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Vaikobi 2024 LEADERBOARD

IMA Maxi European Championship at Circolo del Remo e della Vela Italia - Day 3

by James Boyd / International Maxi Association 22 May 13:03 PDT 17-23 May 2024

New leader as V scores two bullets

Starting an hour early, two coastal courses including the popular lap of Capri were completed on the third and penultimate day of the IMA Maxi European Championship, supported by Rolex as Official Timepiece.

The 20 maxi yachts faced a sub-10 knot southwesterly and at today's conclusion, the Championship, organised out of Sorrento by the Circolo del Remo e della Vela Italia (CRVI) and supported by Loro Piana, has a new leader in Hap Fauth's 74ft Bella Mente.

"We had great racing - we love the competition," commented a delighted Fauth. "We peeled off the starts pretty well today and yesterday. It was a dog fight, which we like. We had a very good tactical race. I was my first time racing around Capri, which was fun. I love windward-leewards but a little variety is good. The boys did a great job. The idea is to 'make no mistakes' which is hard to avoid, either tactically or strategically."

With five races now sailed, including the Regata dei Tre Golfi offshore, competitors can discard their worst result. Thanks to yesterday's two bullets, Bella Mente and her all-star cast are now first, three points clear of previous leader, Giuseppe Puttini's Swan 65 ketch Shirlaf, tied on points with Sir Peter Ogden's 77ft Jethou.

Today's first race was a 23nm course starting with a triangle and ending in two short windward-leeward laps, where the big boats, rather than sailing off into the horizon, got to engage with the smaller boats. After yesterday's brisker conditions, a surprising number of maxis suffered kite issues today including IMA President Benoît de Froidmont's Wally 60 Wallyño which was unable to drop hers at the leeward gate. This was minor compared to Vincenzo Addessi's Mylius 18E35 Fra'Diavolo, which completed the entire final upwind leg with kite up and flogging. Fra'Diavolo subsequently bounced back finishing fifth in the race around Capri and is now seventh overall and second in Class 4 ahead of Wallyño. Even the biggest that suffered - Chris Flowers' Wallycento Galateia blew up a kite on the first reaching leg while Andrea Recordati's Bullitt had take-down line issues during one drop.

For the race clockwise around Capri, with its rugged peaks and crannies and famous landmarks such as the Faraglioni rocks and the lighthouse at Punta Carena, competitors kept the breeze.

In both today's races, Karel Komárek's Wallycento V took the lead and pulled away as those behind got stuck in traffic. V converted this into two bullets under IRC corrected time. "It is pretty rare you have a day like that," commented tactician Ken Read, who first raced on these waters aboard his J/24 during his youth. "Everything we touched turned to gold with a couple of good starts. The theme for today was to not get in the way of the boat (as we have done previously); Put the boat in the position to do its thing. It was a fun day when boat handling, driving and everything came together..."

Strangely among the biggest boats here, V is receiving the hardest challenge, not from her fellow Wallycentos - Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones's Magic Carpet Cubed or Chris Flowers' Galateia - but Andrea Recordati's Wally 93 Bullitt. "She is slippery, annoyingly quick, especially in the lighter winds," observed Read. "But she is 10 tonnes lighter and the newest boat in our big boat fleet."

Today Bullitt posted a 10-2, leaving them eighth overall. "We managed to get two really good starts," said tactician Joca Signorini. "Galateia has been quite aggressive to us but we managed to defend well. It was very busy in the first race with all the different sized boats - if you got caught in traffic it slowed you down. It was very small course and super busy. We are very happy with how we have been sailing the boat."

The finish of today's Capri race demonstrated how close the big boat racing is - metres from the line, within seconds, Magic Carpet Cubed's spinnaker blew up, Bullitt passed her on starboard as Galateia crossed ahead of her on port to take second.

In the top ten going into the final day, are four from Class 4, still enjoying non-discardable top results from the offshore and four former Maxi 72s from Class 2. While Bella Mente leads overall, making a good account of herself is Sir Peter Ogden's Jethou which had two seconds in her class today and is now third overall. "We have done a lot of work on the boat over the winter [fitting water ballast], plus some new sails and a few new faces. And today we made good clean starts," said Jethou's tactician Ian Walker. "Yesterday we felt really strong in the breeze even though we didn't sail well enough downwind - and today we felt good in the light."

Still struggling to make their way up the leaderboard is Class 3. Here Guido Paolo Gamucci's canting keel Mylius 60 Cippa Lippa X currently leads the class but is 11th overall, today scoring a 6-11. Despite his boat now featuring a canard, canting keel and water ballast it was the short race in which his team prevailed today. "It was really fantastic, because it was so short and we had to manoeuvre every minute," he said.

However in that race they were beaten by the fixed keel Mylius 60 Manticore of Franz Wilhelm Baruffaldi Preis, who finished fifth overall. "We were in the right position at the start, by the big boats at the pin," said Preis. "Everything went well with all the manoeuvres and we had a very good result." Manticore has an Corinthian crew mostly comprising doctors from Milan's main hospital. "We are very proud because we are not professionals but we are racing other boats with all professionals coming from the Olympic Games, America's Cup, etc."

Tomorrow's final races will commence at 1200 when more light southwesterlies are forecast.

More information on the IMA Maxi European Championship here.

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