Mini Maxis back on the ascent

We look at the latest in the 60-72ft owner driver class
After a couple of shaky seasons, following the demise of the STP65s (not competitive under IRC), the racing Mini Maxi class is showing some new shoots of growth with the launch of two new boats this year in American Hap Fauth's new Bella Mente (Fauth's second Mini Maxi) and Italian Alessandro Rombelli’s Stig, replacing his previous Baltic 65 cruiser-racer of the same name, with more new boats in the pipeline. The two new boats this season now join Niklas Zennström’s Rán 2 and American George Sakellaris’ Shockwave fighting it out at the top of the Mini Maxi class, all four boats at the maximum length limit of 72ft. The new influx has caused the game to be raised significantly across the board. Unquestionably Rán 2 remains the class act of the Mini Maxi circuit. Since their 72ft Judel Vrolijk design was launched in early 2009, the boat has put more miles under her keel than probably all the other Mini Maxis combined, including back to back Rolex Fastnet Race wins, a Sydney Hobart, Newport-Bermuda as well as much of the regular circuit in the Med, the pinnacle event being the annual Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. And with this shoehorned in around a TP52 campaign and as well as occasion races in a Farr 45 in the UK, London-based Zennström probably sails for more days of the year than most professional helmsmen, which counts for a lot as one of the cornerstone features of the Mini Maxi class is that it is owner-driver. As Adrian Stead observes: “We are perhaps slightly more advanced with string drops and things like that because we know the boat well. Our boat is tweaky – you have to be on the money and Niklas does a brilliant job driving her through the wind range. The other day we