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Introducing the new IMA Mediterranean Maxi Multihull Challenge

by James Boyd / International Maxi Association 6 Mar 16:30 GMT
Jason Carroll's turboed MOD70 trimaran Argo leaves Valletta on the 2021 Rolex Middle Sea Race, en route to setting a new race record © Rolex / Kurt Arrigo

To complement its recently announced IMA Caribbean Maxi Multihull Series, the International Maxi Association is to hold its first IMA Mediterranean Maxi Multihull Challenge in 2024.

The IMA is the body officially tasked by World Sailing to oversee and develop the sport of maxi yacht racing internationally. As with its maxi challenges for monohulls, the IMA's latest series will provide a framework and some focus for the owners of maxi multihulls, with the aim of encouraging them out on to the race course.

Like the new Caribbean series (that last weekend saw the completion of its third and penultimate event, St Maarten Heineken Regatta), the IMA Mediterranean Maxi Multihull Challenge (MMMC) will comprise a mix of both inshore and offshore events. The majority of these already feature in the IMA's maxi monohull series.

The new IMA Mediterranean Maxi Multihull Challenge will begin in July with the fourth edition of the Aegean 600, organised by the Hellenic Offshore Racing Club.

The Mediterranean's newest 600 mile offshore race has been gaining rapidly in popularity thanks to its course that takes competitors on an anti-clockwise lap of the Aegean Sea. This meanders around numerous famous islands including tourist destinations such as Santorini and Mykonos, others known from ancient Greece such as the Temple of Poseidon on Cape Sounion, from where the race starts and finishes or Rhodes, known for its 'Colossus', to some from mythology such Milos (famous as the inspiration for the Venus de Milo statute).

Despite being held mid-summer, the race is gaining a reputation for being windy and if this proves true this year then the MOD70 trimarans taking part stand a good chance of breaking the race's record, set in 2022 by Adrian Keller's Irens 84 catamaran Allegra with a time of 2 days 5 hours 36 minutes 2 seconds.

Following the Aegean 600, the IMA Mediterranean Maxi Challenge continues in September with Ibiza JoySail. Held for the first time in 2021, this starts with an offshore race from Palma de Mallorca to Marina Ibiza. After this are three days of coastal racing off Ibiza and Formentera. Multihull participation in this would be a first for this new event.

The multihull teams then head directly into the Multihull Cup, held out of Port Adriano, the Philippe Starck-designed superyacht marina located just west of the Bay of Palma. This multihull-only event comprises three days of windward-leeward or coastal racing, with up to two races per day.

The IMA Mediterranean Maxi Multihull Challenge concludes, as it began, with an offshore race - the Rolex Middle Sea Race. The oldest and most famous offshore race in the Mediterranean, the Royal Malta Yacht Club's premier event starts and finishes from the ancient Maltese capital Valletta. Its course is a large anticlockwise lap of Sicily, along the way passing volcanos such as Mount Etna and Stromboli and remote islands such as Pantelleria and Lampedusa.

Taking place in October, the race is renowned for its volatile conditions that can be light or strong or both, often in the same day. In recent years the event has become popular with maxi multihulls with Jason Carroll's MOD70 Argo having established the present race record of 1 day 9 hours 29 minutes 28 seconds in 2021.

Secretary General of the International Maxi Association, Andrew McIrvine commented: "In recent years we've been seeing great racing between maxi catamarans such as Allegra and the Gunboats as well as between the MOD70 trimarans. This is a significant growth area within maxi yachting and we have been approached by both groups to provide them with some more framework and focus that will help grow their fleets and improve the quality of their racing. The standard of their yachts and the calibre of their crews is every bit as high as that of our maxi monohulls. They are a welcome addition to the maxi fleet."

2024 Mediterranean Maxi Multihull Challenge (MMMC):

  1. Aegean 600 (Starting and finishing off Sounio, Greece, via Milos, Santorini Caldera,Kassos, Karpathos, Rhodos, Kandelousa, Kos, Kalolimnos, Farmakonissi, Agathonissi,Patmos, Mykonos-Dilos and Kea) - 7 July
  2. Ibiza JoySail (Palma, Majorca to Marina Ibiza, Ibiza) - 19-22 September
  3. Multihull Cup (Port Adriano, Majorca) - 27-29 September
  4. Rolex Middle Sea Race - (starting and finishing in Valletta, Malta - anticlockwise lap around Sicily via the Strait of Messina, Stromboli, Favignana, Pantelleria and Lampedusa) - 19 October
For more on the International Maxi Association visit www.internationalmaxiassociation.com

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