Closing day of Trofeo de la Reina: no wind, no race
Valencia's main major annual regatta, the Trofeo de la Reina, came to an uneventful conclusion on Sunday as the low front hanging over Spain's eastern coast brought rain and sapped the breeze. I was hopeful the race committee would have been able to pull at least one race, in order watch from close the brand new Botín-designed CAM 52' and ride onboard as media guest but that was not to happen. The race committee kept the fleet ashore for more than 5 hours and at 3pm cancelled all the day's races.
It's an unfortunate fact but the very tough financial situation Spain is going through has dealt a significant blow to all regattas, with no exception. The number of professional top-level yachts participating has dropped to absolute minimums and in the case of this year's edition, I reckon, to zero. Gone are the days when 15-12 TP52 yachts and 8-10 GP42 yachts were racing off Valencia's coast. The brand new IRC-optimized CAM 52' was the only novelty and the closest you could get to the glories of the past.
Still, the day was, ultimately, fruitful and the long wait was not in vain. I had the opportunity to meet Matt Coutts, the young kiwi Finn sailor that is spending the European summer here in Valencia, training together with Spanish champion Rafa Trujillo. Unless you have been living under a rock, Matt's family name must sound very familiar and with good reason. He is the nephew of Russell Coutts, the New Zealand multi America's Cup winner and multi Olympic gold medalist, currently CEO of BMW Oracle, the 34th America's Cup Defender.
Matt, 22 years old, is hoping to represent his country in the 2012 Olympics in the Finn class but in order to achieve it he will have to beat 3 of his fellow countrymen vying for the same spot, with Dan Slater being the toughest opponent. With 6 events so far in the ISAF Sailing World Cup, Matt is holding the 65th place, having finished 22nd in the latest event, the Kieler Woche two weeks ago. He also has some big-boat experience as he took part in the RC44 Copenhagen Cup three weeks ago, on James Spithill's boat RC44 Challenge. I guess this doesn't come as a surprise!!
Despite the lack of wind, Matt Coutts had a blast, as did many other idling sailors, with the Devoti-Ones that were available to anyone taking part in the regatta. Matt was very enthusiastic about the boat, despite the poor conditions. There was hardly more than 4-5 knots of wind and the improvised races took place in the cramped space in front of the docked yachts.
Matt Coutts match races in a Devoti-One while waiting for some breeze, in vain, during the closing day of the Trofeo de la Reina. Valencia, 4 July 2010. Video copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing
Matt Coutts match races in a Devoti-One while waiting for some breeze, in vain, during the closing day of the Trofeo de la Reina. Valencia, 4 July 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing
Matt Coutts checks a Devoti-One while waiting for some breeze, in vain, during the closing day of the Trofeo de la Reina. Valencia, 4 July 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing
The deck of the brand new CAM 52. Valencia, 4 July 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing
Since there was no racing action, why not report from the mast spreaders. Valencia, 4 July 2010. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / Valencia Sailing