Today, the 2013 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup concluded in Porto Cervo, Sardinia. A dramatic final day saw three yachts making impressive recoveries to seal championship titles in the event organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and the International Maxi Association.
Filip Balcaen and Bouwe Bekking, owner and tactician on the Supermaxi winner Nilaya at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup
Two windward/leeward races concluded the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship with a coastal race through the Maddalena archipelago organized for the remaining classes.
Today's winners were: Rán 2 (GBR) in the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship with a bullet and a second; Velsheda (GBR) in J-Class; Morning Glory (GER) in Maxi Racing; Nefertiti (GBR) in Maxi Racing/Cruising; Nilaya (GBR) in Supermaxi; and, Open Season (GBR) in Wally.
2013 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup winners are: Rán 2 in the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship; Velsheda in J-Class; Aegir (GBR) in Maxi; Altair in Maxi Racing/Cruising; Nilaya in Supermaxi and J-One (GBR) in Wally.
In mounting a stunning comeback during both the week and today's final race, Niklas Zennström'sRán 2 has reclaimed her Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship title. 'It is hard to believe,' admitted owner/driver Zennström. 'It was really awesome as the competition went down to the wire.'
Victory in yesterday's coastal race left Rán 2 two points behind Andres Soriano's fellow 72-ft Alegre going into the final day. 'We decided to sail the way we usually do: confident, fast, concentrated and quietly,' explained Zennström, whose crew mounted a similarly successful recovery in 2010. 'In today's first race we had a good start, rounding the top mark ahead of everyone. We had a first and they finished fifth which took us two points ahead for the last race.' That left Ran 2 firmly in the driving seat, and Alegre faced with reversing the result of the first race.
'It was a tough day. Everyone lifted their game,' explained Alegre tactician Chris Main. 'Today it came down to the starts. Rán had a really good start in winning the first race. In the second race we had a good start and a good race.' Alegre performed gallantly in winning race two before waiting to see how things played out behind. 'It was exciting coming into the finish. We were holding our breath,' admitted Main. However, in the final 100 metres, Rán 2, enjoying a fast downwind leg, decisively overtook Hap Fauth's defending champion Bella Mente from the United States to claim second place and seal the title.
A euphoric Zennström has even more reason to treasure this third Mini Maxi Rolex World title. '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.' George Sakellaris' Shockwave completed the championship podium finishing third.
Rán 2 was not the only yacht to mount an impressive comeback. Brian Benjamin's 82-ft Aegir 2 was seemingly out of the running halfway through the Maxi Racing competition having not started the first race before finishing a disappointing third on day two. However, three straight bullets elevated Aegir to the top of the standings ahead of two very contrasting and successful boats - Lord Irvine Laidlaw's 82-ft Highland Fling and Hasso Plattner's 87-ft Morning Glory - both former winners. 'We didn't expect to do so well against the other two boats but the races have come down to seconds. Below ten knots and we are in with a shout,' explained Aegir trimmer Pete Cummings before today's racing.
Aegir performed strongly in the light conditions that prevailed this week. 'We've done the impossible. It feels good, unexpected,' said Benjamin. 'It wasn't very windy this week which helps us as the other two boats were unable to plane.' Aegir adds the Maxi Racing title to last year's Maxi Racing/Cruising crown - a title this year won this year by Altair by Robertissima.
Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup finale
In the Wally class, J-One - a winner here in 2007 - finished a massive eight points ahead of her nearest rival Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones's Wally Cento Magic Carpet 3. Great satisfaction for owner Jean Charles Decaux. 'Consistency, focus and great teamwork is the magic combination and we are very happy to be the winner again after six years.' Decaux continued: '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 to achieve a good result.'
In the J-Class Rainbow and the 1933-build Velsheda have exchanged positions all week with the former going into today's final race one point ahead. 'We got in the right position from the start. We kept the lead for the whole race,' explained helmsman Ronald de Waal as Velsheda turned the competition around by winning today's race. 'The competition was strong. Rainbow is a new boat with the newest materials and is very fast. Our advantage is that we have been sailing the boat for ten years or more.'
Filip Balcaen's 112-ft Nilaya had already sealed a third straight Supermaxi title yesterday.
The final prizegiving was held this evening on Piazza Azzurra at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. Trophies and Rolex timepieces were awarded to the six class winners and to Lupa of London as the best Mini Maxi Racer/Cruiser. The inaugural Commodore Alberini Perpetual Trophy, established to commemorate Past YCCS Commodore Gianfranco Alberini who 'sailed away in June', was awarded to Gerard Logel's @robas for their show of sportsmanship and fair play during the regatta.
A full review of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup will be available on Wednesday 11 September.
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
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
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
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
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; 19
Further information on the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup may be found at Yatch Club Costa Smeralda website and International Maxi Association website