Mahón, Menorca, Spain, 21-25 May 2014 - The sparkling waters off Menorca's capital city Mahón hosted the first edition of Menorca Maxi, the regatta dedicated to the Wally Class and invitational to other Superyacht Classes (this year the J-Class was invited).
For Luca Bassani, Wally founder and CEO, the island of Menorca embodies the spirit of the Wally Class: "We always try hold our regattas in very beautiful places because our owners like to race but also like to cruise. As a result, having an event in such a fascinating place is the perfect combination.”
The event is an initiative of the Island Council of Menorca and is organized by Club Marítimo de Mahón, with the support of Port of Mahón, one of the Mediterranean's biggest and most beautiful ports.
Nine Wallys took part in the inaugural event: Galma, J One, Kenora, Magic Blue, Magic Carpet Cubed, Open Season, Ryokan 2, Sensei, and Tango G.
The regatta included the first edition of the Gino Bossi Trophy, dedicated to the winner of the coastal race in the Wally Class.
The wallycento Magic Carpet Cubed, hit the water as the favorite, having dominated the season's opening event Gaastra Palmavela. She lined up against the other wallycento, Open Season (former Hamilton).
Magic Blue (former Magic Carpet Squared ) raced with an all-Italian top-notch crew, while a French-Italian crew was onboard the iconic Wally80 Ryokan 2, winner in 2008 of the Compasso d’Oro the world’s most important award for quality and design. Galma raced on familiar waters featuring a crew consisting of the who-is-who of Spain's top professional sailors. Although one of the first Wallys ever to be launched, in 1997, J-One hasn't lost her incredible performance as she was tied in first place with Sensei (former Open Season) in the 2013 Wally Class season. With her 33 meters of length, Kenora was the largest Wally racing in Menorca Maxi. The Wally lineup included also Tango G, and Sensei (the former Open Season, sharing similar lines of Galma).
The first day saw a close and exciting racing off Mahón's bay under light-to-moderate conditions, with 7 to 10 knots of breeze and rolling swell. The right-hand side of the course, closer to the shore, proved to be the clear favorite and Tango G scored a commanding victory benefitting the most after a start at the committee boat.
The second day delivered a day of spectacular and close racing that saw Magic Blue lead the Wally Class. The nine Wallys sailed two windward/leeward races in perfect conditions, with a southeasterly breeze between 10 and 14 knots, flatter seas and bright skies. The spectacular fleet offered the city of Mahón a unique sight as for the first time ever they sailed out to the race course through the narrow and striking bay.
The winning tactical call was to stick to the left, as much as possible, especially in the beats. One boat that carried out the plan to perfection was Magic Blue.
In the first race, Magic Blue held on to the left as much as possible, keeping the number of tacks to a minimum. Although she finished third in real time, she held more than an one-minute lead in corrected time over second-placed Open Season.
As the breeze weakened in the second race, Magic Blue again carried out her left-hand side strategy. Magic Carpet Cubed again took line honors but her lead wasn't enough to prevent her from handing first place to Magic Blue.
A 32.5-mile coastal race was sailed on the third day, along the southern part of the island. Conditions were once again ideal, with a breeze that blew between 10 and 15 knots, starting from the east and veering to the northeast in the second half. Crews and tacticians were kept in their toes and the four hours of sailing on Menorca's blue waters saw a number of lead changes in the Wally class. Magic Blue maintained her winning streak and pocketed another victory, the second one in four races, as well as winning the Gino Bossi Trophy awarded to the first classified in the Coastal race.
The fourth and final day of the inaugural Menorca Maxi saw the nine Wallys race under tough and tricky conditions. The early morning rain failed to dampen the spirits of organizers, who were eager to close a spectacular week of racing on a high note.
The shifty winds and passing rain clouds caused a one-hour postponement but the race committee was finally able to hold two close and nail-biting races for the Wally Class. While the top of the leaderboard was almost decided heading into the final day, the Wally Class saw a match race take place in the second race, between the equally-matched Sensei and Galma, with the latter prevailing to close the podium places, just one point ahead of Sensei.
Magic Blue was the clear favorite but the rest of the podium places were still up for grabs with three boats, Magic Carpet3, Sensei and Galma having a shot at second and third place.
The first race was easily won by Magic Blue proving again to be the most competitive boat of the fleet: the brisk breeze that reached 20 knots in the first beat brought the best out of her.
With the top two spots of the overall leaderboard decided (Magic Blue followed by Magic Carpet Cubed) the real battle was between Sensei and Galma, tied at 15 points in third. Having the exact same rating, the two boats held a true match race that saw Sensei take the early lead, rounding the first weather mark ahead of their opponents. Galma showed better speed downwind and was able, half-way through the first run, to gybe in front of Sensei and overtake her. Having taken the lead, Galma closely covered her opponent and was able to fend off their attacks, taking a third and clinching the overall third place, just one point ahead of Sensei.
Tango G won the Group 80 and Ryokan 2 the Group 2.
Congratulations to all teams and the organizers for a perfect regatta!
The event was indeed a great success both on the water and ashore, and the sponsor already confirmed the second edition to take place in May 2015.
The Wally Class racing resumes after the summer in Porto Cervo, for the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup from August 31st to September 6th
1. Magic Blue 8 p.
2. Magic Carpet Cubed 13 p.
3. Galma 18 p.
4. Sensei 19 p.
5. Tango G (80) 23 p.
6. Ryokan 2 (2) 25 p.
7. J One (80) 29 p.
8. Open Season 30 p.
9. Kenora (2) 41 p.