A Mix of Performance, Comfort, and Style
Published on May 4th, 2017
Founded in 1999, the Wally Class comprises those jaw-dropping maxis that mix elegance with efficiency. They compete as a separate division in the most important superyachts regattas, and have 14 yachts registered for the 2017 racing series. But what is a Wally?
The Wally Class is a brand distinguished by its class rules which are continually refined by the membership. “To ensure the fair racing, the Wally Class rules carefully regulate also the cruising soul of the participating Wallys,” explains Paolo Massarini, Wally Class Secretary.
Despite the high standards of the competition, the Wally Class strictly maintains the original and successful ProAm formula encouraging the owners to steer their yachts while the rest of the crew has no restrictions and is mostly made of super professionals further raising the racing level.
Here are some of the guiding rules:
Wally Yacht Characteristics
• Minimum boat length (LH) 77 feet;
• Power-driven winches and hydraulic systems;
• Gennaker, tacked on a bowsprit or to the bow;
• Non overlapping genoa: maximum L.P. allowed = 110% J (ORC definition);
• Reachers or flat gennakers (Code 0);
• Full accommodations, fittings, stores as provided for cruising;
• No advertising is permitted. Logo on sails can be submitted for approval but never related to commercial purposes.
• A valid IRC Endorsed Certificate.
• Owners or/and their relatives shall be at the helm of their Wally for the duration of each race including the start.
• If the owner is not at the helm, the yacht will be penalized by 2% on the elapsed time of that race. If the yacht captain is steering during the race the penalty will be reduced to 1%.
• First time charterers and owners of more than 100’ Wally yachts are allowed not to steer during the 3 minutes before and after the start and at marks roundings as matter of safety.
• During a race, the owner can stop steering for a maximum of one (1) break of five (5) minutes per hour of racing.
• After the first 4 (four) hours, any crew members on board (except for a Super Professional – see below) is permitted to steer the boat without incurring in any penalty.
• No bonus or penalty applies during the “Long Races” (as defined in 10.a: longer than 60 nm)
• Owners can appoint an alternate helmsman, to be approved by the Class Members. He/she must be a proven owner of a yacht at least 60-foot long.
• For Wally yachts over 130 feet long, as a matter of safety, no driver restriction is applied.
Super professionals, as below defined, are not allowed to steer in the Wally Class.
Any helmsman who meets any of the below descriptions is considered a Super Professional and is not permitted to steer in the Wally Class:
• Has been part of the afterguard on an America’s Cup boat since 1975.
• Has been in the top 20 of the World Match Race Rankings in the last 20 years.
• Has been part of the last four (4) Olympic Games.
• Has steered during the last (five) 5 editions of the Volvo Ocean Race.
Sails as Moving Ballast
Sails are considered as ballast and therefore shall not be moved to improve the boat’s performance. Sails not in use shall not be moved from one side to the other while tacking or gybing. Only in cases of emergency and / or to prevent them from falling into the water sails shall be moved.
Event Race Courses
These rules also apply when the Wally Class has its own Race Committee and Race Area. Each Wally Class event included in the official calendar should have the following program:
1) In case of four days of races with max six races total: Two days of Windward / Leeward races for a total of four races and two days of Coastal races for a total of two races.
2) In case of five days of races with max seven races total: two days of Windward / Leeward races for a total of four races and three days of Coastal races for a total of three races.
“The Wally Class confirms to be the world’s strongest division of racing superyachts and we are very proud of this result,” says Luca Bassani, Wally Class President and founder. “The Wally Class was founded to supervise the racing activity suitable to the Wallys. With such an organised class, year after year we succeeded in having at the events a separate division with its own standings and rating system, as well as the full control over the selection of the courses.”
Source: Wally Class (photos @ Martinezstudio)