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Some big changes in fortune, along with a change in wind direction and the closest possible finish in one class, saw results in the Superyacht Cup Palma fleet set the scene for a dramatic finale after a day of frenetic activity out on the Bay of Palma.

With an initially solid north-easterly breeze supplanting the more usual sea breeze for New Zealand Race Day, the three classes were launched on their way upwind and heading towards the city itself.

Once again the majestic quartet of J Class yachts led the way, all four hitting the startline within seconds of each other in a dramatic demonstration of power and something akin to poetry in motion, their jet-black sails overlapping each other.

The white-hulled Ranger, the weather boat, was first to tack away, soon followed by Topaz. Meanwhile, Velsheda and Svea stayed on their starboard tack for what would prove to be a decisive few minutes, with the pair establishing a narrow lead at the first mark which they would hold to the finish.

A stern shot of Archelon Photo: Sailing EnergyA stern shot of the 37.5m Archelon Photo: Sailing Energy

For Velsheda the win marked a remarkable bounce back from her fourth place in the previous race. Her captain Barney Henshaw-Depledge said: "Today we managed the beats well and we managed to get around in front of Svea. It was obviously a lot more encouraging and the owner was locked in on the helm and he left very happy. As for tomorrow, well may be more of the same, and it's great to be back in the pack.”

Meanwhile, Svea's second place saw her slightly extend her lead at the top of the J Class table to two points from Velsheda, while Topaz – who finished fourth today – are tied on points with Ranger who recorded her second third place finish.

Another competitor producing a dramatic reversal of fortune was the clearly potent Wally 80 Rose. Though at 23m the smallest entry at this year's Superyacht Cup Palma, Rose took a deserved win in Class A having had to drop out of Thursday's opening race after suffering prop issues.

Tactician Jesper Radich said: “It was not easy as it was a tricky forecast, but we got round the racecourse really well and picked our shift at the end to win our class. If we do really well tomorrow we have a chance of the top spot, so we are going to give it a shot. We are a new team and the smallest yacht here, so we have a lot to learn, and fighting against the big boats is tough. We have to play it smart and stay out of their wind shadows."

46m superyacht Ganesha 46m Ganesha Photo: Sailing Energy

And in another remarkable outcome, Class B saw the race result decided by a single second on corrected time, with the 27m modern classic Savannah edging the far larger 46m Ganesha to take her second successive win

Ganesha's tactician Mark Sadler smiled and said: "To finish the day with a one second delta to the first boat is pretty fantastic. Obviously you look back and think where that one second could have been gained or lost, but it's the same for the other boat.

"We sailed well today, and Ganesha's a big boat so getting the sails up and down around the course is an achievement in itself. We have two seconds, so it's all to play for tomorrow."

Racing complete the Real Club Náutico de Palma hosted the North Sails Happy Hour and daily prize-giving on their expansive terrace. This was followed by one of the highlights of Superyacht Cup Palma, the exclusive Owners' Summer Barbecue at Mallorca's best address the St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort.

The 2022 edition of Europe's longest-running superyacht regatta comes to a conclusion on Saturday with the St. Regis Race Day, which will decide the final placings of a closely contested regatta.

Results are here

Published in Superyachts
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The entire Superyacht Cup fleet made the Bay of Palma their arena today as Europe's longest-running superyacht regatta hit its stride with another day of sparkling Mallorcan sailing conditions.

Pantaenius Race Day saw a slightly lighter breeze than Wednesday's opening races for the J Class, but the 11-strong fleet showed their mettle in a hard-fought three hours-plus coastal race, with the outcome of the three-class contests in doubt until the final legs on each course.

The four superb J Class yachts got the party started with their own fleet start. From the off decisions were split, with Velsheda making a bold call to head right while Svea, Topaz and Ranger headed up the left-hand side of the course.

On this occasion, fortune did not favour the brave, and Velsheda's course to Palmanova on the western side of the Bay of Palma did not pay off, with the other J Class contenders leading by a considerable margin at the first mark.

Meanwhile, the elegant 27m modern classic Savannah led the rest of the Superyacht Cup fleet away, the first in a series of staggered starts which soon filled the bay with a diverse cross-section of impressive superyachts.

Racing in Class B the Pedrick-designed Savannah had her work cut out to match the pace of the 46m Ganesha, the powerful Oyster 1225 Archelon and bluewater cruiser La Belle, but she made the most of her handicap rating to take the class win.

"The committee sent us on a great course, and there were some pockets of really good breeze so you had to choose your course carefully," said Savannah's owner Hugh Morrison. "Luckily we got some of those right so it was a good day."

Looking ahead to the next two days of racing he added: "There's some fantastic competition out there and some outstanding sailors on amazing machines, and they sail differently in different conditions. The conditions are expected to be stronger tomorrow so we will just try to hang on to their coattails and do the best we can."

The 32m Farr-designed carbon flyer Kiboko 3 Photo: Sailing EnergyThe 32m Farr-designed carbon flyer Kiboko 3 Photo: Sailing Energy

Class A saw a tussle for supremacy between the 32m Farr-designed carbon flyer Kiboko 3 and the similarly high-performance 33m sloop Pattoo, with both making a striking impression as they raced on a leg up the eastern side of the bay framed by the rugged coastal cliffs at Badia Gran. At the finish it was Kiboko that edged the contest.

Owner and helm Juan Entrecanales said: "We are of course happy with the result today, the conditions were good, though we made a late start we were able to keep on going."

Asked about the origin of her name – Kiboko is Swahili for hippopotamus – he added: "The boat was built in Cape Town, and I wanted to reflect her African heritage. A hippo is fast – fat yes, but fast as well, and the name sounds good."

In the J Class the leading trio were locked together around the course, with none able to make a decisive break away. Svea claimed the on the water win and was able to preserve the top spot once the handicap was applied, closing the gap at the top of the overall table to one point behind Topaz, who were runner-up. Ranger claimed third with Velsheda unable to close the gap for her first leg deficit.

Back ashore after racing SYC's host, the Real Club Náutico de Palma, turned on the style once again with the celebratory North Sails & Southern Spars happy hour on the RCNP terrace together with the prize-giving.

Racing continues on Friday with New Zealand Race Day before Saturday's concluding St. Regis Race Day – supported by SYC's Preferred Hotel Partner the St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort – completes the Superyacht Cup Palma.

Pantaenius Race Day results

Class A

  1. Kiboko Tres
  2. Pattoo
  3. Rose

Class B

  1. Savannah
  2. Ganesha
  3. Archelon

J Class

  1. Svea
  2. Topaz
  3. Ranger
Published in Superyachts
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Highly regarded international sailor, race officer and administrator Stuart Childerley will be the new Secretary of the J Class Association and is set to play a key role in delivering a bright, stable long-term future for one of sailing’s most prestigious and storied class of former America’s Cup yachts.

Double Olympian turned offshore and one-design keelboat champion racer Childerley, 56, will officially take over the role in early April but has been working in recent months over a transition period to maintain the momentum built up by popular, long serving Louise Morton who herself temporarily returned in a ‘caretaker’ role during the last two years.

In the immediate future Louise will remain in the background to support Stuart who is making an excellent recovery from serious injuries sustained in a bicycle accident last Autumn. Childerley will take the lead at the upcoming Saint Barth’s Bucket (17-20 March) where the J Class will race as a fleet for the first time since 2020 in Antigua.

Childerley represented Great Britain at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics in Seoul and Barcelona where he placed fourth both times. He is a double Etchells World Champion and competed on the Volvo Ocean Race and Admiral’s Cup as well as building tens thousands of offshore and inshore miles on many different sizes and styles of race boat.

As an International Race Officer, Stuart was a World Sailing Course Representative at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and has served as Race Officer with the GC32 foiling catamaran circuit among the dozens of major international classes and championships he has worked with all around the world. He was PRO for the J Class in Antigua in 2019.

Recent experience which fits him to the J Class role includes serving as Vice Chair of the International Etchells Association, recently playing a role in the resolution of the infamous Australian Mould 11 situation, leading a review of all Etchells rules, builder, and suppliers licensing and constitutional matters. He has been Race Director of the Fast 40+ Class Association in the UK overseeing sailing calendar coordination, regatta preparations with clubs and the owners group.

Looking ahead with the J Class, Childerley sees himself very much as a steady hand on the helm seeking to strengthen the foundations of the class, foster good communications and collaboration to achieve solid strategies for the future, to attract new owners who share the passion for the J Class proud heritage as well as the principles of fair, fun competition on the water and shared camaraderie on the dock.

He is already well acquainted with - and is a fan of - the new version of the J Class handicapping rule as drafted and managed by Chris Todter, and sees it as instrumental in providing fair, equable racing at the different, popular venues where the J Class will race in coming seasons.

Childerley enthuses: “Getting just the right balance in terms of the number and the locations of regattas will be important in coming years. We are looking to promote J Class yachts racing ensuring that our rating rule is respected whilst continuing to see close, fun racing of these beautiful yachts. I would hope that we can organise another class world championship within the next three years. In general, too little activity people lose interest and too many events people don’t commit as they also want to do their also own thing. Creating a consensus from all the different opinions, keeping the owners happy and making sure afterguards turn up at regattas with the similar expectation are all part of the role.

“Having the new rule is very exciting and having everyone reach a point where they are content with what the rule offers will be a key also,” concludes Childerley

“I think Stuart will be excellent at the job,” says Louise Morton. “He has the experience and is easy to work with. He will be good with and for the owners, the pro sailors and the boat managers and offers strong race management. During this transition period, as long as that takes, I will be in the background should he need me as a sounding board. I think the future of the class is looking bright. There is a boom in Superyacht activity and correspondingly I think we are seeing new people coming forwards who want to own and race J Class yachts.”

Peter Holmberg, America’s Cup winner and helmsman of Topaz who is a past Finn class friend and adversary welcomes Childerley to the role. “Stuart is a lovely solution for the role in our class. I have known Stuart since we were Finn sailors back in the day and I have watched him get into race management. He brings a level of professionalism that is really good for the sport, and I welcome it in our J Class. Every big organisation needs good structure and rules to stay on course and not get pushed around. I think Stuart in the right guy, and we are all looking forwards to working with him as we go forwards.”

Published in J Class Yachts
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Numerous prospective entries from both newcomers and SYC regulars have been received, joining the trio of confirmed J Class entries Topaz, Ranger and Velsheda at the June 29 to July 2 festival of sail, with a 12-15 strong fleet expected.

And as a further sign that it is all systems go for Superyacht Cup Palma 2022, SYC’s long-standing race management partner the prestigious Real Club Náutico de Palma will again provide the elegant setting for the shore base following the success of the venue last year.

“As previously announced, we have made a small change to the dates to welcome the J Class, and we are receiving a lot of early interest from across the superyacht world from both prospective new entries and returning old friends - 2022 is looking set to be a great way to start our second quarter-century,” said SYC Event Director Kate Branagh.

Among the first-timers planning to join Europe’s longest-running superyacht regatta are the 43m Vitters-built La Belle and the 38m Oyster 1225 Archelon.

Win Win, Javier Jaudenes, Baltic Yachts, 33mWin Win, Javier Jaudenes, Baltic Yachts, 33m Photo: Sailing Energy

Meanwhile, previous attendees actively planning a return include the streamlined 33m Vitters-built sloop Missy, the 34m Gilles Vaton designed Baiurdo VI - which took a podium place in Class B at last year’s event - and the ultra-competitive 108-foot Baltic built Win Win, an SYC overall winner in both 2019 and 2016.

The streamlined 33m Vitters-built sloop MissyThe streamlined 33m Vitters-built sloop Missy Photo: Sailing Energy

Superyacht Cup Palma will open with superyacht registration and the captain’s briefing on Wednesday 29 June 2022, followed by three days of racing concluding on Saturday 2 July.

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After a 2021 season which comprised only mixed fleet racing under various handicap rules, the J Class have made provisional plans to convene at three key events this season as activity and interest ramps up and key owners and teams return to the racetracks.

Now in new ownership, J5 Ranger has undergone a substantial refit and is currently in the Caribbean, set to compete for the first time since the passing in 2018 of long-time owner and J Class enthusiast John Williams.

A new crew has been hand-picked including double America’s Cup winner Ed Baird as helmsman. Together they will set out to enjoy the first-ever racing season for a newcomer owner whose first racing boat is the 2003 built, steel-hulled Ranger replica.

J8 Topaz will join the European regattas in 2022J8 Topaz will join the European regattas in 2022 Photo: Studio Borlenghi

The recent J Class AGM signalled an upturn in interest and the intention is to look to develop a longer-term racing programme for two or three years. The 2022 calendar will include Saint Barth’s Bucket (17th -20th March), Superyacht Cup Palma, Mallorca (22nd -2 5th June) and the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup (4th – 10th September).

The fleet will race under the new J Class rule, which was written, and purpose developed to best account for the features of the modern, active class boats and was first used at the last class racing event, the Antigua Superyacht Challenge in 2020.

Three J Class teams are already signed up for Saint Barth’s Bucket: JK6 Hanuman, J5 Ranger and JK7 Velsheda. All three are expected to race at the European regattas joined by J8 Topaz.

Louise Morton, acting J Class Secretary commented: “We are proceeding relatively cautiously but it is great to report that owners and their teams seem keen to go J Class racing together again and so we are responding with a series of well-known and popular regattas which are very much a dependable, known quantity where we can be guaranteed good, proactive race management, where the safety and enjoyment of our teams will always be top priority given the circumstances which have prevailed since 2020.”

Ranger has completed a major refit and has shed a significant amount of weight, including removing all equipment from the engine room and modernising much of it before reinstallation. The hydraulics have been updated to deliver a very competitive system for racing. The displacement has been reduced whilst maintaining the same righting moment.

“We did a full paint job and new teak decks as well as simplifying the deck layout. We built a new cockpit and can store life rafts below so not just mounted on deck anymore. Overall, the changes should improve the performance but to what degree we won’t really know until we line up against other boats and so we are really looking forwards to that,” explained Greg Sloat, the owner’s representative. “Not a single boat really knows this new rule and so this new cycle is going to be very interesting.”

Around two thirds of the Ranger crew mustered in Newport RI in the Autumn to do some sail and system trials and they plan to complete four days of intensive training before the Saint Barth’s event starts.

The Saint Barth’s Bucket will be the first regatta for the new owner who first saw and fell in love with Ranger at the NYYC America’s Cup World Series event in 2016 and so this will fulfil the first part of his dream.

Among the new Ranger crew will be navigator Jules Salter, Mainsail Trimmer Dirk De Ridder, tactician John Kostecki and trimmers Ross Halcrow, Warwick Fleury, Mo Gray and Jordi Calafat.

Hanuman also have some new crew and are fired up to go racing, with the team planning is to do the full season after warming up at the Antigua Superyacht Challenge. Kenny Read will sail as tactician with Gavin Brady driving, Stan Honey is navigating, Richard Clarke strategist, Chris Hosking on main trim, Tony Mutter and Phil Harmer on jib and spinnaker trim respectively, Greg Gendell on the bow, and Tom Burnham is Hanuman’s Coach.

“It is pleasing to have these plans in place and teams committing. It is great too to hear there is also still some solid activity in the J Class market with boats changing hands. So, we are hopeful that we will see other boats returning to join the racing in 2022,” concludes Morton.

Published in J Class Yachts
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The J Class will be joining the fun at Europe’s longest-running superyacht regatta in 2022.

The J Class Association and owners unanimously chose the high-profile Mallorcan festival of sail as one of three events planned for their racing season next year, and a trio of the magnificent vessels – Topaz, Ranger and 2018 SYC champion Velsheda – are already confirmed entries.

To accommodate the J Class, and after consultation with SYC’s race management partner the Real Club Náutico de Palma and a number of superyachts who had expressed an early interest in attending, the 2022 regatta will now be run from June 29 to July 2, a small move of a week from the earlier June 22-25 dates.

“It is very exciting to host the J Class again in Palma where they will no doubt provide an incredible spectacle of highly competitive fleet racing,” said SYC Event Director Kate Branagh.

The Superyacht Cup Palma is Europe’s largest and longest-running superyacht regattaThe Superyacht Cup Palma is Europe’s largest and longest-running superyacht regatta Photo: Jesus Renedo

“We carried out an extensive consultation with superyachts that had expressed an early interest in entering, along with the RCNP and the J Class, and the move of a week to June 29 – July 2 proved the best option for our participants and partners, and provided the added bonus of avoiding a clash with other Grand Prix events.”

The J Class has a long association with Superyacht Cup Palma, and most of the existing fleet have graced the Bay of Palma regatta, several on numerous occasions, with the venerable Velsheda showing her superyacht rivals a clean pair of heels to top the overall table in 2018.

J Class Secretary Louise Morton said: “Superyacht Cup Palma has built its reputation on having a unique atmosphere, close racing, excellent conditions and great event organisation from the teams at SYC and RCNP, so the decision to include it in the 2022 season was an easy one – the owners were unanimous in choosing it.”

It is also set to be a popular decision with the captains and crews, not least Velsheda. “We have raced at the Superyacht Cup many times and it is a firm favourite,” said her captain Barney Henshaw-Depledge.

“Palma has so much to offer in terms of services for yachts, good restaurants and hotels and easy logistics for a large crew. We expect flat water and with excellent sea breeze conditions in the summer we are really looking forward to the event, and of course hoping for well contested racing to obtain a good result!"

Superyacht Cup Palma will now open with superyacht registration and the captain’s briefing on Wednesday 29 June 2022, followed by three days of racing concluding on Saturday 2 July.

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The enduring, friendly rivalry between J Class duo Velsheda and Topaz resumes Tuesday 5th to Saturday 9th October at the famous Les Voiles de Saint Tropez regatta in the south of France. The crew of the Frank C. Paine designed, 2015 launched Topaz are seeking a measure of revenge after being beaten last month by a dominant Velsheda crew at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Porto Cervo, Sardinia.

Racing for the J Class yachts at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez is under IRC handicap in a six-boat IRC 2 division up against such diverse designs as the Swan 82 Kallima, the 32.9m Wally Green Eyes, the 33.83m Dubois designed Silvertip and the Swan 80 Umiko. In 2019 Velsheda won the class, but Topaz was absent after a technical issue that surfaced in Porto Cervo curtailed their season.

As usual, the courses at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez are all coastal routes chosen from 10 different options, distances being between 20 and 40 miles. They are always a test of accurate navigation, anticipating the many transition zones and wind shifts around the bays and headlands and very much an acquired taste compared to windward-leeward racing.

Ronald de Waal's heavily campaigned J Velsheda.Ronald de Waal's heavily campaigned J Velsheda. Photo: IMA / Studio Borlenghi

But the magnetic appeal of the Saint Tropez regatta is being part of a huge festival of sail, where this second week the J’s will have pride of place alongside the quay in the historic Saint Tropez harbour.
“It is always close between these two magnificent boats and great racing. We won one race against them in Porto Cervo which was nice but here, again, they have a small advantage under IRC. It is nice to win one every now and then. It will be hard for us, but we will give them a good run,” says Topaz’s Timmy Kroger.

“On board both boats we have a similar set up with the same crew for – in our case – five years. They are missing a few Kiwis who cannot travel, but on both boats it is like a family and it is always great to get together and race each other.”

Francesco d’Angelis is again sailing on Topaz as tactician. “He fits into our set up very well, very smoothly. His style of operation as a tactician is perfect for us and his level of experience second to none,” reflects Kroger.

“One of the big challenges at Saint Tropez is other boats, there are so many and so you always have to be on your toes and looking out. You have to be switched on all the time to race here. But the wonderful thing here is about being part of this huge festival of sailing and now being in the old port on the dock is really special.”

Velsheda’s winning crew from Porto Cervo remains largely unchanged with several Europeans drafted in for New Zealanders who cannot travel.

Jules Salter, the English navigator who is a past Volvo Ocean Race winner and TP52 World Champion, is looking forwards to sailing on Velsheda again.

“We had a little advantage in Porto Cervo but it was always close, there was never any let up. You would get a little bit ahead and then look back and it seemed like they were coming back at us all the time. The racing was just fantastic. Without doubt, it is some of the most enjoyable racing I have done and I imagine it will be the same in Saint Tropez,” commented Salter, who recalls sailing on the 1933 designed Velsheda as a 15-year-old on the Solent. “To be honest I cannot remember too much about it other than the size and power of these boats which is unlike anything else I have sailed in the last 30 or so years.”

With the news that the refitted Ranger was doing sea trials and some crew training a couple of weeks ago off Newport RI with a team, there are high hopes that next year will see a return to stand-alone J Class racing under the new, purpose-developed J Class handicap rule.

“We are looking forwards to that. It is a little frustrating to have this great rule developed and sitting on the shelf, so hopefully we will have some more boats coming out racing soon,” concludes Topaz’s Kroger.

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The skipper of a 40-metre J class yacht describes the damage following a collision between rivals Topaz and Svea. Peter Holmberg, the skipper onboard Topaz relayed the incident which occurred shortly before the first race on March 12: "As we were approaching the start line approximately one minute 40 seconds before the start, Svea was on a collision course with Topaz. Despite a last-minute turn to bear away, Svea collided with the port side of Topaz at the runner winch and caused serious damage to the boat."

He continued: "Topaz luffed to avoid when it was clear Svea was not keeping clear, but Svea failed to keep clear as a port tack boat and broke racing rules 10 and 14. It was not reasonably possible for Topaz to avoid the collision, which was witnessed by two umpires, in two separate umpire boats."

Both yachts presented the jury with a damage assessment which included the following details: On Topaz the port runner winch was torn off, the boom was broken, both running backstays, mainsheet, and the backstay broke under the load. The port gunwale was damaged from the runner winch to the stern. The mast was put under extreme load from the impact and will need further inspection. On Svea, skippered by Charles Ogletree, the forward underbody was badly damaged.

Published in Historic Boats
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#AmericasCup - Second place in a dramatic, high-stakes final race was enough to clinch victory for Lionheart in the inaugural America’s Cup J Class Regatta in Bermuda yesterday (Tuesday 20 June).

Fresh off their win in last week’s Superyacht Regatta, the Dutch yacht’s crew — whose longtime tactician is Volvo Ocean Race veteran Bouwe Bekking — add their prize 3D relief map of Bermuda handmade by Latitude Kinsale to a string of major titles since 2014.

Lionheart went into the final with a slim single-point lead, jockeying for position with title rivals Hanuman from the off after a flat start.

But when that yacht was penalised for breaking race rules on approach to the last buoy, Lionheart pounced — extending their series lead to three points as they kept Hanuman behind and overtook Topaz to finish just behind race winners Velsheda, whose own result put them in second overall.

“As soon as Bermuda was announced, we just said that’s the one we’d like to win,” said Bekking after the final. “As always, I think you have to have an aim. You have to have a goal as a team.

“Every regatta you win is a nice one but here this is the one, with the America’s Cup going on and a record fleet of seven J Class yachts, it has been magic.”

Published in America's Cup
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#AmericasCup - Three crews enjoyed race victories on the first day of the inaugural America’s Cup J Class Regatta on Monday (19 June).

Hanuman and Ranger top the seven-boat fleet with Lionheart, the top performer among the class in last week’s Superyacht Regatta, only one point adrift, while Velsheda also claim a victory in the day’s second race.

Originally scheduled for last Friday (16 June) but postponed due to light winds, the J Class Regatta finally got underway on the occasion of Bermuda’s National Heroes Day with three close races on Murray’s Anchorage off the island’s north-east – with all crews' eyes on the prizes commissioned from 3D relief map specialists Latitide Kinsale.

Lionheart set the pace with a win in the first race, pouncing on the fleet leaders Hanuman after they missed their final gybe. They would score a third place in races two and three, the latter a tremendous effort after a premature start lost them valuable time.

Racing was set to conclude with two windward-leeward races today (Tuesday 20 June), with a reduced fleet after a rig failure on Svea — results to come.

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