The 2022 Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy got underway in spectacular fashion today in the Bay of Cascais, Portugal.

The regatta, which was established by the Mirpuri Foundation in 2020 to create awareness and raise important funds for marine conservation, is organised in conjunction with Clube Naval de Cascais.

After a delay to the start due to light winds, sailing eventually got underway at 15:35 local time to ceremonial cannon fire from the Navio Patrulha Oceânico Sines of the Portuguese Navy. On board for the ceremonial start was a host of dignitaries from the Portuguse military including the Admiral Chief of Staff, Henrique Gouveia e Melo, who fired the start gun to commence racing on day one.

An impressive fleet of eighty-five boats lined up for this year’s edition to do battle across five classes, including high-end VO65 and VO70 race boats, as well as NHC and ORC. The junior categories, always an important element of the Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy, saw an international fleet of entries in the SB20 and Optimist classes.

The battle for line honours on day 1, and the overall Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy, was a tightly contested duel between two giants of the fleet. The one hundred and seven foot Wally Green Eyes, skippered by Paulo Mirpuri, and the seventy foot VO70 skippered by Johannes Scwartz fought it out from start to finish.  In the end the smaller VO70 crossed the line a mere 40 seconds ahead of the Wally of Paulo Mirpuri to take the line honours after day 1.

The skipper of Green Dragon Johannes Schwartz commented: “That was an exciting race and I really didn’t expect to win after our bad start. Paulo on the Wally was chasing us down at the end and we had to work really hard to keep him behind us.”

And the fight for the final spot on the podium was even tighter when Rational – German Kitchens skippered by Miguel Bunte Graça and Hugo Prista onboard Xekmatt tried to outmanauvere one another right up to the line, with the forty four foot Rational securing the final spot on the podium in real time for the over night lead.

The highlight of the event for the many guests and fans watching the racing today was seeing two of the world’s fastest offshore race boats battle it out in the VO65 class: the Austrian Ocean Race Project skippered by Gerwin Jansen and the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team, with Volvo Ocean Race winner Jack Bouttell at the helm.

The pair locked horns in the VO65 class and tore away from the fleet towards the first mark here the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team had put eight minutes on their rivals.  As the breeze built into a steady 15 knot north wester, the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team sailed their Racing for the Planet VO65 into a commanding lead winning the class.

In the junior categories, the SB20 Stanislav Gordinenko leads overnight, and the Optimist class is currently led by Manuel Plantier.

Racing on day two of the Mirpuri Foundation Sailing continues on Sunday with racing scheduled to start at 12 noon.