Mediterranean maxi season starts tomorrow at Portofino

The Mediterranean maxi season gets underway tomorrow with the opening day of racing at the Portofino Regate di Primavera taking place out of the picturesque Ligurian hamlet where the Yacht Club Italiano has a clubhouse.

The event is organised by the Yacht Club Italiano, under the patronage of the Italian sailing federation (FIV) and in conjunction with the Comune di Portofino and the International Maxi Association.

Twin Soul B sailing upwind, bow digging in to a wave.
The Mylius 80 Twin Soul B is a favourite to claim this weekend’s opening regatta of the season in Portofino. Pic – YCI / Studio Borlenghi

Racing at Portofino Regate di Primavera takes over the next four days on the Gulf of Tigullio. Twelve maxi yachts, currently moored in Portofino or in the nearby marina at Santa Margherita Ligure, are participating. The longest is the Reichel/Pugh – Nauta designed Southern Wind 100 Morgana on which Brazilian five-time Olympic medallist and Volvo Ocean Race winner Torben Grael is calling tactics. At the smaller end are several 60 footers such as the heavily campaigned Mylius 60 Manticore, belonging to Franz Wilhelm Baruffaldi Preis.

The biggest manufacturer turn-out are the five maxis from Mylius Yachts, led by the two Mylius 80s, Primadonna and Twin Soul B, the latter campaigned by Mylius Yachts President Luciano Gandini. Going into this event the immaculate black-hulled Twin Soul B is perhaps the form boat, having had a highly successful season in 2021, both inshore and offshore. This saw them achieve outright victory in the 151 Miglia-Trophy Cetilar’s maxi class and come close to winning their class at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup.

Of his plans for 2022, Gandini states: “I wanted to make some crew changes for this year, so I now have Tommaso Chieffi as tactician, plus Lars Borgstrom and Daniele Cassinari as trimmers. They will stay with me all year – I believe it is important to keep the same group of sailors onboard for the whole season.”

In his role as President of Mylius Yachts, Gandini added: “Last year we hosted a small ‘Mylius trophy’ here in Portofino, but this year we are launching a more professional ‘Mylius Cup’ – with five of our yachts competing. We are building an event that we hope will develop further in the future.”

 Itacentodue sailing upwind past rocky coastline.
Itacentodue braves the lumpy conditions during the 2021 event. Pic – YCI / Studio Borlenghi

In addition to Twin Soul B, also rated highly in the competitive mix will be Adriano Calvini’s FY61 Itacentodue, outright winner of last year’s Rolex Giraglia, when she was campaigned by a young crew from the Yacht Club Italiano, and the Mylius 65FD Oscar 3 of Aldo Parisotto, a leading Italian interior designer with close ties to the Mylius yard.

The first race is scheduled for tomorrow at 1100 CEST with racing continuing daily until Monday when it will conclude with an awards ceremony, including a trophy for the ‘best placed IMA member’ in the Racer-Cruiser class.

Oscar 3 sailing on a two-sail reach.
Mylius 65 Oscar3 will sail with a crew led by former America’s Cup skipper Paolo Cian. Pic – YCI / Studio Borlenghi

International Maxi Association Secretary General Andrew McIrvine commented: “The International Maxi Association is delighted to be in Portofino for the start of the 2022 Mediterranean sailing season. We have included this year’s event in Portofino in the IMA programme for the very first time. Having some 12 maxi yachts on the start line, at this time of the year, is a good result.

“We would like to thank our friends at the Yacht Club Italiano who have been working all year round to make this event possible and Rolex, of course, that has been integral to the maxi ‘family’ since the first Maxi events in the Med were held in the early 1980s.”

Weather conditions for the regatta look set to be varied with a light to moderate opening day tomorrow when the wind is expected to back into the west, before a blustery weekend sets in with southeasterlies, gusting into the 20s, on Saturday before the wind remains brisk but veers into the southwest on Sunday before conditions lighten again for the final racing on Monday.

Aerial shot of boats at dock in the evening, city lights in background.
Maxis moored stern-to in Portofino’s famous harbour. Pic – YCI / Studio Borlenghi

For Italian fans, the regatta will be covered live each day from 1100 on Liguria’s main private TV channel Primocanale with commentary from journalist Matteo Cantile and famous Italian racing skipper Mauro Pelaschier.

For more information on Portofino Regate di Primavera, see:

By James Boyd / International Maxi Association

Jeanneau JY60
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