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Spectacular conditions for day three of maxi coastal racing at Loro Piana Giraglia

Yacht Racing Podcast

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.

Racing here is organised by the Yacht Club Italiano in collaboration with the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez. They form the third of five events in the International Maxi Association’s 2024 Mediterranean Maxi Inshore Challenge.

Today the wind had flipped from easterly to westerly, blowing 15 knots at start time. After the smaller yachts in the IRC and ORC classes had departed, the two maxi fleets sailed a short upwind leg within the Golfe of Saint-Tropez before heading off to the south and west. The larger maxis in Maxi A sailed 30 miles to Cavalaire-sur-Mer and back, while Maxi B sailed 20 miles to a mark off L’Escalet before returning.

With Roberto Lacorte’s FlyingNikka again soaring across transoms on port, in fact it was the boats that tacked on to port earliest that led around the top mark with Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’ Wallycento Magic Carpet Cubed ahead the Swan 115 Jasi and Sir Peter Ogden’s overall Maxi A leader Jethou.

With breeze that built to above 20 knots and a flat sea that only got truly lumpy on the final leg across the Baie de Cavalaire, FlyingNikka finally got to show off her potential. As the 100 footers past Cap Lardier on their way into the Baie de Cavalaire, FlyingNikka was heading back in the opposite direction having already rounded the turning mark. Ultimately the foiling 60 footer finished more than 30 minutes ahead of the first Wallycento, albeit still making no impression under IRC, carrying the Anglo-French rating system’s highest TCC of 3.444 (compared to Galateia on 1.795).

Racing between the 100s was again nip and tuck with Karel Komárek’s V and Chris Flowers’ Galateia catching up Magic Carpet Cubed only for V to trawl her spinnaker severely approaching the Golfe de Saint-Tropez. This left Galateia first among the 100s, ahead of Andrea Recordati’s Wally 93 Bullitt.

“It was a good day,” commented Bullitt’s tactician Joca Signorini. “We got a good start, but it was better for the ones who didn’t, who tacked and got into the good shift on the right. Our fleet is very competitive although for us it has been a bit windy and as we have a reduced crew it gets quite busy… Most importantly Andrea [Recordati] is happy and is enjoying sailing the boat.”

At the top of the Maxi A leaderboard, Sir Peter Ogden’s Jethou consolidated her position with a second consecutive bullet, albeit by just 12 seconds under IRC. “We had an okay start and managed to execute where we wanted to go, but then we had a little battle to get our nose in front. Ian [Walker, tactician] did a nice job to keep us out of traffic,” explained Jethou’s navigator Campbell Field. “Today was picture postcard Saint-Tropez. We saw 22 knots and it got a little bit uncomfortable on the way up, but we were expecting more pressure…”

With one more coastal race to go tomorrow, Jethou is only two points ahead of Jolt. According to tactician Michele Ivaldi they had had to fight back from an excellent pin end start. “There was big line bias but unfortunately it was a day for the people that didn’t start well! Jethou was in our gas. They tacked away and then at the top mark they were 15 boat-lengths ahead! (We were locked out by the big boats and couldn’t tack…) After that there were very few passing lanes, but we made a big come-back at the end. Peter [Harrison] is happy – he had good fun driving downwind in 24-25 knots.”

In Maxi B, the positions have got even closer. Wallyño, the Wally 60 of International Maxi Association President Benoît de Froidmont, continues to lead, but two bullets in the last two races for Guido Paolo Gamucci’s Mylius 60 Cippa Lippa X has left the Italian canting keeler just one point off first. Today it was again close with Cippa Lippa X and Jean-Pierre Barjon’s Botin 65 Spirit of Lorina neck and neck out in front. Spirit of Lorina was first home but, less than a minute astern, Cippa Lippa X’s time had her correcting out ahead.

“We made some mistakes, so we are not very happy,” admitted the jovial Barjon, who’s Spirit of Lorina won the IMA’s 2021-22 Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge. “We are happy to be here. The conditions today were amazing, but twice we lost the spinnaker… With a little more luck and know-how we can do better.”

Currently Spirit of Lorina is also hampered by being midway through a water ballast conversion– her keel has been lightened and shortened by 40cm, but her water ballast is not fully installed and she currently suffers when the breeze is up.

While the lead trio is a step ahead of the rest in Maxi B, Jerome Bataillard and his crew on the Shipman 63 Sao Bernardo are currently holding fifth place just a point astern of Alex Schaerer’s Swan 90 Strathisla and two ahead of Enrico Aureli’s modern Swan 65 Marlin. “We got blocked [by another boat] so we had to gybe instead of tack… but it is okay. The race was fantastic – sunny, windy…” said Bataillard.

Meanwhile all eyes are on Wednesday’s offshore race to Genoa. As Jethou’s Campbell Field observed: “It could be one early gybe/no gybe to Giraglia and we reach there by 2100. I think we aren’t quite booking a table for breakfast in Genoa on Friday morning, but perhaps lunch!”

Jolt’s Michele Ivaldi agrees: “It looks windy at the moment – 30-35 knots almost all of the way. It will be a super quick race. Our routing has us arriving at 2am. The question is more ‘if’ you will arrive…”

Report by James Boyd/International Maxi Association

Main image © Loro Piana / Studio Borlenghi

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