Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2022. Photo credit: Rolex/Studio Borlenghi
32nd Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup kicks off with an exceptional day
The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup got off to a perfect start today. Organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in collaboration with the IMA (International Maxi Association) and with the support of long-standing title sponsor Rolex, the event is now in its 32nd edition. The fleet of maxi yachts taking part, divided into 7 classes according to their respective characteristics, took advantage of an ideal east-south easterly wind of 14 to 18 knots, to show what these beautiful boats are capable of on the regatta course. The starting procedure began right on time at 12 midday, with the various groupings starting separately in order to guarantee the best race conditions for everyone, in a sequence that ran for approximately one hour.
The Race Committee selected a 35-mile coastal course that took the competitors from Porto Cervo on an anticlockwise circumnavigation of the islands of Caprera and Maddalena, up to the Secca di Tre Monti shallows in the Saline Gulf, then on a reach to the Monaci island, and from there upwind towards the finish line off Porto Cervo.
The route for the Mini Maxi divisions 2, 3 and 4 was reduced to 29 miles: after passing the Secca di Tre Monti the yachts continued upwind via the Bisce pass and on to the finish line. All classes were able to complete the race in 3 to 4 hours.
The racing featured tight starts and duels at the offset mark, close manoeuvres all along the coastal course, tactical choices to break free of rival cover, and significant speeds on the reach from the Secca di Tre Monti to Monaci island. The eagerly anticipated regatta debut of two exceptional boats, My Song owned by Pier Luigi Loro Piana and FlyingNikka owned by Roberto Lacorte, was another highlight of the day. Seeing the latter take flight on her foils against the background of the island of Caprera was a significant moment for sailing and one that will go down in the annals of both the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the YCCS.
Victory of the day among the J Class yachts went to Svea, ahead of Ranger and Velsheda, while Topaz was delayed by a broken gennaker at the start. After a full three hours of racing, the delta between the first three boats was just 2 minutes and 16 seconds. A similar situation transpired among the Supermaxis, measuring more than 100 feet long, where Shamanna got the better of Spirit of Malouen X and Moat 1. The largest class, the Maxi division with 13 entries, saw Highland Fling XI take the day ahead of Galateia in compensated time. Third place went to My Song, who demonstrated enormous potential and remarkable speed on her first racing outing. In the highly competitive Mini Maxi 1 group, which is home to the pure racers of the Maxi 72 class, together with the 77-foot Jethou, Vesper came in ahead of Jethou and Proteus after a day of constant duelling on the water, which also involved Cannonball and Bella Mente. In the Mini Maxi 2 class the Wally Rose claimed the win, with the RP 78 Capricorno in second place and the Botin 65 Spirit of Lorina in third. Among the 10 Mini Maxis gathered in classes 3 and 4, the victory of the day went to the Vallicelli 78 H2O, followed by the Dehler 60 Blue Oyster and the classic Swan 65 Shirlaf.
Racing in a dedicated category, the Mini Maxi 0, the 60-foot foiler FlyingingNikka made a regatta debut that did not disappoint. Roberto Lacorte, owner of FlyingNikka, commented on the day: "A great and an important day, one we'd been awaiting for some time so that we could show that the interest in our ambitious project is well-deserved. We're happy, we did a great job, and FlyingNikka's performance today was incredible, we are truly very, very happy. I want to thank all the team for the great work that was done to arrive here in Porto Cervo with a perfect boat. We really enjoyed it, the first race on FlyingNikka was an exhilarating one."
Cameron Appleton, tactician on Highland Fling XI: "It was a fantastic day, we're really pleased with the result. The fleet was actually really tight, considering. We were on the tail end of the group and there was a big pack in the middle that were fighting each other quite closely, Galateia and My Song were performing very well at the front of the fleet, My Song was very fast off the wind today, she looked fantastic. So we're pleased, we sailed as clean as we could, we tried to sail as short a distance as possible, and worked really hard on being in touch with the fleet the whole way."
Racing continues tomorrow with the starting procedure scheduled for 12 midday and winds similar to today forecast.