Founded in 1996, The Superyacht Cup Palma is the longest running superyacht regatta in Europe and attracts prestigious participants to the Spanish island town of Palma de Mallorca. Dens 25th anniversary takes place this month – from June 23rdrd to 26th.
Historically, the event has been known as a social powerhouse as much as for competition. Canceled last year due to the pandemic, it roars back into action this summer – though with health protocols in place. The event also moves to the Real Club Náutico de Palma, in the city.
Superyachts are considered longer than 78 meters long, professionally manned and do not lack luxury.
Owner and event director, Kate Branagh, explained why the event is unique.
‘The mix of people and the diversity of their yachts makes the Superyacht Cup Palma what it is today.
‘The biggest reward is getting together from friends who might only see each other once a year at our event. It sometimes feels a bit of a reunion with people gathered from all over the world. This is what gives the event its unique spirit.
‘The event takes a year to organize. So since we did not know what was going on due to covid and what the requirements would be, it made the planning extremely difficult. In 2021, we decided early on to focus on the important aspect of racing, knowing that we needed to adapt our usual social program to comply with the restrictions. This year has been more complicated than usual, but we found a good and safe compromise for what we can do under the circumstances and people will really get out and run again.
There are 10 participants this year. In recent years – where mobility was not a global problem – the cup often contained dozens of yachts.
‘2007 stands out because it was the most extraordinary event with 52 boats when the America’s Cup was in Valencia – such figures had never been achieved before. It really was a varied selection of boats from 24 meters to 70 meters [229+ feet]- so quite a challenge.
‘People come to the race. Superyachts may cover many thousands of miles, but they do not often sail in company. It is such a unique experience to be out there with other boats running on the same course.
‘I got involved when I first moved to Mallorca in 1999/2000, when I was just sailing around the world a couple of times and working on superyachts. Before that, I had worked for the Whitbread Round The World Race, so I had some experiences worldwide. In 2013, I took over as owner and event director and created Aquamarine events to take it forward. No regrets!
‘Continuity sets it apart from other superyacht events. It has become a very large group of eternal participants. About a third are regular participants, about a third are those who have completed the event several times but not the year before, and a third are new. We have been following this pattern most years.
‘It’s a very informal and fun environment; owners and crew enter the village regatta, relaxed after a lovely day of sailing on Palma Bay, still in sailing gear and happy to exchange stories. Apart from the owners’ dinner, we do not have strict dress codes and we do not take people out of the place. We want to keep people together – it’s simple and relaxed. This atmosphere has been a very successful part of the event.
‘If you’re a boat arriving from the Atlantic, the United States or the Caribbean through the Strait of Gibraltar, Palma is on its way to everywhere. It has benefited from being a safe haven, and over the years, the infrastructure has evolved. People have invested in equipment and training, so it has become a special center for the superyacht industry – both engine and sail. ‘
Yachts this year include, for example, the 46-meter-long Scorpione. Built by Baltic Yachts in Finland, it includes four cabins that can accommodate eight guests and reach a top speed of 14 knots.
Racing begins on June 24th.