Leopard 3 and Magic Carpet 3, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2023. Photo credit: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Leopard 3 and Magic Carpet 3, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2023. Photo credit: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, a challenging and spectacular second say


06/09/2023 - 07:50

The forecast for the second day of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup accurately predicted a north-easterly wind, known locally as Gregale, blowing at over 20 knots. Today was challenging for boats and crews alike due to the sea state, with significant waves estimated at around 2.5 metres in height. All classes raced on a coastal course of 46.5 miles, which was shortened slightly for the Supermaxi and Maxi C Classes to 42.8 and 38.8 miles respectively.

After the first two and a half miles sailing upwind to the offset mark, the fleet headed south, rounding the islands of Mortorio and Soffi (for the Maxi C Class, only Mortoriotto was to be left to starboard). From here the maxis sailed upwind towards the Passo delle Bisce, then rounded the La Maddalena Archipelago clockwise before returning to Porto Cervo, passing once again through the Bisce Pass after leaving the Tre Monti shallows, located in the Gulf of Arzachena, to port. The Supermaxi and Maxi C Classes instead took a direct route back to Porto Cervo.

In the Maxi A Class, Roberto Lacorte's 61-foot foiling yacht FlyingNikka took advantage of the strong winds to "fly" around the course, reaching the finish line in Porto Cervo first in real time for a second consecutive day. On corrected time under the IRC rating, however, it was YCCS member Pier Luigi Loro Piana's My Song that claimed today's victory, followed by Leopard 3 and Galateia. In the overall classification, with two race days completed, Leopard 3 maintains the leadership of the class with a first and a second place finish. Pier Luigi Loro Piana described the racing on his return to the dock: "It was really an extraordinary and at the same time challenging day, considering the wind and the waves. There were gusts of up to 25 knots that put us to the test, but we made very few mistakes. My guys were outstanding, and I am deeply grateful to them. The moment when we felt most secure, so to speak, about our advantage was when, in the second part of the race, we were in the leading group alongside the 100-footers, which are much longer and faster than us."

My Song, winner of the day in the Maxi A Class, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2023. Photo credit: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

The Maxi B Class once again saw victory go to George Sakellaris' Proteus, with tactician Morgan Larson on board, ahead of Bella Mente and Jethou. With two firsts and a third place, Proteus also leads the provisional overall ranking by one point over Bella Mente. 

In the Maxi C Class, Jean Pierre Barjon's French yacht Spirit of Lorina repeated yesterday's winning performance, finishing with an ample lead over the 78-footer H2O, owned by YCCS member Riccardo de Michele, in second place. Third place went to the Southern Wind 82 Grande Orazio, owned by YCCS member Massimiliano Florio. Earlier in the day Remax One 2 had been forced to retire after hitting a submerged rock. The crew received prompt assistance and two sailors who were transferred to hospital were later discharged after the appropriate checks and treatment. 

The leading multihull yacht also remains unchanged, as the catamaran Allegra, fielding Paul Larsen on tactics, beat the Gunboat 68 Convexity 2, whose crew includes The Ocean Race winner Charlie Enright and American match racer Taylor Canfield. Larsen explained: "Today was a really intense day with challenging conditions. The passage through the La Maddalena Channel, known as Bomb Alley, lived up to its reputation. We pushed Allegra to speeds we had never experienced before. The strong wind conditions are where we have the edge and that's why we aim to excel. The competition with our rivals is very close and the pressure pushes us to raise the bar, seeking better and better results. We are setting a high standard for performance, which teams like Convexity 2 and Highland Fling are striving to reach."

In the Supermaxi Class, the win of the day went to Juan Ball's Swan 115 Moat, second place was claimed by Marco Vogele's Inoui, and third by Claus-Peter Offen's Wally 101 Y3K, all three flying the YCCS colours. The provisional overall classification sees three yachts tied at the top: Moat, Y3K and Inoui. Guillermo Parada, skipper and helmsman of Moat commented: "It was the sea rather than the wind that made our day complicated, because with such big boats the forces in play are enormous and it is imperative to avoid breakages. We started ahead, planned our manoeuvres well in advance and everything went well. The classification sees us in the lead on equal points with two other boats, tomorrow we hope to have a good race so that we can go into the rest day in a favourable position and then finish the event in the best possible way."

The always impressive J Class yachts were truly spectacular in today's strong winds. Svea built on yesterday's performance, winning her third consecutive race ahead of Velsheda. Steve Hayles, navigator on Svea: "The sea state was the most challenging thing, it was never that very windy. It was a long race with a lot of importance on the start. We felt that Velsheda have the legs on us upwind in that stuff, when it is a bit windier. So starting to the left side of them to leeward was a no no. We were happy with our start and then we just managed to hang in with Velsheda. If the beat was half a mile longer then they might have got to us. But after the top mark it was a very typical up around the islands course. It was great racing, what we come to Porto Cervo for... superb!"

The demanding conditions left the J Class Topaz down two spinnakers and forced to retire.

The start of racing for tomorrow has been moved forward to 11 a.m., with lighter winds from the northeast forecast of approximately 10 to 13 knots and gusts of up to 18 possible.

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