The Mediterranean maxi racing season got off to a start with the Portofino Regate di Primavera, that concluded today after a four-day long weekend of racing. The picturesque Ligurian hamlet of Portofino has a long history of hosting maxi yacht events such as the Nespresso Cup and the Zegna Trophy. Portofino Regate di Primavera is the latest incarnation, organised and hosted by the Yacht Club Italiano, under the patronage of the Italian sailing federation (FIV) and in conjunction with the Comune di Portofino and the International Maxi Association.
Racing for the maxi yachts on the Gulf of Tigullio was hampered by weather that was more ‘winter’ than ‘spring’. Despite the best efforts of the race committee including the International Maxi Association’s PRO Alfredo Ricci, racing was cancelled on the opening day due to no wind and then after a blustery Saturday night, it had to be cancelled on Sunday due to an excessive ‘Libeccio’ southwesterly, brought on by a nearby depression. Nonetheless three of the scheduled four races were held.
The maxis competing ranged in size from Francesco De Santis’ Southern Wind 100 Morgana down to several 60 footers such as the two Mylius 60s Antonio Romeo's Jecalu and Franz Wilhelm Baruffaldi Preis's Manticore.
Even before the blustery Saturday night, the southwesterly onshore wind was building during the day from 14-18 knots at start time, and the wave state with it. With two metre waves, three boats were forced to retire - Dario Castiglia's Hanse 630e Remax One, Jürg Schneider's Swan 65 Saida and the Grand Soleil 65 Indomabile Pensiero belonging to the YCI’s Beppe Croce Sea School.
In this 26 mile race the pecking order for the remainder of the regatta was established with the immaculate Morgana leading the fleet home on the water, but with Twin Soul B, the all-black Mylius 80 campaigned by Luciano Gandini, winning under IRC corrected time.
With only one raced sailed to date, the race committee made the decision to lay on two shorter coastal races on this final day, held in a light southeasterly of around 10-12 knots. These were again both won by Twin Soul B, who owner, the President of Mylius Yachts enjoyed a perfect scoreline. With this Gandini was awarded not just the overall winners trophy but the plaque for the top International Maxi Association member competing and another for leading the five boat fleet competing for the Mylius Cup.
“My hope is, for next year, to have more boats here,” said a delighted Gandini. “The organisation was really excellent in every aspect. Thanks also to perfect collaboration between Portofino and nearby Santa Margherita Ligure, where all our Mylius boats yachts were moored. I am very happy with the good job done by my crew.” On board the Twin Soul B line-up included for the first time Tommaso Chieffi calling tactics.
If Twin Soul B dominated the racing under IRC, behind it was much closer, especially between Adriano Calvini's FY61 Itacentodue, last year's Rolex Giraglia winner and the Mylius 65 Oscar 3 of Aldo Parisotto, which can home second and third overall respectively, separated by just one point.
“I love racing on the Gulf of Tigullio,” said Parisotto. “The weather was not its best this week, but that’s life. This was the very first race for Oscar 3 this year, so we could have done better, but it's fine. I am racing the 151 Miglia – it was a last minute decision but I am really looking forward to it. Roberto Lacorte [organiser of the 151 Miglia] joined us on Saturday night at the Mylius dinner at Cracco. I accepted his invitation and will be representing Mylius fleet - while Luciano (Gandini) with Twin Soul B will take part in Rolex Giraglia a few weeks later.”
Following her launch in November 2020, this was the first regatta Morgana has competed in. Calling tactics on board was Brazilian five Olympic medallist Torben Grael. "It was a bit cold and rainy and there were a lot of waves, but it was a fun regatta," he said. "We managed to do three of the four scheduled races. It was spring weather so it changed very fast. The event here is nice. The place is beautiful with good infrastructure. It is good to be back on the racecourse doing some normal calendar regattas which have been few in the last couple of years."
The bad weather was made up for by the excellent social program ashore. Rolex, the event’s official timepiece, lit up Portofino, illuminating the edges of the hamlet’s shoreside villas in its familiar corporate green. Mylius Yachts held its dinner at the Cracco on Saturday and the regatta culminated in its gala dinner at Splendido Mare - A Belmond Hotel, the event’s hospitality partner last night. The event's Technical Partner was Banca Passadore & C.
Andrew McIrvine, Secretary General of the International Maxi Association was in Portofino this weekend. Of the regatta he summarised: “A great location, perfect organisation, outstanding and stylish social events, but sadly let down by the one thing regatta organisers and sponsors can never control - the weather. Racing on two out of four days is not ideal, but well done all to achieve that against the odds.”
Racing resumes in the International Maxi Association’s Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge with La Larga, the offshore race of Palmavela on 30 April and in the Caribbean, Antigua Sailing Week, the final event of the IMA’s inaugural Caribbean Maxi Challenge.
Image credit: IMA/Studio Borlenghi