Following two successful editions, the IMA Maxi European Championship returns to Sorrento and the Bay of Naples for a third consecutive year in May 2024.
Once again this Championship, organised jointly between the Circolo del Remo e della Vela Italia (CRVI) and the International Maxi Association (IMA), in collaboration with the Municipality of Sorrento, with Rolex as Official Timepiece and sponsored by Loro Piana, will form part of the CRVI’s larger Tre Golfi Sailing Week.
The IMA Maxi European Championship will comprise two parts, the Regata dei Tre Golfi offshore race, followed by four days of inshore and coastal racing with the maxi fleet berthed in Sorrento.
Inshore start at the 2023 IMA Maxi European Championship – photo © IMA / Studio Borlenghi
With a warning signal at 1630 on Friday 17 May, the IMA Maxi Europeans fleet will first set sail on the 69th Regata dei Tre Golfi from Naples’ Castel dell’Ovo, where the CRVI has its clubhouse. The course will as usual take the fleet up to the island of Ponza, the northerly turning mark from where they will return, passing Ischia, Capri and then Punta Campanella at the tip of the Sorrento peninsula, to round the southerly turning mark of the Li Galli islands off the Amalfi coast. For the first time, the Regata dei Tre Golfi will then finish back where it started, off Castel dell’Ovo. Whereas past editions have finished in Capri and off Sorrento the new finish extends the course by around 15 miles to 170 miles.
After the Regata dei Tre Golfi, the IMA Maxi European Championship fleet will be berthed in Sorrento from where racing will continue over Monday 20 May to Thursday 23 May. These will comprise a mix of windward-leeward and coastal courses on the Bay of Naples and which may include the popular course circumnavigating Capri. Managing proceedings for a second year will be the IMA’s PRO for the event, Stuart Childerley.
Even five and a half months out from the start, the entry list is looking strong and likely to exceed the 26 maxis which competed in 2023. Returning is the defending IMA Maxi European Champion – Peter Dubens’ former Maxi 72 North Star. Of the last year’s event Dubens said: “The event is fabulous – I really love it. Sailing around Capri and Sorrento is fantastic. It is one of the hardest events to win in the calendar.”
The Regata dei Tre Golfi sets sail from Naples in 2023 with Mount Vesuvius in the background © IMA / Studio Borlenghi
In 2024 North Star already seems set to face stiff and direct competition from other former Maxi 72s entered, including perennial competitor Sir Peter Ogden’s 77ft Jethou, Peter Harrison’s Jolt (which finished third last year when she was Dario Ferrari’s Cannonball), plus, for the first time, American Hap Fauth’s 74ft Bella Mente. Bella Mente is possibly the favourite having coming out on top among this group at last year’s Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Porto Cervo.
A new addition to the IMA Maxi European Championship fleet in 2024 will be the former Wallycentos. While ARCA SGR has competed in the past, this will be the first time for the 30m Galateia, campaigned by American co-owners David M. Leuschen and Chris Flowers and V (ex-Tango) entered by Czech owner Karel Komarek. These giants are able to enter thanks to the willingness shown by the Municipality of Sorrento to make space for the 100 footers in their port.
Peter Dubens and his North Star crew – the 2023 IMA Maxi European Champions – photo © IMA / Studio Borlenghi
Andrew McIrvine, Secretary General of the International Maxi Association commented: “We are pleased to return to Sorrento for the third edition of the IMA Maxi European Championship and are looking forward to seeing the number of participants continue to grow, a tangible sign of how the maxi owners appreciate what is rapidly becoming one of the premier events in our IMA series.”
In addition to forming part of the IMA Maxi European Championship, the Regata dei Tre Golfi is the third event in the IMA’s 2023-24 Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge, while the subsequent windward-leewards and coastal courses form the second event in the IMA’s equivalent Mediterranean inshore series for 2024.
International Maxi Association cocktail party at the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria during the 2023 IMA Maxi Europeans – photo © IMA / Studio Borlenghi
President of the CRVI, Roberto Mottola di Amato concluded: “We can’t wait for the start of the events within the 2024 Tre Golfi Sailing Week, for which every year requires the focus and commitment the entire Circolo del Remo e della Vela Italia, as well as our friends and neighbours at the Reale Yacht Club Canottieri Savoia, the Municipality of Sorrento, of our sponsors Rolex and Loro Piana, of the IMA and obviously of all the maxi owners.”
For more on the International Maxi Association visit www.internationalmaxiassociation.com
Silverware on offer at the IMA Maxi European Championship – photo © IMA / Studio Borlenghi
by James Boyd / International Maxi Association