When not acting as a prolific business leader, shipping magnate Claus-Peter Offen is deeply passionate about the maxi yacht sector. Not only is he the owner of the highly competitive 30.5m Wally Y3K, he is also long-standing president of the International Maxi Association (IMA). The Superyacht Owner speaks to him at the start of the season, at the Palmavela regatta, to find out what draws him to the sector.

TSO: What characterises the Palmavela regatta in terms of its atmosphere?

Lots of the boats are permanent residents here in Palma so for most of the competitors it is an extremely good place to start the season and you always get a good fleet. Normally we have some more steady winds but Palma is a terrific place for regattas.

Y3K at the 2015 Palmavela regatta

TSO: What makes the Wally racing programme unique to the maxi yacht circuit?

What the Wally Class does is that it gives some extremely attractive regattas over the year. I have been following the regatta circuit for many, many years and I would say that it has been accepted in the sailing world that, in the maxi sector, the Wally Class is the most attractive class because of the number of boats. Take for example [the Palmavela] event; there are three racing divisions in which the Wally division has nine boats at the start, the Maxi 72s have three boats and the TP 52s have four boats. So the Wally Class alone has more boats than the two other classes put together.

"I would say that it has been accepted in the sailing world that, in the maxi sector, the Wally Class is the most attractive class because of the number of boats."

TSO: Coming from your background at the IMA, how have you seen superyacht racing evolve?

From the IMA’s standpoint, the superyacht division is probably one of our most complicated classes. Here [in the Wally Class] you have a homogeneous fleet and the ratings have become fairly correct so that three or fours boats are often finishing within a minute of each other. The same applies to the Maxi 72 class, which are almost sister ships, so the ratings are perfect and it’s easy.

But if you look at the superyacht division, they start at 100 foot and they end at 200 foot, some weigh 100 tonnes and others weight 300 tonnes, some are ketches and some are sloops. It is not a homogenous fleet and every boat is very individual which makes it impossible to rate the boats fairly. The IMA doesn’t make the ratings – we propose them – but it is our aim to make sure the races are fair. I think it is a struggle which is not easily done because of this huge difference in design of the boats.

Look out for a full interview with Claus-Peter Offen and other Wally owners in the upcoming issue of The Superyacht Owner.

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