Leaders consolidate with windy final day to go

  • 01 September, 2023

Mariska has three wins in three days and tomorrow will win its first victory in the Copa del Rey Repsol de Barcos de Epoca. Maximum excitement in the Spirit of Tradition class, with Lohengrin and Happy Forever separated by one point. Argos is on course for its seventh victory in Classics. Comet leads in the Bermudian Vintage class and Spartan does the same in Gaff Vintage

The south-easterly wind accompanied the fleet of the XIX Copa del Rey Repsol de Barcos de Época for the second consecutive day and allowed the regatta programme to be completed, with just one day to go until the end of the competition. The sky dawned clear and remained so throughout the day, in which the options of the favourites also became clear. There was no change of leaders in any of the classes and there were no major movements on the podiums either, although the course had nothing to do with those of the two previous races. All the classes sailed a 14 nautical mile course along the north coast of Menorca, starting at the mouth of the natural harbour of Mahón and finishing inside the harbour, a moment that brings the plasticity of sailing and classic boats to the public. Very few regattas in the world allow you to watch the final stages from land, and none of them are set against the backdrop of the fortress of La Mola and the Illa del Rei.

Mariska (Big Boats), Spartan (Gaff Vintage), Comet (Bermudian Vintage), Argos (Classics) and Lohengrin (Spirit of Tradition) will face the final race at the top of their respective general rankings. The weather forecast again announces Xaloc wind for tomorrow, but with an important difference: gusts could exceed 25 knots. It is to be expected that, with these conditions, the Race Committee will once again opt for a course on the northern coast of Mahón, better protected from the southerly wind and, above all, from the strong swell that could form.


The Mariska (1908) is not only, with its 27 metres in length and its majestic gaff rig, one of the most spectacular vintage boats in the world; it is also one of the most competitive. She was born to win races 115 years ago and tomorrow she will lift her first Copa del Rey Repsol. Her performance leaves no place for doubt: three races, three victories. Neither Hallowe'en (1926), with which it shares the honour of having been designed by William Fife III, nor Viveka (1929), last year's winner, have been rivals for this yacht conceived to compete among equals under the FI15M formula but capable of being at the highest level in the Gaff Vintage or Big Boats classes, as has happened in Mahón.   


There were no surprises in the Gaff Vintage class, where the American Spartan (1913) took the victory and retained the first place already achieved on the first day. The boat skippered by Aladin Montel, a Nathael Herreshoff design, is making the most of its greater length and sail area, and is sailing well clear of its two main rivals, Viola (1908), which was second today, and Chinook (1916), provisional bronze. It is enough for the American yacht not to make any mistakes to secure what would be its third victory in the Copa del Rey Repsol, after those obtained in 2016 (in the Big Boats class) and in 2022.


The British Comet (1946), skippered by Marc Marciano, leads the Bermudian Vintage class classification with four points and is two points ahead of the Uruguayan FJord III (1947), owned by Pablo Desponti, who today did a great race and won the partial, relegating the Sonata (1937) to third place. The leader, a Sparkman & Stephens design built by Henry Greve's shipyard, has enough advantage to win his first Copa del Rey Repsol if he is able to control his two rivals tomorrow. 


The Argos, of the American owner Barbara Trilling, skippered by Eduardo Méndez, set course for what will in all likelihood be its seventh victory in the Copa del Rey Repsol. No boat in the Classics category has won so many times in the regatta organised by the Club Marítimo de Mahón. And it doesn't look easy for them to do so in the immediate future. Trilling and his team, made up mostly of national sailors, have won every edition since 2015, with the exception of 2017, when a sailboat called Ardi introduced an unexpected twist in the script. The defence that this Hollman & Pie built in the Carabela shipyard in 1964 makes of its ratting, together with the magnificent work of its crew, makes it, today, an almost unbeatable sailboat. Saint Cristopher (Olin Stephens, 1966), second, two points behind Argos, will try to make a surprise tomorrow, while Don Quijote (Germán Frers, 1963) will start from third place, with the podium practically assured.


Equality has been the keynote in the Spirit of Tradition class from the first board. The composition of the podium will have to wait for tomorrow's final round, where Puma 34 Lohengrin (1974), skippered by Jordi del Tarré, and Spirit Happy Forever (built in 2008 with classic lines), skippered by Christian Oldendorff, are separated by one point. Both have won one of the three races sailed since last Wednesday and have experienced crews with the ability to tip the balance in their favour. The two big surprises of this edition have been the fall of Calima from the podium positions (after winning the Cup a dozen times) and the emergence of a recently restored boat, Celeste di Mare (Sparkman & Stephens, 1971), third in the provisional general rankings, with a six-point lead over its immediate pursuer.

The start of the last regatta of the Copa del Rey Repsol de Barcos de Epoca is scheduled for 12.30 tomorrow, Saturday. The trophy ceremony will take place at 19.00 hours on the terrace of the Club Marítimo de Mahón in the presence of the main island authorities.


Dan Pojska, skipper Mariska: "Today was a lucky day for us. There was less wind. Mariska shows its teeth from 13.14 knots. We managed to get ahead, even though our start wasn't perfect, we overtook Viveka on the final leg and managed to keep the distance. Viveka are great sailors, but the conditions favoured us this time and we did a perfect race with no mistakes in the manoeuvres. We had a bit of luck, but of course not everything is luck, of course. It was our first time in Mahón. It is really beautiful. The finish in the harbour is absolutely spectacular and we were lucky with the weather considering the bad weather we had the previous days".

Matías Gil, sailing master and crew member on Argos: "Today was a very tactical race with a lot of manoeuvring, the best so far in the competition. Today it was all about finding the onshore wind. The classic regattas in Mahón are the best in Spain, both for the environment and the organisation. We are working with a crew that mixes veterans and new additions and it is working very well, with very good coordination".

Club Marítimo de Mahón
Consell Insular Menorca
Ajuntament de Mahón
APB Mahón
Real Federación Española de Vela
Federación Balear de Vela
Asociación Española de Barcos de Época y Clásicos (AEBEC)
Trofeo Mare Nostrum
The Mediterranean Champions Cup
Collaborating companies
La Menorquina
Aqua Group
Coca Cola
Gipsy Gin
Barba Rossa
Gin Xoriguer
Queso Mahón
Menorca on Wheels
Menorca Mar & Charter