With a crew lineup that reads like a 'who's who' of the world's top professional sailors, the Menorca Maxi will undoubtedly be one of the season's highlights next week. A brand new venue for most of them, the crews of the nine Wallys and three J-Class yachts look forward to an exciting regatta.
Rolex Maxi World Championships 2013, day 3
If you wonder where the world's top sailors will be racing next week, look no further. The first edition of Menorca Maxi will see some of the highest caliber crew, multiple America's Cup winners, round-the-world veterans and Olympic medalists, battling it out onboard the impressive fleet of nine Wallys and three J-Class yachts.
Racing at Menorca Maxi runs from Thursday, May 22nd to Sunday, May 25th.
The schedule calls for three days of windward/leeward races and one day of coastal racing with the first warning signal at 12:30pm local time every day.
The event is an initiative of the Island Council of Menorca and is organized by Club Marítimo de Mahón, with the support of Port of Mahón, one of the Mediterranean's biggest and most beautiful ports. Being chosen by two of the world's most prestigious superyacht classes is a clear demonstration of Menorca's know-how and ability to hold world-class sailing events.
Although being a strictly owner-driven class with penalties applied if the owners aren't steering their boats, the Wallys always count among their crews some of the world's most accomplished sailors.
Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones' Magic Carpet 3 will race in Minorca without any major crew changes, with the exception of Tom Whidden who will replace Jochen Schuemann as strategist. France's top match racer Sebastien Col will again call tactics and will be joined by Marcel van Triest and Guy Salter, among others.
According to Col, 'the Menorca Maxi will certainly be a very exciting challenge for us. The Wally circuit is usually very similar from one year to another and as a result, it is with great motivation that we will race for the first time in Mahón with Magic Carpet 3. Despite the geographic vicinity, conditions are very different from Palma, with more chances to have stronger winds and bigger swell.'
Thomas Bscher's Open Season, the second Wally Cento in contention, includes in her crew Canadian double Olympic Star medalist Ross MacDonald and Frenchman Yann Gouniout, an America's Cup winner and former world match racing champion.
Kenora, the largest of the nine-strong Wally fleet, will feature a number of high-caliber Spanish crew, with Manu Weiller calling tactics, Carlos Freire as navigator and Diego Fructuoso, among others. Weiller looks forward to being back in Minorca, having raced there in his youth. He feels happy to see such important events being organized in the island and is sure racing will be close, exciting and fun.
Antonio Cacace's Magic Blue, will feature a world-class Italian crew that includes Tiziano Nava and Lars Borgstrom.
Alberto Palachi's Galma will count among her crew some of Spain's most accomplished sailors, including Nacho Postigo, David Madrazo and Ignacio Triay, whose extensive sailing experience in Minorca will certainly give them an edge. Another entry with Spanish flavor will be Sensei, where Olympic and America's Cup sailor Luis Doreste will be calling tactics.
Legendary French sailor Marc Pajot will skipper and call tactics on Tango G and will be joined by, among others, Alberto Fantini and Jean-François Cuzon.
Lionheart will see among her pro crew no less than five offshore sailors as Bouwe Bekking and four of Team Brunel's crew, Andrew Cape, Jens Dolmer, Pablo Arrarte and Louis Balcaen, join for their first serious sail on her this season. According to Bekking, the Menorca Maxi 'is a good regatta to get the machine oiled up again before all boats get together for the next event in Palma. It is a very useful break for us even when the boats are completely different. We do keep the racing skills up, especially in a class of boats that are so close in speed. '
Ranger will be helmed and skippered by Erle Williams, an America's Cup and round-the-world veteran, now in his eighth year as head of the team's racing program. The boat's standard crew will be joined for the first time by Murray Jones, the multiple-time America's Cup winner. A legend in his own right, Jones will be calling tactics.
Ken Read, one of America's most accomplished sailors, will again skipper and helm Hanuman, joined by Kevin Burnham (Olympic silver and gold medalist in the Finn class), Kelvin Harrap, Jerry Kirby and Tony Mudder, among others.