News Capri Classica Day 1. Schooner match race in the Bay of Naples

Capri Classica Day 1. Schooner match race in the Bay of Naples

Capri, May 8 2019

Out on a sunny but chilly Bay of Naples, there was a remarkably action-packed opening day of racing at the inaugural Capri Classica, with lead changes galore, a David v Goliath competition and an encounter with a Neapolitan fishing net best forgotten.
Organised by the Circolo Remo e Vela Italia, the Yacht Club Capri and the International Schooner Association with the support of the International Maxi Association, the Capri Classica is an exclusive invitation-only event for large classic schooners.

Racing today got underway at 1300, an hour late as the race committee waited for the wind to settle off the north side of the Sorrento Peninsula. Eventually the four schooners cautiously set off with the smallest, the 85ft Orianda, first to tack at the heavily favoured committee boat end of the line.

However it was the heavyweight bout between the 138ft Herreshoff-designed Mariette of 1915 and the 128ft Naema that was most engaging. The two titans of Capri Classica were at each other’s throats from the outset in a match race reminiscent of a 19th century America’s Cup when schooners were the vessels of choice.

First Mariette of 1915 gaining the upper hand through superior pointing ability to lead around the first mark to the south of Punta Campanella. They then returned to the Gulf of Naples where Naema was able to roll her rival and pulled ahead down the tricky run down past Sorrento. However approaching the leeward turning mark beyond Sorrento the wind filled in from astern allowing Mariette of 1915 to close as she brought the breeze down with her. A handling error coming into the mark as gusts of 15+ knots descended on the race course, left Naema bare-headed for a minute, a loss that was Mariette of 1915’s gain, allowing the navy blue schooner to sneak through.

“Then there was a moment where we had to make a decision – do we follow them or do we do something different?” recounted Florian Franke, Captain of Naema. In the event Mariette of 1915 continued out into the Bay of Naples on port, as, now behind, Naema tacked on to starboard heading back into the Sorrento Peninsula. This proved to be a winning move as Franke explained: “It was very shifty. The first tack we gained with a lot of lift. Then we got into pressure between the mainland and Capri as they went offshore and got a big header. I was surprised they didn’t tack back earlier - maybe they thought there was more wind coming.” Blessed by angels, Naema regained the lead for a second time, lifted enough that she was able to point directly at what would be the finish line of the shortened course, as Mariette of 1915 struggled with her bow at one point pointing towards Naples.

As Naema’s helmsman Hank Halsted said, beaming: “Luck is good food – you just need to know when to take it…”

Ultimately Naema won the day overall, beating Mariette of 1915 by 15 minutes on corrected time.

Behind, Puritan and Orianda were having a race that was slightly too close considering the relative differences in their 126 and 85ft LOAs. It was discovered the cause was that Puritan had picked up a metal fishing net that had wrapped itself around her drop keel. Certainly it made Orianda’s performance look impressive.

Orianda’s captain Sebastiano Marulli d'Ascoli was pleased with their race, especially as being a Neapolitan he is competing on home waters this week. However in schooner racing he maintains this made little difference: “We knew that under Sorrento it would be changing, but the speed on Orianda doesn’t change that much. It’s still 8.5 knots…”

Even though the wind dropped off on the final upwind towards the finish line, they still managed to finish within the time limit despite their relatively diminutive size: “We had some moments of five to six knots and we also had 15-17 knots and it was gusty off Sorrento which was nice, going downwind with the wind. We were doing 8.5 knots which was good for Orianda as she is not a racing boat. It was a very long day, but everyone on board is happy,” said d'Ascoli.

As to racing at this inaugural classic schooner-exclusive Capri Classica, d'Ascoli added: “The event is amazing. We are the smallest so racing with these other schooners is incredible, really an honour.”

There is much anticipation for racing on day two tomorrow when the wind is forecast to be 15-18 knots.

The competitors

Mariette of 1915 –138ft 1915 Nathanael Herreshoff schooner
Naema – 128ft built in 2012, inspired by the 1938 Alfred Mylne design Panda
Orianda –85ft 1937 Dahlstrom staysail schooner
Puritan –126ft 1930 Alden gaff schooner


• Tuesday May 7th
12:00-17.00 Arrival and Registration
17:00 Inauguration of the Schooner Village
19.00 Welcome Cocktail
• Wednesday May 8th
09.30 Skippers’ Briefing at the Schooner Village
12.00 Race start
20.30 Evening Entertainment
• Thursday May 9th - Race day N.1
09.30 Skippers’ Briefing at the Schooner Village
12.00 Race start
20.30 Evening Entertainment
• Friday May 10th - Race day N.2
09.30 Skippers’ Briefing at the Schooner Village
12.00 Race start
20.30 Evening Entertainment
• Saturday May 11th - Race day N.3
09.30 Skippers’ Briefing at the Schooner Village
12.00 Race start
(Qualifying round of the Schooner Cup Series)
18.30 Prizegiving Ceremony

For more information on the International Schooner Association visit

Editor’s notes:


About the International Schooner Association:

The International Schooner Association (ISA) was established following a meeting at the Régates Royales de Cannes in 2018 to represent the interests of the owners of classic schooners and the unique requirements to race these magnificent historic craft.

About the International Maxi Association:

The International Maxi Association (IMA) represents the owners of Maxi yachts from all over the world. Recognised in 2010 as the World Sailing international class of Maxi yachts, the IMA is uniquely entitled to organise officially-sanctioned World championships for Maxi yachts. The IMA now has 60 members from all over the world. The current President of the IMA is Benoît de Froidmont, owner of the Wally 60 Wallyño. Secretary General is Andrew McIrvine, former Admiral and Commodore of the Royal Ocean Racing Club.

The IMA is registered in Geneva, has a base in Porto Cervo and an office in the UK, for rating and technical matters. With two affiliated classes (Maxi 72s, and, since 2017, the J Class) and one associated class (Wally Class) and links to others such as the International Schooner Association, the IMA's remit is to "guide and structure maxi yacht racing. The IMA rule defines and categorises maxi yachts: it aims to embrace all maxi yachts and as such follows, instigates and encourages developments that are deemed to have a positive effect on the construction and racing of maxi-sized boats."

International Schooner Association PR contact:
Federico Göttsche Bebert Email:

International Maxi Association PR contacts:
Maria Luisa Farris Tel: +39 345 8257605 Email:
James Boyd Tel: + 44 7710 109386 Email:



International Maxi Association
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