Napoli – On the Regatta website, the Official Timekeeper clock by Rolex informs us that with 76 days to go until the start of the Tre Golfi Sailing Week 2022, the entry list has already passed the 100 mark.
The Maxi European Championship has broken at least one record before it even gets underway, as it prepares to welcome the largest fleet of maxi yachts ever assembled in the waters of the Gulf.
The largest of the fleet so far is Arca, measuring 30 metres in length and with a beam of 5 metres. Formerly known as Skandia, she claimed victory in the Sydney Hobart in 2003 and in the Barcolana two years later. Like so many thoroughbreds of a certain age, she lay half-abandoned until Furio Benussi and his “Fast & Furio Sailing Team” decided to bring her back to winning form, radically modifying the hull and renaming it after Italian sponsor Arca Fondi sgr.
First across the line at the Giraglia in 2021, Arca is aiming, at the very least, for line honours in the 67th edition of the Tre Golfi.
From a boat with a long history to another in its first season, in the form of the new My Song, owned by Pier Luigi Loro Piana, an 80-footer designed by Juan Kouyoumdjian.
Meanwhile, three similarly-sized Wally yachts also boast several nautical miles under their respective belts: Lyra, a Frers 78 owned by Canadian Terry Hui, several times division winner in the Rolex Cup in Porto Cervo in recent years; Ryokan 2, a Farr 80 owned by France’s Philippe Ligier, and Highland Fling, a Reichel / Pugh 82 owned by Lord Irvine Laidlaw.
Long gone are the days when only a handful of yacht designers dominated the international scene!
Turning to the oxymoron of the mini-maxi yachts, 10 of 60-80 feet have already enrolled. Stars among the Mylius yachts designed by Alberto Simeone will certainly include Cippa Lippa X, owned by Guido Paolo Gamucci, with its futuristic canting keel, and Fra Diavoloowned by Vincenzo Addessi, with a strong crew including a mix of professionals and corinthians sailors.
In the Wally class, meanwhile, a match-race battle is expected between Boabunda, owned by Argentinian Lucas Massa, and Walliño, owned by Benoît de Froidmont, President of the IMA.
Finally, let’s not forget the Swans of yesteryear, who remain a clear and present danger when they find the right conditions. Last year Shirlaf, a splendid and combative Swan 65 launched in 1976, handed out lessons to yachts some 40 years younger.