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Durlindana 3 victorious maxi in 151 Miglia-Trofeo Cetilar

by James Boyd / International Maxi Association 4 Jun 2023 05:31 UTC From 1 June 2023

An especially light 14th edition of the 151 Miglia-Trofeo Cetilar saw the course from Livorno to Punta Ala via the Giraglia rock shortened to 124 miles, while prior to the start crews focussed on lightening their yachts; heavy weather sails were offloaded along with anything extraneous on board, with, in some cases, crew numbers also reduced.

Out on the race course competitors enjoyed the warmth of an early summer offshore race and a magnificent sunset on Thursday night but otherwise had to maintain strict concentration in order to hunt out every available zephyr in the otherwise weak fickle conditions.

With numerous park-ups of varying degrees and it was a mix of luck and skill to anticipate from which side of the course the wind would fill in this year's 151 Miglia-Trofeo Cetilar - organised by Yacht Club Punta Ala, Yacht Club Livorno, Yacht Club Repubblica Marinara di Pisa and the fourth event in the International Maxi Association's seven event 2022-23 Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Championship.

Coming out on top among the 13 maxi entries in the full fleet of 180 in this light, stressful race was Giancarlo Gianni's much campaigned Durlindana 3, winning by a substantial 1 hour 21 minutes 4 seconds under IRC corrected time. "It is a good boat with a good crew," explained Gianni of the victory of the 25-year-old Carroll Marine 60 cruiser-racer he has owned for the last 10 years. "It was light, but we made good choices at the right moments." While the conditions certainly benefitted the smaller maxis this year, Durlindana 3's result was no fluke: Last year they were third overall in the maxi class.

Navigator Massimo Capuano continued: "In a couple of places we stopped, but especially off Elba - close to the gate, in fact all along the south coast of Elba." Durlindana 3, racing with the second lowest IRC rating in the maxi fleet, had gained an advantage from the yachts ahead parking up, "but," pointed out Capuano "they restarted before we started again. We made good choices in the second part of the last leg [from Elba to Punta Ala] stayed on the southern side." Through the race they never saw more than 8 knots of wind - on both occasions this being the sea breeze off the Tuscany coast, during Thursday's start and then approaching the Punta Ala finish a day later. "On the last leg we were stressed because we knew that we were competing minute by minute with our competitors, but finally we were successful," concluded Capuano.

Aside from the fight between Black Jack and Arca SGR for line honours, another major dust-up in the maxi race was between Mylius 65 Oscar 3 of Aldo Parisotto and Dario Castiglia's Baltic 65 RE/MAX One2, both of a similar length and rating. At various stages both led, both following a similar track exiting the Giraglia rock to the east and heading into the coast of Capraia before continuing onto the gate off Fetovaia on the southwest side of Elba. Ultimately their competition was decided on the final leg where RE/MAX One2 split from her rival, erring north, but this was to Oscar 3's advantage, Aldo Parisotto's team crossing the line 16 minutes ahead, correcting out under IRC to a 20 minute 40 second advantage. In the final tally Oscar 3 and RE/MAX One2 completed the maxi class' podium, Oscar 3 runner-up for a second consecutive year.

"We stopped three times," said Parisotto. "The first was before Gorgona [half way to Giraglia] and the second was just before Giraglia and then we stopped for four hours off Elba in the morning. The most breeze we saw was 7-8 knots. We had a good race with RE/MAX - she performs well. We rate the same. We are better upwind, but they have a good boat with a good team."

In fact one of their team is tactician Andrea Casale, who originally sailed with Oscar 3 but who has since jumped ship for no more sinister reason other than RE/MAX One2's owner, Dario Castiglia is a close relative of his. As to their race Casale recounted: "We were very lucky approaching Elba before the gate off Punta Fetovaia, because everyone rounded it wide, but we found some breeze and were also able to take a short cut." However he admitted than on the final leg between Elba and Punta Ala "we missed the shift. It is always the same story behind Elba - when the breeze is starting in the channel, you don't know which side is best. But it was a fun race because we were always in contact with Oscar 3."

He confirmed that the slowest part of the race was negotiating the south side of Elba. "The wind died there because we had to shave Elba in order to pass through the gate. That gave us no options and we all had to do that in miserable conditions with the windseeker and code 0. So we stuck there."

In fact of the headsails, the gossamer-thin windseeker saw the maximum use. "We used it more than the J1, but we broke it and had to fix it twice."

This afternoon International Maxi Association Secretary General Andrew McIrvine was in Punta Ala to help present prizes. This included the IMA trophy for the winner of the maxi class under IRC corrected time, Durlindana 3's Giancarlo Gianni. For the first time since 2016, the Gianfranco Alberini Trophy, the IMA's special prize for sportsmanship, was awarded to Oscar 3's Aldo Parisotto, the first IMA member to finish this year's race.

Next in the International Maxi Association's seven event 2022-23 Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Championship will be the Rolex Giraglia offshore race starting from Saint-Tropez on 14th June, the series concluding with August's Palermo-Montecarlo.

For more information about the 151 Miglia-Trofeo Cetilar visit 151miglia.it

For more information on the International Maxi Association visit www.internationalmaxiassociation.com

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