The 21st Copa del Rey - Agua Brava sailing regatta got under way yesterday afternoon with a total 105 yachts taking part in the end. But two crews stood out from the field last night, Mean Machinein the IMS 500 class and Retevision in the IMS 600 group established themselves at the top of their respective leader board and set the standard for the rest of the regatta. But with just one 13.5 mile leg completed, competition is tough this year. Copa del Rey favourite, Banco Espírito Santo crossed the finish line just one second behind the leaders - third placed Caixa Galicia was just two seconds behind him in the IMS 500 group and there was little between the top five in the IMS 600 class - but just a few seconds are going to make all the difference this year. There is a strong royal flavour this year. Both the Infantas Cristina and Elena are competing, so too is King Juan Carlos on Bribon and Prince Felipe on board Cam. The rest of the royal family, led by Queen Sofia, watched the regatta from the launch Llamp. Amongst all the yachtsmen and women down at the Real Club Nautico is Royal Marine, Dominic Mee, who is using the regatta as part of his training for a not stop circumnavigation of the world round the North and South Poles. The English adventurer is part of the crew racing Swann 48 Assuage in the IMS 500 class. His new expedition called The Quest will be the first ever to sail round the world non stop round the two poles by yacht. The vessel to be used is called Excalibur and has been specially built for the expedition. In the 28 foot yacht, Mee hopes to complete his trip in 400 days - with no stops and all necessary stores on board. The second leg of the Copa del Rey sets sail today at 1pm with all eyes on the two leaders.
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