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Kiwi Super Maxi Wins Europe’s Largest Regatta

Kiwi Super Maxi Wins Europe’s Largest Regatta

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Click to enlarge

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Kiwi Super Maxi Wins Europe’s Largest Regatta

Kiwi Neville Crichton has beaten 1788 other yachts and more than 20,000 sailors to win Europe’s largest single yacht race, the Barcolana, taking line honours for the third time at the helm of ‘Alfa Romeo’ and watched by more than 320,000 spectators.

Crichton and Alfa Romeo took the lead from arch rival Maximus from the start and kept the lead to the finish, despite failing wind towards the end of the event.

“We had a wonderful race with Alfa Romeo and the crew responding instantly to the changing conditions and the challenges of racing amongst so many other yachts racing at such different speeds,” said Neville Crichton at the finish. “We followed precise racing tactics and we got off the line cleanly to windward of Maximus. At that point we moved into lead. In both strong winds and light breezes we proved to be the fastest boat and the strongest team. Alfa Romeo is still the Super Maxi everyone wants to beat!”

A total of 1788 yachts gathered at the starting line just off the Società Velica Barcola Grignano but the race quickly turned into a match-race between Alfa Romeo 2 and Maximus.

When the signal rocket announced the start, its white smoke was swept away by the notorious local ‘Bora’ wind – blowing between 20 and 23 knots with 30 knots gusts. The duel between Maximus skipper Bodini and Crichton started straight away: the two boats crossed the starting line together but the New Zealander was in strong position, to windward of Maximus. Bodini is started slightly ahead but good tactics enables Crichton to overcome his direct rival just 350 meters from the starting line.

Bodini tried to catch up by hoisting the gennaker but a wrong move slowed down Maximus, while Alfa Romeo rounded the first mark with an advantage of 473 metres. While Maximus sped up a surprise challenger to Maximus and Alfa Romeo appeared, with windward to Alfa Romeo and eight boat lengths behind, Maxi Jena, the Slovenian yacht of Mitja Kosmina with Miroslav Reljanovic as tactician started catching up the race leaders.

The Slovenian team came off the starting line near Barcola helped by the strong Bora gusts and flew into second place ahead of Maximus half-way through the first leg.

After the first leg the yachts headed towards the mark off Miramare castle, and positions remained the same: Alfa Romeo 2 accelerated and widened the gap, leaving behind a fleet sailing at 10-18 knots average speed.

At Miramare mark weather conditions change: the wind stops and the crews had to face a sudden dead calm. Alfa Romeo slowed down abruptly to just 2 knots but Neville Crichton, owner and skipper of Alfa Romeo 2, found the solution that allowed him to hold on to the lead and win the race: he picked the right side of the course where gusts were stronger and his rivals were forced to follow him home.

Almost alongside each other, Maximus and Maxi Jena sailed close to shore struggling for second place, Mitja Kosmina and his Slovenian crew manage to beat Maximus at the post.

Just a few more tacks and Alfa Romeo 2 crossed the finishing line first: giving Crichton his third victory in the Barcolana, (winner in 2003 and 2004) crossing the line in 1 hour and 23 minutes. Maxi Jena came in second, crossing the finishing line almost 7 minutes behind New Zealander team due to the dead calm near the coast (8/9 knots). Maximus came in third with Lorenzo Bodini at the helm.


1 Alfa Romeo 2, Neville Crichton (time: 1 hour 23 minutes)
2 Maxi Jena, Mitija Kosmina
3 Maximus-Alikè, Lorenzo Bodini
4 Esimit-Europa, Alberto Bolzan e Stefano Spangaro
5 Anyway True, Maurizio Bencic
6 TuttaTrieste2-Fiamme Gialle, Andrea Neri
7 Southern Star, Gabriele Benussi
8 Veliki Viharnik, Dusan Puh
9 Sei Tu 2, Antonello Morina
10 Cuba Libre, Thomas Kurtzmann
11 Madex-Cometa, Robert Besic
12 Pegaso-Calvi, Paolo Montefusco


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