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North Sails 2021 Innovation - LEADERBOARD

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez - a Maxi showcase

by Maguelonne Turcat 3 Oct 12:58 PDT 24 September - 8 October 2022

The last of the Classic and Modern yachts cast off from Saint Tropez early this morning, immediately replaced in the little port by an impressive haul of Maxi Yachts, already honing their weapons for the second week of racing at Les Voiles, and the season finale for their Inshore Mediterranean Series.

Suffice to say that the coming week is shaping up to be very sporty with the 2022 title up for grabs. The 46 racing monohulls will get down to action tomorrow, Tuesday, in 4 separate groups according to their measurement handicap and their size. From the largest of them all, Jasi (Swan 115) and her 35 m of technology, to the smallest 60 foot (18 m29) craft in the Maxi 4 group, everyone will be bringing their A game, driven hard by the top international crews and skippers, whose experience spans the Olympics, the Volvo Ocean Race and the America's Cup.

The final inshore event of the season for the Maxis

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez is now the 6th and final Maxi meeting in the IMA Mediterranean Maxi Inshore Challenge 2022, which is placed under the aegis of the International Maxi Association, presided over by Benoit de Froidmont. Their 2022 races began with the Palma Vela in May, the Rolex Giraglia in June, the Copa del Rey MAPFRE in July and the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in September. In early 2023, the futuristic Maxis will head over to the Caribbean for the tropical IMA Caribbean Maxi Challenge, which includes the RORC Caribbean 600, the St Maarten Heineken Regatta, Les Voiles de Saint Barth and Antigua Sailing week. The results of the 2022 season will be revealed this coming Saturday in Saint-Tropez.

Longer coastal courses... in line with the breeze!

From lunchtime each day, with the exception of the lay day potentially, the large Maxis will set sail on windward-leeward courses in the gulf, or coastal courses. Indeed, the power/weight ratio of the Maxis is such that Race Management, still headed by Georges Korhel, is naturally envisaging a series of long coastal courses in line with what are forecast to be light conditions this week with 4 to 9 knots of breeze. The finish may be decided at the entrance to the gulf rather than at Le Portalet if the wind is more favourable outside the gulf. Of particular note is that, in agreement with the IMA, Thursday's lay day could be declared a race day.

46 Maxis, 4 Groups, 4 starts vying for 4 Trophies

4 groups, Maxi 1 (North Sails Trophy), Maxi 2 (Galerie Bartoux Trophy), Maxi 3 (Besserat de Bellefon Trophy) and Maxi 4 (Torpez Trophy) will share the race zone on the gulf of Saint Tropez throughout the week, within their respective classes, along courses of at least 25 nautical miles in length, with a spectacular and sensational show guaranteed! Well worth watching will be the Frenchies on Spirit of Malouen X, a souped-up Wally 107 vying with the giants Morgana (Jim Pugh) and the SuperMaxis Jasi (Swan 115), Simba 108 (Hoek) and Pattoo 108 - ex Missy (McKeon). The Maxi 2 group will host the colossal clash between the 100-foot Wally Y3K and the three Wally Centos launched according to Luca Bassani's box rule in 2013: Magic Carpet3 and Galateia (John Reichel/Jim Pugh) and Tango designed by Mark Mills. No fewer than seven 100-footers will be in action in the gulf this week, with the group also boasting the legendary speed demons Leopard3 (Farr 100) and Rambler 88.

Meantime, the Maxi 3 group will feature the European IMA champion Lyra (Wally 77), which will be battling a veritable armada with Mylius, Swan and other Wallys. Ryokan 2, winner in Saint Tropez in 2020, will definitely be one to watch, along with the Manuard design Black Legend 6. Finally, the Maxi 4 group is set to feature an eagerly awaited duel between the 12mRs French Kiss and Kiwi Magic, which may also be under attack from the Swans Saida and Cassiopeia.

In figures...

  • 46 boats, 14 IMA member yachts, 7 Wallys, 4 days of racing, 1 Club 55 Cup (Thursday)
  • Most recent: Black Legend 6 - 2021
  • Oldest: Saida 1973
  • Biggest: Jasi 35, 11 m
  • Smallest: Expression of London 18.32 m
  • Lowest rating: Cassiopeia, Swan 65, 1,079
  • Highest rating: Flying Nikka

International Maxi Association

The general aim of the IMA is to encourage as many monohulls of 18m28 and more to compete at Maxi races the world over, with the highest standard of race management, safety and measuring for coastal and offshore races. It also helps standardise registration and draw up Notices of Race and Sailing Instructions.

Andrew McIrvine, Secretary General of the IMA

"It's the third year we've been working closely with the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez's teams. We've attained an excellent level of mutual understanding and the organisation of the races is perfectly in line with what's expected by our owners and skippers. They're all very eager to be contesting the final inshore race of the Mediterranean Trophy here as a kind of grand finale."

A foiler at Les Voiles!

The very first flying Maxi with articulated foils, Flying Nikka, is inspired by the technology showcased by the monohulls in the 36th edition of the America's Cup and she will be competing at Les Voiles in the Maxi 1 group. Making her race debut at Porto Cervo she is extremely well prepared and poised for action in Saint Tropez this week. Don't miss it!

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