As one of the largest and longest running superyacht regattas in Europe, the 2018 Palma Superyacht Cup produced some exciting racing and it was great to see a few of our beloved Doyle-powered superyachts participate including, Mari Cha III, Bliss and Athos.
The stunning weather conditions in Palma de Mallorca offered glamourous sailing for all. However, it came to a dramatic resolution on the fourth and final race day for 45m super-ketch Mari Cha III and J-Class Velsheda who went head to head for the overall win. The two boats finished tied with six points each by the last race, but Velsheda's two wins from the three races earned her the win in Class B and the overall Superyacht Cup title on a count-back.
Doyle CEO and Mari Cha race skipper/tactician, Mike Sanderson has been race skipper since the 1999 Sydney Hobart and before that he and Richard Meacham (Emirates Team New Zealand) crewed on Mari Cha when she broke the Trans-Atlantic record in 1998.
"This is a very special boat for me," explains Sanderson. "After a six year absence we [Mari Cha III] raced in the 2016 Palma Superyacht Cup and she had slipped well off the pace from a competitive standpoint, but you could tell the pedigree was still very much there."
"Over dinner one night, the owner Mr. Robert Miller, his long-time Captain and Project Manager of thirty plus years Jef de 'Etiveaud, current Captain Christian Lay and Volvo sailor Brad Jackson all had a discussion on how we could speed her up. It went from adding halyard locks to a new masthead to a taller mast and that's when a collaboration was put in place for Doyle Sails and Southern Spars to really modernise the Aero Package."
Upon completion in June of 2017, Mari Cha had a rig extension of 3 meters, locks and running topmasts fitted, both rigs given a full set of EC6+Rigging, new square topped main and mizzen sails, a new race blade and race gennakers. At the same time the boat's water ballast system and Hydraulics winch package had also been upgraded.
Turning 21 this year it was only fitting that Mari Cha would be able to show off her new performance upgrades at last week's Superyacht Cup.
"We worked hard on the rating, racing with just one jib and one gennaker and even though we didn’t line up with anyone before race one you could tell she was going well," explains Sanderson.
"Race one was tricky but we managed a 2nd place, Race two we had a fantastic clean race and roared out to a big win, then it came down to the last race day hoping for the fairy tale finish, but it wasn't meant to be. We had one of those days when things just don’t go your way, but as bad as it was going we were able to bounce back to only needing another ten seconds to win the race!! In the end, we were beaten on a count-back, by the very well sailed and campaigned J-Class Valsheda."
Sanderson ends on a high note, "All in all, it was a roaring success and hopefully an example to other superyacht owners that there may well be a spark in the old girl yet…there certainly is in the mighty Mari Cha III!"