Perfect breeze for start of 33rd Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup

Perfect breeze for start of 33rd Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup

Perfect breeze for start of 33rd Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup


05/09/2023 - 06:02

Porto Cervo, Italy. 4 September 2023. Sardinia’s typically perfect weather conditions graced the first day of the 33rd Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. The north-northeasterly breeze built from an initial 10 knots to around 16 knots, allowing the Race Committee get racing underway at 12 noon as scheduled. Today, the Maxi B Class and the J Class sailed two windward-leeward races, while the Race Committee set a coastal course for the four remaining classes, taking them to circumnavigate the islands of Caprera and La Maddalena in a counter-clockwise direction before returning to Porto Cervo. The yachts in the fastest classes, Maxi A and the new Multihull Class which is making its debut at this event, completed a course of around 35 miles in total, which involved rounding the Monaci island to starboard before returning to Porto Cervo. The Maxi C and Supermaxi Class, meanwhile, had a more direct route to the finish via the Passo delle Bisce resulting in slightly shorter courses of 29.7 and 32 miles respectively, with the small difference in length allowing for a more compact fleet at the finish line.

Much of the course consisted of beam or broad reaches, enabling the maxi yachts to show off the full extent of their power. But it was the tactical calls, choice of sails and the crews’ skill in manoeuvres that made all the difference, allowing yachts to gain ground and overtake the early leaders, as was the case for Leopard 3. Back on the docks, tactician Mitch Booth explained: "On the last reach to the finish we decided to hoist an A3 gennaker, it was the winning move. In fact, Galateia used a 'jib top' and Magic Carpet a narrow reach sail. So we passed Galateia and won the race, but thanks must go above all to the crew for their outstanding work. In addition the boat, following works on the rig and other modifications, is going decidedly better than in the past."

Leopard 3 therefore sits at the top of the Maxi A Class after the first day, followed by Galateia and Magic Carpet 3. 

In the Multihull Class, the Swiss yacht Allegra, owned by YCCS member Adrian Keller and with Paul Larsen on tactics, took the win ahead of the Gunboat 68 Convexity 2, owned by Don Wilson, and the Gunboat 80 Highland Fling 18, owned by YCCS member Lord Irvine Laidlaw.

The Supermaxi Class saw Claus-Peter Offen's Wally 101 Y3K claim victory, followed by Marco Vogele's Inoui and Juan Ball's Swan 115 Moat. All three of the leading owners in this class are members of the host club. 

In the Maxi C Class, the largest and most varied, the French Botin 65 Spirit of Lorina, owned by Jean Pierre Barjon, won today ahead of the Vallicelli 78 H2O owned by YCCS member Riccardo de Michele, with the Mylius 65 Oscar 3 owned by Aldo Parisotto in third. 

The two windward-leeward races for the Maxi B and J Class yachts were held off the Gulf of Pevero. From an initial 11 knots, the wind intensified to reach 19 knots accompanied by increasingly choppy waters, which made for two highly technical races that put the crews to the test. Things couldn’t be closer in the Maxi B Class, where the top three boats currently sit on equal points with a victory and a third place each for Proteus and Cannonball, while Bella Mente racked up two second-place finishes.

The three J Class yachts put on a spectacular show in the wind and waves, with Svea emerging as the winner of the day on two victories. Second place went to Velsheda and third to Topaz.

Bouwe Bekking, tactician on Svea: "In the first race, we had less wind than expected and had to concentrate a lot on the speed of our boat, but we weren’t flawless in our manoeuvres. In the second race, with more wind, Velsheda showed its greater speed, we earned our victory on the last run. Tomorrow, with more wind forecast, promises to be an exciting day for the J Class!"

Morgan Larsson, tactician on Proteus: "It was a great day’s sailing, the conditions were quite challenging but we had a lot of fun. For us, being part of such a tight competition means we have a lot more learning opportunities than the others because we are a relatively new group. Today Christina Sakellaris was helming. She is still getting to know the boat and I myself am still getting to know it better. I know there is a good margin for improvement and I’m determined to do better in the next races."

Gasper Vincec, owner and helmsman of the Slovenian maxi Way of Life: "Today we had a beautiful breeze and a spectacular course. With a top level fleet like the one here in Porto Cervo we paid for a few too many mistakes made. Our goal is to perform at our best, that’s not how it was today but tomorrow is another day and we will work hard."

Racing is set to resume on schedule tomorrow at 12.00 noon, with forecasts of a north-easterly wind in excess of 20 knots.

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