“When we started the Superyacht Cup 18 years ago, it used to be an end-of-season regatta where anyone who wanted to come along could, and it was not too professional,” Thompson explains. “With the Ibiza Rendezvous we want to go back to the roots, like the old days of the Superyacht Cup. There are a lot of superyacht events but I think that there is a real space in the market for this format. Port Cervo, the Superyacht Cup and St Barths Bucket have all become quite performance orientated; the boats are buying new sails and flying in the rockstars from the America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race. There are a lot of owners that enjoy that style of racing, but there are some boats that just want to have some fun and join in, but they feel a bit intimidated by it all now.”
This is where the concept for the Ibiza Rendezvous has emerged from, to enable those owners who enjoy fun and informal racing a chance to compete in a superyacht regatta. The organisers are keen to keep to this ethos, however, there are no rules prohibiting boats competing with professional crew. “We are not regulating it but I can see by the boats that are entering, and by the wording that we are marketing the regatta with, that we are attracting the sort of people that would not normally enter some of the other events that are a bit more professional,” Thompson explains.
Although not the main focus, another element to the Ibiza Rendezvous is that the organisers intend to include an event for motoryachts. “There is an angle for motoryachts so we didn’t want to close them out,” Thompson says, adding how this would work in theory. “Boats would be given a horsepower-to-length ratio and their finish time would be multiplied by this. We would have a course with gates in it, defined by a latitude and longitude, and they would have to motor through that line. When they go through these gates, they would have to take a picture of their latitude and longitude on their GPS. The closer they get to this line, the less time they get deducted off of their final time.”
"There are a lot a lot of superyacht events but I think that there is a real space in the market for this format."
Reflecting on the superyacht-regatta scene in general, Thompson believes that it has evolved dramatically since its origins. “They have taken it to a great level but it is a very professional level,” he comments. “They are back to the old system where you get your finish time, multiply it by your rating and see where you come and there were some owners and boats participating that didn’t get it. What it comes down to is that people have been trying to calculate accurate rating systems for centuries, and it has never been solved and never will be because it is impossible to rate such a different array of boats.”
Thompson reports that feedback from the Ibiza Rendezvous concept has been extremely encouraging so far, indicative indeed of the need for a more relaxed racing event in the superyacht calendar. The organisers hope to attract 10 yachts to participate in the October event, of which they are almost at their target, but admit that this is not their limit. “We could take 25,” adds Thompson. “We are working with Marina Ibiza, which has fantastic facilities, and they are fully behind us.”
Registries are being taken for the Ibiza Rendezvous here.