Setting out for the high seas from Slovenia.

Maxi Jena, Photo: - Slovenian Sailing Federation

Slovenia may have just 26 kilometres of coastline, but this hasn't put a damper on the country's international boat racing aspirations. The Maxi Jena, the first big racing yacht to be designed and made in Slovenia, has just set out for the high seas.

The Maxi Jena project has been the most ambitiously set one in Slovenia so far. This is the Formula 1 of the sea, an extreme sailboat without any sort of luxury. It was constructed in the record time of six months, and it took only a year for the bare concept to take the form of an actual sailing boat and the subsequent launching of it.

The sea beauty, measuring only one centimetre less than 24 metres in length, which sets her apart from a ship, is full of mystery, as only the most advanced techniques were used to create it. Looking up at the mast that is 36 metres high feels like gazing at a 14-storey skyscraper. Maxi Jena is 5 metres wide and weighs slightly over 13 tons, which is little for such a giant.

The main engine is simply the sails which measure 800 square metres, explains Andrej Justin, who is the nautical architect and the designer of Maxi Jena as well as of more than 20 other sailing boats. But this is not the only thing making it so very special and setting it apart from other sailing boats; she has many other special characteristics.

"Firstly, there's its size. We've never had anything like this built in Slovenia before. This is a huge boat even according to world standards, especially if you consider the building technique we chose. This is the largest boat with a female mould that has been built in carbon fibres using the technology of controlled vacuum infusion. But what sets it most apart from other boats is the sole concept of its structure. It is basically very narrow, practically a classical sailing boat of very symmetrical lines. But it has a swing keel, which makes it incredibly light. And even though it is so very light, this swing keel enables it to have many sails."

The sailing boat, which easily makes 30 knots, will train many of Slovenia's best yachtsmen and prepare them for sailing competitions, possibly also for the America's Cup. In their first international event, the 34th Barcolano last autumn, the crew of 18 members, including some experienced Italian yachtsmen, finished second. Still, the Maxi Jena passed its first test well. And the main goals, in the fields of sport and also business, still lie ahead. Mitja Kosmina is the boat's skipper

"Our sports objectives include competing in the most demanding events in the Mediterranean, such as the Rolex Cup, the Giralli, the Middle Sea Race and other similar competitions which feature the most prestigious sailing boats of this part of the world, including us, of course. This is our basic goal."

The crew always competes to win. But it should be emphasized that it is not always the largest and the fastest sailing boat that wins. Usually, the boat that wins is the one with the crew that makes no mistakes. The wish of the makers, the creators of this project, is to give Maxi Jena a twin. They give Jena 3 to 4 years of supremacy, after which some other top-level sailing boat, even more advanced in structure, will take over the reign over the sea waves.