Highland Fling 18, winner of the day among the Multihulls, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2023.

Photo credit: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Highland Fling 18, winner of the day among the Multihulls, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2023. Photo credit: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Third day of perfect conditions at Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup


07/09/2023 - 07:13

Day three brought a memorable day of sailing for the competitors in the 33rd Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. The predicted drop in the breeze did not materialise, and another practically perfect day of racing ensued, with a northerly wind of around 14 knots that reached 20 knots on the upper part of the course. While the J Class yachts completed two windward-leeward races, all the other classes sailed a 30-mile coastal course, slightly reduced to 26 for the Maxi C Class. After a beat to the offset mark, the fleet sailed counter-clockwise around the islands of Caprera, La Maddalena and Spargi, returning to Porto Cervo via the La Maddalena channel and the Passo delle Bisce. The close reaching legs made for particularly spectacular viewing, especially in the case of the multihull yachts, which could occasionally be seen racing with their upwind hulls lifted slightly out of the water.

In the Maxi A Class the Wally 93 Bullitt, owned by YCCS member Andrea Recordati, won on corrected time by over a minute ahead of the WallyCento Galateia and the Botin 85 Deep Blue. In real time, the first boat across the finish line was FlyingNikka, who flew on her foils for the entire duration. With today's second place, Galateia consolidates her position at the head of the overall ranking, followed by Leopard 3 and My Song, sitting on 4 and 5 points respectively.

Joca Signorini, tactician on Bullitt: "We had a very good day, after the disappointment of the first day, we managed to have a great race with another good start that left us rounding the windward mark ahead of some of the bigger boats and very close to the ones in front of us. Andrea [Recordati] did a great job at the helm, getting the boat to its full potential, and the crew manoeuvred perfectly. In addition, as this is our first event with this group, the permanent crew has worked hard every day to make sure the boat was ready for racing. It was a great team effort and we are looking forward to the next races."

In the Maxi B Class, Hap Fauth's Maxi racer Bella Mente dominated from the start and went on to extend her lead over Proteus and Pepe Cannonball, who finished in second and third place respectively. The provisional overall classification in the Maxi B Class sees Proteus and Bella Mente tied on 7 points, followed by Pepe Cannonball 5 points behind.

Bella Mente's tactician, Terry Hutchinson, who will also be skippering American Magic, the New York Yacht Club's challenger for the 37th America's Cup, commented on how things had unfolded: "We had a good start, the conditions were very hard because there was the left over sea state from yesterday and the wind proved to be a little stronger than we had thought, so we were a little bit more geared for lighter air, but Hap [Fauth] did an excellent job and we rounded the top mark in the lead. From there we worked hard to extend our lead because we owed Proteus about a minute and a half on handicap. Unfortunately we broke a spinnaker and so it was a little bit nervous at times, but overall it was a good day. You have to give Hap high marks for the way he sailed the boat up the first beat, it was really good."

In the Maxi C Class, Jean Pierre Barjon's Spirit of Lorina continues to dominate with a clean run of three consecutive victories, the same goes for Riccardo de Michele's H2O behind him, posting a hat-trick of second-place finishes. Third place today went to Open Season, the Baltic 68 Café Racer owned by Thomas Bscher. The overall ranking naturally sees Spirit of Lorina and H2O in the top two spots, with Oscar 3 in third.

In the Multihull class, victory today went to Lord Irvine Laidlaw's Gunboat 80 Highland Fling 18, which can rely on the tactical calls of Cameron Appleton and the multihull experience of Loick Peyron. Second place went to Adrian Keller's Allegra, just 14 seconds off the winner in corrected time. In the provisional ranking, Allegra leads with 4 points, followed by Convexity 2 on 7 points and Highland Fling, which did not race yesterday, with 8 points.

In the Supermaxi Class the win of the day went to Claus-Peter Offen's Y3K, followed by Inoui, Marco Vogele's 108-foot Briand design in second, and Juan Ball's Swan 115 Moat in third. All three sit in the same positions in the overall ranking.

Among the J Class yachts the unchallenged domination of Svea continued as she triumphed in both of today's races around the cans. In the first race, second place went to Topaz and third to Velsheda, who then swapped finishing positions for the second race of the day.

Tim Powell, Svea: "In the first race we got our noses ahead when Topaz and Velsheda were having a little battle between themselves and that was relatively good, and in the second one we didn't have a great start but we managed to battle past Topaz. But the boat is going well, we have a great crew, Bouwe [Bekking] is making good calls. The lay day is welcome as we have had a long time here in Porto Cervo already with our training days and we also have a lot of work to do with the boat. We broke a G2 headsail on the first race and so we had a busy first run changing headsails. We are super excited about today. Everything is just working really well and the crew are doing fantastic work."

Also racing in the Maxi C Class is Baruna of 1938, a timelessly beautiful classic hull, the brainchild of Olin Stephens who at the time was studying the water lines of the J Class Ranger. Chris Savage, tactician aboard Baruna, described the experience at the event: "It's incredible to be here at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup with Baruna, we have spent eight years restoring this magnificent boat, originally built in 1938 and designed in 1937. Sailing here in Costa Smeralda, among the beautiful islands of La Maddalena, is a dream come true. This regatta is a significant milestone for us because there are ideal conditions to test the boat, to push it to the limit to get to know its full potential. Baruna represents the maxi yachts of the 1930s, so it is really exciting to race alongside ultra-modern boats and be able to compete at the same technological level but with a boat from another era."

Tomorrow, 7 September, will be a rest day, with the traditional Rolex Gala Dinner taking place in the evening. The schedule for the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup sees racing resume on Friday, 8 September at 12 noon.

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