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International Maxi Association set to expand under new President

by International Maxi Association 24 Sep 2018 12:42 PDT
New International Maxi Association President, Benoît de Froidmont © Ingrid Abery /

Following its Annual General Meeting held during this month's Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, the International Maxi Association, the World Sailing-recognised body that oversees maxi yacht racing globally, has announced its prize winners, voted in a new President and published its 2019 race program.

Taking over as President from Thomas Bscher, owner of the Wallycento 107 Open Season, is Benoît de Froidmont, who campaigns the Farr-designed Wally 60 Wallyño. The Geneva-based Luxembourger will serve for a three year term in office.

"I am very excited by this new challenge," said de Froidmont. "We have a lot of things to do, but we have the full support to do them from Rolex, the long term partner of the Maxi circuit. Our aim is to encourage more maxi owners to come and race their boats, plus we want to make owners who already racing, more happy. They expect a lot from their Association. We are trying to understand their needs and respond to that."

Over the last few years, under the Presidency of Thomas Bscher and on-going Secretary General Andrew McIrvine, the International Maxi Association has already expanded its operations considerably.

The J Class has become affiliated to the Association and thanks to this was permitted by World Sailing to hold its first ever World Championship last year in Newport, RI. Other classes of maxi boat (ie of 60+ft LOA) are expect to join forces with the International Maxi Association similarly in the near future.

In the Mini Maxis, the International Maxi Association has separated out the Maxi 72s into their own grand prix class, which compete for their own World Championship annually during the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. This has left the Mini Maxi class exclusively for more popular cruiser-racers, encompassing everything from 1970s Swan 65 ketches to their lightweight, high volume modern day equivalents such as the larger Mylius models, and Roberto Lacorte's Vismara Mills 62 RC SuperNikka.

This period has seen the launch of the Association's Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge that in 2017 expanded to five events starting with the Rolex Middle Sea Race, then taking in the Regata dei Tre Golfi, 151 Miglia-Trofeo Cetilar, Rolex Giraglia (offshore race) and the Palermo-Montecarlo. Winner of the Challenge is the boat posting the top results across three of these five events.

At the International Maxi Association's exclusive annual members dinner at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda during the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, winner of the 2017-18 Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge was announced as Carlo Puri Negri and his well campaigned Farr 70 Atalanta II.

Highlight of Puri Negri's season was August's Palermo-Montecarlo. "After 250 miles we arrived [at the turning mark off Porto Cervo] first overall under IRC, ahead of even Rambler and Lucky which was very difficult! Apart from one and a half hours, it was all upwind except of 90 degrees with Code 0 and the staysail, conditions in which we can do well."

George Sakellaris' Maxi 72 Proteus was announced IMA Yacht of the Year for 2017, as decided upon by the International Maxi Association main committee.

The International Maxi Association calendar has been published for 2019 and is set to include:

Sail Racing PalmaVela, Palma, Majorca – 8-12 May
Regata dei Tre Golfi* - 10 May
Rolex Capri Sailing Week - 14-18 May
151 Miglia - Trofeo Cetilar* - 30 May - 1 June
Rolex Giraglia* - 9 - 15 June
Palermo-Montecarlo Race* - 21 - 26 August
Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup - 1 - 7 September
Les Voiles de St. Tropez - 28 September - 6 October
Rolex Middle Sea Race* - 19 October
RORC & IMA Transatlantic Race - 23 November

(all of which include IMA Member trophies.)
*part of the IMA Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge (best three of five races)

IMA Endorsed Events:

RORC Caribbean 600 - 18 February
Les Voiles de Saint-Barth - 14 - 20 April
Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta - 3 to 8 June
Copa del Rey Mapfre - 27 July - 3 August
Rolex Fastnet Race - 3 August
Barcolana - 13 October
Venice Hospitality Challenge –19 October
Rolex Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race - 26 December

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