Please select your home edition
Lloyd Stevenson - AC INEOS 1456x180px TOP

Second IMA Mediterranean Maxi Inshore Challenge victory for Wallyño

by James Boyd / International Maxi Association 17 Oct 2023 08:15 PDT 1-8 October 2023
Benoît de Froidmont at the helm of his 60ft Wallyño © International Maxi Association / Studio Borlenghi

While it was close when International Maxi Association President Benoît de Froidmont's Wallyño won the first ever edition of the IMA's Mediterranean Maxi Inshore Challenge (MMIC) in 2019, this year it wasn't.

The silver 60 footer was leading the 2023 MMIC by nine points going into the final regatta of the season, Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. Her class win in this could not have been more emphatic: unbeaten across the 39 boat fleet; the only maxi to achieve a perfect scoreline. This sealed the 2023 MMIC title for her.

With discards applied - only the best three results count in the MMIC - Peter Dubens' 72ft North Star finished second, closely followed by Chris Flowers and David M. Leuschen's 100ft Galateia completing the podium.

Following the victory of Alessandro Del Bono's Capricorno last year, Wallyño won the MMIC's third edition after a magnificent 2023 season.

Wallyño's year began in Sorrento with the inshore races of the IMA Maxi European Championship, organised by the Circolo del Remo e della Vela Italia. Here she finished third in her class. Next up were the three days of inshore racing off Saint-Tropez at Rolex Giraglia. In these Wallyño won her class and then went on to finish second to the race's overall Maxi winner Itacentodue in Maxi 2 in Rolex Giraglia's combined inshore-offshore results.

As usual the most points towards her overall tally came in early September from the IMA's premier event, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Porto Cervo. Here lively conditions through the week didn't suit Wallyño, but she still managed a fifth place, enough to give her a commanding lead in the MMIC going into the final event of the season - Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. In this Wallyño was so dominant that she seemed to be in the class of her own.

"It was a fantastic week," commented a delighted de Froidmont of his victory at Les Voiles, adding: "The crew is really on fire now at the end of the season. But also it was the conditions for the boat, with light breeze and a flat sea. Wallyño is going really well - she is a St Tropez boat! We have been doing well all season, even in Porto Cervo when it wasn't our conditions, we still got a good result."

That de Froidmont has sailed all his life no doubt helped, but he was supported through the season by his expert tactician, well known keelboat specialist and Tour de France skipper Cedric Pouligny, and Wallyño's crack squad of crew. "We are happy. The boat is going well, we are starting well and have no issues with the manoeuvres," explained Pouligny. Basically they ticked all the boxes.

Of the crew de Froidmont paid special tribute to his boat captain Rémi Bouvet for whom Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez was his last regatta with the team. The rest of the crew through the season were: pitman Benjamin Redreau; main trimmer Mathieu Frei; navigators Nicolas Le Moigne and Olivier Douillard; bowmen Arnaud Vasseur, Christophe André and Vendée Globe skipper Clément Giraud; trimmers Matthieu Salomon, Philippe Buchart, Solune Robert and Louis Chambet, plus Morgan Audic, Olivier Arnaud, Valentin Pantonnier, Antoine Arnoud, Eric Dumont, Mathias Herest, Hugo Stubler and Franck Jacob.

While the competition wasn't as close as it was in 2019 when Wallyño was up against Jean-Pierre Barjon's Lorina 1895 throughout the season, only coming out on top finally in the last leg of the last race, Wallyño still did not have it all her own way this year.

"It was tough with Lady First III and then Sud really improved strongly after they modified their boat. They were becoming quite dangerous. So it was different towards the end, but the level was quite high between all three of us," said de Froidmont.

The IMA Mediterranean Maxi Inshore Challenge comprises six events, starting with the Real Club Nautico de Palma's Palmavela continuing on to the inshore races at the IMA Maxi Europeans, held this year out of Sorrento with racing held on the Bay of Naples and around Capri. The first visit to Saint-Tropez takes place with the inshore racing immediately preceding the offshore race of Rolex Giraglia. The MMIC then returns to Palma for Spain's leading regatta, Copa del Rey MAPFRE held at the height of summer. The season ends with what are currently maxi racing's two biggest events: the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, both of which attract 40-50 yachts. Open to IMA Members, the MMIC fulfils one of the Association's remits of enticing maxi yacht owners to use their boats more.

In 2024 the IMA's MMIC will again kick off with the inshore racing at PalmaVela over 1-5 May.

Related Articles

Greek first timers claim Aegean 600 Maxi victory
In the process Aiolos also receives maximum points for this event in the IMA Maxi Offshore Challenge In a race as tough as the Aegean 600 you would not expect first timers to collect much silverware - however Greece's George Procopiou, aboard his newly acquired VO70 Aiolos, defied the odds to win the race's Maxi class. Posted on 11 Jul
Lucky claims Aegean 600 monohull line honours
As MODs match race to new record MOD70s may now be flying machines, well outside of their original one design configuration, but you would not have known that, given the multiple lead changes and tightness of their racing in this year's Aegean 600. Posted on 9 Jul
Maxi fleet may cause Aegean 600 records to fall
A stronger than ever maxi yacht entry within record-sized overall fleet of 69 Rapidly becoming a classic among the world's 600 mile offshore races, the Hellenic Offshore Racing Club's Aegean 600 supported by Olympic Marine and with Rolex as official timepiece for the very first time attracted a stronger than ever maxi yacht entry. Posted on 4 Jul
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
ETNZ-STORE-728X90 one B BOTTOMRooster SB1 Inshore RangeHenri-Lloyd - For the Obsessed