Please select your home edition

Winning streak continues for Way of Life at Venice Hospitality Challenge

by James Boyd / International Maxi Association 20 Oct 2019 05:20 PDT 19 October 2019
Gašper Vincec's Way of Life, supported by the Gritti Palace, passes Piazza San Marco en route to victory in the 2019 Venice Hospitality Challenge © Matteo Bertolin

The sixth edition of the Venice Hospitality Challenge took place Saturday, endorsed by the International Maxi Association. In this Gašper Vincec and the maxi Way of Life enjoyed their second consecutive victorious Saturday, following on from their having led the 2000+ strong fleet home in the Barcolana, in Trieste a week ago.

Organised by Yacht Club Venezia, the Venice Hospitality Challenge is a unique event that unites maxi racing with Venice's leading hotels, each yacht paired up with world-famous establishments such as the Gritti Palace, Cipriani and Hotel Danieli.

The start of the race is off the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute at the entrance of the Canal Grande, then heads up the Canale di San Marco to a mark off Sant'Elena, returning via a chicane off Piazza San Marco, on up the Canale Della Giudecca to a final turning mark off Venice's cruise ship terminal before returning to the start.

This year the maxi fleet grew from 12 maxis to 14, ranging from hard core racers such as Arca SGR (ex-Skandia Wild Thing), Portopiccolo Tempus Fugit (ex-CQS) and Golfo di Trieste (ex-Rambler 90), to fast cruisers such as the Mylius 76 E...Vai via an Il Moro di Venezia IACC yacht and three Farr 80/Maxi One Designs.

The event began on Friday night in Piazza San Marco at the Grancaffè Quadri with a 'meet the skippers' event for the public followed by a buffet dinner at the Ca ' Sagredo Hotel.

Today's start took place at 13:30 in ultra-light wind. Five yachts drifted over the line prematurely and were called OCS by the race team led by Alfredo Ricci. Way of Life (backed by The Gritti Palace), just got out from under the all-female Wind of Change crew on Golfo di Trieste (backed by the Hilton Molino Stucky). Despite nearly coming unstuck at the bottom mark when the spinnaker halyard got caught around the top of the furled Code 0, the Slovenian maxi extended away to win the race, to the delight of spectators and tourists lining the canals, in an elapsed time of 59 minutes and 58 seconds. Three minutes 39 seconds behind, Golfo di Trieste was second, just under a minute ahead of the Farr 80 Idrusa (supported by the Palazzina) skippered by former Italian Olympic sailor Paolo Montefusco, which won the Maxi 2 class.

"We never had more than five knots of wind," explained Andrew McIrvine, Secretary General of the International Maxi Association, racing today on Way of Life. "There were little tiny puffs of wind, mainly down at Sant'Elena. Once you got back past St Mark's Square and into the middle of the Giudecca there was very little - just enough to keep moving."

Way of Life skipper, former leading Olympic Finn sailor Gašper Vincec, said he had been pleased that they had recovered from last weekend's euphoria: "It was important that we calmed down, because after we won the Barcolana we had a lot of stress and I was worried that that would affect our race today. We knew it wasn't luck that won us the Barcolana, it was because we are a really good team. Today we tacked perfectly, our choice of sails was perfect, our manoeuvres were perfect."

For Francesco Clapcich's crew on Golfo di Trieste, the huge number of manoeuvres on a big, unfamiliar yacht was a challenge. Helmswoman American Volvo Ocean Race sailor Sally Barkow, racing in a crew that also included another multiple round the world race sailor Dee Caffari, explained: "We had a lot of sail changes and choices and some chaotic manoeuvres, as we are a different team from the Barcolana last weekend. The boat was fast in the 3-5 knot range and we managed to round all the marks correctly, coming back from some almost treacherous manoeuvres like putting up the big kite, but in the end it was okay. We started off second, lost a bit upwind and then did some not-so-great manoeuvres downwind and on the last upwind bit we were going well."

This was Barkow's first taste of the Venice Hospitality Challenge: "It is a bit crazy sailing up the tiny little channel with 13 other maxis, but it is super cool and it is really well supported. It seems like everyone gets involved, even random guests at the hotel we are staying at and it is a really good event for the city. It tested our inshore skills."

The prizegiving for the Venice Hospitality Challenge took place at the Zattere where the trophy, made in Murano glass by the Massimiliano Schiavon Art Team, ressembling the hat of the Doge (Venice's traditional leader) was presented to the Way of Life crew. This was followed by a party at the Hilton Molino Stucky hotel, where each of the 14 hotels represented brought their own chef to prepare some of the cuisine.

The Venice Hospitality Challenge this year once again endorsed the One Ocean Foundation, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda's marine preservation charity, whose aims are shared by the Municipality of Venice.

The Venice Hospitality Challenge 2019 is sponsored by the Municipality of Venice and is supported by Generali Italia, BMW Italia and Champagne Moët & Chandon, Mure a Dritta.

More information at and

Related Articles

IMA Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge 2020-21
Launched to entice more maxis out on to the race course and friendly rivalry between owners The prime role of the International Maxi Association, as endorsed by World Sailing, is to encourage and support all forms of maxi racing internationally. Posted on 20 Oct 2020
Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez concludes
Maxi owners praise the new format Despite the wind turning light and complicated for the last two days, maxi yacht competition at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez was successfully held on three out of four days. Posted on 10 Oct 2020
Maxi yacht racing fires up tomorrow
At Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez This week sees maxi yachts, both classic and modern, descend upon the Cote d'Azur for the second week of the new format Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. For the first time this year, the event has been divided in two, lengthening it to a fortnight. Posted on 5 Oct 2020
Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup set to go ahead
Relaunching big boat racing in the Med Organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in conjunction with the International Maxi Association and supported from the outset by Rolex, this will be 31st running of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. Posted on 10 Aug 2020
Maxi Class: What is the future of pro circuits?
A silent, invisible terrorist has turned the sailing world turned inside out, where to from here? Andrew McIrvine, medical man, and the driving force behind the International Maxi Assoc in recent years, shares his views on the immediate future of the marque regatta circuits and the impacts for owners, event organisers and professional sailors . Posted on 26 Apr 2020
Mediterranean Maxi Inshore Challenge
MMIC spanned six events, with the title decided on the last race While the Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge this year was into its fourth season, its inshore brother was introduced anew for 2019 by the International Maxi Association, the World Sailing-recognised body that administers and promotes maxi boat racing Posted on 11 Oct 2019
Maxi winners decided at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez
A week that has proved challenging to crews and race officials alike The final day of Les Voiles de Saint Tropez 2019 enabled the maxi teams to get some deciding points on the board after a week that has proved challenging to crews and race officials alike. Posted on 7 Oct 2019
Vera on track for Palermo-Montecarlo 'double'
Miguel Galuccio and the crew of Vera claim line honours Palermo-Montecarlo is the fifth and final event of the 2018-19 Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge organised by the International Maxi Association, the World Sailing-recognised body that promotes maxi yacht racing and represents maxi owners globally. Posted on 24 Aug 2019
Palermo-Montecarlo Race - Preview
Palermo-Montecarlo set sail from Sicily This is the 15th running of Palermo-Montecarlo, originally designed by the Monaco Consul and the City of Palermo Sports Council, to 'unite two historically friendly cities through a yacht race'. Posted on 21 Aug 2019
Breakaway for Rambler 88 and Vera
Breakaway for Rambler 88 and Vera One of the biggest 'door closing on those behind' moments in offshore sailing occurred on Thursday night and through the next 24 hours for competitors racing in the special 10th anniversary edition of the 151 Miglia-Trofeo Cetilar Posted on 3 Jun 2019
RS Sailing 2020 - RSSS - FOOTERSelden 2020 - FOOTEROfficial-Team-Gear-Red 728x90 BOTTOM