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Maxi Class News

A rundown of the International Maxi Association's latest news:

  • Maxis got the wind in their sails in October in the wet and gusty 2017 Rolex Middle Sea Race, the opening race of the 2018 IMA Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge.
  • The Venice Hospitality Challenge saw 13 Maxis compete off the city of canals and enjoy a luxurious reception in the city's finest hotels. 
  • Next year, Maxis are set to rejoin Rolex Capri Sailing Week. 
  • The International Maxi Association has passed a motion allowing yachts up to 115ft (35 m) to participate in a combined start. 
  • Congratulations to Rambler 88, which has been named IMA Boat of the Year 2016. 
  • Maxis are competing in the RORC Transatlantic Race, which doubles as the first stage of the Atlantic Anniversary Regatta. Charitable impulses as well as the thrill of the race lie behind some entrants' participation.


Rambler 88 battles through waves in the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Photo: ROLEX / Kurt Arrigo

Strong maxi turn-out for Rolex Middle Sea Race

The 2018 IMA Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge got under way in October with its first event, the Rolex Middle Sea Race. On this occasion conditions smiled on the smaller boats with the Russian JPK 10.80 Bogatyr claiming overall honours under IRC. The top Maxi under IRC corrected time was the Botin 65 Caro of Germany's Maximilian Klink.

American George David’s Rambler 88 claimed Rolex Middle Sea Race line honours for a third consecutive year, on this occasion finishing in an elapsed time of 57 hours 48 minutes 9 seconds. This was outside of the 47 hours 55 minutes and 3 seconds record David and his crew had set on the original 90ft Rambler a decade earlier.

David (below) described this year’s race: “The Mistral conditions reminded me of 2007 in Rambler 90 when we set the record, but then it blew even harder - maybe 50 knots. This time we saw 40, but mainly mid-30s. In those conditions it is a little hard to see! It is exciting and very wet, especially when you turn a corner. And you are sideways to the waves - it was a really wet race. When we had the pedal down we were into the 30s for boat speed.”


Due to the severe conditions this year, two thirds of the starters retired. This included the two Maxi 72s, Momo and Proteus of IMA members Dieter Schön and George Sakellaris, plus the Simon Rogers-designed Carbon Ocean Yachts-built Aegir Performance Yacht Charter, campaigned by Finland's Robert Stauber. Other Maxis that did complete the course were the 100ft Farr Yacht Design maxi Leopard, chartered to Frenchman Pascal Oddo, plus Whitbread Round The World Race veteran Ludde Ingvall’s radical 100 footer CQS and a Russian team, skippered by Valentin Zubkov on the 2001 vintage Reichel-Pugh designed Nauta 78, Arctic Energy.

The Rolex Middle Sea Race was opening event of the 2018 IMA Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge, which continues in 2018 with:

11 May - Regata dei Tre Golfi 2018 (Naples, Italy to Capri, via Ponza and Li Galli)
31 May - 151 Miglia (Livorno, Italy to Punta Ala leaving Giraglia and Elba to port and Sparviero to starboard)
13 June - Giraglia Rolex Cup (Saint Tropez, France to Genoa, Italy via Giraglia rock)
21 August - Palermo to Montecarlo Race.

Winner of the 2018 IMA Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge will be the maxi yacht scoring the highest results across three of the five events. The prize will be presented to the winner at the International Maxi Association annual dinner in Porto Cervo during September 2018’s Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup.


Capri is a favourite destination with Maxi owners. Photo: ROLEX/Kurt Arrigo

Maxis to rejoin Rolex Capri Sailing Week

Following the introduction to the IMA Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge of its fifth event - the Regata dei Tre Golfi - Rolex Capri Sailing Week will make a welcome return to the International Maxi Association fixture list in 2018. Regata dei Tre Golfi now forms part of Rolex Capri Sailing Week acting as a feeder race to it from Naples.

Racing at Rolex Capri Sailing Week for most classes will take place on the Gulf of Naples over 17-19th May, but exact dates for the Maxis series have yet to be finalised. The organisers will be laying on a separate race course for Maxi yachts participating. Several Maxi 72 teams have already expressed interest in competing in this magnificent regatta.

Maxis at the Venice Hospitality Challenge


13 maxi yachts, including two Il Moro Di Venezias America’s Cup challengers, competed in the Venice Hospitality Challenge - Grand Prix of the City of Venice, which took place on the ‘city of canals’ on 14 October.

This annual event sees the most exclusive local hotels each backing a maxi boat in a unique race through Venice's spectacular waters. The course sees the maxis start off St Mark’s Square, heading out towards the Lido before returning back to Giudecca Island and the finish off St Mark’s. This year was the fourth occasion the annual Venice Hospitality Challenge has taken place.

The 2017 race was held in light winds and won by the Cà Sagredo Hotel-backed Spirit of Portopiccolo. Skippered by Furio Benussi of the famous Trieste sailing family, Spirit of Portopiccolo is the canting keel Reichel-Pugh designed MaxZ86 that started life as Dr Hasso Plattner’s Morning Glory. She was chased around the race course by the Slovenian 80 footer Nuovo Maxi Jena, winner of the 2015-16 editions, and the Laurie Davidson 70, Pendragon VI, respectively backed by The Gritti Palace and the Hilton Molino Stucky.

Organised by the Yacht Club Venice with sponsorship from Generali Italia and Moët & Chandon, the event culminated in a prizegiving attended by IMA Secretary General Andrew McIrvine and Kim Andersen, President of World Sailing, along with Ermelinda Damiano, President of the City Council of Venice, FIV President Francesco Ettorre and Admiral Marcello Bernard, Commander of the Istituto di Studi Militari Marittimi in Venice. It was followed by a cocktail party on board of the Italian navy’s sail training ship Amerigo Vespucci.

A more formal tie-up between the event and the International Maxi Association is anticipated for the future. The event takes place immediately after the world’s biggest single-start regatta, the Barcolana, which will take place on 14 October next year, when it will celebrate its 50th anniversary. In 2017 the Barcolana had 2101 entries, one can only imagine how big the fleet will be as it celebrates it half century.

1- Spirit of Portopiccolo (ex Morning Glory maxZ86) - Cà Sagredo Hotel - skipper Furio Benussi
2- Nuova Maxi Jena (Andrej Justin 80) - The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice - skipper Mitja Kosmina
3- Pendragon VI (Laurie Davidson 70) - Hilton Molino Stucky - skipper Salvatore Eulisse
4- Adriatic Europa (Vallicelli ex-Esimit Europa 1) - Hotel Danieli a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice - skipper Dusan Puh
5- Shining Umago Umago (Frers Open 60) - Sina Centurion Palace - skipper Zeliko Perovic Huck
6- Idrusa (Farr 80, Maxi One Design) - The Westin Europa&Regina - skipper Paolo Montefusco
7- Anemos (Swan 112) - Falisia a Luxury Collection Portopiccolo - skipper Guglielmo Danelon
8- Cleansport One (ex-Amer Sport Volvo Ocean 60) - JW Marriott Venice - skipper Jure Orel
9- Anywave (Frers 64) - Belmond Hotel Cipriani - skipper Alberto Leghissa
10- Kiwi (Southern Wind 78) - Cristallo a Luxury Collection Hotel - skipper Paolo Pesaresi
11-Ancilla Domini – (Farr 80, Maxi One Design) Palazzina Hotel - skipper Mauro Pelaschier
12-Il Moro Di Venezia II (68ft IACC) - Hotel Excelsior Venice Lido Resort
13- Il Moro Di Venezia (75ft IACC) - Città di Venezia - skipper Claudio Carraro

The new class length changes are for boats like the 108ft Javier Jaudenes-designed Win Win. Photo: ROLEX/Carlo Borlenghi

Maxi starts now open to yachts up to 115ft

At the IMA Annual General Meeting, held during the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in September, a motion was supported to allow events to have combined starts for Maxi yachts and Supermaxi yachts up to 115ft.

"The IMA has identified that there is a new generation of Maxi yachts in the 100-115ft size range, such as the 108ft Win Win and the Baltic 112 Nilaya, the new Swan 115s, etc. These have the manoeuvrability of more race-oriented Maxis compared with conventional Supermaxis," explained IMA Secretary General Andrew McIrvine.

The new rule allows owners of Super Maxis between 100 and 115ft the choice of competing with Maxi yachts, following a trend in offshore racing to invite yachts larger than 100ft to join offshore classics, such as the Rolex Fastnet Race. This will allow event organisers to cater better for more race-orientated Maxi yachts of up to 115ft, as well as for the less racing-orientated Supermaxis, in terms of both race courses and rules, to the benefit of both.

Longer term, this allows for a higher hull length limit for the Maxi fleet racing using the conventional Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS). Supermaxis can use a different set of racing rules (RRS Appendix SY), aimed at minimising the risk of contact between the yachts and creating race courses specifically for them.

Maxi class sizes remain:
Mini Maxi – 18.29-24.08m (60-79ft)
Maxi – 24.09-30.51m (79-100ft)
Super Maxi – 30.51+m (100+ft) – no upper limit.


George David and the crew of 2016 IMA Boat of the Year, Rambler 88. Photo: James Boyd/www.sailingintelligence.com

Rambler 88 – International Maxi Association Boat of the Year 2016

At the IMA dinner during September’s Maxi Yacht Rolex Club, George David’s Rambler 88 was announced as IMA Boat of the Year 2016, based on her results for that season. David was presented with his prize by IMA President Thomas Bscher.


Will Apold's Southern Wind 96 Sorceress to go transatlantic.

Maxis in the Transatlantic Race

The next event in the International Maxi Association calendar is the RORC Transatlantic Race, organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club in association with the IMA. This starts from Marina Lanzarote in the Canary Islands on 25 November, heading for Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina in Grenada.

At present among the 23 entries are six maxis. Leading the charge in this will be the 100ft CQS of Finnish round the world race veteran Ludde Ingvall. “We will have the chance to help support the Caribbean communities devastated by the recent hurricanes, by entering some of the events on their circuit,” said Ingvall of his reasons for taking part.

The line honours winner will receive the IMA Transatlantic Trophy, a vintage trophy that last year was awarded to Mike Slade and his Farr 100, Leopard.

Left: Mike Slade is presented with the IMA Transatlantic Trophy by IMA Secretary General, Andrew McIrvine. Photo: Louay Habib

Also competing this year are Canadian Will Apold's Southern Wind 96 Sorceress and the Swan 60 Emma, of Dr Johann Killinger, Alfred Paulsen and Sven Hadler.

This year the RORC Transatlantic Race doubles as the westbound opening stage of the Atlantic Anniversary Regatta, celebrating the 50th birthday of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and the 150th of the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein in Hamburg, Germany. The eastbound second stage will run from Bermuda to Hamburg, via the English Channel, starting on 9 May 2018 (following the Newport-Bermuda race).

Among the Maxis so far entered in the NRV Atlantic Anniversary Regatta East are Rambler 88, Emma, the Swan 82 Grey Goose of RORC (Tobias König), American Jeffrey Pribor's Farr 60 Prospector, the X-612 SOLAIR of Stefan Urban, Bronenosec, the Swan 60 of St Petersburg Yacht Club President Vladimir Liubomirov, the much travelled Lithuanian Volvo Ocean 60 Ambersail and the VO70 Monster Project.

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