Please select your home edition
Allen Dynamic 40 Leaderboard

IMA Maxi European Championship in Naples - Overall

by James Boyd / International Maxi Association 18 May 2023 14:01 PDT 12-18 May 2023

After seeing victory slip through his fingers in 2022 when his Maxi 72 North Star was becalmed on the final run into the finish of the last race, today owner Peter Dubens, tactician Nick Rogers and the North Star crew were vindicated: Having started the last day of racing at the International Maxi Association's European Championship second overall, their performance today squeezed George Sakellaris' Proteus from the top spot to win the regatta by a mere quarter point after discarding their worst result.

Held out of Sorrento, Italy, the IMA Maxi European Championship was organised by the Circolo del Remo e della Vela Italia (CRVI) in conjunction with the IMA, the body officially tasked by World Sailing to administer and develop maxi yacht racing internationally. It was supported by Rolex as Official Timepiece and Loro Piana.

With its combination of offshore, coastal and windward-leeward races, the IMA Maxi Europeans provides a complete test for competitors thus making it one of the hardest titles to win in the maxi yachting calendar. North Star got off to the best possible start claiming last weekend's Regata dei Tre Golfi offshore race. After a disappointing day for all of the former Maxi 72s on Monday when conditions favoured the smaller boats, North Star followed this with a consistent series, her worst result being a fourth.

"It was the English weather - I loved it!" Dubens quipped as to the reason for his team's biggest victory in 14 years of campaigning. While rain has been a dominant feature of the weather all week, the maxi fleet was at last granted a reprieve from it today.

While Sir Peter Ogden's 77ft Jethou was the star performer today, the lower rated North Star had been hanging on to her larger rival's coattails. Dubens continued: "Today was very tense. We had to put a boat between us and Proteus and it wasn't easy, especially when we had to do a penalty. We were lucky to get out of that."

All was going well until the final mark rounding off Punta Campanella, explained tactician Nick Rogers: "There was a big lift on port into it and an easy lay line, but then the wind disappeared and suddenly we weren't laying and we had low boat speed and we had to tack. We couldn't get behind My Song and suddenly Vesper did what she had to do and we ended up doing a penalty turn just after the mark. But all the crew and Peter were mega-focussed and we got really good lanes of pressure into the finish."

As to the IMA Maxi Europeans itself, Dubens added: "This is a fabulous event - I really love it, sailing around Capri and Sorrento." His yacht was originally Niklas Zennström's supremely successful double Rolex Fastnet Race winner Rán II, since been converted to 'push button' permitting her to race inshore this week with a crew of just 13. At this afternoon's prize-giving Dubens was not only awarded the IMA Maxi European Championship trophy but also the trophy for the best-placed IMA member.

After today's final coastal - a course set by PRO Stuart Childerley, zigzagging around the southern Bay of Naples, between Capri and Punta Campanella - the former Maxi 72s claimed the five top spots overall in the Championship: Dario Ferrari's Cannonball was third while Jim Swartz's Vesper beat Sir Peter Ogden's Jethou, also by a quarter point after Vesper didn't sail on Tuesday and Jethou was disqualified from a race yesterday.

Following the Maxi 72s, in sixth place overall was Riccardo de Michele's Vallicelli 78 H20 ahead of Pier Luigi Loro Piana's ClubSwan 80 My Song and IMA President Benoît de Froidmont's Wally 60 Wallyño, which put in a superb performance today finishing fifth overall.

H20 finished less than two points from fifth in the overall championship results: "Today the wind was lighter than the previous days and we suffered because H20 doesn't enjoy winds lighter than 10-11 knots," explained de Michele, whose daughter Cecilia sailed onboard all week. "I must say that the whole week was very good for us, despite the rain - but this is part of the game. I found the logistics to be excellent, the hospitality top - for sure we'll come back."

Loro Piana and his My Song crew are still finding their feet with their radical and still relatively new canting keeler. According to tactician Ken Read since Monday they have gained a knot of boat speed upwind. "The week has been very exciting," said Loro Piana. "We had three days of heavy rain, but also good wind so we could work on the boat and try out many ideas. Little by little we are learning how to manage it. This part of the Sorrento coast is so beautiful with Capri, Punta Campanella, Li Galli, etc - there are so many things to discover, which is a huge reason to come here and race."

Outside of the Maxi 72s, in sixth in today's race and finishing miles ahead of the next boat, was Belgian Jean-Philippe Blanpain's Vismara-Mills 62 Leaps and Bounds 2."It has been very nice, having offshore, inshore and windward-leeward races," said Blanpain. "Today we had nothing to lose against the rest. It was all about starting well." Tactician onboard was Andrea Casale, who was pleased that their plan to start to windward of the fleet paid off and they had even been able to bounce away the all-powerful Maxi72 Cannonball.

Other teams have been treating this event as a means of mixing some serious racing with visiting this exotic corner of Italy and soaking up its extensive apres-sail. Winning the prize for the furthest travelled was Craig Clifford and his crew on the Marten 72 Aragon who herald from Tasmania and the UK. "We had a great week. It was very enjoyable with good comradery. The weather was a challenge but we finished on a great day," said Clifford who has raced considerably down under including his own Farr 40. "The crew got on very well together and we hope to keep the team together and do other regattas around the world."

Of this week's IMA Maxi European Championship, IMA Secretary General Andrew McIrvine commented: "Despite the rain, the weather conditions have permitted some exceptional racing this week and exceedingly tight racing. A worthy winner has been produced in Peter Dubens and North Star - and what a final result! I would like to thank the CRVI as well as our partners Rolex and Loro Piana for their help with laying on such a superb second edition of our Maxi European Championship."

The IMA's Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge continues on 1 June with the 151 Miglia-Trofeo Cetilar offshore race from Livorno to Punta Ala, via the Giraglia Rock.


2023 IMA Maxi Europeans overall:

1: North Star/Peter Dubens (GBR)
2: Proteus/George Sakellaris (USA/GRE)
3: Cannonball/Dario Ferrari (ITA)

IMA Maxi Europeans class awards:

Maxi 1-2:

1: (Loro Piana Challenge Trophy): North Star/Peter Dubens (GBR)
2: Proteus/George Sakellaris (USA/GRE)
3: Cannonball/Dario Ferrari (ITA)

Maxi 3:

1: Leaps and Bounds 2/Jean-Philippe Blanpain (BEL)
2: Cippa Lippa X/Guido Paolo Gamucci (ITA)
3: Tilakkhana/Pascale Decaux (FRA)

Maxi 4-5:

1: H20/Riccardo de Michele (ITA)
2: Wallyño/Benoît de Froidmont (BEL)
3: Shirlaf/Giuseppe Puttini (ITA)

Line honours - Coppa Gustavo d'Andrea: Jethou/Sir Peter Ogden (GBR)

Overall 68th Regata dei Tre Golfi IRC Maxi:

1: North Star/Peter Dubens (GBR)
2: Jethou/Sir Peter Ogden (GBR)
3: H20/Riccardo de Michele (ITA)

Inshore races:

Maxi 1-2: Proteus/George Sakellaris (USA/GRE)
Maxi 3: Leaps and Bounds 2/Jean-Philippe Blanpain (BEL)
Maxi 4-5: H20/Riccardo de Michele (ITA)

2023 IMA Maxi European Championship:

Inshore trophy - 1st: Proteus/George Sakellaris (USA/GRE)

IMA trophy - best placed IMA member: North Star/Peter Dubens (GBR)

Mylius Trophy: Cippa Lippa X/Guido Paolo Gamucci (ITA)

Nautor Trophy: My Song/Pier Luigi Loro Piana (ITA)

IMA Maxi Europeans line honours trophy - Coppa Roberto Garolla di Bard: My Song/Pier Luigi Loro Piana (ITA)

Corinthian class - Coppa Guido Imperiali di Francavilla

1: Shirlaf/Giuseppe Puttini (ITA)
2: Manticore/Franz Baruffaldi (ITA)
3: Aragon/Craig Clifford (AUS)

For more information about the IMA Maxi European Championship and Tre Golfi Sailing Week visit

Full results available here.

For more information on the International Maxi Association visit

Related Articles

Spirit of Lorina crowned top IRC maxi
Loro Piana Giraglia's offshore finale from Saint-Tropez into Genoa Jean-Pierre Barjon has already enjoyed much success with his Botin 65 Spirit of Lorina having won the International Maxi Association's Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge in 2021-22. Posted on 14 Jun
Black Jack first home in Loro Piana Giraglia
Finishing 15 minutes outside the race record After Wednesday's ultra-light start on the Golfe de Saint-Tropez to relatively benign conditions following a thunderstorm before arriving into Genoa, it was hard to believe that thanks to a big breeze sleigh-ride in between - to the Giraglia rock & beyond Posted on 13 Jun
Jethou and Wallyño reign supreme
In Loro Piana Giraglia inshore races, offshore race starts Wednesday A second 20 mile coastal race, this time from Saint-Tropez down to a turning mark off L'Escalet and back, rounded off the inshore series for the maxis competing in Loro Piana Giraglia. Posted on 11 Jun
Loro Piana Giraglia Day 3
Spectacular conditions for day three of maxi coastal racing After two days of windward-leewards on the Bay of Pampelonne, day three of inshore racing at Loro Piana Giraglia saw a change with 19 of the 24 strong maxi fleet racing a single coastal course, starting and finishing in the Golfe de Saint-Tropez. Posted on 10 Jun
Loro Piana Giraglia Day 2
Lumpy conditions on the second day of inshore racing in Saint-Tropez While conditions at this time of year in Saint-Tropez are renowned for being light and thermal, today competitors at Loro Piana Giraglia were treated to easterlies into the high teens combined with a short violent chop. Posted on 9 Jun
Loro Piana Giraglia Day 1
Early maxi class leads for Jolt and Wallyño The first of four days of inshore racing at Loro Piana Giraglia got under way today on the Bay of Pampelonne, close to Saint-Tropez. Posted on 8 Jun
New look Giraglia attracts record maxi entry
The first of four days of inshore racing start on Saturday Loro Piana Giraglia 2024 sets sail tomorrow with the first of four days of inshore racing on the Golfe de Saint-Tropez, prior to Wednesday's traditional offshore race from Saint-Tropez to Genoa via the famous rock off north Corsica. Posted on 7 Jun
Honours for Atalanta II and ARCA SGR
In shortened 151 Miglia-Trofeo Cetilar After last year's ultra-light 151 Miglia-Trofeo Cetilar, this year's race from Livorno to Punta Ala saw the organisers forced to make not one but two pre-race course changes Posted on 31 May
Big wind for 151 Miglia-Trofeo Cetilar
Around 242 yachts will set sail tomorrow at 1400 from Livorno to Punta Ala Around 242 yachts, including eight in the 'IRC Over 60' maxi class and three more maxis in the ORC class, will set sail tomorrow at 1400 from Livorno to Punta Ala on the 151 Miglia-Trofeo Cetilar. Posted on 30 May
IMA Maxi Europeans at Sorrento overall
Hap Fauth's Bella Mente claims the title in style In a great display of on-the-water dominance within an already elite-level class, Hap Fauth, tactician Terry Hutchinson and the all-star cast of the Maxi 74 Bella Mente today claimed the third edition of the IMA Maxi European Championship. Posted on 23 May
Lloyd Stevenson - T2Artefact 728x90px BOTTOMVaikobi 2024 FOOTERJ Composites J/99