We sail Wally's outrageous new flagship. And there's more following in her wake...

Wally’s 143 is a flier?and there’s more to come

Trials on the new Wally 143 Esense have demonstrated that they have a remarkable yacht on their hands and when she was unveiled to the press in Ancona today even the most seasoned journos were heard to utter expressions of mild amazement. Never mind the performance of this Bill Tripp-designed super-sailer, it’s her extraordinary deck design that has caused such a stir.
In a way she’s one big cockpit surrounded by 3ft high bulwarks which are part of the all carbon hull moulding. The massive deck is virtually flush and apart from the companionways there’s only one hatch puncturing it.
The 160-ton yacht is fitted with a lifting keel which when down draws more than 6m and gives the boat the sort of after burner performance normally reserved for the likes of Alfa Romeo and Wild Oats.
Wally boss Luca Bassani is tickled pink with his flagship and reckons she is faster upwind than Mari Cha 1V. Today we had a steady 10 knots out of her in 8 knots of true and we touched 12 (see David Glenn’s blog). There’s clearly a lot more to come.
This is just the start of a roll-out of new yachts from the WallyEurope yard in Fano, Italy. There’s a 148-footer from Bill Tripp coming soon, a new Saudade for Albert Bull. This is a giant of yacht designed for serious offshore sailing and in addition to her lift keel she will also be able to use 4 tons of fresh water ballast. She will be rigged with PBO standing rigging from Future Fibres.
Also progressing well is a 130-footer from Javier Soto Acebal. This is destined to be even faster as she will displace just 85 tons, carry 11 tons of water ballast and has an ultra-high modulus carbon rig from Hall Spars using a custom tool. The nod is she’ll be the fastest upwind sailing yacht in the world.
Sadly the Japanese owner of this yacht, a repeat customer for Wally, died recently but the family has asked that the project be completed. She will be sailing in 2008.
Luca Bassani reckons he has six serious expressions of interest for yachts over 100ft, some of them closer to 150ft and he also has someone seriously keen on a slightly smaller version of the 200ft Pilgrim project (see www.wallyyachts.com). Add to that a sighting of Rupert Murdoch’s sons sailing with Wally recently and one could say that things were looking pretty rosy for the Italian yard?
Watch out for a major article on Esense in an upcoming issue of Yachting World