Please select your home edition
Edition
Protector 728x90

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

North Technology - Southern SparsProtector - 660 x 82Insun - AC Program

Related Articles

Heiner's consistency pays dividends in Sailing World Cup Hyères
Heiner has been one of the most reliable performers with a string of top five finishes to lead in the Finn. Out of the 534 racers from 52 nations, racing across the ten Olympic events, Foiling Formula Kiteboarding and 2.4 Norlin OD, Heiner has been one of the most reliable performers with a string of top five finishes to lead in the Finn.
Posted today at 7:42 pm
The world of sailing comes to Antigua Sailing Week
A staggering number of sailors from worldwide are descending on the Caribbean Antigua island to celebrate 50th edition. About 1,500 competitors from 32 countries will enjoy five days of world class racing, preceded by the Guadeloupe to Antigua Race and the Peters and May Round Antigua Race.
Posted today at 10:09 am
Sperry Charleston Race Week 2017 in review
The underlying goal for every race organizer – even those staging benefit regattas – is to provide safe, fair sailing The underlying goal for every race organizer – even those staging benefit regattas – is to provide safe, fair, competitive sailing. When you have your hands on the helm of a mega regatta such as Sperry Charleston Race Week, that doesn’t change. But it does become more complicated.
Posted today at 2:19 am
New faces in town with RC44 Sotogrande Cup set to begin
This event follows from last season's RC44 World Championship also held off this magnificent development Of the eight teams competing off Sotogrande, favourite is Igor Lah's Team CEEREF. Not only is the cockpit on the Slovenian RC44 adorned with the overall championship leader's 'golden wheels', but Lah's team also won the World Championship here in 2016.
Posted on 26 Apr
Sailing World Cup Hyères –Day 2– Zegers and van Veen show how its done
Afrodite Zegers and Anneloes van Veen were unstoppable on day two, winning both Women's 470 races in convincing style Out of the 534 competitors from 52 nations racing across ten Olympic events, Open Kiteboarding and 2.4 Norlin OD, the Dutch team were the standout performers.
Posted on 26 Apr
GC32 Racing Tour Owner-Driver Championship heats up
Unique aspect of GC32 is that compared to other foiling catamarans, it is simpler to sail and logistically easier to run Team Argo is sailing with the same crew as it had for February’s GC32 Championship in Oman, including leading American Moth and big boat sailor Anthony Kotoun and British former Olympic and America’s Cup sailor Alister Richardson.
Posted on 26 Apr
RORC Season's Points Championship and Cervantes Trophy Race preview
Over 5000 sailors from all over the world will race in the biggest offshore sailing competition in the world. Over 5000 sailors from all over the world will race in the biggest offshore sailing competition in the world. While this year the 2017 Rolex Fastnet Race is the showcase event, there are fourteen testing races that make up the championship, and every race has its own coveted prize for the overall winner and for class honours.
Posted on 26 Apr
Biggest Round the World Ocean Race returns to Liverpool
The biggest round-the-world ocean race is to return to Liverpool with start and finish of this unique global challenge The biggest round-the-world ocean race is to return to Liverpool with the start and finish of this unique global challenge moving from the capital back to the River Mersey on the tenth anniversary of its last partnership with the region.
Posted on 26 Apr
2018 BVI Spring Regatta adds new race to Sailing Festival
On the heels of the 2017 BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, preparations have already begun for 2018. On the heels of the 2017 BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival, preparations have already begun for 2018. The week of March 27 - April 1 will offer the unique opportunity to race under a full moon. With that illumination, we will run the inaugural 'Full Moon Race, 64 Islands ~One Brilliant Night'.
Posted on 26 Apr
Giant international gathering for Rolex Fastnet Race
August's Rolex Fastnet Race remains on track for a record-sized fleet. Currently 390 boats are entered August's Rolex Fastnet Race remains on track for a record-sized fleet. Currently 390 boats are entered: 338 competing for the main IRC handicap prize; the remainder racing for their own trophies in the Class40, IMOCA 60, Volvo Ocean 65 and Multihull grand prix classes.
Posted on 26 Apr