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Porto Cervo frustrates on day two of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup

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Porto Cervo frustrates on day two of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup
Porto Cervo frustrates on day two of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup

The two race committees made valiant attempts to get the 41 boat fleet sailing, but ultimately a stable wind failed to materialise on day two of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship. Highlight of the maxi-boat calendar, this prestigious event, first held in 1980, is run by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and the International Maxi Association, the World Sailing-recognised body that promotes maxi boat racing globally.

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After a wait of almost three hours under the AP flag ashore, the southeasterly sea breeze filled in and the fleet was sent out. As Principal Race Officer Peter Craig explained: “We had a pleasant surprise early afternoon when that breeze came in from the direction people thought it would. But as soon as the clouds rolled in, it dissipated.”

This was followed by a lengthy wait out on the water in no wind. “We thought the day was over,” admitted Craig, “but then it came banging in out of the west.” Within 30 minutes the westerly, seemingly coming from nowhere, had built to 20 knots directly off Porto Cervo, sending crews scrabbling for more modest headsails.

“Unfortunately while it came in hard, it dissipated again,” continued Craig. “By the time we were setting up, it went quickly to 10 knots and then it went down from there.”

At 1613 local time the race committee took the inevitable decision to abandon racing for the day.
Charlie Ogletree, project manager and tactician aboard the magnificent US-owned J Class yacht, Svea, alongside the likes of America’s Cup heroes Ken Read, Peter Isler and Francesco De Angelis, said: “The race committee made the right call not the race. You could see westerly in here and that was fighting the sea breeze. It was a tough day to be a racer or race committee. Tomorrow is looking like more of a stable sea breeze day, from the southeast.” Svea currently holds third place in the Super Maxi class.

Carlo Puri Negri, owner of the well campaigned Farr 70 Atalanta II was hoping to race to recover from his disqualification yesterday in the Mini Maxi Group 1 class, but was relieved not to race in today’s conditions. “Whenever they say ‘we don’t race’, 10 minutes later there is wind!” he observed of the race committee. “The wind was coming and going, but we are not competitive in 14-16 knots when a lot of boats start planing. We have a boat from 2004 and need at least 19-20 knots. We are a lot better in light winds. Perhaps over the next days we’ll do better.”

Tomorrow, today’s schedule will be reattempted with the Wallys sailing windward-leewards and the remaining classes on coastal courses. The forecast indicates light winds again: “They say it is sail-able, but I don’t know who to believe any more,” admits Peter Craig. “We will try and make it happen and we’ll now have to sail on the layday (Thursday).”

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