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Noble Marine 2022 YY - LEADERBOARD

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez - Maxi Day 1

by Maguelonne Turcat 4 Oct 2022 22:09 BST 24 September - 8 October 2022

Enrapt yet studious, focused on micro-trimming and calculating the race zone with pinpoint accuracy, the crews on the 800 Maxi Yachts got down to business this Tuesday with their first day of racing at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, in its Maxi version.

And so it was that they tried to exploit every possible variation in the light E'ly breeze in the four groups of Maxis committed to a double looped circuit of the gulf. Carrying an excess of sails, with an air draught stretching up to 45 m for some (Wallycentos), these huge racing steeds managed to get the very best out of the conditions offered up in the gulf, sparing no effort in the flurry of sail changes amidst their quest for a beneficial puff of breeze.

In these gentle conditions though, the event favourites are already posting solid performances: Morgana and Jasi in Maxi 1, Magic Carpet 3 in Maxi 2, Capricorno in Maxi 3 and Kiwi Magic KZ7, all of them fantastically efficient in their hunt for the most optimised course.

Morgana straight in for the attack...

The 46 Maxi Yachts sailing in fleet format in Saint Tropez are split into four separate groups according to their length and measurement. It was the large sloops measuring in excess of 30 m, labelled here as Maxi 1s, which kicked off the week's racing. Up against a very light E'ly breeze, the giant Wallys, Swans, Hoeks and other Dubois impressed spectators from the get-go with their ability to take off, creating their own wind and shooting off as a tight mass towards the fringes of the gulf.

Already, the temptation to make some extreme tactical calls divided the fleet. Rambler 88, to her great displeasure, opted to continue on a heavily penalising tack towards Sainte Maxime, whilst all her rivals powered down on Les Canoubiers. Issuing a course reduction, the Race Committee validated one race for each group.

Morgana, the large Reichel Pugh cruiser racer, managed to make the best of the day's puffs of breeze to take line honours. Ahead of her in this evening's provisional overall ranking is Pattoo (McKeown 2016), the first Maxi 1 in corrected time.

Maxi 2: Wallycento versus Maxi 72

The three 'genuine' Wallycentos, Magic Carpet3 (Reichel/Pugh 2013), Galateia (Reichel/Pugh 2015) and Tango (Mills 2017) have every intention of injecting some real energy and power into the Maxi 2 group in this event. Their clash with the ex Maxi 72s Jethou and Cannonball and record hunters like Rambler 88 and Leopard 3 promises a thrilling week of fierce competition.

Things kicked off today with a subtle attack, which saw Cannonball really make a name for herself by leading the way virtually from beginning to end, before finally losing her grip on the top spot in the final few boat lengths to Magic Carpet 3. Her very interesting rating has propelled her to the top of the Maxi 2 leader board tonight, ahead of the other two 72 footers, North Star and Jethou.

Wallycento, in a race of their own!

Wallycento is a measurement which relies on a so-called box rule. Measuring between 30 and 30.48 m in length, with a displacement of between 45 and 50 tonnes, her water draught with a fixed keel amounts to 5 m, stretching to 6.2 m for a lifting keel.

The owners retain the possibility of managing and personalising their projects. As such, they can notably choose their own naval architect and their own yard in consultation with the avant-garde Luca Bassani, the man behind this futuristic 100-foot concept, albeit with the ability to continue racing on an equal footing.

Launched in 2013, the first Wallycento Magic Carpet 3, a Reichel-Pugh design, was built in Ancona. Three more Wallycentos have since been built, Galateia, Hamilton and the most recent, Tango. These four sumptuous boats are gracing Les Voiles this week. Hamilton, renamed Open Season for a while, has been extended to 107-feet, so she can no longer compete among the Wallycentos.

She is instead sailing under the name of Spirit of Malouen X in the group of 'large' Maxi 1s.

Lyra makes her mark

The Wally 77 Lyra, a familiar force on the podiums of Saint Tropez, didn't waste any time in getting her bearings in the gulf either. Stealing a march on her twelve fellow protagonists in the Maxi 3 group throughout the day, she was embroiled in a particularly fierce duel with the Italian sloop Capricorno (Reichel Pugh design from 1995), aboard which the weight of years seems to have no hold whatsoever.

However, it is Les Amis, the Swan 601 from Monaco, which knocked spots off them in corrected time.

French Kiss crosses swords with Kiwi Magic

French Kiss has rediscovered in Saint Tropez another legend from the golden age of the America's Cup 12mRs in the form of her contemporary from New Zealand Kiwi Magic KZ7, built from glass fibre in 1986. The first event of the week saw the duo involved in a bitter duel that harked back to their glorious past.

Virtually neck and neck throughout, it was only in the closing hundreds of metres that the Danish crew on the New Zealand boat pipped the French on French Kiss to the post.

However, heading the provisional ranking this evening is the venerable Swan 65 Saïda, launched in... 1973.

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