the new maxi taxis

From our pals at Seahorse…
As this is the first column, I would like to clarify some common misconceptions.
Back in 1980/81 when the International Class A Yacht Association (ICAYA) was formed things were in a way much simpler. Almost all serious international yacht racing was conducted under the International Offshore Rule (IOR), making it the obvious system to adopt. A group of five founder members who enjoyed racing in the wonderful waters of the Costa Smeralda started the organisation with the primary purpose of promoting racing Maxi yachts… but also as a somewhat exclusive social club.
Over the past nearly 40 years many things have changed. The demise of the IOR meant a change of name in 2000 to our current title: the International Maxi Association. We now co-ordinate a variety of rules that apply to a very diverse fleet of large yachts – which has evolved to a rather confusing set of sub-divisions of fleets and categories. Maxi life is far more varied today than back in the days of IOR when famous raceboats like Kialoa and Windward Passage were the undisputed alpha males.
The current framework is best expressed as originally created – in feet, LOA (now LH).
Mini-Maxi fleet: 60-80ft
Maxi fleet: 80-100ft
Supermaxi fleet: greater than 100ft
There are further sub-divisions, all with the purpose of trying to let boats of similar performance compete together. The main split is in the Mini-Maxi and Maxi classes into racer and racer-cruiser categories. The final decision on class placement is always made by the technical office of the IMA, the reason being that there has been an inevitable push by owners and designers to design racers with minimal accommodation and try to designate them as racer cruisers. These decisions are tricky and can produce anguish…
Read on.