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Unusual forecast could give 151 Miglia-Trofeo Cetilar a new complexion

by James Boyd / International Maxi Association 1 Jun 15:33 PDT 2 June 2022
Furio Benussi's ARCA SGR powers along to line honours victory in last year's 151 Miglia-Trofeo Cetilar © Fabio Taccola/Studio Taccola

Almost always the 151 Miglia-Trofeo Cetilar offers typical weather for a mid-season Mediterranean offshore race: light winds, sea and land breezes and calms. However at present this looks not to be the case for the 14 maxis among the 263 entries in the 13th edition of the race, that also is the fourth of seven events in the International Maxi Association's annual Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge.

The 151 Miglia-Trofeo Cetilar sets sail at 1400 CEST tomorrow (2nd June) from Livorno and follows its usual course to a turning mark off Pisa; across to the Giraglia rock off northeast Corsica; down along the south coast of Elba to the southerly turning mark at the Formiche di Grosseto rocks; before returning north to the finish at Punta Ala.

Typically the prevailing wind for the race is northwesterly, but the forecast currently shows the wind looking light for the first few hours but then for the frontrunners to edge into a band of winds rapidly building to 25-30 knots en route and all the way to Giraglia. And these, unusually will be southeasterly. Thus the race looks set to have no overnight park-up at the rock and thus no radical tactics as crews try to extricate themselves. Then instead of a light wind reach along the Elba coast, the fleet could be in for a relatively hardcore beat at times here, albeit still with occasional lulls. The final leg currently shows a gentle broad reach to Punta Ala. In short it looks like a race in which crews may see their entire sail wardrobe.

Architect and interior designer Aldo Parisotto has a large responsibility this year. In 2021 his friend and colleague, Mylius Yachts CEO Luciano Gandini (Parisotto is the Mylius range's interior designer), won the last edition of the 151 Miglia-Trofeo Cetilar aboard his Mylius 80 Twin Soul B. Not entered this year, defending Mylius honour now falls to Parisotto, this year entered for a third time aboard his Mylius 65 OSCAR 3. "It is very difficult for me, but I hope to do that and have a good regatta," says Parisotto. "But it depends on the conditions. We need medium to high winds."

As to the forecast he warns that this has been in a state of flux. "Yesterday it was light with a big hole in the middle. Today it is more even. Maybe we will be upwind from the Giraglia when normally it is downwind. I am very curious to see what happens."

OSCAR 3 will face stiff competition from experienced French yachtsman Jean-Pierre Barjon and his newly acquired Botin Partners 65 Spirit of Lorina and the sleek Felci-designed, Persico built cruiser-racer.G of Gabriele Guerzoni.

.G (think about it) was launched in 2018, but this is the first season she has raced. Project and team manager Walter Viganò reckons he personally has missed just one edition of the 151 Miglia-Trofeo Cetilar. "This race is very clever because it is technical - the pros get to make tactical choices about the weather and it is never boring because you are sailing through some of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean - Gorgona, Capraia, Elba, Giraglia [the Tuscan Archipelago] - I think that is the success of the regatta."

Leading the charge on the water will be Trieste legend Furio Benussi's 100ft ARCA SGR. The 2003 Rolex Sydney Hobart line honours winning yacht is also the defending 151 Miglia-Trofeo Cetilar line honours champion. This year Benussi has a special guest aboard in race founder, sponsor and International Maxi Association Vice President Roberto Lacorte. Lacorte had hoped to race his new foiling 60 footer FlyingNikka, but this radical yacht is still in its development stage. Instead there is much anticipation of FlyingNikka unveiling in Punta Ala on Saturday, prior to the race's magnificent dinner at the Yacht Club Punta Ala.

The book remains open on whether the forecast will allow ARCA SGR to better the race record of 13 hours, 50 minutes and 43 seconds, set by George David's Rambler 88 in 2019. On that occasion the famous American maxi broke the record previously set by the Davidson 69 Pendragon VI, which returns this time skippered by enthusiastic campaigner Carlo Alberini.

Also to watch will be the attractive Vismara 80 Momi, entered by Nicola Minardi and Angelomario Moratti, and the canting keel Mylius 60 Cippa Lippa X, heavily raced by Guido Paolo Gamucci and his crew.

Likely to enjoy this year's brisker conditions will be the sleek Vrolijk-designed Hanse 630 ReMax One of Dario Castiglia. This will be his second event of 2022 following the Yacht Club Italiano's Portofino Regate di Primavera. This is Castiglia's fourth 151 Miglia. "It is a beautiful regatta, but a bit difficult because when you come past Elba there is never any wind! So you have got to guess whether to stay close to the island or away. But this is what makes it fun and then especially arriving in Punta Ala, because it is a beautiful place and we are all looking forward to the party on Saturday night."

Organising clubs of the 151 Miglia-Trofeo Cetilar are Yacht Club Repubblica Marinara di Pisa, Yacht Club Punta Ala and Yacht Club Livorno. It is supported by the main sponsor Cetilar®, brand of the pharmaceutical company PharmaNutra S.p.A., by the Official Timekeeper TAG Heuer and by partners Benetti Yachts, Port of Livorno 2000, Plastimo and PROtect Tapes.

More information on the 151 Miglia - Trofeo Cetilar here.

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