Maxi time at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez, the cult regatta organized by the Societe Nautique that gathers boats of all ages and sizes every year: from small sporty boats to large J Classes. This week it’s the maxis’ turn in the regatta to have their say, and you can bet there will be no shortage of entertainment. The first day was characterized by light winds, never over 10 knots, but it was still enough to make for a spectacular coastal trial. Topics of interest in this edition of Les Voiles de Saint Tropez of the rest are not lacking, starting with the entry list with many big names.
Les Voiles de Saint Tropez – The members
There are 44 maxis entered in the regatta, which have been divided into 4 categories based on their IRC rating. There are 7 challengers in maxi 1 category, 14 in maxi 2, 12 in maxi 3, 12 in maxi 4. The planned routes, as per tradition, will be coastal, with a good chance of encountering a good Mistral during the week.
Cult Boats: the Morgana
Among the entries in maxi 1 is the SW 100 Morgana, 30.5 meters, a true concentrate of performance and technology. The yacht, described by the shipyard as a “smart-custom,” was designed by Reichel Pugh for naval architecture and by Italian studio Nauta Design for the interior and overall concept. The owner is an avid sailor who wanted a boat that could sail around the world but at the same time be able to race at the top in superyacht races.
Cult Boats: Rambler
The 27-m boat, launched December 2014 at New England Boatworks in Rhode Island, is designed by Argentine architect Juan Kouyoumdjian and built entirely of carbon: 88 feet long, it has a hull with “powerful” shapes with the edges, characteristic of Kouyoumdian’s designs, running all along the boat, very pronounced. The boom has the special feature of being rotating, so that it adapts to the shape of the sail and reduces loads.
Les Voiles de Saint Tropez – The Challenge of the Wally 100
Galateia, Magic Carpet, Tango 100: Wally biggies do battle at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez. These 30-meter boats, designed by Reichel Pugh Yacht Design studio , are totally custom and therefore slightly different from each other while sharing the philosophy of sport cruising boats. The latest in terms of time is the Tango 100, built by the Italian shipyard Persico Marine.
Les Voiles de Saint Tropez – Flying Nikka’s “monstrous” rating
Also in the Maxi 1 class is Roberto Lacorte‘s 60-foot flying boat, which takes advantage of Les Voile de Saint Tropez to carry out another probing test session, as well as a catwalk on a prestigious stage in the Maxi 1 class. The boat has been much discussed on the web, but it undoubtedly remains one of the most fascinating technological frontiers of the modern sailing movement. FlyingNikka is a boat created to break records in Mediterranean offshore racing and run essentially in real time.
To participate in events such as the Maxi or Les Voiles, however, a rating must be assigned. FlyingNikka’s in IRC has a TCC of 3.866. To understand this figure, suffice it to say that all other boats in maxi 1, all over 30 meters long, have less than half that. As fast as FlyingNikka may be on foils, her TCC number is virtually unreal. On a 35-40 mile course, which Lacorte’s boat can comfortably cover in 2 hours or less if there are conditions for foiling, he would have to inflict average gaps of more than 4 hours in real time on the 100-footers to win on handicap.
Unreal and virtually impossible to have even a small chance of succeeding on such short routes. Something the IRC should perhaps reflect on. The debut day among others for FlyingNikka was quite complicated because of the light wind that did not allow her to get on the foils. In displacement mode the boat’s performance is good but “normal” boat-like, and being a 60-footer it is the smallest in Maxi 1. This resulted in a last place in the first regatta, but there will be time to turn things around.