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Debut Menorca Maxi

Wallys and Js to compete in new regatta next week

Friday May 16th 2014, Author: Pierre Orphanidis, Location: Spain

The first edition of Menorca Maxi will see some of the highest calibre crew, multiple America's Cup winners, round-the-world veterans and Olympic medalists, battling it out onboard the impressive fleet of nine Wallys and three J-Class yachts.

Racing at Menorca Maxi runs from Thursday, 22 to Sunday, 25 May 25. The schedule comprises three days of windward-leeward sand one day of coastal racing with the first warning signal at 12:30pm local time every day.

The event is an initiative of the Island Council of Menorca and is organised by Club Marítimo de Mahón, with the support of Port of Mahón, one of the Mediterranean's biggest and most beautiful ports. Being chosen by two of the world's most prestigious superyacht classes is a clear demonstration of Menorca's know-how and ability to hold world-class sailing events.

Wally Class

Although being a strictly owner-driven class with penalties applied if the owners aren't steering their boats, the Wallys always count among their crews some of the world's most accomplished sailors.

Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones' WallyCento Magic Carpet 3 will race in Minorca without any major crew changes, with the exception of Tom Whidden who will replace Jochen Schuemann as strategist. Top French match racer Sebastien Col will again call tactics and will be joined by Volvo Ocean Race veterans Marcel van Triest and Guy Salter, among others.

According to Col: “The Menorca Maxi will certainly be a very exciting challenge for us. The Wally circuit is usually very similar from one year to another and as a result, it is with great motivation that we will race for the first time in Mahón with Magic Carpet3. Despite the geographic vicinity, conditions are very different from Palma, with more chances to have stronger winds and bigger swell.”

This will be only the second occasion Magic Carpet 3 has lined up with her fellow WallyCento, Thomas Bscher's Open Season (ex-Hamilton), which numbers in her crew Canadian double Olympic Star medallist Ross MacDonald and Frenchman Yann Gouniout, an America's Cup winner and former world match racing champion.

Kenora, the largest of the nine-strong Wally fleet, will feature a number of high-calibre Spanish crew, with Manu Weiller calling tactics, Carlos Freire as navigator and Diego Fructuoso, among others. Weiller looks forward to being back in Minorca, having raced there in his youth. He feels happy to see such important events being organised in the island and is sure racing will be close, exciting and fun.

Antonio Cacace's Magic Blue, will feature a world-class Italian crew that includes Tiziano Nava and Lars Borgstrom.

Alberto Palachi's Galma will count among her crew some of Spain's most accomplished sailors, including Nacho Postigo, David Madrazo and Ignacio Triay, whose extensive sailing experience in Minorca will certainly give them an edge. Another entry with Spanish flavour will be Sensei, where Olympic and America's Cup sailor Luis Doreste will be calling tactics.

Legendary former America's Cup skipper Marc Pajot will skipper and call tactics on Tango G and will be joined by, among others, Alberto Fantini and Jean-François Cuzon.

J Class

Lionheart will have among her pro crew Bouwe Bekking and four of Team Brunel's Volvo Ocean Race crew - Andrew Cape, Jens Dolmer, Pablo Arrarte and Louis Balcaen, on board for their first serious sail on her this season. According to Bekking, the Menorca Maxi is "a good regatta to get the machine oiled up again before all boats get together for the next event in Palma. It is a very useful break for us even when the boats are completely different. We do keep the racing skills up, especially in a class of boats that are so close in speed. ”

Ranger will be helmed and skippered by Erle Williams, an America's Cup and round-the-world veteran, now in his eighth year as head of the team's racing program. The boat's standard crew will be joined for the first time by Murray Jones, the multiple-time America's Cup winner, who will be calling tactics.

North Sails President Ken Read will again skipper and helm Hanuman, joined by Kevin Burnham (470 Olympic silver and gold medalist), Kelvin Harrap, Jerry Kirby and Tony Mudder, among others.

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