Please select your home edition
Edition
Newport Boat Show 728x90

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2011 - Strong multinational fleet ready for start

by KPMS on 3 Sep 2011
Porto Cervo welcomes HIGHLAND FLING X and J ONE, 2nd and 3rd respectively in Race 1, Wally Division - Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2011 © Rolex/ Kurt Arrigo http://www.regattanews.com
The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup will get underway on Tuesday and a typically extravagant week is in store: the 47-strong multinational fleet present at this year’s regatta is the second largest in the event’s history.

These multifarious crews arrive on the back of some starkly contrasting seasons. Having tackled offshore endurance events such as the Giraglia Rolex Cup and the Rolex Fastnet Race, the campaign has been intense and, at times, gruelling for certain crews. For others, the build up to the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup has been less strenuous and the sole focus has been to arrive in Porto Cervo in prime condition. One common theme unites all sailors in attendance: the desire to totally immerse themselves in the tantalising courses and scenery that penetrate the Costa Smeralda.

Racing takes place from 6-10 September and the 47 expected entrants is just shy of last year’s record of 49 yachts. Another impressive gathering for the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS), event organiser, in conjunction with the International Maxi Association (IMA). The Mini Maxis (yachts from 18.29-24.08 metres) make up 17 of this year’s fleet and will compete in the second running of the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship. This Championship comprises a maximum of eight races, with a scheduled minimum of four windward/leeward races and two coastal races of no more than 70-nautical miles.

The other Maxi categories are equally well represented, comprising 21 Maxi yachts (those from 24.09-30.5m) and nine Supermaxis (yachts in excess of 30.5m). Included in these figures, is a healthy array of 14 Wally yachts. For these classes the maximum number of races is seven, featuring a selection of coastal and windward/leeward courses.

The 72-foot Shockwave (USA) finished third at the inaugural Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds. That was under previous owner Neville Crichton. New owner, George Sakellaris, took possession shortly after and the handover was seamless as Reggie Cole, the boat captain, explains: 'No major changes have taken place since last year aside from a change in sail makers and reconfiguring our sail plan somewhat. Many of our crew have participated at the Maxis before (including Sakellaris) and we maintain a core group who have done many events on this boat, including Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, Key West Race Week, the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta and recently the Copa del Rey. We are anticipating a strong field and may the best team win.'

At last year’s Rolex-sponsored Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, Shockwave competed against both Rán (GBR) and Jethou (GBR), opponents in this year’s Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds.

Rán arrives in confident mood. Niklas Zennström’s 72-footeris fresh from claiming the overall prize at the Rolex Fastnet Race. No mean feat in itself: only Rán’s triumph marked a first back-to-back success at the event in over fifty years. What is more, as defending Mini Maxi Rolex World Champion, Rán starts off the coming week as the yacht to beat.

In 2010 Rán narrowly ousted Andres Soriano’s Alegre (GBR). A year on, the Mills 68 remains a highly competitive opponent. Alegre claimed a clean sweep of prizes at May’s Rolex Volcano Race. These two crews are likely to be run close by Sir Peter Ogden’s 60-ft Jethou (GBR), another crew well-versed in the Porto Cervo sailing scene. Long-serving afterguard member, Ian Budgen, explains the crew’s approach to the event: 'Preparations have been going well, and as a crew we feel completely ready to give our best. This regatta is the highlight of the racing season, so the earlier events are used to continually improve Jethou's performance.'

It is often said that the Costa Smeralda offers the ‘perfect sailing package’ and Budgen is in agreement: 'Porto Cervo is a fantastic place to sail and rated as one of the best in the world, with a mix of wind speeds, hot climate, crystal clear waters and stunning scenery. Unique are the coastal courses which comprise many islands to race around and through, making it very difficult for tacticians and navigators to plan the most efficient route coping with the diversity of the changing wind and rocky shorelines.' Jethou clearly mean business. In a rare turn up for this usually British crew, Brad Butterworth of New Zealand is onboard as tactician.

Only two yachts in attendance are smaller than Jethou, the Italian pair Good Job Guys and OPS5 and the rest of the field has a certain Italian flavour with another six ‘homegrown’ crews in attendance. Additional overseas presence is provided by Allsmoke (GBR), Arobas (FRA), Caol Ila (USA), Vertical Smile (DEN) and Whisper (IRL).


At the more powerful end of the scale, this year’s event boasts two magnificent and gigantic craft: Albert Buell’s 148-ft Saudade (GER) is an arm’s length larger than compatriot Hasso Plattner’s 147-ft Visione. They enjoyed a fascinating tussle last year. Meanwhile, competing for the first time is the F-class, one-design Firefly (NED), a 114-ft Supermaxi designed to perform in both heavy and light winds.

She made her on-the-water debut at the recent Superyacht Cup in Palma, but has had little time to apply the lessons learnt, as Mark van Gelderen takes up: 'We made some changes and improvements to the boat following the Superyacht Cup. No real training has taken place with the whole crew before our arrival in Porto Cervo, so the three days leading up to the event will be used for training, crew work and sail testing.'

The Firefly crew is divided between those who will be competing in Sardinia for the first time and more experienced members, well-acquainted with the waters off Porto Cervo. 'The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is our first chance to line up with comparable boats and to see what Firefly is capable of,' continues van Gelderen, 'we will not be 100%, as we need more sailing hours, but we will have a good idea of Firefly's performance when the event is over. Besides that we will be enjoying the high level of sailing in one of the most beautiful waters of the world.'

Italian eyes will be cast on the brand-new 101-ft Comet Shadow (ITA), another Supermaxi competitor. Shadow, with a hull and deck designed for fast cruising, comprises twin cockpits, one for sail-control handling and the second for guests to relax. And, whilst her rigging is traditional stainless steel rod, her mast is a racier carbon-fibre structure.

The 100-ft Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) is strong favourite to defend the Maxi crown. As owner Igor Simcic reveals, the yacht’s pan-European team have been studying hard for the event: 'The crew have been getting ready for the Maxis by taking their time to discuss tactics and strategy together: the coastal races are all very specific and need proper preparation. We have carefully checked all courses, sea levels and weather specifics for this region. The crew went through all the list of competitors, analysing their strengths and weaknesses.' It is the sort of meticulous preparation that exemplifies Esimit Europa 2’s year of sustained success.

The Giraglia Rolex Cup line honours winners are already training in Porto Cervo. 'The crew will be practicing specific manoeuvres and testing technical features that they might be using for the first time at this regatta,' continues Simcic, 'a peculiar feature of racing in Porto Cervo is the wind, which is often very strong. In addition, the sea level varies very much and can thus be very tricky and even dangerous – that’s one of the main reasons why manoeuvres need to be very accurate and very fast.'

Racing commences on Tuesday 6 September and concludes on Saturday 10 September. Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, along with the IMA and title sponsor Rolex, will provide a lavish array of first class social events including Saturday's final Prize Giving Ceremony, where the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup trophies and Rolex timepieces will be awarded.

Yacht Club Costa Smeralda website

Bakewell-White Yacht Designupffront 660x82T Clewring One Design

Related Articles

Sundrenched Quiberon heralds great start to OK Dinghy World Champs
The European heat wave shows no sign of letting up as more than 100 OK Dinghy sailors made their final preparations 2016 OK Dinghy World Championship - The European heat wave shows no sign of letting up as more than 100 OK Dinghy sailors made their final preparations for the start of the 2016 OK Dinghy World Championship, which was opened today in sunny Saint-Pierre Quiberon.
Posted today at 3:05 am
LV America’s Cup World Series – Big Ben takes a big win in Portsmouth
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were on hand to present the awards and it was a fitting end to an amazing weekend. It really was Super Sunday for Ben Ainslie and Land Rover BAR whose second place in the last of Sunday’s three races gave them the overall regatta win at the Portsmouth event.
Posted on 24 Jul
America's Cup World Series - Big win for Big Ben in Portsmouth
A Royal handshake, a big yellow spot, personalised LV handbags and the adulation of the home crowd You’ve heard the news – for British sailing fans it was a big day in Portsmouth at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series as Sir Ben Ainslie and Team Land Rover BAR scored a bullet and two second places against Team Oracle USA’s second and two firsts to take the ‘regatta’ and climb to the top of the LVACWS leaderboard overall.
Posted on 24 Jul
America's Cup World Series – Two win day closes the gap on leaderboard
Oracle Team USA opened Super Sunday with a second place finish and followed it up with two race victories Oracle Team USA opened Super Sunday with a second place finish and followed it up with two race victories to close within just one point of the winning home team.
Posted on 24 Jul
Transat Québec Saint-Malo – A battle from start to finish
After a quick transatlantic race time of 12 days, two hours and 24 minutes, team Imerys crossed the St Malo finish line. The 3000nm downwind adventure from Quebec City to St Malo proved seven days faster than May's 3000nm upwind Transat bakerly from Plymouth to New York.
Posted on 24 Jul
Azzurra now in the Balearics for third event in 52 Super Series 2016
The fleet of ten TP 52s had their Practice Race today in the thermal breezes that are so typical of Mallorca. The fleet of ten TP 52s had their Practice Race today in the thermal breezes that are so typical of Mallorca. It was a day of fine-tuning before the Puerto Portals Sailing Week officially begins.
Posted on 24 Jul
52 Super Series – Puerto Portals Sailing Week – Oiling the wheels
The TP52 Class have been coming to chic self-contained Puerto Portals since the Med Fleet’s formative year, 2005. The TP52 Class have been coming to chic self-contained Puerto Portals since the Med Fleet’s formative year, 2005. The MedCup was hosted four times by the marina between 2005 and 2008 and 2016 is now the second time that the 52 Super Series will race out on the Bay of Palma based from Puerto Portals Marina.
Posted on 24 Jul
Nevin Snow wins the 50th Governor's Cup
Nevin Snow and his team were victorious this year, defeating Sam Gilmour and his team from the Royal Freshwater Bay Club Nevin Snow and his team from San Diego Yacht Club were victorious this year, defeating Sam Gilmour and his team from the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club. Each had defeated their opponent in the final four.
Posted on 24 Jul
Comanche - On board report - 175nm ahead of trans-Atlantic record pace
Comanche is currently 1?76? miles ahead of the record (correct at 09.45 BST) Sunday July 24, 2016 Update from Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark's supermaxi Comanche on Sunday 24th July, 2016 as she chases the Trans-Atlantic monohull record Comanche is currently 1?76? miles ahead of the record (correct at 09.45 BST). Visit the Yellow Brick tracker for latest position updates
Posted on 24 Jul
Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge - Race 13 arrivals complete
Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge, arrivals are now complete following arrival of IchorCoal at 2300 local time As Visit Seattle, PSP Logistics and Da Nang – Viet Nam celebrated their podium finishes in race 13, the Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge, arrivals are now complete following the arrival of IchorCoal at 2300 local time this evening.
Posted on 24 Jul