Manu Fraga: “The Copa del Rey is a sailing Grand Slam”

Manu Fraga (01-17-1973, Cariño-A Coruña) is the manager of the Real Club Náutico de Palma and director of the Copa del Rey MAPFRE. He chats with AS three days after the official start of the 41st edition of the Copa del Rey. He is excited and values ​​a regatta that will once again be the epicenter of sailing. There will be more than 100 boats of 16 nationalities and three different continents. He highlights the great economic impact in Palma de Mallorca, more than 20 million euros, he will warn that the competition will be very even: “There are many favorite teams, surely the champion will not be decided until the last day.”

It is just a few days away from the official start of the 41st Copa del Rey MAPFRE. With desire?

many. We come from a 40th edition that was very special and this 41st will be the same, or more so. In addition, this year marks the 75th anniversary of the Real Club Náutico de Palma, so we will try to create something unique again. We are, without a doubt, with renewed illusions and we will try to keep the event exceptional and to set trends. We seek to maintain an event of technical and sporting quality. We are clear that we will be the epicenter of sailing in Europe and that is that everyone who likes sailing follows the Copa del Rey MAPFRE. It’s like, in cycling, La Vuelta or the Tour. The Copa del Rey is always marked in red on the sports calendar.

Why is it a competition that engages so much?

The Copa del Rey MAPFRE has a peculiarity and that is that professional teams share space with the most modest. Also because there is a club behind it, the RCNP, which is always ready to support her, no matter what.

There are already 41 editions. How is it maintained?

With enthusiasm and desire. We also have the idea that we have to constantly evolve it, adapt to the times and not be static. You have to listen to the owners, participant and spectators. And also, of course, we have to thank the brands very much for their commitment and support. The Cup cannot be understood without the support of the sponsors. We have formed a great family and it has been possible for the Cup to have that plus that other events may not have, such as having a very powerful social agenda. In the sports field, I think that everything works very well and in the social field, too.

What do you expect from this 41st edition?

I think it will be very even. There are many favorite teams, surely the champion in any of the classes is not decided until the last day. This at the sporting level because in the social sphere, the RCNP will once again turn to activities.

What economic impact does the Copa del Rey MAPFRE have?

We measured the impact in 2018 and it was close to 20 million euros. But it is that the Cup, since that year, has grown a lot in participation, activity, teams and if it were valued now, it would be above 20 million, for sure. At the level of the Balearic Islands and media return, there is no yacht club in the world that does not know the Cup and follow it. This places the Balearic Islands in a privileged place worldwide and takes sailing and the city to an extraordinary level. The images of the Cup are spectacular and it is because we have one of the best regatta courses in the world. I have no doubt that the Copa del Rey is a sailing Grand Slam. It’s very special.

Copa del Rey MAPFRE

Let’s go sports. Are the preliminary phase and the final phase still maintained?

Yes. I think it’s something fantastic and new. They opted for this model that after the preliminary phase the score is grouped by classification (the first adds one point, the second two…) and in the final phase each test counts because there are no discards. It is true that many find it difficult to digest, but it is that everything has to evolve and with this the competition becomes more attractive. In this way, not only the most regular wins, but also the one who knows how to best withstand pressure and navigate in different conditions.

Surely there have been detractors…

there is someone The candle is very traditional in many ways and sometimes it’s hard to explain. But it is that dividing the competition into two phases arose because it often happened that on Friday we already had winners. It could not be that before a last day the winner was already known, you have to compete until the last breath. I believe that in the world of sport you cannot live on income. In this way there is a rivalry until the end and it is played with pressure. Having seen what has been seen, it has evolved and there is the fact that, despite this system, 80 percent of the final podium does not change because the good ones know how to navigate in all conditions. It is a regatta that goes from less to more, which is what we wanted and gives itself more opportunities. For example, there are teams that arrive at the Cup greener and during the competition they improve and have their chance to be on top. It has been a bit controversial, yes, but I think it’s good and you have to show that the sport is open. You have to show every day that you are worth it, that you deserve to be the winner.

Will King Felipe VI be at the helm of Aifos for another year?

At least in his agenda he has planned it. He has many commitments, but to the extent that he can, and they let him, he will sail. The King is a great athlete, he is an Olympic diploma and a great fan of the sea and competition. Let’s hope he does more than one day skippering Aifos. Also, that Aifos this year is one of the favorites in the ORC1 class.

This year, three boats (‘Corsario’, ‘Kapote tercero’ and ‘Tiro’, which were heading to Palma to compete in the Copa del Rey suffered attacks by orcas. Is this a worrying issue?

It is being a problem for navigation in general. It has happened to racing boats and others have had to go very close to the coast to avoid the attack or the game they make because they break rudders. Through the organization we have given our full support and we are very grateful for the personal effort they have made to be in the Cup. This issue of orcas must be faced as a problem when navigating through the Strait and the authorities would have to take letters in the matter inquiring and giving recommendations. Someday there may be a sunken ship and more damage than a broken rudder. It is a sensitive issue and one does not have much knowledge of why it happens.

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