Big boats put on a show at record Maxi Worlds
Porto Cervo hosts largest ever big boat regatta
Arecord attendance ensured that September’s Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Porto Cervo, Sardinia was nothing short of spectacular. The 52-strong fleet, all measuring over 60ft (18.29m), included the six Mini Maxi 72s competing in their world championship event alongside the best of the current crop of big boat racers and cruiser-racers.
The Maxi Worlds were divided into seven classes, including some of the most recent superyacht launches in the burgeoning 33-35m carbon performance sector. Armed with the latest deck gear and sails, and crewed by elite professional sailors, yachts such as Winwin, Inouï, Nikata and Highland Fling all raced off Sardinia’s picturesque rocky coastline. Although two days were lost to strong winds and big seas, the event showcased modern big boat racing at its finest – a demonstration of precise and powerful racing action.
Wally had the largest class, with 13 yachts racing, and will have its largest ever collection of 16 yachts at the Voiles de St Tropez in late September. “We’ve never seen such a big class of maxis in any era,” said Wally Yachts founder, Luca Bassani.
Bassani started the Wally class in the late 1990s, at a time when there were no maxi sized cruiser-racers. Now these performance cruising superyachts make up the majority of superyacht and maxi regatta racing fleets. It is the realisation of Bassani’s vision.
The Wally factor
So why there has been such a surge in numbers? Bassani insists that a yacht’s cruising appeal helps to maintain its resale value compared with stripped-out racing maxis. Glance at the Maxi Rolex entry list this year and you see that only Rambler 88 and the mini Maxi 72s stand out as pure racers; the rest are Wallys, Swans, and custom-built performance cruiser superyachts. Even the two J Class racers Velsheda and Lionheart have decidedly luxurious interiors, as is stipulated by the original J Class rules.
To adhere to Wally class rules, for example, yachts have to have gensets, aircon, a minimum number of beds and heads, etc. “They need to keep a cruising ability and they have to keep a resale factor,” says Bassani. He compares this to a past