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Records Fall In Regata dei Tre Golfi

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  • Records Fall In Regata dei Tre Golfi

    For its 26 competitors, the IMA Maxi European Championship set sail at 1700 yesterday with its offshore race, Regata dei Tre Golfi, running between Naples and Sorrento via the turning marks of Ponza in the north and Li Galli, off the Amalfi coast, in the south.

    Supported by Rolex as Official Timepiece and Loro Piana, the 150 mile race is organised by the Circolo del Remo e della Vela Italia (CRVI) in conjunction with the International Maxi Association, the body officially tasked by World Sailing to administer and develop maxi yacht racing internationally.

    Usually the race is a tricky light wind affair, but this year the leaders enjoyed breeze all the way. After a slight war of attrition and a tight fight between the front runners, the first two maxi yachts crossed the finish line separated by a minute in real time.

    The first six finishers all beat the 16 hours 44 minutes and 13 seconds record time for the present course established in 2016 by Cippa Lippa 8, Guido Paolo Gamucci's Cookson 50.

    The ClubSwan 80 My Song and the five former Maxi 72s enjoyed constant boat-on-boat competition around the race track. At the finish line off Massa Lubrense, to the west of Sorrento at 08:35:01 this morning, it was Sir Peter Ogden’s 77ft Jethou that beat Dario Ferrari’s Cannonball into second in real time.

    “It was amazing,” said Ogden, “the best race we have done here on the grounds that we didn’t park anywhere – we had wind all the way round. We did well on the back side of Ponza where we left Cannonball - they went inshore and disappeared for a while. Then it got really shifty. It was a nice race - we enjoyed it; it was good fun.”

    For Jethou the race was one in light to moderate winds that peaked at 17 knots under a rain cloud. Ogden’s elite crew on his black extended Maxi 72 included tactician Brad Butterworth. As to how they stayed in front, the America’s Cup legend explained: “My Song was leading and probably would have won, but they had problems off Ischia and had to bear away and we managed to pass them. Then we managed to put our elbows out.”

    Jethou set a new record for the present Regata dei Tre Golfi course of 15 hours 30 minutes and 1 second,
    making her average speed for the course 9.7 knots.

    My Song’s owner Pier Luigi Loro Piana explained that line honours had eluded them when, while passing Procida on the way back from Ponza, they managed to ensnare a giant moonfish with their rudder. “We were unlucky – we went fishing… We had to stop the boat, reverse and lost two miles of the lead we’d built.” Later passing Capri they blew up a brand new spinnaker and had no back-up.

    Among the leaders, having to work hardest was Peter Dubens’ North Star, last year’s overall winner. While last year she was up against Jethou alone, this year faced four other former Maxi 72s.

    While it is too early to call an overall winner of the Regata dei Tre Golfi, North Star at present leads her class under IRC corrected time. “It was amazing – a really quick race and the boat and team were great. There was quite a lot of reaching so we got to use our new water ballast,” explained tactician, Olympic silver medallist Nick Rogers. Unique among this group for having powered winches North Star was able to race with just eight crew (usually 15).

    As to the key moments, Rogers explained that after passing the islands exiting the Gulf of Naples they had been first to peel to their Code 0. “We came hammering through the fleet, went straight through the middle and that set us up nicely for the whole evening bouncing around in Cannonball’s dirt, but powered up,” continued Rogers. “Then the wind shut down at Ponza, but we carried a spinnaker and were brave enough to hold it quite late with our hydraulic drop…”

    Thanks to the smart calls from navigator Wouter Verbraak they tacked north after rounding Ponza, along with their competition, anticipating a giant left shift. From there it was a case of making the most of the shifts. As Verbraak explained: “There was southerly gradient, but a new breeze was developing, shifting the wind left and the influence of the land breeze funneling out of the bays. Then the fun thing this morning that threw everyone were the rain showers. All of a sudden the long upwind leg, that was meant to be in a southeasterly, we were running downwind.”

    Perhaps a greater surprise for Sir Peter Ogden and Jethou’s crew was claiming line honours. They were helped in this by My Song’s fishing, while line honours favourite, Furio Benussi’s 100ft ARCA SGR had to retire from the race when she began taking on water.

    This incident involved her canting keel and occurred at 2330 as ARCA SGR was leading the fleet around Zannone, en route to Ponza. The crew issued a Mayday and soon after their fellow Triestians on board the 90ft maxi Shockwave 3 were standing by. They were joined by a Coast Guard patrol boat to which the majority of the crew was transferred. The patrol boat then towed ARCA SGR to the nearby island of Ponza.

    “The most important thing is that all the crewmen are safe,” said skipper Furio Benussi. “Thanks to the hard work and preparedness of the crew, despite the drama of the situation, we prevented injuries and ARCA SGR from sinking. I would like to extend a big thank you to the great sailors of Shockwave 3 who were the first to assist us and to the Coast Guard, who arrived in record time to assist in the rescue.”

    North Star wins second IMA Maxi European Championship offshore race

    Press release issued by the International Maxi Association on 14/05/2023

    With the 26 strong maxi fleet sub-divided into three classes, the remainder of the Regata dei Tre Golfi maxi fleet arrived throughout the course of yesterday afternoon. Giuseppe Puttini’s Swan 65 ketch Shirlaf was last home at 17:45CEST. Due to the slower boats experiencing shutdowns around the race’s southerly turning mark of Li Galli and gusty rain squalls as they approached the finish line off Massa Lubrense, to the west of Sorrento, the offshore race of this second International Maxi Association Maxi European Championship, has proved to be a big boat affair. For a second consecutive year Peter Dubens’ former Maxi 72 North Star has won the race’s maxi division, by just over seven minutes under IRC corrected time from the race’s line honours winner and new record holder, Sir Peter Ogden’s Maxi 77 Jethou.

    Supported by Rolex as Official Timepiece and Loro Piana, the 150 mile race from Naples to Sorrento, via Ponza in the north and the Li Galli islands in the south, was organised by the Circolo del Remo e della Vela Italia (CRVI) in conjunction with the International Maxi Association, the body officially tasked by World Sailing to administer and develop maxi yacht racing internationally.

    While the superbly sailed former Maxi 72s occupied four of the top five spaces on the overall IRC maxi leaderboard for the Regata dei Tre Golfi, holding third was Riccardo de Michele’s serial Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup class winning Vallicelli 78 H20, topping the combined Maxi 4-5 class.

    “It was good that we had wind for most of the race,” de Michele explained. “The trickiest part was from Ponza to Punta Campanella. Then at Li Galli we broke a gennaker - our fault, as we didn’t realise it had a small tear in it when we hoisted it. As soon as it went up it blew up…” Otherwise de Michele said they had chosen the best part of the course on Friday night passing Ischia as they left the Bay of Naples then the following morning standing off at Punta Campanella (the tip of the Sorrentine peninsula). They had enjoyed having wind most of the way, although from dawn it was accompanied with rain cells. “H20 is a heavy boat and when it gets stuck it takes a lot to get her moving again.”

    Having finished fourth last year, in sixth place under IRC was IMA President Beno?t de Froidmont aboard his silver Wally 60 Wally?o with a crack French including tactician C?dric Pouligny. “It was very tactical as usual here. The wind was unexpected, but was good because it was windy all the time except the usual place - Li Galli.” De Froidmont said that had they had better conditions off the Amalfi coast then they might have challenged the former Maxi 72s for the podium. “The boat was okay. All our manouevres were perfectly executed by the crew. From a tactical point of view we didn’t make any mistakes.” And this was despite being hammered by a couple of rain squalls accompanied by 30 knots puffs approaching the finish.

    The conditions didn’t favour the middle of the maxi fleet with Maxi 3 won by Guido Paolo Gamucci’s canting keel Mylius 60 Cippa Lippa X, correcting out to 15th in the overall maxi ranking.

    “The race was interesting because we had more wind and more rain and a left shift bigger [after Ponza] than we were expecting,” said Gamucci. “Unfortunately we weren’t fast recognising that and when the left shift came we ended up reaching and lost some of our advantage.” However their biggest issue came after passing Punta Campanella and around Li Galli where they parked for 1.5 hours. However this was not as bad as befell the 90ft Shockwave 3 ahead of them which stopped for 2.5 hours (behind in the race after stopping to respond to fellow Trieste maxi Arca SGR’s Mayday the previous night).

    Gamucci was sad to see his Regata dei Tre Golfi record from 2016 technically broken yesterday by Sir Peter Ogden’s Jethou, but observed: “The race track was different then: We sailed 14 miles more because it finished in Naples - 14 very important miles!”

    Tomorrow (Monday) is the first of four days of inshore racing for the IMA Maxi European Championship. For this the maxi fleet will comprise 22 yachts ranging in size from numerous 60 footers such as Wally?o to the longest Shockwave 3.

    Looking forward to this is Neapolitan, CRVI Honorary Member and former Luna Rossa Italian America’s Cup helmsman Francesco de Angelis, who will be racing on Dario Ferrari’s former Maxi 72 Cannonball.

    “I like the place - I have spent a lot of time here and I used to sail dinghies here,” said de Angelis. “This week will be a mixed bag, with the weather very ‘front-related’ - different from the usual pattern. It will be tricky to sail. The forecast on Tuesday looks pretty windy while Thursday looks like a light day. But we will have to see how the weather shapes up.”

    Of the competition he adds: “There are lots of good teams and good boats - it will be a fantastic race.”

    IMA President Beno?t de Froidmont concluded: “The organisation is very impressive for this event. The yacht club invests a lot of energy into its organization which it is good for the owners. Now we have a new village here in Sorrento. And the fleet is extremely competitive, which is a pleasant surprise given the present economic situation.”

    While the Regata dei Tre Golfi was the second event in the 2022-23 IMA Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge, tomorrow’s inshore races will be the second of the IMA’s equivalent Inshore Challenge, which began with PalmaVela last weekend.

    by James Boyd / International Maxi Association

    For more information about Regata dei Tre Golfi and Tre Golfi Sailing Week visit

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