For a regatta that is just beginning to gear up for only its third incarnation, Ibiza JoySail has very clearly already claimed its place in the international sailing scene. From a modest beginning in 2021 which attracted five superyachts to the late season festival of sail, last year saw the fleet almost triple in size with 13 entries signing-up for the Balearic sailing event organised by STP Shipyard Palma and Marina Ibiza.
Expectations for a further step forward in the evolution of Ibiza JoySail – which will this year be held from 28 September to 1 October – have been heightened by the early disclosure that the awe-inspiring J Class yachts will be joining the party alongside a strong contingent of returnees from 2022 and some new entries as well. "It is early days of course, but we have had significant interest from almost all of the boats who participated last year and who want to do it again, which is a great tribute to Ibiza JoySail," said Regatta Director Nacho Postigo.
An invitational regatta
Due to the success of the 2022 edition, in part thanks to the 2022 participants and their enthusiasm, Ibiza JoySail is already receiving many requests to join the fleet in 2023. This is why, in order to maintain the essence, quality and spirit of this event as it has been so far, the organization has decided to limit the maximum number of participating boats. You can find the rules and confitions in the NOR published on the website www.ibizajoysail.com
A strong fleet
Among those returning is the defending champion in the Perpetual Trophy and Performance Class, the Swan 115 Moat, no doubt eager to resume her tussle with the SW-RP90 Allsmoke or compete with her twin Swan 115 Jasi, that will join the fleet.
Speaking with Moat’s owner Juan Ball about last year after securing a second successive victory, and looking ahead to 2023, he stated: "We knew that it was going to be difficult and that every error counts. That's why we are so happy to have won. But next year we start from zero all over again." He also highlighted other appealing aspects of Ibiza JoySail: "The social aspect is a lot of fun. Ibiza is very suitable for having a good time. I know Marina Ibiza very well and the service is exceptional. In STP they were also very helpful."
Speaking at the 2022 gathering Moat's captain Diego Stefani said, somewhat prophetically: "If we compare it with the event last year, we already have three times the number of boats. With the higher level of boats and crews I believe this regatta has the potential to become one of the most important regattas in the Mediterranean."
On the other hand, All Smoke’s captain, Jürgen Feller, explained that “last year we joined the regatta thinking only of competing, however, when we saw the atmosphere there and how much fun it was in the water and also on land, our perception changed and this year we don't want to miss it. We are happy to compete but we also want to end the season enjoying the regatta, its events and the friends we made there last year.”
The returning competitors Swan 80s Dark Horse and Sapma, as well as the YD120 Bliss and Frers 155 Hyperion have also confirmed participation. Moreover, first-timers such as Prevail, a Y Yacht 90, Aurelius, a Dykstra 111 and the SW94 Aragon will also join the fleet.
The grace of the J Class
The participation of the J Class has now been made official, and today we can confirm that of Svea, Topaz and Lionheart although others will surely join the Ibiza Joysail regatta. This no doubt rises anticipation of the largely Ibiza-based regatta to new heights. "We are super-excited to be going to Ibiza JoySail and we are really looking forward to racing against the other Js," said Lionheart's captain Toby Brand. "It's always great to be racing with them, and the event is the kind where the owner can race with family and friends alongside the core crew. We know Ibiza and Formentera well and we have been there many times in cruising mode, and it has never failed to deliver.” Adding “we consider STP to be part of the Lionheart family. We have been there for years, and they always look after us extremely well, especially the office team there – we are big fans."
The appeal of Ibiza JoySail was echoed by Topaz's Project Manager Tim Kröger, who said: "First of all it is a good chance to race against our J-Class compatriots, and secondly it’s the challenge to participate in a fairly new event in a new area and attractive race waters. As a team we are looking forward to well organized races and a tempting venue promising good sport. We followed last year’s event which looked like a great success. When Topaz is in Mallorca, she is moored at STP and yes, since we know STP well, we believe that the available expertise helps."
And does he think Topaz can win the J Class? "The competition on the racecourse is tough! With our rating system the outcome is hard to predict. We do race on a level playing field – it is wide open and every boat in the class has the chance to win, that is part of the magic of J Class racing. So, stay tuned for some excitement," added Kröger.
It is clear that the presence of the J Yachts represents an unambiguous nod of approval from one of the highest profile superyachts sailing groups and follows a visit to the 2022 event by their new class secretary Stuart Childerley. The world champion sailor and international race officer was clearly impressed by the excellent facilities and widespread expertise on offer at both STP Palma and Marina Ibiza.
"It was the passion of the management team- explains Childerley, -they clearly showed, one, they have got a very competent team and, two, they are extremely passionate about the event, which is great. They also have the right people that would make the most out of the venue in terms of sailing conditions.
Ibiza is a fantastic place to go with a good reputation. As much as we go to events just for the sailing it's good if there's some nice things to do ashore as well. So why not try something new once in a while? It very much fits in with the rest of the season.
What is also good is that the onshore facilities – and they are new in Ibiza – are right next to the boats, so once all the cleaning is done the owners and crews can just step ashore and have some social time, and that is just such an important aspect to the event. It can be lost at some events with the boats dotted around, and that is one of the things that makes Ibiza JoySail special as it is all just there."
The Mallorca-Ibiza Perpetual Trophy
With all to play for – and the new players no doubt out to make their mark at Ibiza JoySail – racers can look forward to Thursday 28 September and the start of the Mallorca to Ibiza Race, the 48 Nm challenge between the islands that kicks the regatta off in style. It is also the first opportunity to win some silverware, with the Mallorca-Ibiza Perpetual Trophy on offer to the yachts setting the elapsed time record between the lighthouses at Punta Cala Figuera on Mallorca and Tagomago Island off Ibiza. In last year’s edition, Swan 115 Moat was the champion in the Perpetual Trophy and this year will try to defend it.
Racing with new technologies
Keen not to rest on their laurels, Ibiza JoySail organisers have introduced an interesting change to the format of the opening race. Nacho Postigo explains: "I always say the regatta is called Ibiza JoySail for a reason, it is not about having a hard time, so we will be using a new technology for the long race between Mallorca and Ibiza. We will use robotic racing marks for that, so if the conditions in the Bay of Palma are too light to start – and it was marginal for a time last year – the race committee will hoist the 'follow me' flag and start motoring towards Ibiza. If the wind gets up in the channel, as it did in 2022, then we will set a start line with the robotic marks and go racing. The race committee could also shorten the course in the same way. The important thing is that the owners and crews have a good time, and it is not a struggle.” concludes the event Director.
Ibiza Joysail has become a benchmark to be considered in the international regatta calendar since, due to its open and family&friends format, and being held at the end of summer, it is an attractive experience for closing the season and many regatta regulars no longer want to miss it.