Layday in Copa Del Ray
PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN-By the time boats in the smaller classes in the 25th Copa Del Rey rolled in after the 92.5-mile offshore race, the crews of the bigger boats were already enjoying their late-morning, layday naps. But not all of the 110 entries (representing 17 nations) will be spending the mid-regatta break on mattresses or at the beaches.For some of the more professional classes, like the 20 Transpac 52s that are participating, layday is only a cruel synonym for a laborious workday. Weight sensitive competition means all of the offshore modifications the crews made only a day earlier must now be reversed. Offshore halyards, jack lines, life rafts, and a myriad of offshore reaching sails, all come off the boat and go back to the trailer.Not everything that went on for the distance race comes off, however. Following a month that has seen record high temperatures in Palma (July’s 24-hour average was 84 degrees) most of the fluid brought on board was consumed just to sustain some degree of hydration.The continuous heat has meant a lighter seabreeze, and there have been only three races in as many days. Competition is tight as usual in the Transpac 52 class with Siemens carrying a slim, five-point lead over the Tom Stark’s U.S. entry Rush Valle Romano. This is a surprise visit to the top of the standings for Rush, which recorded an eighth in the opening race and then a third in both portions of the offshore race. The next three spots are closer still: Peter de Ridder’s Mutua Madrilena/Mean Machine is in third with 25 points and there is a two-way tie for fourth between Christabella and Pinta, both with 26 points. Copa Del Rey serves as the fourth of six stops that comprise the TP52s’ Breitling MedCup. With Valencia so close, most of the America’s Cup gang is here on “break.”In the IMS big-boat or “open” class, the bulbous Farr 54 CAM holds a small 1-point lead over the Grand Soleil 56R Telefonica Movistar. Copa del Rey is one of the few regattas that still adheres to the dying IMS rule, and the racing is surprisingly close. In the smaller IMS 600 class, Valle Romano leads second place Icaro by four points and third place FERMAX by five. All three are Grand Soleil 42Rs; there are six other 42-foot racers in the class.A strong weather system is supposed to come through at some point in the next 24 hours, bringing heavy rain and some much needed cloud cover. Conditions for the three remaining days of the biggest regatta in the Med look breezy; don’t be surprised if there are some serious changes in the leader boards. But until then, it’s back to enjoying the beach-or boson’s chair-whichever it may be.