Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Day 6 : Svea seals the deal in the exclusive location of Costa Smeralda
Sunday, September 9, 2018 8:24 AM
Costa Smeralda once again delivered on the concluding day of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup with brilliant sunshine and 10-15 knots westerly winds. The J Class, racing within the event’s Supermaxi class, sailed a tricky course with a beat up ‘Bomb Alley’, looping around the island of Spargi before a run back down the area’s notorious passage between Sardinia and the off-lying La Maddalena archipelago.
While there were many stand-out performances across other classes at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup - run by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in conjunction with the International Maxi Association, the official body that oversees and promotes maxi yacht racing globally - this was not the case in the Js.
Under JCA corrected time, today it was the turn of Topaz to collect the race win, but this was not enough for them to prevent Svea from clinching overall victory in Porto Cervo.
Svea’s tactician Charlie Ogletree described their race: “We had a really nice start going left and everything was good, like we thought - we had a nice left shift, but Velsheda was pointing a little higher. We tacked on to port and thought everything was really good and we would round first, but Velsheda and Topaz got more wind and got in front with a pretty big gap back to us.
“We made a nice gain up Bomb Alley and caught back up to Topaz half way back down. We overlapped them about a mile from the finish and tried to roll over them - we gybed, they gybed, then we both gybed again, but unfortunately in the last gybe we pushed it too hard and didn’t get round the mark cleanly. So that was it.”
Topaz helmsman Peter Holmberg presented his side of the dramatic final run: “We had a good little punch-up with Svea - they were trying really hard to get past us and we were trying really hard not to let them! It all came down to match racing in the end - at the bottom mark, we did a Mexican drop and it was all credit to our bow team as they got it all on-board and cleaned up so we could turn the mark with the sails. It was a last minute decision, because it was all unfolding very quickly, but we made it was a quick call and we pulled it off.”
As to their winning in Sardinia Ogletree and the whole Svea team very much enjoyed the closeness of racing between the J and also the unique yacht racing venue that is Porto Cervo and the Costa Smeralda.
For Topaz, the consolation prize was winning the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup’s Supermaxi class under ORC corrected time. “We punched above our weight – I’m really proud of our guys and I think, seeing as we were the underdogs, we did a great job,” concluded Holmberg.
The battling Topaz and Svea enabled Velsheda to claim a run-away victory on the water. Tom Dodson described their race: “We loved it - we got the start we wanted, got to the top mark first and we were a country mile ahead, so we could just pick our way up Bomb Alley. The trimmers and helmsmen could just settle in and do their own jobs.” Rounding Spargi they were considerably ahead which they held to the finish.
Having spent a considerable amount of time racing in the J Class, Dodson praised Topaz’s performance as much as Velsheda’s. “Topaz has had a long couple of years finishing at the back of the fleet. Our goal all season has been to cross the line and try to be the fastest J out there and we are always pleased when that happens.”
Dodson said the Velsheda team had very much enjoyed being back in Porto Cervo and the J Class looks set to return for next year’s Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. “It is right up there - you can’t beat the scenery and the wind conditions when they work out are fantastic and the race committee is always good here too.”
The J Class will next line up at Les Voiles de St Tropez over September 29th to October 7th.