7 Sep 2012
Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2012 Day Three
By Jason Holtom
Yacht racing could not get much better than the third day of racing in Sardinia. Sunshine and clear blue skies, warm seas and a fresh mistral breeze of 15 knots provided near perfect sailing conditions for the 34 maxi sailing yachts competing in the 2012 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Porto Cervo.
Yachts race alongside breathtaking scenery in a variety of very interesting coastal courses dodging in and out of rocks and outcrops of the spectacular Sardinian coast with dramatic mountains rising from the sea.
The coast is strewn with light houses and rocks for the unwary, and granite with yellow, pink and orange hues highlighted in the strong sunlight all sculptured in the hand of the wind and waves and reflecrted in the sparkling clear blue seas.
Approaching Monaci Light house
The village of Porto Cervo itself has chic boutiques, high quality hotels and fabulous villas to rent overlooking the sea. With reasonable winds for most months of the year it is not surprising that Porto Cervo is a clear favourite with owners and crews.
Irvine Laidlaw's 25.24m Highland Fling broaching
The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup was the first regatta in the world to exclusively cater for larger yachts. Originally racing with 24m maxis, since the first regatta in 1980, there have been some notable winners showing a history of offshore racing including Jim Kilroy with Kiola V, John Kahlbetzer's Bumblebee, George Coumantaros' Boomerang, Raoul Gardini’s Longobarda, Bill Koch in Matador2, Hasso Plattner with Morning Glory, Lindsay Owen Jones’s Wally Magic Carpet2 and George David’s Rambler.
The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup still remains a favourite with owners who want competitive racing with proper windward start lines rather than the staggered starts of the superyacht regattas.
Owner driver and non-professional helmsman rules under the International Maxi Association (IMA) code are encouraged at regattas where IMA members race to give them the style of racing they want. The Wally Class have an exception of a 1% penalty if the owner is not on the helm.
As far as the Maxi Rolex fleet is concerned there are an increasing number of superyachts racing every September with the 66m carbon classic styled ketch Hetairos built by Baltic Yachts this year's biggest yacht in the fleet.
The superyachts racing in Porto Cervo tend to be the more competitive owners who want to helm their own boats like Albert Buell on the 45.19m Bill Tripp designed Wally 148 Saudade and Filip Balcan on the 34.13m Nilaya designed by Reichel Pugh and built by Baltic Yachts.
The ten yachts in the Wally Class are the strongest racing fleet of large performance yachts at the regatta. Combining sleek styling and fast light displacement hulls that are as capable upwind for the windward leeward races favoured by racing purists as they are off the wind on the coastal courses used in superyacht regattas.
The Wallys are also real dual purpose yachts with comfortable interiors and full services for cruising and deck areas that are designed for open air living on the sea and easy access to the water.
The latest owner to join the Wally fleet is Charles Dunstone with his new 30.47m Hamilton. Built in carbon composites in the UK by Green Marine, Hamilton is the first of the new Wallycento Class created using a ‘box rule’ for owners looking for a step up in performance from the more cruiser/racer orientated Wallys.
Leading the Wally Class on the water but looking slightly penalised under the handicapping, the JudelVrolijk designed Hamilton looks like the answer for a tasty looking high performance 100-footer that allows owners to race together in a class, boat for boat, with minimal handicap adjustment.
The second Wallycento due for the 2013 season is the third Wally Magic Carpet3 for Lindsay Owen Jones and is a Reichel Pugh design to the ‘box rule’ built by Wally in Italy. Several owners have been looking over Hamilton in Porto Cervo so it will be interesting to see if the class will develop a critical mass over the next few years to create a viable racing fleet.
The second recently formed class that looks like it will build a following in these difficult times is the Mini Maxis that are racing for their third World Championship in Porto Cervo. The Mini Maxi class is for boats from 60 to 72ft limit in the racing class and 60 to 78ft in the cruising class racing under the IRC handicapping and race under owner driver rules (a 5 minute break in each hour is allowed with a non-professional relief helmsman for necessities).
The main interest for Mini Maxi owners is the racing class with two new 72’s, Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente (USA) and Alessandro Rombelli’s Stig (Italy) facing the two-time class champion Ran2 sailed by Niklas Zennstrom (GBR) and George Sakellaris’s Shockwave (USA).
The two new 72’s are Judel Vrolijk designs, as is Ran2 with Shockwave designed by Reichel Pugh in 2009.
The Mini Maxi 72’s, a recently formed class, were certainly the talk of the dockside with their clean cockpit layouts making easier crewing with bowsprits and asymmetric spinnakers, minimal interiors, ultra lighweigth pre-preg carbon construction and high ballast ratios. These attributes make them really fast, sailing upwind at over 11.5 knots and accelerating onto the plane at over 18 knots when wind and waves allow.
After five races for the Mini Maxi’s Bella Mente is lying first overall on 6.00 points with defending champion Ran2 on 10.5 points.
Racing in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup ends on Saturday.
Score so far:
Mini Maxi Race by Race Points
1. Bella Mente (JV72 21.91m) 3/1/1/1/(2) Points 6
2 Ran (JV72 21.91m) 1,5/4/4/(5) Points10,5
3. Jethou (JV 18.9m) 4,5/(8)/6/2 Points 15,5
1. Magic Carpet 2 (Wally Frers 28.53m) 1/2/1/1 Points 5
2. Open Season (Wally Frers 28.5m) 4/1/2/2 Points 9
3. J One (Wally Frers 24.4m) 2/3/4/5 Points 14
Racing / Cruising
1. Aegir (Rogers 82 25.08m) 1/2/2 Points 5
2. Altair (Swan 90 27.71m) 4/1/1 Points 6
3. Berenice Bis (Swan 80 25.08m) 2/3/3 Points 8
1. Velsheda (J Class 39.5m) 1/3/1 Points 5
2. Highland Fling (Wally 82 25.24m) 2/2/2 Points 6
3. Esimit Europa 2 (RP 30.48m) 3/1/3 Points 7
1. Nilaya (Reichel Pugh 34.13m) 2/2/2 Points 6
2. Sojana (Frers 115 35m) 4/8/4 Points 16
3. Saudade (Wally 45.19m Tripp Design) 6/4/9 Points 19
Photos: Carlo Borlenghi/Rolex and Jason Holtom
Yacht Club Costa Smeralda
Maxi Rolex Cup Full Results
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