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The Superyacht Cup 2018 – four days of dazzling racing and triumph for J-Class Velsheda

Caroline Blatter

The largest and longest running superyacht regatta in the world finished on Saturday (23 June) after four superb days of racing in The Bay of Palma, Mallorca.

The first day opened with the stunning sight of two superb J Class yachts, Velsheda and Svea, going head to head over two races, winning one each, a perfect start to their friendly rivalry to follow.  

The following day racing got underway in light breezes for the whole 16-strong fleet, providing a spectacular view for onlookers where even the smallest competing yacht was the fast and elegant 32m Frers designed Bolero while the largest was the mighty Hoek designed 62m Athos.   

Staggered starts of two-minute intervals created a safety zone for each yacht but did nothing to detract from the dramatic view of the startline, nor from the intensity and focus of the racing, with all the crews aiming to wring every ounce of performance from their yachts.

Racing for the fleet opener was fantastically close on the IRCsy handicap, which successfully smoothed out the differences in size and design. This was demonstrated in race one when Class A’s Highland Fling showed her racing pedigree to win by almost a minute and a half on corrected time ahead of Saudade after two and a half hours of racing, with Win Win only 23 seconds further back. Velsheda and Svea meanwhile joined Class B, the largest fleet, for the remainder of the event, with Velsheda showing her winning ways in the first fleet race.

The following day the full fleet enjoyed an extra 5 knots of breeze and another close racing day for Class A and a different podium line up.  Class B belonged to Mari-Cha II while Class C went to Silencio and Class D to ‘Q’.  Crews praised the conditions and courses. 

The fourth and final day of racing, the St. Regis Mardavall Race, confirmed the overall win which went narrowly but deservedly to Velsheda after an inspiring performance over the three days of the event. Built in 1933 and since lovingly restored and regularly optimised, Velsheda took two wins from three races in Class B to finish level on overall points with the superketch Mari-Cha III, taking the class and the overall Superyacht Cup title on countback. Another well sailed ketch Sojana finished third overall.

Win Win repeated her Class A winning performance of last year – which itself followed an overall Superyacht Cup win in 2016 – after holding off strong challenges from both Saudade and Highland Fling 15.  Bolero won the final race in Class C, but Silencio’s second place to add to her earlier first and second saw her take the overall class win ahead of Bolero and Athos.

While the Corinthian Class D – this more relaxed non-spinnaker category making its first appearance at the regatta – were not in contention for the overall Superyacht Cup trophy, the two yachts involved raced hard, with ‘Q’ taking the win ahead of Scorpione of London.

The crews enjoyed a full social programme to celebrate each day’s racing in the Superyacht Cup event village.

The Superyacht Cup is a favourite with yacht owners, friends, captains and crew who visit Palma de Mallorca annually for the four day event. With warm early summer conditions and reliable sea breezes, the Bay of Palma offers some of the most idyllic racing conditions in the Mediterranean. The racing is run by Real Club Nautico de Palma. 

A huge well done to Kate Branagh and her team at The Superyacht Cup for another flawless and fabulous event, and spectacular action shots from Claire Matches

Winners of each Class: 

Class A - Win Win (33m Baltic Yachts)
Class B - Velsheda (39.5m J Class - Camper & Nicholson)
Class C - Silencio (50m Perini Navi)
Class D - Q (51.7m Alloy Yachts)

Winner of the Superyacht Cup 2018 - Velsheda!

Watch some of the action on


In Pictures