Following a very sparse season in 2020, inshore maxi yacht racing fired up in anger again today in Capri, Italy, with the start of the Maxi Yacht Capri Trophy, part of Rolex Capri Sailing Week, running from today to May 14.
The Maxi Yacht Capri Trophy is the opening part of the larger Capri event which, uniquely this year, continues next week with the ORC European Championship. Between it is punctuated by Saturday’s 66th Regata dei Tre Golfi offshore race, which is open to both maxi and ORC fleets.
Rolex Capri Sailing Week is organised jointly by Yacht Club Italiano, Circolo del Remo e della Vela Italia (CRVI) and the Yacht Club Capri, under the auspices of the International Maxi Association and the Italian Sailing Federation (FIV).
Based out of Capri’s Marina Grande, the Maxi Yacht Capri Trophy at Rolex Capri Sailing Week is the opening event of the International Maxi Association’s annual five event 2021 Mediterranean Maxi Inshore Challenge.
This regatta is one of the favourites in the calendar, alongside Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez and the class’ premier event, September’s Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Porto Cervo.
This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions that remain in effect limiting international travel, inevitably the fleet is reduced.
All are Italian save for one, International Maxi Association member Jean-Pierre Barjon and his heavily campaigned Swan 601 Lorina 1895 from France. Among the Italian entries are familiar names such as Giuseppe Puttini’s Swan 65 Shirlaf, winner in 2015 of the IMA’s Volcano Race. Also competing is the globetrotting Mylius 18e35 Fra Diavolo of Yacht Club Gaeta President Vincenzo Addessi.
The maxi fleet is set to swell for the Regata dei Tre Golfi on Saturday 15 May from Naples.
Today the race committee intended to run two windward-leeward races on a course set up between Capri and the Sorrento Peninsula. After a wait the first start got underway at 1430 local time in a south-westerly of 5 knots.
After an even first beat it was Cippalippa X which led around the top mark. Guido Paolo Gamucci’s Mylius 60 attempted to consolidate on the downwind with an early gybe. However it remained close with Alberto Leghissa’s Frers 63 Anywave on her transom at the leeward gate.
Cippalippa X, on which former America’s Cup helmsman Paolo Cian is calling tactics, kept her nose ahead of Anywave on the water, with Lorina 1895 recovering well on the second beat to take third.
However under IRC corrected time it was Luca Scoppa’s Dehler 60 Blue Oyster that prevailed to win by 40 seconds from Shirlaf with Lorina 1895 third.
Sadly following this race rain filled in, killing off the wind and forcing the race committee to cancel the second race.
Andrew McIrvine, Secretary General of the International Maxi Association, who is attending, commented: “We are delighted to be back in Capri after the pandemic prevented maxi yachts from racing here in 2020.
“As we anticipated, nearly all the participants this year are Italian, but it’s a promising start, and we are pleased to see that a good fleet of maxis are planning to race this week and in the Regata dei Tre Golfi on Saturday.
“The IMA has been carefully monitoring the evolution of the pandemic and especially the situation in Campania. it is reassuring that local controls have had good effect and Capri is now one of the only Covid-free areas in Italy.”
Racing continues tomorrow.
James Boyd/IMA media