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Standout superyachts competing at the Superyacht Cup Palma 2024

19 June 2024 • Written by Gemma Harris

The Superyacht Cup is back for its 28th edition in Palma from June 19  - 22. As Europe's longest-running regatta, this four-day event will see some of the world's most prestigious sailing yachts battling it out on the Mallorcan circuit.

Initiating the Mediterranean racing season, the event will welcome a diverse fleet of high-performance sailing yachts to the picturesque Bay of Palma. Rose, the defending champion and the first Wally to claim victory in last year's Cup, will return to defend her title. Meanwhile, joining the debutants include the brand new Calabash and many other race veterans making a comeback, like the iconic J class, Rainbow. The renowned Hoek Designs will also make their mark on the course with the duo Atalante and Vijonara.

BOAT takes a closer look at this year's competitors, beginning with Maximus, the largest of the lineup…

Maximus

Length: 59m
Builder: Vitters
Year: 2023

The ketch-rigged cruiser Maximus makes her debut this year and will be the largest yacht to attend since the 63-metre Athos in 2018. Renowned for high-performance designs, this third-largest Vitters build has German Frers to thank for design and naval architecture. Since delivery, Maximus has spent time in the Caribbean and competed in the St Barths Bucket. For upwind racing, the 80-tonne lifting keel draws 8 metres, reducing to 5 metres for manoeuvres. The twin carbon rudders aid in precision steering, keeping sailors on the best course.

Borkumriff IV

Length: 50.6m
Builder: Royal Huisman
Year: 2002

Borkumriff IV will be attending the Cup without eyes on a trophy. The 50.6-metre two-masted schooner was built in collaboration with the Dutch yard Royal Huisman, to a design by Dykstra Naval Architects and John G Alden. The modern classic features Rondal aluminium plate masts over 50 meters tall and has Rondal carbon fibre booms and gaffs. Between the two deckhouses that outline her profile, there are two open cockpits; the aft one is for steering and sail management.

Svea

Length: 43.6m
Builder: Vitters
Year: 2017

Svea is the most recent addition to the J Class ranks and took her class win at the Cup in 2022. The 43.6-metre sailing yacht was initially penned by Swedish designer Tore Holm in 1937, and her resurrection began when Vitters and Hoek Design Naval Architecture acquired the original drawings. Integrating traditional long keel design with the modern build, Svea’s aluminium hull displaces just 182 tonnes and optimises weight with 80 per cent of the interior cabinetry utilising veneered foam cores. The 53.75-metre carbon fibre main mast will also help performance, with all eyes on her as she fights for another title.

Cervo

Length: 39m
Builder: Vitters
Year: 2009

Having cruised extensively in recent years, the Bill Tripp-designed performance sloop Cervo (ex G2) is reclaiming her place among the racing elite. Another Vitters build, Cervo’s carbon composite construction keeps responsiveness up under sail. The 2018 refit at Pendennis created an open flush deck offering more cockpit space for the racing crew. Nauta Design reimagined the interiors of this pedigree superyacht, which also features atypical equal-sized staterooms. Her sailing power comes from the 48-metre carbon fibre mast by Southern Spars paired with a refined sail wardrobe from Doyle and a new in-boom furling mainsail.

Rainbow

Length: 39m
Builder: Holland Jachtbouw
Year: 2012

After a decade-long hiatus from racing, the 39-metre J Class yacht Rainbow is making her return at the Cup. A modern replica based on the legendary 1934 America’s Cup winner, Rainbow was penned by Dykstra Studios design. She was the first J fitted with hybrid propulsion and power systems. Since delivery in 2012, she has undergone an extensive refit in 2022, which includes a new deck layout and rig, new sails and winches and an engineering overhaul. Now representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron under her new round-the-world racing owner, Rainbow will be up alongside her seasoned J Class rivals Svea and Velsheda.

Atalante

Length: 38.8m
Builder: Classen Shipyard
Year: 2015

The flagship of the Hoek-designed ‘Truly Classic’ range, the 38.8-metre Atalante  built by Classen has enjoyed a long period of cruising and is now poised and ready to race again. Her classic lines, traditionally shaped twin deckhouses, and teak capping rails pay homage to the classics. Commissioned by an experienced sailor, she boasts plenty of race-ready features, such as a well-thought-out deck layout, 3Di North sails, carbon rigging and cable steering bolstered by a fully instrumented steering console set. She will compete for the first time against her sistership, Vijonara.

Vijonara

Length: 38.8m
Builder: Pendennis
Year: 2018

The 38.8-metre cutter-rigged sloop Vijonara was the second hull to emerge from Hoek Design’s ‘Truly Classic’ series. Built at Pendennis for owners with vast sailing knowledge, she boasts a bowsprit that houses a suite of downwind sails such as Code Sail and A-Symmetric Spinnaker. Vijonara came close to a win at this year’s St Barths Bucket, finishing second in her class. As a Superyacht Cup debutant, she will join other Hoek designs, such as Atalante, the first hull in the series, and Cervo.

Dark Horse

Length: 25.1m
Builder: Nautor Swan
Year: 2013

Dark Horse (ex Chessie) is making her first splash at the Cup. As a regatta regular Swan 80, she brings racing pedigree to Palma and will face competition with the slightly smaller Umiko, another yacht courtesy of the Finnish builder. The German Frers-designed yacht includes racing features such as a lightweight carbon hull and deck, high-modulus carbon spars, and a top-spec racing rig optimised for speed.

Rose

Length: 24m
Builder: Wally
Year: 2006

The 24-metre Wallycento Rose is back to defend her winning Cup title after becoming the first Wally yacht to claim victory. Rose was designed in collaboration with Wally and Mills Design for naval architecture and exterior design, while interiors were thanks to Pininfarina. Delivered in 2006, this flush-deck carbon sailing yacht boasts a 45-metre rig and a 3DL self-tacking jib for racing performance. The crew of 24 and an upwind sail plan of 640 square metres also helped facilitate her win last year.

Umiko

Length: 24m
Builder: Nautor Swan
Year: 2000

Another of Nautor Swan's 80 series competing, Umiko is making a welcome return to Palma after the last three years of participating. The ultra-fast yacht, which is one of the Superyacht Cup Palma's smaller entries, is a German Frers design. Since her launch in 2000, she has undergone various refits to keep her race-ready, including upgrades such as carbon rigging and new North 3Di sails.

Velsheda

Length: 38.5m
Builder: Camper & Nicholsons
Year: 1933

Last but by no means least is one of the regatta longest serving contenders, the 38.5-metre Velsheda. An icon among the J Class fleet, although not originally constructed for the America’s Cup like her contemporaries, she has made her mark on the regatta scene. Built by Camper & Nicholsons in 1933 from steel for W.L. Stephenson, the chairman of British retailer Woolworths, she was christened Velsheda after his three daughters Velma, Sheila and Daphne. In 1996, the yacht was purchased by Dutch fashion entrepreneur Ronald de Waal, who gave Southampton Yacht Services the job to rebuild her and restore her to racing status.

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Royal Huisman   50.57 m •  2002
Nautor Swan   25.08 m •  2013

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