Billionaire Bucket List: Everyone Wins When Superyacht Owners Gather To Party And Race In the Mediterranean

The classic J/Class yachts battle for bragging rights and the Superyacht Cup in Palma.

The classic J/Class yachts battle for bragging rights and the Superyacht Cup in Palma.

Sailing Energy / SYC

The international collection of yacht owners that can manage the sheer size and stratospheric costs of a large sailing yacht forms quite an exclusive club. But, only a special breed of billionaire has the desire, drive, (and most importantly, the budget), to race in the handful of superyacht regattas that take place every the Mediterranean and Caribbean every year.

And 14 of those special owners raced yachts ranging from stunning 170-foot-long schooner Meteor, historic J Class yachts, to the comparatively “small” 82-foot-long Nautor Swan classic Stay Calm were in Palma, Mallorca last weekend. They were there to compete in the long-running Superyacht Cup Palma. But as any owner or racer will tell you, they were there to attend the long list of parties and luxury shoreside events took place too.

It’s no wonder to see why The Superyacht Cup Palma is one of Europe’s most exclusively inclusive yachting events of the year, and it comes as no surprise that two previous (and diverse) winners—the 1933 J Class yacht Velsheda and the lightweight Baltic Yachts carbon flyer Win Win—returned to defend their previous titles as well.

As Event Director Kate Branagh points out, it’s a tribute to the effectiveness of the handicapping produced by the Offshore Racing Congress Superyacht Rule (ORCsy) that racing is so close and competitive.

“The Superyacht Cup Palma has always been at heart a celebration of sailing, old yachts and new, traditional and modern, and ORCsy has been brilliant at bringing the racing alive for everyone involved,” said Branagh.

“While it is an exclusive event for the owners taking part, out on the race course it is absolutely inclusive and, in a word, fun.”

And she added: “The ultra-modern high-performance flyers, and we have a few of them this year, are all in with a chance. But so are the more traditional, elegant designs – they will be out there, strutting their stuff and showing their speed.”

Out on the race course Win Wintopped Nilaya and Open Season in Class A. Meanwhile two majestic J-Class yachts in Class B slugged it out in style where the crew of Topazwas able to turn the tables on their arch-rivals aboard Velsheda.

The “friendly” competition between the race crews continued  with the Marinepool Paddle Board Challenge on the water in front of a packed SYC Race Village. Then a more “formal” celebration took place when owners and their guests donned jackets cocktail dresses for the Owners Dinner at the St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort.

The appeal of The Superyacht Cup is so strong, even crews that know they probably won’t win the Cup simply enjoy taking part. Take owners of the Dutch modern classic Tulipfor instance. They’re taking part in her fourth SYC, and speaking before the final day of racing, co-owner Alicia van Vissengen said: “It’s absolutely fantastic. We know we are not going to be in the one or two but it doesn’t matter as we are enjoying ourselves so much – that’s what it is all about, it is really, really fun. Good vibes, lovely people, good organization, great company, wonderful weather, Palma is fantastic – what more do you want?”

But in the end, Rom Loopik, skipper of the victorious J Class Topaz summed it up best. “It was super fun and it’s always really close, he said after the final race. “Today was a great day and we worked really hard, and it all paid off – it made the owner smile, which is the name of the game.”

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The international collection of yacht owners that can manage the sheer size and stratospheric costs of a large sailing yacht forms quite an exclusive club. But, only a special breed of billionaire has the desire, drive, (and most importantly, the budget), to race in the handful of superyacht regattas that take place every the Mediterranean and Caribbean every year.

And 14 of those special owners raced yachts ranging from stunning 170-foot-long schooner Meteor, historic J Class yachts, to the comparatively “small” 82-foot-long Nautor Swan classic Stay Calm were in Palma, Mallorca last weekend. They were there to compete in the long-running Superyacht Cup Palma. But as any owner or racer will tell you, they were there to attend the long list of parties and luxury shoreside events took place too.

It’s no wonder to see why The Superyacht Cup Palma is one of Europe’s most exclusively inclusive yachting events of the year, and it comes as no surprise that two previous (and diverse) winners—the 1933 J Class yacht Velsheda and the lightweight Baltic Yachts carbon flyer Win Win—returned to defend their previous titles as well.

As Event Director Kate Branagh points out, it’s a tribute to the effectiveness of the handicapping produced by the Offshore Racing Congress Superyacht Rule (ORCsy) that racing is so close and competitive.

“The Superyacht Cup Palma has always been at heart a celebration of sailing, old yachts and new, traditional and modern, and ORCsy has been brilliant at bringing the racing alive for everyone involved,” said Branagh.

“While it is an exclusive event for the owners taking part, out on the race course it is absolutely inclusive and, in a word, fun.”

And she added: “The ultra-modern high-performance flyers, and we have a few of them this year, are all in with a chance. But so are the more traditional, elegant designs – they will be out there, strutting their stuff and showing their speed.”

Out on the race course Win Wintopped Nilaya and Open Season in Class A. Meanwhile two majestic J-Class yachts in Class B slugged it out in style where the crew of Topazwas able to turn the tables on their arch-rivals aboard Velsheda.

The “friendly” competition between the race crews continued  with the Marinepool Paddle Board Challenge on the water in front of a packed SYC Race Village. Then a more “formal” celebration took place when owners and their guests donned jackets cocktail dresses for the Owners Dinner at the St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort.

The appeal of The Superyacht Cup is so strong, even crews that know they probably won’t win the Cup simply enjoy taking part. Take owners of the Dutch modern classic Tulipfor instance. They’re taking part in her fourth SYC, and speaking before the final day of racing, co-owner Alicia van Vissengen said: “It’s absolutely fantastic. We know we are not going to be in the one or two but it doesn’t matter as we are enjoying ourselves so much – that’s what it is all about, it is really, really fun. Good vibes, lovely people, good organization, great company, wonderful weather, Palma is fantastic – what more do you want?”

But in the end, Rom Loopik, skipper of the victorious J Class Topaz summed it up best. “It was super fun and it’s always really close, he said after the final race. “Today was a great day and we worked really hard, and it all paid off – it made the owner smile, which is the name of the game.”

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During my previous life as an editor at several American yachting magazines, I was lucky enough to sail thousands of offshore miles on a wide variety of boats. My job a

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