Please select your home edition
Edition
Cyclops Marine 2023 November - LEADERBOARD

Strong 100 footer competition for May's IMA Maxi Europeans

by James Boyd / International Maxi Association 8 Apr 12:11 PDT 17-23 May 2024

With seven weeks remaining until the third edition of the IMA Maxi European Championship, so far there have been 31 registered entries with 24 firmed up for the event, organised by the Circolo del Remo e della Vela Italia (CRVI) in conjunction with the International Maxi Association (IMA).

Taking place on or around the Gulf of Naples over 17 to 23 May, the event is supported by Loro Piana with Rolex as Official Timepiece.

This will be the third occasion the IMA has held its Maxi European Championship with the CRVI and, in what has become a significant event in the maxi yachting calendar, the entry so far matches 2023 when Peter Dubens' Maxi 72 North Star claimed the European title.

Once again the event will comprise both offshore and inshore races, providing a complete test for competitors. It starts on Friday, 17 May with the 69th Regata dei Tre Golfi. This 150 mile offshore race will start, and this year also finish, off Naples' Porticciolo di Santa Lucia, where the CRVI's clubhouse is located by Naples' historic Castel dell'Ovo. The IMA Maxi Europeans then continues out of Sorrento from Monday 20 May to Thursday 23 May for the inshore element. This will comprise windward-leeward and coastal courses, hopefully including the popular lap of nearby Capri. As usual racing will be held under IRC with competitors obliged to have 'endorsed' certificates for added accuracy.

A significant development for 2024 is the participation of a highly competitive fleet of 100 footers. While Furio Benussi's 100ft Arca SGR will be the scratch boat in the Regata dei Tre Golfi, his Trieste team will be out to rectify last year's race, when they were forced to retire with canting keel issues. This year the IMA Maxi Europeans are being contested by a trio of former Wallycentos - V of Karel Komarek, Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones' Magic Carpet 3 and Galateia, being campaigned by co-owner Chris Flowers - as well as the Wally 93 Bullitt of Andrea Recordati.

All three Wallycentos have received major turboing over the winter with water ballast tanks added in their aft quarters, enabling them to shed lead from their keels, transforming their performance downwind. But Galateia's tactician Kelvin Harrap is cautious about the change: "The boat has been performing well over the last few years, but you have to evolve and keep up with what the other boats are doing. We don't know how it is going to work out rating-wise or how it is going to sit on the water. Crossed fingers it will work."

Other modifications to Galateia include extending the mainsheet track and adding an internal drop line system for ultra-speedy kite drops. "So the spinnaker will now be going through the master bedroom! But hopefully it will take this system to the next level, like the TP52s."

As to racing at the IMA Maxi European Championship for the first time Harrap says he is looking forward to it. "I know it can be quite light there, but we will have Murray [Jones] and Jordi [Calafat] to help us with that. We put it to Chris [Flowers] about going to Sorrento and the proximity to Capri - he was excited to go somewhere new."

Event backer Pier Luigi Loro Piana will return with his ever-improving ClubSwan 80 My Song, which claimed the Maxi 1 class last year. Chasing her around the race track will be four former Maxi 72s. In the maxi fleet, these yachts are the most thoroughly optimised and sailed at the highest level. Last year's IMA Maxi European Champion, Peter Dubens' North Star, returns to defend her title, narrowly won in 2023, beating George Sakellaris' second-placed Proteus by a mere quarter point. Dubens' team will be also gunning to see if they can win the Regata dei Tre Golfi outright for a third consecutive year.

"I think it suits our boat," explains North Star's double Olympic silver medallist tactician Nick Rogers. "The 72s are always super-strong in any IRC fleet. The racing [at the Europeans] is a bit more windward-leeward orientated and quite often there are sections of the offshore and a lot of the inshores which are light. That suits our boat better." They are looking forward to bouncing back having broken their bowsprit at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup last year.

Sir Peter Ogden's 77ft Jethou returns for a third year having won Regata dei Tre Golfi line honours in 2023, when she also established a new record. Jethou and North Star are joined by Peter Harrison's Jolt (ex-Cannonball) while American Magic team principal Hap Fauth will be campaigning his Bella Mente at the regatta for the first time.

But the majority of competitors are 60 footers. Notable among these is IMA President Benoît de Froidmont's Wally 60 Wallyño. Last year they won the IMA's Mediterranean Maxi Inshore Challenge for a second time, aided by a second place in class at the IMA Maxi Europeans, to Riccardo de Michele's Vallicelli 78 H20, which is also returning. Other class winners from 2023 include Giuseppe Puttini's 48-year-old Swan 65 ketch Shirlaf, which comes with a fine track record here having won the Volcano Race in 2015 and also the predecessor to the present event, Rolex Capri Sailing Week in 2021.

Once again the Regata dei Tre Golfi forms part of the IMA's 2023-24 Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge while the inshore races count towards the IMA Mediterranean Maxi Inshore Challenge. The IMA Maxi European Champion is also part of the CRVI's broader Tre Golfi Sailing Week.

More information here.

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
Mackay Boats 728x90 BOTTOM37th AC Store 2024-one-728X90 BOTTOMRS Sailing 2021 - FOOTER