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Lyra on fire at the IMA Maxi Europeans

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  • Lyra on fire at the IMA Maxi Europeans

    Scheduled for day two of the IMA Maxi Europeans’ inshore/coastal racing were two windward-leewards. After a delay out on the Bay of Naples, the wind finally built to 8-12 knots from the west. After one aborted start due to a wind shift and another for a general recall, racing for the 21 maxis eventually got underway at 1515 CEST.

    With the 2.1 mile course set to the north of Capri, the lead trio of Lord Irvine Laidlaw’s Reichel/Pugh 82 Highland Fling XI, Sir Peter Ogden’s JV77 Jethou and Peter Dubens JV72 North Star remained in close contact. Today Highland Fling XI was able to gain enough of a lead to claim Class 1. According to Xavier Mecoy, Laidlaw’s long term team manager, this was far from expected: “We were really surprised because this isn’t a windward-leeward boat. It is much more of a course racing boat. This regatta is the first time we have raced against boats like Jethou and North Star and I had not expected to do as nearly well as we did. So it is very encouraging. The boat is an old girl, but she’s on fire. We did some quick hoists and great takedowns and even better is to win with a 2% penalty because we don’t have the owner on board.”

    Surprisingly, given how long the Highland Fling sailing campaigns have been running and their international nature, this is the team’s first time to Sorrento or Capri. Mecoy added how he was impressed with how the race organisers had set up the entire infrastructure in Sorrento’s Marina Piccola, including the installation of a pontoon system, to berth the IMA Maxi European Championship fleet.

    All images copyright Studio Borlenghi / Rolex

    While in Class 4, Giuseppe Puttini’s Swan 65 ketch Shirlaf scored her second bullet, in Class 3 it was the turn of regular Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup class winner H20, Riccardo De Michele’s striking silver Vallicelli 78, to beat IMA President Benoit de Froidmont’s Wally 60 Wallyno by two and a half minutes under IRC corrected time. However Wally?o continues to excel in the overall results here, holding fourth place.
    H2O started well, but in the single mass start being used at this event, they got caught up with some of the faster boats sailing different angles to them, explained tactician Lorenzo Bodini: “We decided to stay on the left even if I knew there was more pressure on the right, because at least we were in clear air. [At the top] we arrived just behind the fleet, which was good for us because we didn’t want to be in traffic. We sailed well downwind and then I could go completely right on the second upwind and got a really good layline, reaching the mark in one tack.”

    That H20 did well in the light conditions was unusual, because the large futuristic-looking cruising yacht prefers at least 13 knots.
    Leading overall at present was today’s Class 2 winner for a second consecutive day, Terry Hui’s all-black Wally 77 Lyra. Tactician Mitch Booth explained their race: “We saw that it was very unstable and there were big bits of pressure on the course - so we just focused on that, keeping in clean air. We went left up the first beat, but not all the way as there was a big righty at the end, so we were lucky enough to cross over early to get into that.”

    Remarkably Lyra still managed to win, despite blowing up a spinnaker after it snagged on a spreader tip. Booth continued: “The guys did a great job and we minimised the loss and got another one up. They sailed really well.”
    The wind on the Bay of Naples subsequently veered into the north and then the northeast and built rapidly into the mid-20s but after one attempt to get a second windward-leeward away, the wind had moved too far right to lay a good course and with the hour getting on the fleet was sent home.

    Racing at the IMA Maxi European Championship continues tomorrow and runs until Friday May 20. It began on Saturday with its offshore component the Regata dei Tre Golfi followed by coastal racing on the Bay of Naples and around Capri in the Maxi Yacht Sorrento Trophy. The IMA Maxi Europeans forms part of the larger Tre Golfi Sailing Week.
    Supported by Rolex as Official Timepiece, it is organised by Naples’ Circolo del Remo e della Vela Italia (CRVI) under the patronage of the Italian Sailing Federation (FIV) and in cooperation with Yacht Club Italiano, Reale Yacht Club Canottieri Savoia and the IMA.

    Full overall results here and by sub-class.

    Overall IMA Maxi European Championship results here https://internationalmaxiassociation...1&e=7d683da2fc

    by James Boyd / International Maxi Association​​​​​​​

    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  • #2

    Racing in light conditions can often be boring and frustrating but for the penultimate day of the first ever IMA Maxi European Championship it was anything but – for spectators at least - with significant shifts, occasional shut-downs on a coastal course on a WSW-ENE axis deep into the Bay of Naples to the north of the Sorrentine peninsula.

    After a delay ashore and then on the water, the race for the 21 entries got underway just before 1500 CEST with a short upwind leg in 10-11 knots . However with all the boats crowded at the favoured committee boat end of the line, there was a collision between the two lowest rated boats – Giuseppe Puttini’s Swan 65 ketch Shirlaf and Matteo Fossati’s Sharkel 64 Stella Maris, both of which retired.

    After the first upwind, there was a long leg into the heart of the Bay of Naples with a leeward mark off Torre Annunziata, at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. The lead trio of Lord Irvine Laidlaw’s Reichel/Pugh 82 Highland Fling XI, Sir Peter Ogden’s JV77 Jethou and Peter Dubens JV72 North Star arrived only for the wind to die. The longer Highland Fling XI just managed to escape the shut down and was a dot on the horizon by the time the new breeze filled in. By this time several much lower rated yachts like Terry Hui’s Wally 77 Lyra and Alessandro Del Bono’s IMS maxi Capricorno had caught up. The new breeze filled in just as Philippe Ligier’s Wally 80 Ryokan 2 arrived and she was the first to round without stopping.

    Unfortunate start line crunch between Shirlaf and Stella Maris caused both to retire.
    All photos:ROLEX / Studio Borlenghi

    Highland Fling XI crosses ahead of Peter Dubens' North Star on port during the first upwind.

    Class one maxi yacht procession downwind

    There was then a long fetch on starboard back to the southwest where there were options to go inshore or offshore with the latter seeming to pay.

    The final leg back to the finish line off the host port of Sorrento was looking routine until the wind died just short of the finish line. With Highland Fling XI parked up just metres short of the line, Jethou came steaming in from offshore and appeared threatening and until she too stopped dead, the light current causing her to drift beyond the outer end of the line. With the elegant black racer stopped and for many awkward minutes pointing the wrong way up the course, so the crew resorted to dinghy tactics and managed to ooch their giant maxi enough to propel it a few metres back up the course and then to finish correctly.

    With the wind fading across the finish area and with the majority of the fleet looking like it would be unable to complete the course within the time limit, the race committee decided to halt the race. At this point all of Class 1 had finished along with Capricorno in Class 2. At a subsequent jury hearing it was decided to finish Class 1 and Capricorno at the finish line and the remainder of the fleet at the previous mark.

    As expected the overall winner today across the entire fleet was Highland Fling XI but surprisingly by only 26 seconds under IRC corrected time from Jethou with Capricorno third, the resounding leader in her class. However overall North Star is now the leader from Jethou, having demoted Lyra to third.

    Jethou currently lies second overall at the IMA Maxi European Championship.

    Jethou clings onto the coattails of the longer Highland Fling XI downwind

    IMA President Beno?t de Froidmont’s Wally 60 Wally?o was runaway leader in Class 3, winning by 3 minutes 17 seconds from Riccardo De Michele’s H2O, finishing the day a worthy fourth across the fleet and holding this same position in the overall IMA Maxi Europeans results.

    Despite his yacht’s finish line acrobatics, Sir Peter Ogden said he had otherwise enjoyed the majority of the race. “It was only difficult at the end. The rest of it wasn’t that bad. On the first leg we held our time. On the second leg they brought the wind down. The next one we extended the time again… The end was interesting. We got trapped so we had to rock the boat. We ran to the other side and it crabbed forward and we got around the buoy!” Not something you need to do every day in a 77ft long yacht. “The top mark was difficult because there was no wind there. We parked there for what seemed like a long time.”

    Jean-Pierre Dreau, owner of the elegant Marseille-based Mylius 60 Lady First 3 was resigned to the outcome: “The sailing was quite good, but the race was a little bit too long.” Regarding the conditions he added: “It is the Mediterranean: you have wind, you have no wind, you have different wind. That is what’s normal here.”

    His tactician, well known IMOCA sailor Christopher Pratt added: “The downwind was really interesting with good strategic calls to be made, but we stayed offshore and it was clearly better to be on the shore. On the way back we made a few tacks to find more pressure and right shift. Then at the finish off Sorrento there was no wind at all for us two miles from the finish.

    “It is always easy to say after the race that they should do ‘xyz’. The PRO tried to do his best but the wind died really quickly at the end. No one was thinking when we rounded the last mark that it would die off Sorrento.”

    Tomorrow is the final day of the IMA Maxi Europeans.

    By the leeward mark in the shadow of Vesuvius Lyra and Ryokan 2 had caught up with the former Maxi 72s

    Spirit of Lorina - Jean-Pierre Barjon's newly acquired Botin Partners 65.

    Biggest boat competing here is Lord Irvine Laidlaw's 82ft Highland Fling XI.

    Sir Peter Ogden's Jethou - a black boat but never short of colour downwind.

    Terry Hui's overall leader Wally 77 Lyra tussles with Philippe Ligier's Wally 80 Ryokan 2

    Full overall results here and by sub-class.

    Overall IMA Maxi European Championship results here

    by James Boyd / International Maxi Association
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery