Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup - All to play for on final day

by KPMS 
BELLA MENTE (USA), enjoys the scenic spot for racing - 2012 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup
The 34-strong international fleet racing in the 2012 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup endured a frustrating waiting game on day five as insufficient breeze played havoc with the Race Committee’s best laid plans. After this morning’s racing was abandoned, conditions improved sufficiently by 14:45 CEST for all five classes to engage in a short coastal course.

Today’s winners were: Rán 2 (GBR), in the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship; Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) in Maxi Racing; Aegir (GBR) in Maxi Racing/Cruising; Nilaya (GBR) in Supermaxi and Magic Carpet 2 (GBR) in the Wally class.

The competition leaders going into the final day of racing are: Bella Mente (USA) and Rán 2 are tied level in the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship; Esimit Europa 2, Velsheda (GBR) and Highland Fling (MON) are tied on equal points in Maxi Racing; Aegir lead in Maxi Racing/Cruising; Magic Carpet has the advantage in Wally while by virtue of a fourth straight bullet Nilaya have tied up the Supermaxi class.

Filip Balcaen’s 34.13m Nilaya – line honours winner at the Rolex Volcano Race this year – is making short work of the Supermaxi class. The defending class champion claimed her fourth straight bullet today ensuring that going into the final day she has already sealed the divisional title.

NILAYA (GBR), leader in her class - 2012 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup

Former Volvo Ocean Race sailor Bouwe Bekking is Nilaya’s expert tactician. 'The week has been above expectations, we’ve won all the races very easily,' admits the Dutchman. 'We’ve made a lot of changes since last year and they have paid off. It’s gone really well for us.'

Like the Maxi Racing class, the Supermaxi division pits together contrasting craft. As well as being lighter and more agile than her rivals, Bekking believes Nilaya holds another distinct advantage: 'The changes we have made include the introduction of racing sails. They are lighter and have a better shape. We sail against heavier boats with cruising sails on so we are quite a bit faster.'

'The main competition for us was Saudade and the new Hetairos. They are significantly bigger than us so we perform manoeuvres a lot quicker. This is a Class of massive boats: our biggest spinnaker is 1,100 square metres and Hetairos has one measuring 2,000 square metres.'

HETAIROS (CAY), tests the line before the start gun - 2012 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup

While Nilaya have sown up Supermaxi title sown up, the remaining four classes seem destined to go straight down to the wire.

Most crucially, the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship took a tantalizing twist as defending champion Rán – owned by Niklas Zennström – clawed back Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente’s four and a half point lead to set up a dramatic final day of the event. Rán has won the previous two Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds and her week long battle with debutant Bella Mente will be decided tomorrow.

Rán enjoyed some luck today as navigator Steve Hayles explained: 'It was a long day for a short race. Conditions were very light and only just raceable even in the race that was finished. We had a little fortune today as we didn’t start the first race very well although there was some way to go when the Race Committee abandoned that race as the wind dropped away to unsailable conditions.'

RÁN 2 (GBR), took the spoils in her class on the first day of racing - 2012 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup

The respite served Rán well. 'We were grateful for that discussion, sat down, had a good chat and made sure we were up for the second race which was short and the key was leading at the first windward mark. From there we managed to extend away.' Bella Mente eventually finished in fourth place.

'It comes down to tomorrow,' admitted Hayles. 'Bella Mente has sailed a really good week.' However, Rán’s extra experience in holding its nerve on the final day will undoubtedly be crucial. 'We are a team that has sailed together now for five years. It’s a tight group, we work for each other and have been in these situations before. It is a hard to be definitive about it. You see it across all sport, a little bit of experience can make the difference. The guys on (Bella Mente) individually are fantastic but the team doesn’t have the experience we do. Hopefully, that will be the difference.'

Weather permitting, the final day holds windward/leeward racing for the Mini Maxi and Wally classes and coastal courses for the remaining classes.

Results After day five: Maxi Racing/Cruising

boat name

country

boat owner

R1

R2

R3

R4

TOTAL

Aegir

GBR

Brian Benjamin

1

2

2

1

6.0

Altair

ITA

Leasint Spa

4

1

1

3

9.0

Berenice Bis

ITA

Marco Rodolfi

2

3

3

5

13.0

Maxi Racing

boat name

country

boat owner

R1

R2

R3

R4

TOTAL

Esimit Europa 2

SLO

Igor Simcic

3

1

3

1

8.0

Velsheda

GBR

Tarbat Investments

1

3

1

3

8.0

Highland Fling

MON

Lord Irvine Laidlaw

2

2

2

2

8.0

Wally

boat name

country

boat owner

R1

R2

R3

R4

R5

TOTAL

Magic Carpet 2

GBR

Sir Lindsay Owen Jones

1

2

1

1

5

5.0

Open Season

GBR

Thomas Bscher

4

1

2

2

3

8.0

J One

GBR

Jean Charles Decaux

2

3

4

5

4

13.0

Supermaxi

boat name

country

boat owner

R1

R2

R3

R4

TOTAL

Nilaya

GBR

Filip Balcean

1/1

1/1

1/1

1/1

8.0

Saudade

GER

Albert Buell

3/3

2/2

4/5

2/2

23.0

Sojana

GBR

Peter Harrison

2/2

4/4

2/2

3/4

23.0

*The Supermaxi class is being dual scored in each race under IRC and ORC. The combined scores determine the leaderboard. Individual race scores show IRC race position/ORC race position. Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship

boat name

country

boat owner

R1

R2

R3

R4

R5

R6

TOTAL

Bella Mente

USA

Hap Fauth

3

1

1

1

2

4

12.0

Rán 2

GBR

Niklas Zennström

1.5

4

4

5

1

1

12.0

Caol Ila R

USA

Ocean Racing III

6

5

2

6

5

2

21.0

 
International Maxi Class Association website
Yacht Club Costa Smeralda website
http://www.sail-world.com/101830