The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 23rd edition is less than a month away and anticipation is building for the pinnacle event of the Mediterranean sailing season. Close to 40 international crews have registered for this top-level competition that is open only to yachts of 18.29 metres (60 feet) or more. Running from 2-8 September, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, held in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, has been supported by Rolex since 1985.
SOJANA and part of the Supermaxi fleet - Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2012
Five days of intense racing throughout the celebrated Maddalena Archipelago are scheduled. The environment is perfectly suited to offer high-class sailing with the promise of challenging winds, scenic waters and rugged, rocky shorelines. The fleet is divided into five size-dependent classes – Supermaxi, Maxi Racing, Maxi Racing/Cruising, Wally and Mini Maxi, which also comprises the third running of the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship.
Niklas Zennström's RÁN 2 - Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2012
The Mini Maxis currently entered include two-time world champion Rán 2 (GBR), owned by Niklas Zennström and fielding a highly professional crew. The 21.91-metre (72-foot) Rán 2 will face determined opposition provided by the likes of the recent Rolex Volcano Race winner, Sir Peter Ogden’s revamped 18.9-metre (62-ft) Jethou (GBR), as well as George Sakellaris’ 21.8-metre (71-ft) Shockwave (USA) and the much-anticipated, newly-launched 21.94-metre (72-ft) Bella Mente (USA), owned by Hap Fauth.
Filip Balcaen's NILAYA and Hasso Plattner's VISIONE - Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2012
Intriguing confrontations are guaranteed across the fleet. In the Supermaxi class, Filip Balcaen’s 34.13-metre (112-ft) Nilaya (GBR) is back to defend her title against Saudade 45.19-metres (148-ft) and two more goliaths, both of which are making their competitive debut at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup: Better Place (CAY) 47.64-metres (164-ft) and Heitairos (CAY) 66-metres (216-ft). In Maxi Racing, the 30.48-metre (100-ft) pan-European crew on Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) will seek to get the better of last year’s class winner Highland Fling (MON). In Maxi Racing/Cruising, Brian Benjamin’s 25.10-metre (82-ft) Aegir 2 (GBR) will be determined to avoid last year’s final-race heartbreak when she lost the overall title by seconds. Meanwhile, the Wally class is set to crown a new winner. Claus-Peter Offen’s four-time champion Y3K (GER) is not scheduled to take part, opening the door for the likes of seasoned Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup campaigner Magic Carpet 2 (GBR), owned by Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, and debutante Hamilton, owned by Charles Dunstone.
Organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and the International Maxi Association, prestigious organizations with close ties to Rolex, the week is a demonstration of both the latest trends and the constant evolution in Maxi yacht design. It also hosts a first-class social programme, including the Rolex Crew Party and the final Prize-Giving Ceremony, where the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cups and Rolex timepieces will be presented to the winners.
Sunday, 2 September
Inspections, registration and briefing
Monday, 3 September
Tuesday, 4 September
Wednesday, 5 September
Thursday, 6 September
Lay day or resail
Friday, 7 September
Rolex Crew Party
September, 8 September
Peter Ogden's JETHOU surfing off Porto Cervo - Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2012
George Sakellaris’ Shockwave
SHOCKWAVE, Bow n: 12, Sail n: USA 60272, Owner: George Sakellaris, Class: Mini Maxi RAN 2, Bow n: 11, Sail n: GBR 7236 R, Owner: Niklas Zennstrom, Class: Mini Maxi - Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2012