Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup - Pinnacle rendezvous in Porto Cervo

by KPMS on 12 Sep 2013
Mini Maxi fleet in full on competition - 2013 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup © Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi http://www.carloborlenghi.net
At the 2013 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, enthusiasm was in abundance as a gathering of the finest sailors, most passionate owners, and inspiring yachts met in Porto Cervo, Sardinia for the pinnacle rendezvous of the annual Maxi yacht racing calendar.

'The two things which make the event unique are the racecourses and the participants,' explained Riccardo Bonadeo, Commodore of event organizers Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS). 'The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup from the very beginning has always been the event of excellence for ocean-going boats. And the environment is perhaps the most spectacular and technical in the world.'

'This is the pre-eminent regatta. Everyone is training for it for the whole season. It’s where everyone comes together,' explained Niklas Zennström, owner of the highly successful Mini Maxi Rán 2. 'It’s the one we all want to win.'

37 yachts, divided into six classes, contested a myriad of challenging racecourses organized during the weeklong event on the Costa Smeralda. While conditions throughout the 24th edition of this pre-eminent competition were light, the Race Committee was able to successfully organize a gripping week of racing.

The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, sponsored by Rolex since 1985, has always been the showcase and proving ground for a fleet of contrasting yachts, and a chance for designers and owners to meet and draw inspiration for future projects. 'I’m always looking for the latest, newest technology and something that’s a bit different to what other people are doing,' admitted Lord Irvine Laidlaw, owner of the 82-ft Highland Fling. A sentiment and quest echoed by many in attendance.

Many owners are using advances in technology to drive the design of faster boats; an idea at the forefront of Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’s mind when he commissioned Magic Carpet 3, a 100-ft yacht designed to answer his quest for a boat that would be comfortable and sail fast whether cruising or racing. Line honours success at the Giraglia Rolex Cup was an early indication of the boat’s speed potential compared to his previous yacht. 'It’s much faster. It is much more fun, much more exciting. It feels like a racing boat and that’s what we wanted,' explained Owen-Jones. 'Paradoxically, it is a much better cruising boat because of its extra width, which gives people air and space and makes it a very stable cruising platform.'


Owen-Jones had firm ambitions for Magic Carpet 3. 'We’ve written our name five times on the wall next to the door to the Yacht Club (Costa Smeralda), the idea of putting it there a sixth time, which I think would be a record for any name, is a terribly exciting idea.'

Despite the presence of Magic Carpet 3 and Sir Charles Dunstone’s Hamilton, whose crew included both British Olympian Ian Walker and Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran fame, the Wally Class was dominated by Jean Charles Decaux’s J-One, which won four of the seven races. 'Consistency, focus and great teamwork is the magic combination and we are very happy to be the winner again after six years,' explained Decaux. 'We are the oldest boat in the fleet and smaller compared to the new ones. We really had to make no mistakes, or at least fewer mistakes than our competitors.'

While eyes feasted on some of the newer boats, the J-Class offered purists with an eye-catching reminder of yesteryear. Of the four J-Class yachts entered at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Shamrock and Velsheda are restorations of yachts launched over 80 years ago, while Rainbow and Ranger are design replicas of original boats destroyed for metal during the Second World War.

Those competing in the J-Class were not intent on solely distracting photographers. 'We enjoy close racing and have to be very mindful dealing with equipment that is incredibly valuable and doesn’t respond that quickly. However, none of us want to simply nurse the boats around the course. We want to push it in the gap, that’s the challenge,' revealed Velsheda’s Tom Dodson.

In the light airs, three-time champion Ranger, the heaviest and largest of the four-strong fleet, struggled to make any headway. Instead, a two-way battle between Rainbow and Velsheda developed. Ultimately, it was the vintage Velsheda, to her own admission slower than Rainbow, who prevailed. A handicap overturned thanks to teamwork and hours spent on the water, according to helmsman Ronald de Waal.

'Any boat in the fleet can win. We are on top of each other rating-wise so if you have a bad tack, bad gybe, [bad] start, you get flushed down the fleet and its tough to climb back. You have to be on your game. The boat that makes the fewest mistakes normally does very well.' Decisive words from Hap Fauth, owner of defending champion Bella Mente from the United States ahead of the much-vaunted Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship.

The fourth running of the Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds was expected to be one of the headline acts of the week. It did not disappoint. The class confirmed its status as one of the world’s most competitive and demanding in world sailing. At the start of the week, four crews had realistic ambitions of lifting the coveted title. Fauth’s 72-ft Bella Mente won last year’s competition just months after its launch. Zennström’s British-crewed two-time champion Rán 2 was eager to reclaim the title in what would be its last appearance at the event. Andres Soriano, whose largely British team is no stranger to Mini Maxi success in the Mediterranean, arrived with the newest Mini Maxi incarnation, the 72-ft Mills design Alegre. George Sakellaris’s Shockwave, another American yacht and the oldest of the quartet, began as slight outsider but a dangerous adversary particularly if airs were light.


The four boats were to dominate the week’s sailing. Bella Mente, counting on a formidable afterguard comprising Terry Hutchinson, Ian Moore and former ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Mike Sanderson, made a poor start. A ninth place in the first coastal race, a result which could not be discarded, compromised her week. From then on she was playing catch-up. 'As defending champion everyone was keen to pick up on us quite early in the regatta,' admitted Sanderson. In contrast, Alegre and Rán 2 began impressively.

In such close boat-on-boat sailing, race starts became vital. The unpredictability of the competition was demonstrated by five different boats winning the championship’s eight races. The byword was consistency but the erratic conditions and tight competition produced inconsistent results. By the middle of the week with light conditions dominating, it was Shockwave that moved to the top of the leaderboard. 'Our boat’s not quite as a big and powerful as some of the newer boats here,' admitted tactician Stuart Bannatyne. 'However, we do well in light to medium conditions. With nice clean starts we’ve been able to sail our own race.'

Suddenly Shockwave became the crew to beat although more surprises were in store. On the penultimate day Rán 2 returned to form, impressing for the second time in a coastal race and claiming victory while Shockwave languished in sixth. It set up a tense final day. With two races to go Zennström’s crew lay just two points behind Soriano’s Alegre. There was a confident belief about Rán 2. She had come from behind to win the competition before, her crew has sailed together for years, Zennström has become a very accomplished helmsman. 'After a bad day, we always come back with a fighting spirit – it’s a real strength of our squad,' explained navigator Steve Hayles.

On the final day and in shifty conditions, Rán 2 dominated the first race from start to finish. Alegre’s fifth place meant she needed a reversal of fortunes in the final race. Soriano’s crew performed brilliantly, winning the race. It left her needing Rán 2 to finish at least two places behind. With 100 metres of the final race to go Alegre was virtual champion. It all changed in a split second, as second placed Bella Mente gybed poorly and Rán 2 slipped past the American yacht, in the process sealing the title.

'It is hard to believe,' explained Zennström. 'It was really awesome as the competition went down to the wire. This is the last regatta for this boat (a new Mini Maxi Rán will launch next year). It is a special win and amazing to end on a high note. Rán must be the most successful Maxi in many, many years.'

Arguably the most diverse class was Maxi Racing, featuring three contrasting designs: Highland Fling, Hasso Plattner’s Morning Glory from Germany and Brian Benjamin’s 82-ft Aegir. Seemingly out of contention halfway through the week, Aegir mounted the week’s most impressive recovery with two wins and a second place to triumph against her seemingly more powerful competition. Italian yacht Altair by Robertissima inherited Aegir’s title in Maxi Racing/Cruising while Filip Balcaen’s Nilaya deservedly sealed a third straight Supermaxi crown with four wins from five races. Reward for all class winners were trophies and Rolex timepieces awarded during the final prizegiving at the YCCS - a perfect opportunity to reflect on a stunning week on the water, a meeting of high drama conducted in a typically sporting manner.

Final Results 2013 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup

Position, Boat Name, Boat Owner, Races - Total Points

Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship

1. Ran 2 (GBR), Niklas Zennström 3-4-2-(10)-7-1.5-1-2; 20.5
2. Alegre (GBR), Andres Soriano, 1.5–5–1-(11)-5-3-5-1; 21.5
3. Shockwave (USA), George Sakellaris 4.5–1–3-(6)-3-7.5-6-3; 28

Maxi Racing

1. Aegir (GBR), Brian Benjamin, 5–3-1-1-2; 7
2. Morning Glory (GER), Hasso Plattner, 2-2-2-2-1; 7
3. Highland Fling (MON), Irvine Laidlaw, 1–1-3-3-3; 8

Maxi Racer / Cruiser

1. Altair (ITA), Paolo Scerni / Roberto Tomasini, 1-1-1-1-5; 4
2. Nefertiti (GBR), Anders Nordquist, 2-2-2-2-2; 8
3. Freya (USA), Donald Macpherson, 4-3-4-3; 14

J-Class

1. Velsheda (GBR), Tarbat Investment Ltd, 1-1-2-3-1; 5
2. Rainbow (NED), Chris Gongriep, 2-2-1-1-2; 6
3. Ranger (CAY), RSV Ltd., 3-3-3-2-3; 11

Supermaxi

1. Nilaya (GBR), Filip Balcaen, 1-1-1-2-1; 4
2. Firefly (NED), Eric Bijlsma, 2-2-2-1-3; 7
3. Inoui (SUI), Marco Vögele, 3-3-4-3; 13

Wally

1. J One (GBR), Jean Charles Decaux, 1-2-1-1-(3)-1-3; 9
2. Magic Carpet 3 (GBR), Sir Lindsey Owen Jones, 6–1–2-(6)-1-2-5; 17
3. Open Season (GBR), Thomas Bscher, 4–4-4-3-6-3-1; YCCS
www.internationalmaxiassociation.com" target="_blank">Int Maxi Association

Pantaenius - Worldwide SupportEnsign Bavaria C57 April 2017BandG AUS Triton2 660x82

Related Articles

The Vendée Globe skippers hosted at the Elysée Palace
The Elysée Palace yesterday hosted a grand ceremony where the Head of State honoured the heroes of offshore racing. The Elysée Palace yesterday hosted a grand ceremony where the Head of State honoured the heroes of offshore racing. Twenty-three of the twenty-nine Vendée Globe skippers attended the event, gathering around winner Armel Le Cléac’h, appointed Knight of the Legion of Honour.
Posted on 22 Apr
48th anniversary of Sir Robin’s Golden Globe victory
Robin Knox-Johnston set off for Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, striving to be the first person to sail single handed In 1968, when 29 year-old Robin Knox-Johnston set off for the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, striving to be the first person to sail single handed, nonstop around the world was not the only challenge he had to overcome.
Posted on 22 Apr
Golden Globe Race Plymouth start confirmed
The 2018 Golden Globe Race will start from Plymouth on Saturday June 30, 2018. The 2018 Golden Globe Race will start from Plymouth on Saturday June 30, 2018. The Race marks the 50th anniversary of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s victory in the Sunday Times Golden Globe solo non-stop round the world Race back in 1968/9.
Posted on 22 Apr
World Cup Series Hyères – Returning to action
There will be a Riou partnering Besson, but this time it will be in the shape of former Laser Radial competitor, Amélie. Besson, along with partner Marie Riou, won all four Nacra 17 World Championship titles in the Rio 2016 quadrennial but failed to capitalise on that dominance as a back injury hampered any Olympic medal ambitions the pair harboured.
Posted on 21 Apr
Spinlock presented with Queen's Award for Enterprise - Innovation
The Queen's Awards for Enterprise are the UK's most prestigious business awards that celebrate business excellence. Spinlock, designers and manufacturers of rope holding equipment and personal safety products for leisure and commercial water users, are delighted to announce they are winners of the 2017 Queen's Award for Enterprise: Innovation.
Posted on 21 Apr
Wichard Pacific returns to Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show
The company will be unveiling several products at SCIBS 2017, including the all-new Facnor hydraulic flying sail furler Returning to the 2017 Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show is marine safety equipment manufacturer Wichard Pacific, showcasing the latest from brands including Profurl, Tye Tech and Sparcraft.
Posted on 21 Apr
It's time for Qingdao and China round of the Extreme Sailing Series
The countdown is on as the teams prepare to take to the water for the second Act in China's Olympic Sailing City Following an epic season opener in Muscat in March, the racing reconvenes over China's May Labour Day holiday weekend, with open water racing on day one followed by Stadium Racing in Fushan Bay, a venue notorious for its temperamental weather that has previously seen multiple capsizes caused by its unexpected gusts.
Posted on 21 Apr
Zhik Combined High Schools Championship title chase wide open
The race committee was kept busy laying the course for race two in a shifting 6-7 knt Easterly. Race one was sailed in a 10-13knt Southerly which faded late in the race. Taipan 4.9 sailor Ethan Micallef (Lake Munmorah High) sailed to the conditions perfectly to be first on corrected time.
Posted on 21 Apr
Rolex China Sea Race - 'Best Asian Regatta' - again!
At the recent Asia Boating Awards held in Singapore, the Rolex China Sea Race was awarded Best Asian Regatta of the Year The weather at the start of the race is usually fresh and breezy, eventually shifting to idyllic sailing conditions as the fleet approaches the sunny Philippines. The 2018 race should follow suit. Competitors will be pushing their boats to the edge to break Alive’s 2016 record of 47h 31m 08s and to win the prestigious IRC Overall title.
Posted on 21 Apr
Gladwell's Line - Timeout in Bermuda and a decision OTUSA will regret?
With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath With Emirates Team New Zealand's AC50 now in Bermuda and being re-assembled, it is time to take a breath from what has been a hectic couple of months, both in Auckland and Bermuda. The third major Practice Session has concluded in Bermuda. This was conducted almost entirely if winds of around 16-25kts - starting to get close to the top end of the range for the AC50's.
Posted on 20 Apr