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Wally's fast cruisers outperform with big wins at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez

by Wally Yachts 14 Oct 2021 19:20 PDT
Magic Carpet Cubed - Les Voiles de Saint Tropez © Gilles Martin-Raget

A moderate swell during the second week of Les Voiles de Saint Tropez kept the bowman on Magic Carpet Cubed well refreshed. Flying downwind with the big asymmetric, the boat sets an awe-inspiring 1,420 square metres of sail on her 46m-tall, high modulus carbon fibre mast.

Speeds can be breathtaking, with performance to match. Even though the Wallycento is designed for comfortable cruising, its high-tech design and development is the equal of the most modern thoroughbred on the race course.

Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones' spectacular Wallycento Magic Carpet Cubed managed to close out a win despite stiff challenges from George David's Rambler. After two races the boats were still neck-and-neck for points, so it all came down to the last leg of the last race in Saint Tropez. The start was delayed by low winds, but the biggest Maxis in the IRC 1 class still had a 25-mile course to cover. Luckily conditions freshened to a sporty 18-knot breeze from the east, making for a fantastic show.

Fresh from victory in the Maxi division at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup last month, Magic Carpet Cubed is instantly recognisable for her gleaming blue topsides. It has become a brand feature for the owner who has had no fewer than three Wallys built with the same name.

There was little doubt about the winner of the IRC 3B class at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez, where the Wally 77 Lyra posted two back-to-back bullets in the three-race regatta. The team and the boat have proven to always be up to the different racing conditions. Since her launch in 2000, Lyra has continued tuning culminating in a recent substantial refit in the hull and keel. There were 18 boats in the mini-maxi class, making it one of the most competitive, a fact borne out by the narrow margins involved at the start and the finish.

Lyra counts some top pro sailors among her crew, and they were riding high after a clean sheet at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup winning the Mini Maxi 3&4 division. They looked set to repeat the performance here in Saint Tropez as well. Conditions provided a mixed bag, with one day's racing cancelled due to excessive wind and one due to no wind, with others postponed until the breeze came in. Victory this year depended on the ability of boats and crews to adapt, as Lyra demonstrated.

Showing just how competitive a Wally can be, the beautiful 2002 Wally 107 Green Eyes (ex-Kauris III) had the highest rating in her IRC 2 group at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez last week. Her stunning wood-panelled interior and phenomenal comfort levels are amply offset by the lightness of the hull and a process of refits which have seen the rig constantly updated to reduce weight aloft. Equipped with a canting keel, she sports a carbon mast by Southern Spars and ECSix standing rigging.

Launched in 2006, Rose (former Tango G) is one of Wally's successful Wally 80 line, which ran to half a dozen yachts. She features the quintessential Wally DNA of sleek, minimal lines, open, uncluttered decks and a timeless style that appeals as strongly today as it did when she was built. Rose has proved herself a formidable competitor on the Med maxi circuit, but also a very comfortable cruising yacht with luxurious cabins, lots of social space and room for plenty of toys.

Ryokan 2, winner of the Compasso d'Oro design award, is a perennial competitor in Saint Tropez, and pulled off a well-earned win in her class in last year's event. This year it wasn't to be, with two second places and a fourth putting him in a very respectable third overall. The Wally 80 has an experienced crew, and the boat has seen some beneficial tweaks to her rig to sharpen performance in light wind. When it all comes together, this boat can challenge the newest yachts on the course.

The powerful 100-footer Y3K was hoping for great things at this year's Les Voiles de Saint Tropez. Variable conditions kept his crew on their toes, ultimately managing a solid fourth place overall. But the boat showed her potential, with a well-earned win in the lighter winds of the second race. Built in 2009, this German Frers hull has the speed, grace and lightness of all Wallys. And yet she packs luxurious accommodation for six guests and four crew.

With so many Wally yachts competing in the maxi classes at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez, there has long been a dedicated class award to celebrate the depth of the talent on the water. Wally 77 Lyra took a resounding first place, followed closely by Ryokan 2 and Magic Carpet Cubed.

Among the very biggest, most competitive IRC1 boats, the competition for the top spot was fierce. Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones rejoices with his team for the victory. Over the years they developed a boat that is a powerhouse and an icon to modernism. He and his crew spurred the Wallycento to a blistering performance on the final day of racing, which saw them edge out their rivals.

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