Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup: mixed conditions divide the fleet
Wednesday, September 6, 2017 8:06 AM
Today was the second day of racing at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, the event organized annually by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in collaboration with Title Sponsor Rolex and the International Maxi Association.
Current standings see Ribelle at the head of the Supermaxis, Highland Fling XI leading the Maxis, Jethou leading the Mini Maxi Racers, WallyÃ±o leading the Mini Maxi Racing Cruising 1 Class and H2O the Mini Maxi Racing Cruising 2 Class. The Maxi 72 and Wally Classes didn't race today, so Bella Mente and Magic Blue are both still in first place.
The racing programme called for windward-leeward courses for the Wally and Maxi72 Class and for a coastal race for all other Classes. But the wind took its time today and the start of the coastal races was postponed until 1:30 PM when Mistral breezes at initially 10 knots had built to 15 with gusts at 18 knots. The course was 26nm long and took the fleet counterclockwise around the islands of Caprera and La Maddalena then back to Porto Cervo through Passo delle Bisce.
There was a fresh breeze along the Arcipelago della Maddalena but conditions were calmer on the course laid out for the windward-leeward races. Once the Classes competing in the coastal race were underway, the Maxi72s and the Wallys, saw their race called off after the start when the wind shifted 80 degrees then died when the day's thermal breezes kicked in late and ran up against the prevailing northerly winds creating a wind hole right where the course had been laid out. The Maxi72 and the Wally Classes had to head back to port after their day of racing was abandoned.
The same mix of Mistral and thermal breezes impacted the other Classes racing along the Maddalena Arcipelago and Passo delle Bisce. After rounding Capo Ferro they had to manage the transition in wind direction by dousing their gennakers and hoisting their jibs.
Salvatore and Paola Trifiro's Ribelle, with Francesco de Angelis at the helm, won the Supermaxi Class. The owners said that they were, "very happy with the result that was obtained thanks to the crew who really fought hard. This is proof that our new yacht with its innovative hull lines really can perform. Ribelle is proving to be everything that we hoped she'd be. And with a pro like Francesco De Angelis who helms as if he were playing a violin and controls the crew as if he were directing an orchestra, it really is a thrill to be aboard. His tranquility makes even complex situations seem easy to resolve."
The former skipper of Luna Rossa had these words: "Today we won a race in classic Porto Cervo conditions. We sailed through the islands, past their hidden rocks and in difficult wind conditions and had a thrilling finish thanks to the wind shift. We managed the transition perfectly thanks to the smart decision to stay close to the coast. This was the choice that paid off."
George David's Maxi, Rambler, a pure racer with AC stars Dean Barker and Brad Butterworth aboard, won its Class in front of Highland Fling XI and the newly launched Southern Wind 96 Sorceress. Dean Barker had these words: "We had a really good day today. We got a nice start and had a good upwind leg all the way in breezes up to 17 knots. Then we had a beautiful run all the way to the straights. When we got to Passo delle Bisce there was a big change in the winds. We were aware that it was going to happen and we managed it well and got good results for the day. But you have to stay alert all the time, with the ratings and the way the winds can change all the time you have to stay alert."
Jethou placed first in the Mini Maxi Racing Class again today and is in the lead. The 60' WallyÃ±o placed first in the Mini Maxi RC1 Class in front of Roberto Lacorte's 62' Supernikka so these two yachts are currently tied for first place in their Class. Owner/helmsman Roberto Lacorte explains: "We were off to a good start in the early phase of the race. We were in the lead on the upwind leg and we held on to it downwind. The start was good and hard fought as was the tacking with Atalanta. I'm happy both with the crew and with the yacht's set up, but the competition is stiff especially WallyÃ±o and the two Swan 601s."
In the Mini Maxi RC2 Class, Riccardo de Michele's H2O beat Shirlaf, so the two are currently tied for first place.
Tomorrow Mistral breezes are expected to intensify. The Maxi72 and Wally Classes will get another try at their windward-leeward course and a coastal course is planned for the other Classes. The start is scheduled for 11:30