Saint Tropez – Last week marked the 20th edition of the Voiles de St Tropez regatta, where 4,000 sailors with a shared spirit of competition and fun gathered to race on 300 classic and modern yachts. Wally has been an avid supporter of the event since the Voiles’ inaugural edition in 1999, coinciding with the creation of the Wally Class.
Over the past two decades, the Wally fleet has become a cornerstone of the Voiles community. Countless Wally fans have come to witness the competition between these fast and magnificent yachts, whether racing themselves, spectating in chase boats or watching film coverage captured by pursuing helicopters. The atmosphere is always electric as the teams of world-class sailors go head to head over the course of a week.
Before and after each day’s racing, the sight of the Wally fleet stern-to along the iconic old port, fender-to-fender with the beautiful classic yachts, has become a highlight for owners and fans alike. As the company’s Founder and Wally Class President Bassani comments, it is remarkable to see the most beautiful classic yachts – the ground-breaking Wallys of their time – lined up next to the contemporary racing cruisers that have been created from his vision.
This year’s competition within the Wally Class was very tight. Alternating weather throughout the week kept everyone on their toes, adding to the excitement of the challenge. Days one and three experienced heavy mistral winds too strong for racing and day two had too light a breeze, but the final two days’ much improved conditions allowed for thrilling racing where anyone might take line honours. The teams were so well matched that the corrected times were all within a couple of minutes of each other. The breathtaking Wallycento duo Galateia and Magic Carpet 3 engaged in epic duels reviving the golden age of yachting
When the regatta was concluded on Saturday 5 October, it was Lyra that took the top spot. Having won the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Sardinia this September, she was also presented with the Wally Class Trophy for best performance over the season by North Sails.
The racing season of the Wally Class comes to an end, and innovations will be introduced before the start of next year calendar.
Rounding off the 20th anniversary of the Wally Class, Bassani used the racing season’s finale to announce the introduction of a cruising division for 2020. The concept is intended to encourage more Wally owners to join the ‘club’ and enjoy the thrill of regatta racing in a more low-pressure setting.
Stay tuned to follow the developments!
Photo: Voiles de Saint Tropez / Gilles Martin-Raget