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CoastWaterSports 2014

Inaugural Menorca Maxi - Preview

by Pierre Orphanidis 10 May 2014 18:18 BST 21-25 May 2014

For five days, from May 21st to May 25th, the sparkling waters off Menorca's capital city Mahón will play host to twelve of the most spectacular yachts in the Mediterranean. Nine Wallys and three J Class yachts will take part in the inaugural Menorca Maxi, an event that aspires to stand out as one of the highlights of the superyacht racing calendar.

The event is an initiative of the Island Council of Menorca and is organized by Club Marítimo de Mahón, with the support of Port of Mahón, one of the Mediterranean's biggest and most beautiful ports. Being chosen by two of the world's most prestigious superyacht classes is a clear demonstration of Menorca's know-how and ability to hold world-class sailing events.

Although they are all good friends off the water, the twelve superyacht owners will be fiercely competitive on the water. When racing gets underway, in two distinct courses, one for each class, the star-studded crews will only have one aim, to claim the first ever event specifically created for Wallys and J Class yachts.

Of the nine Wallys in Menorca, Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones' Magic Carpet 3, a WallyCento, will hit the water as the favorite, having dominated the season's opening event in Palma last week with three bullets and two second places in six races. She will be lining up against another WallyCento, Thomas Bscher's Open Season (the former Hamilton), that features a crew of Olympic and America's Cup champions.

Italian owner Antonio Cacace will battle it out on Magic Blue (Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones' former Magic Carpet 2) with an all-Italian top-notch crew. France's Philippe Ligier and his French-Italian crew will race with an iconic Wally, Ryokan 2, winner of the 2008 Compasso d'Oro, the world's most important award for quality and design.

Spanish owner Alberto Palatchi will race on familiar waters with Galma, featuring a crew that consists of the who-is-who of Spain's top professional sailors. The 94-foot sloop was launched in 2003 and has claimed numerous victories in the Wally Class races since then.

Although one of the first Wallys ever to be launched, back in 1997, Jean Charles Decaux's J-One (former Magic Carpet, the first yacht of the line of Wallys developed for Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones), hasn't lost her incredible performance as she was tied in first place with Open Season (now Sensei) in the 2013 Wally Class season.

With her 33 meters of length, Kenora is the largest Wally racing in Menorca Maxi. Launched in 1999, she still belongs to her original owner. The Wally lineup concludes with Tango G, the flush desk, three-cabin version of the Wally80 design, the same of Ryokan 2, and Sensei, a 29-meter sloop launched in 2005 (the former Open Season, sharing similar lines with Galma).

Though less in numbers, the invited J Class fleet will nonetheless be equally impressive and competitive. Three J Class yachts will race in Menorca; Hanuman, Lionheart and Ranger. Launched in 2009, Hanuman is the reincarnation of the 1937 Endeavour II and won the 2013 Superyacht Cup. Lionheart is based on Harold Vanderbilt's project in the 1930's as is Ranger, a copy of the 1934 America's Cup winner.

The inaugural Menorca Maxi kicks off on Wednesday, May 21st with the usual practice starts and races while racing in full earnest starts on Thursday. The schedule calls for three days of windward/leeward races and one coastal race to the north of the island, until Sunday, May 25th. The final program will depend on weather conditions and the first warning signal is scheduled at 12:30pm local time, every day.

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