The one hundred and seven-foot superyacht Green Eyes and the professional sailing team on board the VO65 Racing for the Planet walked away with line honours after two days and closely fought racing in the bay of Cascais.
The annual 2022 Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy, which took place on 9 and 10 July, in Cascais, Portugal, came to a close on Sunday evening after two days of close and intense racing. The festival of sailing was contested in picture-perfect summer conditions by eighty-five boats battling across five classes.
The regatta, which was established by the Mirpuri Foundation in 2020 to create awareness and raise funds for marine conservation, is organised in conjunction with Clube Naval de Cascais.
After a delay to the start of racing on Saturday due to light winds, sailing finally got underway at 1530 local time to cannon fire from the Navio Patrulha Oceânico Sines of the Portuguese Navy.
On board for the ceremonial start was a host of guests and dignitaries, including the Admiral Chief of Staff of the Portuguese Navy, Henrique Gouveia e Melo, who fired the start gun to commence racing on day one.
Joining him onboard was Lieutenant General Rafael Martins of the Portuguese air force, as well as Clube Naval de Cascais Commodore Miguel Horta e Costa and Mário Quina, President of the Portuguese Sailing Federation. Other dignitaries included Luís Filipe Teixeira from the Cascais Marina and Captain Paulo Gomes Agostinho from the Cascais Port.
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, NHC and SB20. The junior Optimist category, an important element of the Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy, saw an international fleet of entries race over the two days.
The competition for the Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy line honours on day one was a tightly contested duel between two giants of the fleet. The 107-foot Wally design Green Eyes, skippered by Paulo Mirpuri, and the 70-foot VO70 Green Dragon with Johannes Schwartz on the helm, fought it out from the start gun to the finish line. After two and half hours of intense racing, the VO70 crossed the finish line just forty seconds ahead of the superyacht to secure the line honours lead overnight.
Skipper of the VO70 Green Dragon, Johannes Schwartz, commented: “That was an exciting race and I certainly didn’t expect to win after our bad start. Paulo Mirpuri on the Wally was chasing us down at the end and we had to work really hard to keep him behind us”.
One of the event’s highlights for the many guests and fans watching the racing, was seeing two of the world’s fastest offshore race boats battle it out in the one-design VO65 class. The Austrian Ocean Racing Project, skippered by Gerwin Jansen, and the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team with first time skipper Jack Bouttell at the helm, were challenged by a longer course.
In a dominant performance, Volvo Ocean Race winner Jack Bouttell and the professional squad on board their Racing for the Planet VO65 crossed the line almost an hour ahead of their Austrian rivals.
The conditions on Sunday, day two of the regatta, were the polar opposite of the previous day, and a strong breeze blowing more than 20 knots at times made for dramatic and exciting racing.
In the hard-fought cruising class, the VO70 Green Dragon and the Wally design Green Eyes superyacht of Paulo Mirpuri were again locked in a duel at the head of the fleet for the coveted line honours.
In a reversal of fortunes, the gigantic superyacht managed to outperform the VO70 in the challenging conditions and crossed the finish line five minutes ahead of the smaller Green Dragon.
The cumulative time of the two races handed the line honours victory to the larger boat, and with the win, skipper Paulo Mirpuri claimed overall line honours and the right to place their name on the Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy in the NHC division. Third place in real time went to the 45 foot boat Xekmatt, skippered by Hugo Prista.
Paulo Mirpuri, Chairman of the Mirpuri Foundation and skipper of the superyacht Green Eyes said: “It was a fantastic weekend of sailing for everyone, and we are very proud to have held our third edition of this regatta. From a racing perspective, I really enjoyed our battle with Johannes Schwartz on the VO70 and I am very proud of what a great job our crew did to bring us over the line in first place.”
Continuing their rivalry in the top VO65 division, the Mirpuri Foundation Racing Team took control early on and revelled in the challenging conditions. The professional sailing team powered themselves to a second straight victory over their Austrian rivals and with the victory, claimed line honours in the VO65 class.
The Volvo Ocean Race winner Jack Bouttell said after the race: “ I have to admit, being skipper of the team for the first time, I was a little nervous, as there was a huge amount of pressure on us to win our home event. We had an intense week of training and we pushed ourselves really hard to get all our manoeuvres dialled in. I think our preparation is what set us apart and I’m very proud of everyone on this new look team.”
On corrected time, where boats are given a corrected time based on their handicap, Rational – German Kitchens, a 40 foot Grand Soleil helmed by Miguel Bunte Graça, took first place in the NHC class.
While in the ORC A division, with Hugo Prista at the helm of his IMX 45 Xekmatt, won on corrected time. Division B ORC was won by 2hot 2Handle, an IMX 38, skippered by António Tânger Corrêa.
In the smaller boat divisions, the SB20 class of one-make boats was taken by skipper Stanislav Gordienko and his crew on BTeam.
In the junior Optimist category, the large fleet of young sailors contested the competitive division. The Mirpuri Foundation regards the Optimist class as vital to the future of sailing and sponsors the Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Academy at the Clube Naval de Cascais.
The fleet of international entries, including the USA, Brazil and Finland, saw some of the closest racing of the weekend. After struggling in the strong conditions on Sunday afternoon, Manuel Plantier emerged victorious, with Juliana Borba claiming both second in the class as well as first female across the finish line. Tiago Santos claimed the final step of the Optimist podium.
The Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy was established to raise awareness and funds for ocean health projects and, during the lavish prize-giving ceremony on Sunday afternoon, the Ocean Award was awarded to Tainá Fonseca for her work titled OneHealth, which looks at the impact of pharmaceuticals on climate change.
During the prize-giving ceremony, Gonçalo Esteves, the President of the Clube Naval de Cascais said: “The Mirpuri Foundation Sailing Trophy is one of the most important events on the club’s calendar and has grown from strength to strength over the past three years. The relationship between the Mirpuri Foundation and the club has resulted in some very exciting events and projects, and the club looks forward to continuing to grow this event into one of the premium regattas of the European sailing calendar.”
Full list of results on Clube Naval de Cascais’ website.