Originally conceived in 2007 as a biennial event, the Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup will take place in 2008 based on the success of the inaugural event held last fall, and early inquiries suggest a number of boats are already making plans to challenge for the title. Organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS), the starting gun for the 2008 Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup will sound on Monday, November 24, in Santa Cruz de Tenerife (the largest of the seven Canary Islands off the northwest coast of Africa), setting the Maxis racing across the North Atlantic Ocean. It should take them roughly two weeks to reach the finish line off the island of Sint Maarten in the Netherlands Antilles.
While the seven yachts that participated in the 2007 race enjoyed a largely uneventful crossing, the traditionally steady northeasterly trade winds on the 2700-mile course offer plenty of challenges for this year’s competing maxi yachts of 18 metres (70 feet) and above.
"We had a great trip during the inaugural edition in 2007,” said Yerin Hobson of Dark Shadow. “The team spirit on board was excellent and although the competition was fierce we fought right up to the end in the true spirit of racing. The racing was well organized … it's a pleasure to cross the Atlantic with such good organization. And although we couldn’t fit it into our schedule [for 2008] we definitely intend to be back for the 2009 edition."
Two Maxis who have submitted their 2008 entry forms are Sojana, the 115-foot Farr designed Bermudian ketch owned by Peter Harrison (GBR), and Bossanova, the Simonis 67 belonging to YCCS member Pietro Motta (ITA). Sojana is familiar with victory in Caribbean waters having won the St. Barth Bucket (2007) as well as the St. Martin Heineken Regatta (2008, 2007). She will be looking to improve on her second-place real time finish behind Nariida, the Wally owned by Morten Bergesen (NOR), who took line honors in the 2007 inaugural event. Despite finishing an unassuming fourth over the line after 12 days, 2 hours, 22 minutes and 41 seconds at sea, Anders Johnson (SWE) took the overall victory with his Swan 70 Blue Pearl once the IRC handicap calculations were made, rendering a few wrecked spinnakers and damaged sails a small price to pay to win the first edition of this race.
The Transatlantic Maxi Yacht Cup is promoted by the International Maxi Association (IMA), with YCCS organizing the regatta in collaboration with the Real Club Nautico de Tenerife for the start and the Sint Maarten Yacht Club for the finish. It is open to monohull Maxi yachts with a minimum overall length of 18 metres (59 feet) that are in compliance with the IMA’s five division regulations (Racing, Cruising, Wally, Spirit of Tradition and Mini Maxi). The Notice of Race can be found on the YCCS website.