26 - 30 September 2017

Oyster Regatta Palma 2017

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27th September 2017

Race Day One

A glorious start to the 40th Oyster regatta, held this year once more in Palma in association with Real Club Nautico de Palma.  In warm and settled conditions, it was clear right from the start of the day that we would be waiting for the sea breeze to kick in from the south west in contrast to the north easterly gradient wind. Bang on the predicted time of 1300 the Palma airport authorities switched the landing and take off direction 180 degrees and the south westerly gently started. Building slowly at first, by 1330 Paul Jackson, Race Officer, was confident we'd have a race and set the first start for 1400.

As per the usual format in Oyster Regattas, the yachts race in Classes, starting in smaller groups for safety reasons and to limit the number of yachts on the line together.

Race Day One, sponsored by Lewmar, started with Class 1 first, in pairs and at two minute intervals, the oldest and the youngest Oyster 82 – hulls number 1 - Bare Necessities - and number 17 – Midnight, fought hard for the line position and Bare Necessities was just a few seconds OCS. Others in Class were more cautious and steadily the fleet got under way.

This year's entrants included six Oyster 575s and the organisers decided to run a '575 Class' within Class 2, starting all six Oyster 575s together.  A great port tack flyer by Irene III at the pin end showed these 575s are in for a good week of tight competitive racing.  Class 3 followed in two starting groups of four and by 1420 all yachts had safely started.

With a steady 8-10 knots for the first leg, the Class 1 fleet started to close-up and despite the eight minutes of staggered starts, all the yachts in Class 1 all rounded the first mark with 2-3 minutes of each other - setting the scene for some good racing for the rest of the week.

The Race Officer had set a longer course for Class 1 taking them further out into the western end of the bay and Classes 2 & 3 were set to loop inside Class 1.  By 1530, after an hour and half of racing it was clear that the sea breeze had started to drop and Paul announced a course change for the smaller yachts.  Shortening the courses for Classes 2 & 3 by a few miles proved a wise decision and all yachts comfortably finished around 1700 - a great first day for the regatta.

At the prize giving, Simon Bowen from Pantaenius kindly presented prizes for those who started best – noting that everyone seemed rather cautious in Classes 2 & 3 with the best being Lady Mariposa at 16 seconds after the gun in Class 2 and Pied Piper at 19 seconds in Class 3 and Simon's great prizes started the rumblings of 'must do better tomorrow!'

With the shifty conditions there were some surprises in the results with Maegan getting stuck in a hole in the wind and ending up last in Class 1.  Great racing at the front of Class 1 however, produced some tight results.  Bacchus secured 4th in her first ever regatta, and Starry Night in 3rd was pipped by just 8 seconds by Firebird in 2nd.  A good win by Eddie Jordan and his family sailing Lush set up the challenge for the rest of the week.

WikiWiki sailed a great race in Class 2 to take 1st place, also securing the win for the 575 Class – a rewarding start for her first ever Oyster Regatta.  Similarly Orcinus in her first regatta took a well deserved 2nd place in Class 2.

It was close racing in Class 3 with Ostra taking 2nd just 2 seconds ahead of Pied Piper in 3rd, and only 40 seconds behind Sara Blue V in 1st place, again showing how this event produces some exciting results from corinthian sailing in the sunshine.

The youngest crew in the fleet were aged 2 and 3 sailing on the Oyster 55 'Shearwater' but the race committee decided that the young sailor award was determinedly won by 11 year old twins on the Oyster 575 Irene III.  Confident in their children's ability whilst finishing at ~8 knots boat speed with the asymetric drawing well, the parents and the rest of the crew hid below and Irene III crossed the line with just the twins on deck, one at the helm and the other trimming the kite – a great cheer went up and they won their special award.

Written by Oyster Yachts
Images by Martínez Studio

class 1 results - sponsored by Lewmar
yacht namemodelowner/skipperfinished
Lush885-01Eddie Jordan1
Firebird885-07Firebird Ocean Ltd2
Starry Night82-14Starry Yachts3
Bacchus885-05Richard Walker4
Satori745-01Lawrie Brice6
Bare Necessities82-01Matt Newing7=
Midnight82-17Richard Matthews7=
Maegan825-03Klaas Meertens & Marja De Pundert8
class 2 results - sponsored by Lewmar
yacht namemodelowner/skipperfinished
WikiWiki575-04Gregg Kelly1
Orcinus625-12aAlvaro Santalucia2
Lady Mariposa625-05Vladimir Baksheev3
Angels' Share575-31Nick & Alison Blazquez4
Babiana675-01Sophie Ward5
Tiger625-04SY Tiger6
Briviba575-30Kevin Jones7
Coup de Foudre575-33Julian & Moira James8
Irene III575-09Irene III9
Atalanta of London575-21Stephen Lambert10
class 3 results - sponsored by Lewmar
yacht namemodelowner/skipperfinished
Sara Blue V54-11Charles Billson1
Ostra53-23Ritchie Gatt2
Pied Piper49-12Peter Blackmore3
Iridescent54-14Andrew Fowles4
Sionna56-68Mike Kearney5
Nutcracker53-18Simon Timm6
Distraction53-50Simon Tysoe7
Shearwater55-44Charlie & Jo Bennett8

28th September 2017

Race Day Two

A wonderful day of contrasts to the racing yesterday opened up the results and positioned many more yachts within the fleet ready to win the silverware. With nine of the twenty-six yachts taking part in their first ever Oyster Regatta – in contrast to Oyster 82-14 Starry Night with 25 events already under her belt – the learning curve for some has been steep.  However, some of the new arrivals have shown very clearly that they have raced before – Gregg Kelly and his team on Oyster 575 WikiWiki – swept through the variable conditions to be the clear leader overall after the two days – leading the 575 Class, leading Class 2 and being the lowest placed points overall across all classes – a really strong performance. 

Race Officer Paul Jackson patiently kept the fleet up to date with the evolving weather conditions for nearly two hours as all waited for the sea-breeze to develop on Race Day Two, sponsored by Pelagos Yachts.  By 1300 it became clear that the aspirations to repeat the focus of racing in to the western side of Palma bay as yesterday just wasn't going to happen and that the breeze was most stable ~10 miles to the east.  Rather than make everyone track over to that side, Paul bravely called for downwind starts from the middle of the bay, with a heavily biased line.  The fleet responded well and although this meant up to six yachts starting together for a starboard beam reaching start, everyone found their space and kites flew enthusiastically as the easterly first leg matured in the building south, south-westerly breeze. 

Babiana – the first Oyster 675 ever built and now enjoying her first ever Oyster regatta – boldly elected for the rating option for using more than one off-wind sail.  Starting powerfully with her 'cruising cut' code zero, Babiana, quickly took distance from the rest of her class and with great crew work, hit the gybe mark fast, changing from code zero to full Asymmetric, she showed that she too, as a first timer for Oyster events, knew exactly what she was doing.

In contrast, the carbon rig, race sails Kiev Yacht Club based Oyster 625 Lady Mariposa, (and last years winner of Class 2) took the risk of goose-winging their 140% genoa and sailing shorter distances dead downwind and trying to play with the rating advantage allowed if not using spinnakers. 

Yesterday Lady Mariposa beat Babiana, today it was the other way round, and the needle match between these two yachts perhaps sets out what the Oyster regatta's are all about – you can be an Olympian, a Volvo sailor, a world champion in a one-design class – but come to an Oyster event, accept that some entrants have rarely raced and will happily race with a family crew, and you enter the Oyster World.

The 20 mile course for Class 1 and ~14 mile course for Classes 2 & 3, under the Oyster handicap system, generated some very close results.

In Class 3, places changed from yesterday, Pied Piper won today, with Ostra 2nd, Sara Blue V 3rd – placing these three yachts only 0.25 points apart after two races. Class 2 similarly close and in Class 1, stalwarts Oyster 82 Starry Night just grabbed the day by 14 secs from the first timers on Oyster 885 Bacchus.

As we move in to day three, its all to play for, no clear winner in Class 1 & 3 and WikiWiki Oyster 575 determined to show she's earned her lead thus far.

Bringing things firmly back to basics during the prize giving – held in the fantastic private Palau March Museum - event Chairman, David Tydeman, expressed his thanks to Willii Gohl, the well respected International Sailing Judge for calmly solving a mark rounding incident between Firebird, Lush and Meagan.

One Oyster owner today (and wanting to remain anonymous) summed it up - "I bought a cruising yacht and got the bug to spend a few weeks a year racing as an amateur in these Oyster events. I pay some professionals to help keep me safe whilst doing this and I have no idea whether to listen to their views on 'right or wrongs' - I applaud Oyster for bringing in an international judge, it helps me decide whether to listen to my race tactician!"

Day three beckons with it all to play for in all Classes. Best three of four to count, there is no obvious winner at this half way stage. 

Written by Oyster Yachts
Images by Martínez Studio

class 1 results - sponsored by Pelagos
yacht namemodelowner/skipperfinished
Starry Night82-14Starry Yachts1
Bacchus885-05Richard Walker2
Maegan825-03Klaas Meertens & Marja De Pundert4
Firebird885-07Firebird Ocean Ltd5=
Midnight82-17Richard Matthews5=
Lush885-01Eddie Jordan6
Satori745-01Lawrie Brice7
Bare Necessities82-01Matt Newing8
class 2 results - sponsored by Pelagos
yacht namemodelowner/skipperfinished
WikiWiki575-04Gregg Kelly1
Tiger625-04SY Tiger2
Babiana675-01Sophie Ward3
Orcinus625-12aAlvaro Santalucia4
Irene III575-09Irene III5
Angels' Share575-31Nick & Alison Blazquez6
Briviba575-30Kevin Jones7
Coup de Foudre575-33Julian & Moira James8
Lady Mariposa625-05Vladimir Baksheev9
Atalanta of London575-21Stephen Lambert10
class 3 results - sponsored by Pelagos
yacht namemodelowner/skipperfinished
Pied Piper49-12Peter Blackmore1
Ostra53-23Ritchie Gatt2
Sara Blue V54-11Charles Billson3
Sionna56-68Mike Kearney4
Distraction53-50Simon Tysoe5
Nutcracker53-18Simon Timm6
Shearwater55-44Charlie and Jo Bennett7
Iridescent54-14Andrew Fowles8

29th September 2017

Race Day Three

A gentle day in the sunshine

With only 5-7 knots of wind for most of the afternoon, Paul Jackson, race officer, had a big challenge on his hands to try to set a decent course for racing.  Again off in to the East of Palma Bay, the first yachts got away at 1345 starting, as always in smaller groups.  In Class 1 the competitive spirit had developed and newcomers Bacchus engaged with Maegan in a tight match racing style boat to boat start – a great spectacle for others to watch whilst waiting to start!

Ostra in Class 3 similarly showed her competitive spirit and clearly she really wanted to win the Pantaenius sponsored starting prizes – she hit the line bang on the starting gun – one second earlier and she would have been OCS!

The 3-mile beat across the bay was very shifty with the wind moving 30-40 degrees at times.  This sorted out the fleet and by the top mark, the leaders for each Class were becoming clear.

Long gentle spinnaker runs back to the Eastern side of the bay followed and although it was tough racing in the very light winds, the sun was shining, the blue sky clear and everyone was enjoying the luxury of their Oyster yachts.

Shortening courses around 1630 as the breeze started to drop away further,  the race officer breathed a sigh of relief that we'd managed to get a race completed.

Engines on and speedily back to the dock, all the competitors rushed back for the Vondeling sponsored dock-party. Anthony and Sophie Ward, owners of both the Oyster 675 Babiana and the Vondeling vineyard in South Africa – were given a great cheer of thanks by the fleet for their generous hospitality as the Batu Cada local drumming band 'brought the Mallorcan village culture to the dock' and raised the tempo.

Adding to the colourful occasion, the RCNP had set up a prize for the 'best dressed crew' on the day and with universal approval over the choice of the winners, Oyster 575 Briviba's crew stepped up to receive their award in the Penguin suits which they'd worn all day in the hot sunshine.

Raymarine kindly provided the prizes for race day 3 with Bacchus taking Class 1, WikiWiki again showing here strength in the 575s and Class 2 and Pied Piper securing Class 3.

Points are incredibly close now as we head in to the last day. With one discard allowed and best three out of four races to count, four yachts in Class 1 start the last day separated by just 0.25 of a point.  With other close results in Class 2 & 3, there is everything to play for on the last day.

Written by Oyster Yachts
Images by Martínez Studio

class 1 results - sponsored by Raymarine
yacht namemodelowner/skipperfinished
Bacchus885-05Richard Walker1
Firebird885-07Firebird Ocean Ltd2
Lush885-01Eddie Jordan3
Starry Night82-14Starry Yachts4
Midnight82-17Richard Matthews5
Satori745-01Lawrie Brice6
Maegan825-03Klaas Meertens & Marja De Pundert7
Bare Necessities82-01Matt Newing8
class 2 results - sponsored by Raymarine
yacht namemodelowner/skipperfinished
WikiWiki575-04Gregg Kelly1
Orcinus625-12aAlvaro Santalucia2
Coup de Foudre575-33Julian & Moira James3
Babiana675-01Sophie Ward4
Lady Mariposa625-05Vladimir Baksheev5
Briviba575-30Kevin Jones7
Tiger625-04SY Tiger8=
Angels' Share575-31Nick & Alison Blazquez8=
Irene III575-09Irene III9
Atalanta of London575-21Stephen Lambert10
class 3 results - sponsored by Raymarine
yacht namemodelowner/skipperfinished
Pied Piper49-12Peter Blackmore1
Iridescent54-14Andrew Fowles2
Sara Blue V54-11Charles Billson3
Ostra53-23Ritchie Gatt4
Sionna56-68Mike Kearney5
Nutcracker53-18Simon Timm6
Distraction53-50Simon Tysoe7
Shearwater55-44Charlie & Jo Bennett8

30th September 2017

Race Day Four

A celebration of a unique formula

The Palacio de Congressos in the old Spanish town of Palma proved a perfect setting for the prize giving of the 40th Oyster Regatta.  With nearly 300 owners and crew gathered together in this wonderful setting, the atmosphere for the evening event started to build as the first coaches arrived from the yacht club berths.  The fleet had enjoyed a great last days racing and were looking forward to a stylish and exciting end to the regatta. Champagne, aromatic flowers, fine canapés and gentle chatter about the results, all helped to build the expectations for a wonderful and exclusive evening. 

Who won what became – for a while – insignificant, as new friendships across the Oyster owner community developed and all shared the bond of being Oyster Owners and privileged guests and crew. 

Then the drums started, the music piped up and the competitive spirit was back – the day had been tough, difficult conditions, again fickle winds in the Palma bay. Who had managed it best, who hit the lay line too early, who did too many tacks and was the gybe at mark 2 slow or better than others? 

This wonderful formula of being able to race luxury cruising yachts, safely yet competitively, is a unique formula that is a credit to both the people who run it and to the participants.  

Thanking the fleet, the sponsors, the Real Club Nautico de Palma and the event management team, David Tydeman, Oyster CEO, commented "….it never ceases to amaze me how both the first timers at an Oyster regatta (and for many of these it's also their first time on a start line) and the experienced owners racing fully crewed up with experts on board – find a way of racing against each other in a true Corinthian style – its a great confirmation that being part of the Oyster family and enjoying the company of like minded individuals is what's important .."

Race Day Four, sponsored by Dolphin Sails had started with four yachts in Class 1 separated by just 0.25 of a point with Class 2 & 3 almost as close.  As usual there would be a discard allowed, the best 3 out of the 4 races would count and so as the fleet motored out to the starting area, it was all about this last race.

The results were close – places being decided by small separations on corrected time – less than a minute between 1st & 2nd in Class 1, less than 10 seconds between 3rd & 4th in Class 3.

Starting had been keen and the prize giving started, as usual with the Pantaenius prizes for best starts – all 26 yachts had tried hard – 4 yachts in Class 1 less than 5 seconds behind the gun.  Overall the prize for best start of the day went to Oyster 825 Maegan in Class 1 – just 1 second behind the gun.

WikiWiki voluntarily took a 20% place penalty in Class 2 for a Port & Starboard incident on the first beat letting Tiger through to take Class 2, less than a minute ahead of Lady Mariposa.

In Class 3, Ostra just sealed the day ahead of her close rival Pied Piper and similarly in Class 1, Firebird squeezed just 50 seconds ahead of Bacchus to take Class 1.

For the overall results, 5 out of 26 places were determined by count-back as yachts finished with the same number of points – a clear indication of close racing.  Pied Piper won Class 3, just ahead of Ostra, WikiWiki secured Class 2 and the 575 Class, with 2nd, 3rd and 4th in Class 2 being taken by Oyster 625s.

The evening ended with the Class 1 results for the 'battle of the 80 footers' - as Oyster CEO, David Tydeman called it – and with Firebird and Bacchus both ending up with 4.75 points. The sailing instructions were reviewed, the rules checked by Willii Gohl, the Head Judge and Firebird was declared the winner.  In her first ever regatta, Bacchus had shown her strengths and promises of 'we'll be back next year' were made as the yachts toasted each others success.

Dancing continued late in to the evening as owners and guests celebrated another very successful Oyster Regatta.

See you next year in Bermuda >>

Written by Oyster Yachts
Images by Martínez Studio

class 1 results - sponsored by Dolphin Sails
yacht namemodelowner/skipperfinished
Firebird885-07Firebird Ocean Ltd1
Bacchus885-05Richard Walker2
Starry Night82-14Starry Yachts3
Lush885-01Eddie Jordan4
Satori745-01Lawrie Brice5
Midnight82-17Richard Matthews6
Maegan825-03Klaas Meertens & Marja De Pundert7
Bare Necessities82-01Matt Newing8
class 2 results - sponsored by Dolphin Sails
yacht namemodelowner/skipperfinished
Tiger625-04SY Tiger2
WikiWiki575-04Gregg Kelly3=
Lady Mariposa625-05Vladimir Baksheev3=
Briviba575-30Kevin Jones4
Babiana675-01Sophie Ward5
Coup de Foudre575-33Julian & Moira James6
Angels' Share575-31Nick & Alison Blazquez7
Irene III575-09Irene III8
Orcinus625-12aAlvaro Santalucia9
Atalanta of London575-21Stephen Lambert10
class 3 results - sponsored by Dolphin Sails
yacht namemodelowner/skipperfinished
Ostra53-23Ritchie Gatt1
Pied Piper49-12Peter Blackmore2
Sionna56-68Mike Kearney3
Sara Blue V54-11Charles Billson4
Shearwater55-44Charlie & Jo Bennett5
Iridescent54-14Andrew Fowles6
Nutcracker53-18Simon Timm7
Distraction53-50Simon Tysoe8
class 1 overall results
yacht namemodelowner/skipperRace 1 PointsRace 2 PointsRace 3 PointsRace 4 PointsTotal PointsBest Three
Firebird885-07Firebird Ocean Ltd2.005.002.000.759.754.75
Bacchus885-05Richard Walker4.002.000.752.008.754.75
Starry Night82-14Starry Yachts3.000.754.003.0010.756.75
Lush885-01Eddie Jordan0.756.003.005.0014.758.75
Satori745-01Lawrie Brice6.007.006.004.0023.0016.00
Midnight82-17Richard Matthews7.005.005.006.0023.0016.00
Maegan825-03Klaas Meertens & Marja De Pundert8.004.007.007.0026.0018.00
Bare Necessities82-01Matt Newing7.008.008.008.0031.0023.00
class 2 overall results
yacht namemodelowner/skipperRace 1 PointsRace 2 PointsRace 3 PointsRace 4 PointsTotal PointsBest Three
WikiWiki575-04Gregg Kelly0.750.750.753.005.252.25
Orcinus625-12aAlvaro Santalucia2.004.002.009.0017.008.00
Tiger625-04SY Tiger6.002.008.002.0018.0010.00
Lady Mariposa625-05Vladimir Baksheev3.009.005.003.0020.0011.00
Babiana675-01Sophie Ward5.003.004.005.0017.0012.00
Coup de Foudre575-33Julian & Moira James9.008.003.006.0026.0017.00
Angels' Share575-31Nick & Alison Blazquez4.006.008.007.0025.0017.00
Briviba575-30Kevin Jones7.007.007.004.0025.0018.00
Irene III575-09Irene III8.005.009.008.0030.0021.00
Atalanta of London575-21Stephen Lambert11.0010.0010.0010.0041.0030.00
class 3 overall results
yacht namemodelowner/skipperRace 1 PointsRace 2 PointsRace 3 PointsRace 4 PointsTotal PointsBest Three
Pied Piper49-12Peter Blackmore3.000.750.752.006.503.50
Ostra53-23Ritchie Gatt2.002.004.000.758.754.75
Sara Blue V54-11Charles Billson0.753.003.004.0010.756.75
Iridescent54-14Andrew Fowles4.009.002.006.0021.0012.00
Sionna56-68Mike Kearney5.004.005.003.0017.0012.00
Nutcracker53-18Simon Timm6.006.006.007.0025.0018.00
Shearwater55-44Charlie & Jo Bennett9.007.008.005.0029.0020.00
Distraction53-50Simon Tysoe7.005.008.008.0028.0020.00

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