30th Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup brings more than 50 boats to Porto Cervo
Sunday, September 1, 2019 8:07 PM
The 30th edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup officially commenced today with the traditional skippers' briefing followed by the first of the social events, the welcome cocktail on the terrace of the YCCS.
Organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda with the support of title sponsor Rolex and the International Maxi Association, the event has gathered 53 Maxi yachts on the docks of Porto Cervo: a fleet varying in length from 18.3 to 42 metres, and hailing from 17 nations. Six of the yachts are taking part in order to participate in the social events, including the Rolex dinner for owners on 6 September and the crew party organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda on the evening of 5 September.
The first edition took place in 1980, when the YCCS and ICAYA, the association of owners of Maxi yachts - which has now become the International Maxi Association (IMA) - created a regatta dedicated to this exclusive type of vessel. Initially held on a biennial basis, since 2000 the event has become an annual appointment. As the yachts have evolved over time, so too has the regatta developed, with this 30th edition seeing the fleet divided into 8 different categories, grouping together the growing number of participating yachts. The fleet ranges from boats designed exclusively for racing, to others that are more cruising oriented but still flock to compete in this unique event.
The programme of the 30th edition includes 5 days of racing on the famous coastal routes between the islands of the archipelago of La Maddalena for which Yacht Club Costa Smeralda regattas are internationally renowned. For certain classes there will also be more technical racing on windward-leeward courses, while for the entire fleet Thursday 5 September will be a rest day or will be used to recoup any races not held due to weather conditions.
Many of the participants are boats that return year after year to Porto Cervo, and these include four of the 2018 winners: the J Class Topaz, the Wally Lyra, the Mini Maxi Racer SuperNikka and the Mini Maxi Cruiser H2O, all of whom will be defending the victories gained in their respective divisions last year. Equally interesting is the fact that new boats join the event each year, eager to race on the Costa Smeralda regatta course and compete with other boats in an event entirely dedicated to Maxi yachts.
Among those new to the event for 2019 are Way of Life (the former Z86 Morning Glory) led by Slovenian Olympic Finn sailor Gasper Vincec, while the Volvo Open 65 Ambersail 2 (formerly SCA) is attending from Lithuania. In the Cruiser/Racer class Essentia, the first Grand Soleil 80 for Romanian owner Catalin Trandafir, will be making its regatta debut, while Gunther Herz's new Southern Wind RP90 All Smoke will compete in its first Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, after taking part in the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta in June. One of the features of this event dedicated to Maxi yachts is crews that are made up of excellent amateur sailors alongside big names from the world of yacht racing, experienced America's Cup, Ocean Race and Olympic sailors.
Among the many famous names present in Porto Cervo are: Ed Baird and Warwick Fleury on Cannonball, Terry Hutchinson and Mike Sanderson on Bella Mente, Kelvin Harrap, Murray Jones and Simon Fisher on Galateia, Mitch Booth on Leopard 3, Hamish Pepper and Pedro Mas on Lyra, Brad Butterworth and Jules Salter aboard Rambler, Kyle Langford on Sorcha, Bouwe Bekking on Vera, and Mauro Pelaschier on Viriella, to name but a few.
Riccardo Bonadeo, Commodore of the YCCS commented on the event: "Reaching the thirtieth edition is a significant mark rounding, I have seen this regatta grow since its first edition in 1980, first as a competitor and then in my role as Commodore. The fact that 53 yachts have gathered in Porto Cervo for the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is a result that speaks for itself, and for which I would like to thank both the owners and our partner Rolex, without whose collaboration this event would not have reached the prestige it holds today. Together with them we are looking to the future, with new ideas that we want to develop in order to make the event ever more attractive".
Tomorrow, 2 September, Quantum Sails will hold a weather briefing at 9.30 a.m. while the regattas will get underway with a warning signal scheduled for 12 noon CEST and a forecast of a westerly wind of 10 knots that is set to intensify to 18 knots. The Mini Maxi Racer 1 class will be set two windward-leeward races, while all other classes will take part in a coastal regatta around the islands of the La Maddalena archipelago.