Please select your home edition
Edition
J Composites J/99

IMA Maxi European Championship at Circolo del Remo e della Vela Italia - Overall

by James Boyd / International Maxi Association 23 May 23:19 BST 17-23 May 2024

In a great display of on-the-water dominance within an already elite-level class, Hap Fauth, tactician Terry Hutchinson and the all-star cast of the Maxi 74 Bella Mente today claimed the third edition of the IMA Maxi European Championship, supported by Rolex as Official Timepiece.

Held out of Sorrento, the event, which comprised the Regata dei Tre Golfi offshore race followed by four days of windward-leeward and coastal racing, including yesterday's popular lap of Capri, was organised by Circolo del Remo e della Vela Italia (CRVI) and supported by Loro Piana.

Today, after a long wait for wind and just short of cut-off time, a light breeze materialised and PRO Stuart Childerley was able to hold one coastal course in a patchy wind that peaked at 5-6 knots.

Having taken the lead overall in the 20 boat fleet yesterday, Hap Fauth's Bella Mente stormed off the start into an early lead and never looked back. While the three Wallycentos should have had the upper hand, the nimble 74ft pure racer kept her nose ahead of Wallycentos V and Galateia to win the final race and the IMA Maxi Europeans title. Former Maxi 72s owned the podium with Sir Peter Ogden's 77ft Jethou a worthy second, six points behind Bella Mente and the defending champion, Peter Dubens' North Star third.

"She has legs is all I can say," said a beaming Fauth. "We got an unbelievably good start - there was a lot of congestion but we found a hole and were gone." Latest of the former Maxi 72s, Bella Mente is five years old but has undergone constant evolution and now sports twin rudders, water ballast and a powerboat-style interceptor on her transom. "We had speed against all of the 100 footers," continued Fauth. "The venue is great and the event was terrific - I am so glad that they got a race off today even if it required patience for everyone, participants and committee."

Having won the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup last September, the IMA Maxi European this week, Fauth is hoping to make it a triple if his American Magic successfully challenges for the America's Cup in Barcelona this October. At the prize-giving Fauth was also awarded the prize for finishing top IMA member.

Tactician Terry Hutchinson, one of three members here from the AC team, alongside Fauth and Sean Clarkson, commented of their victory: "From the shore team through to Hap everyone gave their best. It is really good racing with the other 72 to 77s." And of today's race win: "Coach James [Lyne] had been on us about not starting close enough to the line - just time and distance. We haven't properly raced since the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, so it takes a little time to get back into it."

While the former Maxi 72s again dominated the results, Karel Komárek's V ended the Europeans fourth, tied on points with Peter Harrison's Jolt, whose second today was her best result this week. The sinister-looking all-black Wallycento crossing the start line very early and had to round the committee boat to start properly. "We were a little over-exuberant," explained V tactician Ken Read. "We wanted the right because with a one mile beat it was going to be super difficult to get left. Plus we expected the 72s to be quicker - so there was going to be traffic." When the race was shortened after three legs, V was a minute ahead of Chris Flowers' higher rated Galateia.

With their awesome size, the 100s are akin to a modern day J Class. "These boats are marvellous to sail. And they are really turning into real race boats now," concluded Read.

Due to the way this championship is scored, Paul Berger's Swan 80 Kallima won Class 3 by two points based on results from Class 3 alone, while Guido Paolo Gamucci's canting Mylius 60 Cippa Lippa X was the higher scoring Class 3 boat in the overall results. Gamucci was pleased how they raced today: "It was a difficult wait until the start. The wind was coming and going, then it was tough because there were big areas where the wind was much lighter."

A standout performance of the week has been that of Giuseppe Puttini's local heroes on the Swan 65 Shirlaf. After winning the Regata dei Tre Golfi outright, the 48-year-old ketch was leading the IMA Maxi European championship until yesterday morning. As the modern large maxis began to shine, Shirlaf ended the Europeans a creditable sixth overall, winning her class just two points ahead in the overall results of Vincenzo Addessi's Mylius 18E35 and IMA President Benoît de Froidmont's Wally 60 Wallyño.

"We are very happy with the regatta," said Shirlaf tactician Gabriele Bruni. "We knew that winning the long distance race would give us a little lead. We tried to consolidate on that. Shirlaf struggles in the light airs, but today we did a good job. We won our class, so we are really happy." Puttini has been campaigning Shirlaf for almost 20 years with a mostly local amateur crew and over this time has steadily modernised her with a bowsprit, modern sails, etc.

Benoît de Froidmont, who's Wallyño was fourth home and first in class in today's race, said of his week: "We have been improved progressively over the week. We have a new crew and it is always difficult to get them up to speed. Wallyño is a light wind boat and over the last two days we have been performing much better."

On behalf of the International Maxi Association Secretary General Andrew McIrvine commented: "We have had a fantastic week with a great mix of conditions and almost no rain. Congratulations to IMA Vice President Hap Fauth and the Bella Mente team - they are worthy winners. I would like to thank the event supporters Rolex and Loro Piana, plus the CRVI, the race committee, jury and organisers who have done a superb job this week."

Full results available here.

Related Articles

Greek first timers claim Aegean 600 Maxi victory
In the process Aiolos also receives maximum points for this event in the IMA Maxi Offshore Challenge In a race as tough as the Aegean 600 you would not expect first timers to collect much silverware - however Greece's George Procopiou, aboard his newly acquired VO70 Aiolos, defied the odds to win the race's Maxi class. Posted on 11 Jul
Lucky claims Aegean 600 monohull line honours
As MODs match race to new record MOD70s may now be flying machines, well outside of their original one design configuration, but you would not have known that, given the multiple lead changes and tightness of their racing in this year's Aegean 600. Posted on 9 Jul
Maxi fleet may cause Aegean 600 records to fall
A stronger than ever maxi yacht entry within record-sized overall fleet of 69 Rapidly becoming a classic among the world's 600 mile offshore races, the Hellenic Offshore Racing Club's Aegean 600 supported by Olympic Marine and with Rolex as official timepiece for the very first time attracted a stronger than ever maxi yacht entry. Posted on 4 Jul
Spirit of Lorina crowned top IRC maxi
Loro Piana Giraglia's offshore finale from Saint-Tropez into Genoa Jean-Pierre Barjon has already enjoyed much success with his Botin 65 Spirit of Lorina having won the International Maxi Association's Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge in 2021-22. Posted on 14 Jun
Black Jack first home in Loro Piana Giraglia
Finishing 15 minutes outside the race record After Wednesday's ultra-light start on the Golfe de Saint-Tropez to relatively benign conditions following a thunderstorm before arriving into Genoa, it was hard to believe that thanks to a big breeze sleigh-ride in between - to the Giraglia rock & beyond Posted on 13 Jun
Jethou and Wallyño reign supreme
In Loro Piana Giraglia inshore races, offshore race starts Wednesday A second 20 mile coastal race, this time from Saint-Tropez down to a turning mark off L'Escalet and back, rounded off the inshore series for the maxis competing in Loro Piana Giraglia. Posted on 11 Jun
Loro Piana Giraglia Day 3
Spectacular conditions for day three of maxi coastal racing After two days of windward-leewards on the Bay of Pampelonne, day three of inshore racing at Loro Piana Giraglia saw a change with 19 of the 24 strong maxi fleet racing a single coastal course, starting and finishing in the Golfe de Saint-Tropez. Posted on 10 Jun
Loro Piana Giraglia Day 2
Lumpy conditions on the second day of inshore racing in Saint-Tropez While conditions at this time of year in Saint-Tropez are renowned for being light and thermal, today competitors at Loro Piana Giraglia were treated to easterlies into the high teens combined with a short violent chop. Posted on 9 Jun
Loro Piana Giraglia Day 1
Early maxi class leads for Jolt and Wallyño The first of four days of inshore racing at Loro Piana Giraglia got under way today on the Bay of Pampelonne, close to Saint-Tropez. Posted on 8 Jun
New look Giraglia attracts record maxi entry
The first of four days of inshore racing start on Saturday Loro Piana Giraglia 2024 sets sail tomorrow with the first of four days of inshore racing on the Golfe de Saint-Tropez, prior to Wednesday's traditional offshore race from Saint-Tropez to Genoa via the famous rock off north Corsica. Posted on 7 Jun