with Olympic medallist Santi Lange in the crew member. Team Matador won the Copa del Rey in 2007, and has chosen the Hubulot PalmaVela as a warm-up prior to the start of the Audi MedCup. The other TP 52s on the start line will be Cristabella of British skipper John Cook, as well as the Russian boat - Synergy of Sergey Pichugin where New Zealander Cameron Dunn is calling tactics.
On Friday the Flying Fifteen, IRC, RI, ORC International, J80, Platú 25, Handicap Sailing, Lateen Sail and Vintage and Classic classes will join the competition.