News Winning streak continues for Way of Life at Venice Hospitality Challenge

Winning streak continues for Way of Life at Venice Hospitality Challenge

Venice, 19 October 2019

The sixth edition of the Venice Hospitality Challenge took place today, endorsed by the International Maxi Association. In this Gašper Vinčec and the maxi Way of Life enjoyed their second consecutive victorious Saturday, following on from their having led the 2000+ strong fleet home in the Barcolana, in Trieste a week ago.

Organised by Yacht Club Venezia, the Venice Hospitality Challenge is a unique event that unites maxi racing with Venice’s leading hotels, each yacht paired up with world-famous establishments such as the Gritti Palace, Cipriani and Hotel Danieli.

The start of the race is off the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute at the entrance of the Canal Grande, then heads up the Canale di San Marco to a mark off Sant’Elena, returning via a chicane off Piazza San Marco, on up the Canale Della Giudecca to a final turning mark off Venice’s cruise ship terminal before returning to the start.

This year the maxi fleet grew from 12 maxis to 14, ranging from hard core racers such as Arca SGR (ex-Skandia Wild Thing), Portopiccolo Tempus Fugit (ex-CQS) and Golfo di Trieste (ex-Rambler 90), to fast cruisers such as the Mylius 76 E...Vai via an Il Moro di Venezia IACC yacht and three Farr 80/Maxi One Designs.

The event began on Friday night in Piazza San Marco at the Grancaffè Quadri with a ‘meet the skippers’ event for the public followed by a buffet dinner at the Ca ’ Sagredo Hotel.

Today’s start took place at 13:30 in ultra-light wind. Five yachts drifted over the line prematurely and were called OCS by the race team led by Alfredo Ricci. Way of Life (backed by The Gritti Palace), just got out from under the all-female Wind of Change crew on Golfo di Trieste (backed by the Hilton Molino Stucky). Despite nearly coming unstuck at the bottom mark when the spinnaker halyard got caught around the top of the furled Code 0, the Slovenian maxi extended away to win the race, to the delight of spectators and tourists lining the canals, in an elapsed time of 59 minutes and 58 seconds. 3 minutes 39 seconds behind, Golfo di Trieste was second, just under a minute ahead of the Farr 80 Idrusa (supported by the Palazzina) skippered by former Italian Olympic sailor Paolo Montefusco, which won the Maxi 2 class.

“We never had more than five knots of wind,” explained Andrew McIrvine, Secretary General of the International Maxi Association, racing today on Way of Life. “There were little tiny puffs of wind, mainly down at Sant’Elena. Once you got back past St Mark’s Square and into the middle of the Giudecca there was very little - just enough to keep moving.”

Way of Life skipper, former leading Olympic Finn sailor Gašper Vinčec, said he had been pleased that they had recovered from last weekend’s euphoria: “It was important that we calmed down, because after we won the Barcolana we had a lot of stress and I was worried that that would affect our race today. We knew it wasn’t luck that won us the Barcolana, it was because we are a really good team. Today we tacked perfectly, our choice of sails was perfect, our manoeuvres were perfect.”

For Francesca Clapcich’s crew on Golfo di Trieste, the huge number of manoeuvres on a big, unfamiliar yacht was a challenge. Helmswoman American Volvo Ocean Race sailor Sally Barkow, racing in a crew that also included another multiple round the world race sailor Dee Caffari, explained: “We had a lot of sail changes and choices and some chaotic manoeuvres, as we are a different team from the Barcolana last weekend. The boat was fast in the 3-5 knot range and we managed to round all the marks correctly, coming back from some almost treacherous manoeuvres like putting up the big kite, but in the end it was okay. We started off second, lost a bit upwind and then did some not-so-great manoeuvres downwind and on the last upwind bit we were going well.”

This was Barkow’s first taste of the Venice Hospitality Challenge: “It is a bit crazy sailing up the tiny little channel with 13 other maxis, but it is super cool and it is really well supported. It seems like everyone gets involved, even random guests at the hotel we are staying at and it is a really good event for the city. It tested our inshore skills.”

The prizegiving for the Venice Hospitality Challenge took place at the Zattere where the trophy, made in Murano glass by the Massimiliano Schiavon Art Team, ressembling the hat of the Doge (Venice’s traditional leader) was presented to the Way of Life crew. This was followed by a party at the Hilton Molino Stucky hotel, where each of the 14 hotels represented brought their own chef to prepare some of the cuisine.

The Venice Hospitality Challenge this year once again endorsed the One Ocean Foundation, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s marine preservation charity, whose aims are shared by the Municipality of Venice.

The Venice Hospitality Challenge 2019 is sponsored by the Municipality of Venice and is supported by Generali Italia, BMW Italia and Champagne Moët & Chandon, Mure a Dritta.

(Race report: James Boyd / International Maxi Association)


Boat    /   Supported by   /   Skipper  /  Notes

- . Arca SGR, Ca’ Sagredo Hotel,  Furio Benussi  (ex Skandia/Wild Thing maxi)

- Way of Life, The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Gašper Vinčec  ( ex Maxi Jen,

- Shining M&MSINA Centurion Palace, Miloš Radonjić, Frers Open 60

- Any Wave, Belmond Hotel Cipriani, Alberto Leghissa. Frers 63

- Adriatic Europa, Hotel Danieli, a Luxury Collection Hotel, , Dušan Puh19m Vallicelli (ex Riviera di Rimini)

. Portopiccolo Tempus Fugit, The St. Regis, Venice, Mitja Kosmina, (ex CQS=

- Ancilla Domin, iHotel Excelsior Venice Lido Resort, Stefano Cherin, Farr 80

- Anemos Allianz, JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa, Mauro Pelaschie, Farr 80

- Golfo di Trieste, Hilton Molino Stucky, Francesca Clapcich (ex Alfa Romeo/Rambler 90)

- E…Vai, San Clemente Palace Kempinski, Giuliano Pich, Mylius 76

- Botta Dritta Powered by Mascalzone Latino, Bauer Palazzo, Vincenzo Onorato/Adalberto Mian, iAdvanced 66

- Kiwi, Hotel Londra Palace, Paolo Pesaresi, Southern Wind 78

- Idrusa, Palazzina, Paolo Montefusco., Farr 80

- Il Moro di Venezia, Alajmo Ristorante Quadri, Tommaso ChieffiI, ACC yacht

For more information on Venice Hospitality Challenge visit


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