The 19th Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup ended at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda Saturday after the final day's racing was cancelled. The end result is that yesterday's division leaders - Numbers (Mini Maxi), Ranger (Cruising), Magic Carpet II (Wally) and Rambler (Racing) - became cast in stone and will have their names carved into the honour roll.
The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda Race Committee held on for as long as the regatta rules allowed, but eventually conceded defeat at around 1.30 pm. The end result is that yesterday's division leaders - Numbers (Mini Maxi), Ranger (Cruising), Magic Carpet II (Wally) and Rambler (Racing) - became cast in stone and will have their names carved into the honour roll at the entrance to the yacht club along with receiving their just rewards - the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup trophies along with steel and gold Rolex Yacht Master Chronometers.
For some then, a disappointing end to a week that has been otherwise excellent, not least for the crews who have enjoyed a kaleidoscope of sailing conditions plus the opportunity to sample the Costa Smeralda's beautiful coastline, its warm hospitality and an enviable array of social events. The racing has been enthralling in all divisions. Particularly so in the Wally Division where no boat could find the consistency to establish an impregnable position and going into today's race four boats were within 2 points of each other. In the two-boat Racing Division, George David's Rambler (USA) secured victory on countback, by virtue of winning the race yesterday. Both Rambler and Alfa Romeo (NZL) were tied on 6 points. Both had won two races. Only one could win and yesterday's race decided whom.
Although the two boats are a generation apart - water ballast versus canting keel and water ballast, David clearly enjoys the racing, which to an outsider appears fair and friendly, ' its very nice to have a new Alfa against a former Alfa. It adds a little extra to the rivalry that is already good, clean, friendly competition. Ernesto Bertarelli, Brad Butterworth and company on Dan Meyers' Numbers (USA), went into the final day knowing they could not be beaten.
A two-time America's Cup winner, Bertarelli gives the impression that all victories are important not just because of the trophies, but because the win is so often the culmination of preparation, hard graft and teamwork.
Bertarelli has every reason to be proud of the victory. Numbers is absolutely Dan Meyer's boat, but the design is Rolf Vrolijk and the engineering concept involved Dirk Kramer - both part of the Alinghi team, 'a lot of the things we learned in the last America's Cup have been introduced in this boat and the result shows on the water.' In the Wally Division, Lindsay Owen-Jones could be forgiven for having hoped it would be a no wind day. Holding a one point advantage over Irvine Laidlaw's Highland Fling X (GBR) and two points over Jean-Charles Decaux's J One (FRA) and Thomas Bscher's Open Season (GER), the opportunity to fail at the final hurdle was apparent.
All the more so, since all four boats had shown themselves capable of winning this week as well as suffering a drop in performance to post a poor result. As it is, Owen-Jones and Magic Carpet takes his third win at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. In the Cruising Division, John Williams and the J Class Ranger (CAY IS) cruised seemingly effortlessly to their second consecutive Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup victory. Four races, four bullets tell their own story. The reality on the race course was quite different with competition coming from the other J Class Velsheda (GBR), the massive 44-metre Salperton (GBR), Hamilton II (GBR) and Hetairos (CAY IS).
Management of the boat and team was once again crucial to success, as America's Cup and round the world race winner, Erle Williams confirms, 'they are very powerful boats, they're very challenging and upwind, especially with 39 crew, there's a lot of people to coordinate around the boat to make sure no one gets hurt, and to sail the boat well is quite a challenge.'
Like the other owners, Williams truly enjoys sailing on the Costa Smeralda, 'It's wonderful -- without a doubt it's the best regatta we compete in and we did a number of regattas this year and it is the number one regatta -- you have great boats, great conditions, great sails up among the rocks. It's a wonderful place to sail boats.' So there it is, the ingredients for success at one of the most spectacular regattas around. Pick a great boat and pick a great team. Manage them well. And hope Mother Nature lets you perform.
The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in conjunction with the International Maxi Association (IMA), From the most luxurious, through the most traditional, to the most advanced monohulls afloat today, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is nothing if not an astonishing line up of sailing power. Final Overall leading positions
Place, Boat Name, Owner, Nation, R1-R2-R3-R4-R5-Points
1. RAMBLER George David USA, 2-1-2-1-6.0
2. ALFA ROMEO Neville Crichton NZL, 1-2-1-2-6.0
1. RANGER, RSV Ltd USA, 1-1-1-1-4.0
2. HETAIROS, Rockport Limited GER, 4-4-4-3-15.0
3. VELSHEDA, Tarbat Inv Ltd GBR, 3-2-12(DNF)-2-19.0
1. NUMBERS, Meyers/Bertarelli USA, 1-1-(2)-1-1-4.0
2. ROSEBUD/TEAM DYT, Roger Sturgeon USA, 3-3-1-2-(5)-9.0
3. MONEYPENNY, Jim Swartz USA, 2-(5)-3-3-2-10.0
1. MAGIC CARPET 2, Lindsay Owen-Jones GBR, 1-4-4-2-11.0
2. HIGHLAND FLING X, Irvine Laidlaw GBR, 2-6-3-1-12.0
3. OPEN SEASON, Thomas Bscher GER, 6-1-2-4-13.0 www.yccsmaxi.com