January 30th 2013. By Louay Habib.

JV72 Stig: An Italian Stallion

Owned by Alessandro Rombelli, the previous Stig was a very successful cruiser/racer Mini Maxi built by Baltic Yachts of Finland. However, Rombelli’s has a voracious taste for one design racing and after he won the 2010 Melges 20 World Championship in Miami, he yearned for big boat one design racing.


Stig sails upwind

“We decided to go for the extreme,” explained owner Rombelli. ‘The Racing Mini Maxi Class is almost one design. It is a box rule but very strict; the owners have just voted that no boat will have a TCC (IRC Handicap) above 1.60. for the next five years.” Stig’s hull was made from a CNC milled female mold, which produced a very accurate finished product in a short period of time.

Stig crew on deck

LIGHT WEIGHT The weight saving on Stig is quite remarkable, even the anti-slip deck is pinstripe, saving 50 per cent of the weight of the application. Stig has only been racing for a few months and the learning curve is very steep but there is no doubt the latest Mini Maxi is one hell of a weapon.

Bare interior

BARE BELOW Whilst Stig has a similar rating to Rán, there is a big difference internally. Rán is not exactly fitted out but it does have far more internal structure. Stig has virtually nothing inside, just a few pipe cots and a minimal gas hob for cooking freeze dried offshore. ‘We don’t worry about damaging the teak or the table because they are not there,” said Rombelli.

Stig from astern

When Stig was launched she was 400-500 kg lighter than any of the previous Racing Mini Maxis, which prompted several competitors to replace their keel with a deeper fin but a lighter bulb. This did save weight but Stig has a heavier bulb and therefore more righting moment, which all adds up to more performance; the weight saving isn’t just confined down below.

Stig sails

Stig has no vang at all; a single Dyneema strop is attached to the boom, which leads to a hydraulic pump. Stig relies heavily on hydraulic power but there are no electrical pumps. All of the hydraulic pressure is produced by man-power; the latest rotary drive system connects all of four pedestal grinding stations to a carbon fibre reservoir.

Stig bowsprit

Stig has a removable bowsprit. The owner Rombelli insists that the extra kilogram of structure required to make this happen is worth it. The flexibility in sail choice it allows is a major advantage. If Stig decided to change the size of its downwind sails, fitting a bigger or smaller bowsprit is very easy. Also if the sprit breaks it is easy to replace. Photo Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Starting line

CARBON RIGGING Stig is equipped with full carbon rigging developed and built by Carbo-Link, the Swiss company renowned for its revolutionary products. For example, the bobstay has a built in 12 ton load sensor, which gives the crew exact performance data. Many TP52s use Carbo-Link bobstays and Groupama (winner of the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race) are customers.

Louay Habib

Louay Habib is a freelance journalist and broadcaster based in the UK who writes for some of the most prestigious magazines and clubs all over the world, including the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Volvo Ocean Race.