In this event of super yachting celebration both on the water and ashore, the 12-strong Wally fleet was the largest division of the regatta.
The starting line aligned the top duellists wallycento Magic Carpet Cubed and 107-foot Open Season, the 107-foot full cruising equipped Kenora, the 100-foot Y3K at her seasonal debut, the 94-foot couple Magic Blue and Galma, and the large 80-foot group including the Gaastra Palmavela winner J One, Lyra, Nahita, Ryokan 2, Tango G, Tilakkhana.
Six races were scheduled over four days, two coastal courses among the breathtaking Costa Smeralda islands, and four WL races.
On the first racing day the highly competitive Wally Class was sent to a 27,55-nm costal course in 14-16 knots of breeze, up to Spargi Island through the La Maddalena channel, and back down outside the archipelago. After a thrilling start, the fleet entered the channel and spread around. Magic Carpet Cubed had an excellent start and was always in control of her direct rival Open Season. After La Maddalena rounding, Open Season separated from the leader to find a better wind, without much success. Magic Carpet Cubed increased her lead and finished first both in real and corrected times by a considerable margin. The rest of the fleet raced at the highest level too, with great performance of Magic Blue and Ryokan 2 that finished second and third respectively.
The evening was highlighted by the glamorous Owners’ dinner at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, featuring a music performance by the pianist Dimitri Naiditch followed by a three Michel star dinner by Italian chef Nico Romito.
The unstable wind of the second day forced the race committee to cancel the two scheduled WLs after a long wait on the water. The frustrations of the missed racing day were replaced by the great day three with a 23,4-nm coastal course and one WL completed.
Magic Carpet Cubed won the coastal race after establishing an important early lead over their bigger 107ft rival Open Season well before the top of the first beat to Monaci. But Open Season then responded with a near faultless windward-leeward to beat Lyra, the Wally 77, to second and Magic Carpet Cubed to third. After three races Magic Carpet Cubed leads the Wally standings by two points.
The first beat to Monaci was decisive for the Wally class. The breeze gently filled from the right and Magic Carpet Cubed going right early were well positioned to profit, so leading Open Season down a reach in soft airs to Tre Monti, then east out of Bomb Alley and were only passed by the most leeward turn at Mortoriotto and Soffi with Open Season crossing the finish line one minute and 43 seconds ahead of Magic Carpet Cubed, correcting to a win by one minute and 17 seconds, and winning the Gino Bossi Trophy bestowed to the best Wally in the combined coastal courses.
Right after the arrival of the whole fleet, the race committee gave the start of the WL race a light 6-7kts breeze. Lyra made a clean start at the boat end and earned a nice lane of clean air, away from the main traffic. Open Season lead Magic Carpet Cubed at the top mark and extended to win but Lyra hung in for second, splitting the two bigger boats.
Such a great day on the water was crowned by the awesome sunset party at the breathtaking location of Phi Beach, gathering owners and crews in a lively and relaxed atmosphere.
The morning of the final decisive was not promising at all with no wind and super-hot summer temperatures that obliged the race committee to hoist the AP flag ashore. The fleet “docked out” later than scheduled after a short wait. The Wally fleet witnessed a head-to-head battle of the giants between Open Season and Magic Carpet Cubed that went to the wire over two final windward leeward races. The first circuit in 6-knot breeze saw an incredible tie between the two, corrected out to the same second after handicap. But on the deciding race in 8-10 knots of wind Open Season clinched the Class win with a crucial victory while Magic Carpet Cubed – which has led the regatta since the start – scored a fourth to drop to second, one single point behind their German flagged rivals on aggregate.
Lyra completed the Wally Class podium finishing third overall and first of the Group 80 division: her best performance of the season so far. Ryokan 2 confirmed the great improvements shown in Palma, and won the Group 2 division.
Congratulations to the winners and to all the competitors!
The Wally Class racing will resume after the summer cruises, with the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup regatta to be held in Porto Cervo, from 4 to 10 September. The new wallycento Galateia will join the fleet: stay tuned, follow the live racing in this web site and with the Wally Class app!
General Results Wally Division:
1. Open Season 8 p.
2. Magic Carpet Cubed 9 p.
3. Lyra (80) 13 p.
4. Magic Blue 15 p.
5. Nahita (80) 20 p.
6. Tango G (80) 21 p.
7. Ryokan 2 (2) 23 p.
8. Y3K 24 p.
9. Galma 28 p.
10. J One (80) 30 p.
11. Tilakkhana (80) 43 p.
12. Kenora (2) 47 p.
Photo courtesy of Boat International Media – Studio Borlenghi