Is this the next level of madness?

Published on October 3rd, 2022

It is one thing to have canting keel and water ballasted boats racing against fixed keel designs, but ‘Maxi week’ at 2022 Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez is taking it to the next level (of madness?) by permitting the entry of Roberto Lacorte’s fully foiling 60-foot maxi FlyingNikka.

Unlike FlyingNikka’s first event at 2022 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, where the radical boat was placed in a special division in which there were no other entries, her second event in Saint-Tropez will be starting in Division 1 alongside luxury sailing yachts nearly twice her size and well matched with each other… but markedly slower than the foiler.

It is notable the highly refined maxi racing yachts are in Division 2… did they protest the notion of racing against something so different? Their ratings aren’t that much different than the stately yachts in Division 1 which will have to contend with this anomaly.

Racing in France takes place October 4-8 (layday on the 6th), organized by the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez in conjunction with the International Maxi Association.

Using the IRC handicap, which is a single number system seemingly unable to accurately rate a boat which exhibits significantly different speeds depending on whether the conditions permit foiling or not, FlyingNikka’s Time Correction Coefficient (TCC) is an off-the-scale 3.866, twice that of the elite grand prix maxis in Division 2

That fleet will certainly be the most competitive this year as, uniquely, it will include both a strong line-up of 100 footers and three former Maxi 72s. Typically the ex-72s are so finely-tuned and immaculately sailed that they race on their own, but today the 100s are highly refined too.

And notably, won’t have to race against FlyingNikka which may be in some trouble if the forecast holds, which anticipates light winds for most of the event. When boats meant to foil can’t due to the conditions, they are a dog not having their day.

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