The Rolex IMS worlds started in the Bay of Naples yesterday

The Rolex IMS World Championship, organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, officially got under way yesterday in the Bay of Naples with the start of the offshore race. Monday’s races, scheduled to start the event, were called off by the International Judges because of a lack of wind. Yesterday, however, with a north-easterly breeze, the race started on schedule in 8-9 knots of wind, with the start divided into two groups.

The 66 IMS entries headed first for the Naples buoy, then on to Procida before they make their way back to Capri. As expected, the wind dropped shortly after the start, and the boats were finding it slow going. The two leading boats, the sole American entry Talisman, and the Italian boat X-Prozac, the largest boats in the fleet at 58ft, rounded the mark at Procida late in the afternoon, about 26 miles into the race. At that point, some of the smaller boats had not yet arrived at the Naples mark.

Once they complete the Capri-Naples-Procida-Capri triangle, participants will have to race the Capri-Procida leg again and should be arriving back in Capri tomorrow morning, Wednesday, May 19.

A total of ten nations are represented at this year’s event. Brand-new designs from Botin & Carkeek, respected interpreters of the IMS rule, are also adding to the excitement. Marco Birch’s Talisman with Terry Hutchinson at the helm, Memo Memulini flying the Uruguayan flag, X-Prozac, Meridiana Italtel and Raiffeisen CM with Lorenzo Bressani at the wheel, are challenging the predominance of Bruce Farr designs. Many of these new boats arrived at Capri, the first event of the IMS season, just a few weeks after their launch.