Thursday, April 17, 2008

Outstanding opening day of the HUBLOT PalmaVela with Y3K and Sercotel leaders

The Maxis sailed a 29.5-mile tough coastal race around the Palma de Majorca bay

The strong south-western breeze started at 15 knots and topped 25

Palma de Majorca, 17 April 2008.- The 5th edition of HUBLOT PalmaVela got underway in style today, under outstanding conditions, with wind speeds starting at 15-16 knots and topping 25 early in the afternoon. Despite the initial fears for a difficult day, Palma de Majorca’s famous conditions came right on time and the starting gun was fired at noon, sending the 9 impressive maxis to an exciting race.

The bay of Palma woke up under covered and cloudy skies with a grim weather forecast, calling for light and shifty winds and a 50% chance of rain. Instead of that, the 9 crews enjoyed a constant southwesterly and waves of around 1 meter, putting them and their yachts to test. After an initial mark 2.5 miles from the starting line, the 9 yachts sailed twice around the small island of Sec and the buoys set up thorughout the Palma bay.

Open Season, second in the Maxi Wally class. Palma, 17 April 2008. Photo copyright Nico Martinez / HUBLOT PalmaVela

The German Y3K, owned by Claus-Peter Offen and with America’s Cup sailor Karol Jablonski aboard was the leader in the Maxi Wally class. They kept a constant advantage over their two competitors, Thomas Bscher’s “Open Season” and Mike Donnithore’s “Tiketitoo”. Both Y3K and Open Season boasted scores of America’s Cup sailors onboard and that obviously constituted the recipe for a close and exciting race. Four-time Olympic gold-medallist and two-time America’s Cup winner, Jochen Schuemann, was Open Season’s thinking head. Halfway through the race, Tiketitoo had to abandon.

In the Maxi Racer/Cruiser class, “Aegir” and “Lizard” crossed the finish line ahead of the rest of the fleet but were later disqualified as they mistakenly rounded the wrong mark.


Karol Jablonski (Y3K): “It was a very exciting day with strong breeze and a very competitive race course. It was hard to go around it and the crew did a great job. At one stage we had 28-29 knots at the top of the mast. It was a tough day and we feel very tired. We damaged one of the gennakers under these strong conditions.

I also helmed the boat because for the owner, a 100 footer under such strong winds and big waves is very difficult to helm. We were even forced at one point to have two men steering the two wheels since the pressure on the rudder was very powerful, especially when we were going downwind at 22 knots. We had to hoist 3 different gennakers, from the biggest to the smallest one, as the breeze was getting stronger. Crew work was excellent.

Y3K, leader of the Maxi Wally class, with Karol Jablonski aboard. Palma, 17 April 2008. Photo copyright Nico Martinez / HUBLOT PalmaVela

In such a strong breeze, tactics are important but you also need to have remarkable crew work. Just a small mistake can cause you to lose lots of minutes and as I always say all the components must perfectly work together. We won by 1:30 minutes against Open Season and that’s probably because we made one mistake less.

Compared to the current America’s Cup yachts these are true monsters but they provide very good training and preparation. If you sail these yachts then the America’s Cup boats feel like dinghies and as a result you can push them more. You can feel they are faster and smaller. These ones are much bigger and definitely harder. Don’t forget that our biggest gennaker measures 1,000 square meters and hoisting it when you are going at 20 knots is an uphill battle.

I prefer sailing on big boats because you get a feeling of the waves, the wind and the boat. I love sailing these big yachts and today we proved to be very competitive. I’m happy with what we achieved and tomorrow will be another tough day.

The HUBLOT PalmaVela is a fantastic regatta. Not often do you have the opportunity to race under such exciting conditions. Not only was the breeze strong and constant, the race committee did an excellent job in setting up a superb race course. It gave us the chance to train and test ourselves and the boat”.


Maxi Wally

1. Y3K, Claus-Peter Offen 1 point
2. Open Season, Thomas Bscher, 2 points
3. Tiketoo, Mike Donnithorne, 4 points

Maxi Racer/Cruiser

1. Sercotel Hotels, F. López/J. Turró, 1 point
2. Rani, Jochen Hertzke, 2 points
3. Kiboko, J.I. Entrecanales, 3 points
4. Fortuny, Javier Merino, 8 points
5. Lizard, José Manuel Entrecanales, 8 points
6. Aegir, Benjamin Brian, 8 points
7. Prana, Robert Holthuizen, 8 points



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