Rolex Volcano Race first segment is taking place tomorrow, Saturday 19th May, in the town of Gaeta, just north of Naples. Nineteen crews are preparing in earnest. The scheduled windward/leeward race will enable the array of international crews to test tactics and hone preparations ahead of an intriguing two-part offshore race beginning on Sunday 20 May.
NILAYA (BEL), practicing off Gaeta - Rolex Volcano Race 2012
Leg One of the offshore race comprises a 100-nautical mile journey through the Pontine Islands from Gaeta to Capri. There, the fleet will berth for the evening of Monday 21 May before, the following morning, tackling the most challenging and rewarding part of the event, the 300-nautical mile Leg Two around the volcanic Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea, beginning and ending in Capri.
'The event has grown considerably from the first edition (held in 2011) both in terms of the number and quality of entrants,' explains Luca Simeone, Vice President of the Yacht Club Gaeta. 'There are a number of larger boats and a representation from twelve nations. The event is newborn and has immediately assumed an international character.'
Luca Simeone, Vice President of the Yacht Club Gaeta - Rolex Volcano Race 2012
'The fascination of this event come from the boats,' continues Simeone. 'The very best technology, in terms of construction, materials and sails, is represented together with the great appeal of having crews from many nations who have gone to great lengths to prepare these Maxis.'
Yachts from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, Russia, Spain, the UK and the USA as well as seven entrants from Italy make up the fleet. Two impressive winners from last year’s Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the largest craft on show - Claus-Peter Offen’s 100-ft Y3K (GER) and Filip Balcaen’s 112-ft Nilaya (BEL) - are widely expected to be amongst the frontrunners.
'The forecast is quite different from last year when the race was characterised by light winds,' concludes Simeone. 'We are expecting harder conditions, especially for Leg Two of the offshore race, an additional reason for celebrating the performance of these great yachts.'
The Rolex Volcano Race is organised by the International Maxi Association (IMA) and is open to Maxi yachts (measuring over 18.29 metres/60-ft in length). The overall winner of Leg Two will receive the coveted Rolex Trophy and timepiece during the traditional Rolex party at the iconic La Canzone del Mare, held on Friday 25 May.
Ambiance at the Gaeta Yacht Club - Rolex Volcano Race 2012