10 Sep 2012
Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2012 Final Results
By Jason Holtom
Porto Cervo, Italy: The 34-strong Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup fleet were left frustrated on the final day of the competition with racing cancelled due to insufficient breeze. Despite the Race Committee’s best efforts to ensure the competition would go down to a dramatic last day, the previous days leader board remained for the overall result.
Principal Race Officer Peter Craig kept the yachts in the marina and waited until the final opportunity to start racing, finally announcing the abandonment of racing at 13.30pm. Sailors and spectators were therefore denied what had promised to be a momentous final battle with the overall series victory in the balance for three of the five classes.
The previous days leaders were therefore confirmed as the winners of the 23rd edition of the event organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) in collaboration with the International Maxi Association and with the support of title sponsor Rolex.
Hap Fauth's Bella Mente (USA), with Dee Smith calling tactics, took the title of Mini Maxi Rolex World Champion. Magic Carpet 2 (GBR) won the Wally Class, Aegir (GBR) won the Racing Cruising, Nilaya (GBR) won the Supermaxi and Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) the Racing.
After six races in the Mini Maxi class the new 72ft Judel Vrolijk designed Bella Mente and last year's winner Rán2 had both won three races each and were tied on equal points. Bella Mente took the win on a count back with a 2nd to Rán2's 4th as her next best result.
The 28.5m Magic Carpet 2 helmed by Lindsay Owen Jones dominated the Wally Class throughout the week with three first places ahead of Thomas Bscher's 28.6m Open Season in second place and the 24.4m J One sailed by Jean Charles Decaux.
A previous winner in 2006 and 2008, Magic Carpet 2 was making her last appearance with Owen Lindsay Jones who has a new Reichel Pugh designed Wallycento Magic Carpet 3 in build at Wally in Italy for the 2013 season.
“Magic Carpet 3 will be in the tradition of Magic Carpet, applying everything we know today. It will be a very acceptable cruising boat for my family in the summer and then become quite a hot race boat. It will be wide, like most of these new boats, with almost half the weight in the keel and a powerful rig.” Says Owen Jones.
Meanwhile, the first new Wallycento to the new Wally ‘box rule’, Charles Dunstone’s 30.47m Hamilton (GBR), made its debut in Porto Cervo. “The idea is to have boats of a certain size, that are dual purpose, which means they are able to be used as a cruiser as well as a racer but with the maximum potential they can get out of this compromise,” explained leading yacht designer Rolf Vrolijk of Judel/Vrolijk.
Leading the Wally Class on the water in every race, but possibly slightly penalised under the handicapping with results of 7,4,6,3,1, Hamilton still has more speed to develop as the crew fine tune the performance and looks to be answering the need for a tasty looking high performance 100-footer that allows owners to race together in a class with minimal handicap adjustment.
Among the Racing yachts, Brian Benjamin's Simon Rogers designed Carbon Ocean 82 Aegir, with American Steve Benjamin (no relation) on tactics, held the lead from day one ahead taking four firsts with the Frers designed Swan 90 Altair and Swan 80 Berenice Bis second and third.
In the Racing division the ultra fast canting keel Reichel Pugh designed 30.48m Esimit Europa 2 (ex-Alfa Romeo 2), owned by Igor Simcic, was the fastest boat by far on every race and ended up on an equal eight points with the vastly contrasting 1934 leadmine J Class Velsheda, with Esimit winning on count back.
The Maxi Cup started at the YCCS in 1980 for yachts over 18.29m (60ft) and now 32 years later the racing in Porto Cervo is still a firm favourite with owners and crews. Ashore there are luxury hotels, waterside rental villas and fine Italian cuisine. On the water the sea is warm and there are reliable breezes and sunny cloudless skies most of the time.
The northeast Sardinian coast of the Costa Smeralda provides a spectacular backdrop for the racing with interesting coastal courses dodging in and out of the rocks and islands. Racing in Porto Cervo is always a tactical challenge with variable currents to contend with set up by the prevailing wind and wind shifts in and out of the islands.
Racing offers the opportunity to evaluate the latest yacht designs and mast, sails and sail handling technology.
Not surprisingly designers, boat builders, sailmakers and suppliers are all well represented amongst the crews. The racing offers a great opportunity to test the yachts as well as talking to owners about performance upgrades and new boats.
The Maxi Cup fleet are all at the top of the sailing performance spectrum with carbon or PBO rigging, carbon mast and mostly setting the very latest 3Di moulded sails developed by North, even the 66m Baltic ketch Hetairos, the largest yacht racing.
66m ketch Hetairos built by Baltic Yachts with 3Di sail wardrobe and PBO rigging
Owner drivers and non-professional helmsman are positively encouraged in the regattas where International Maxi Association (IMA) members race to give them the style of racing they want. In the Mini Maxi fleets for yachts from 60 to 82ft under the International Maxi Association (IMA) code the helmsman has to be the owner or a charter owner, with just a five minute break allowed each hour, but never from the five minute preparatory signal till 30 minutes after the start and during critical manoeuvres and mark roundings.
In the Wally Class there is a 1% penalty applied if the owner is not helming. In the Supermaxi Class there are no restrictions on helmsmen although in Porto Cervo all the large yachts including Hetairos, Velsheda, Saudade, Nilaya, Magic Carpet2 and Hamilton were helmed for the whole race, sometimes up to five hours on the 38 mile coastal third race in the fierce sun, by their owners. In fact there were very few yachts not helmed by the owner.
YCCS Commodore Riccardo Bonadeo commented on the standard and spirit of the event: "These are the most stunning boats in existence, and although this is a highly competitive fleet this is the first time in the history of the event that no protests were made at all which is quite an achievement. What makes the event is the owners and the boats and having such an exceptional fleet in these difficult times is incredibly rewarding.”
Meanwhile there is no let up for the race officers and staff at the YCCS with the Rolex Swan Cup with 70 boats racing running this week from the 10th-16th September.
The YCCS are also expecting several of the Maxi Cup yachts to be sailing in their annual transatlantic race created to give an interesting Atlantic crossing for the yachts planning a Caribbean season. The Transatlantic Superyacht Regatta starts in Tenerife on the 26th November 2012 with the finish at the YCCS’s new club house and superyacht marina in Virgin Gorda
Maxi Yacht Cup Rolex Cup 2012 Final Results
1. Bella Mente (21.91m Judel Vrolijk 72 New England Boat Works) 12 points
2. Ran2 (21.91m Judel Vrolijk 72 Green Marine) 12 points
3. Caol Ila R (21.01m Mark Mills New England Boat Works) 21 points
1. Magic Carpet (28.5m Frers Wally) 5 points
2. Open Season (28.6m Frers Wally 7 points
3. J One (24.4m Frers Wally) 11 points
1. Esimit Europa2 (30.48m Reichel Pugh McConaghy), 8 points
2. Velsheda (39.5m Charles Nicholson C&N/SYS) 8 points
3. Highland Fling (25.24m Reichel Pugh Goetz Wally 82) 8 points
1. Aegir (25.08m Rodgers Carbon Ocean 82) 4 points
2. Altair (27.71m Frers Nautor’s Swan 90) 11 points
3. Berenice Bis (25.08m Frers Nautor’s Swan 80) 13 points
1. Nilaya 34.13m Reichel Pugh-Nauta Baltic Yachts) 8 points
2. Saudade (45.19m Tripp Design Wally) 23 points
3. Sojana (35m Frers Fast Cruising/Green Marine) 23 points
Superyacht Regatta Dates for the 2012 - 2013 Diary
Voiles De St Tropez: 29th September 7th - October 2012
Rolex Middle Sea Race: 20th October 2012 Malta
Transatlantic Superyacht Regatta: 26th November 2012 Tenerife – Virgin Gorda
Millennium Cup: 14-17 February 2013 Auckland
RORC Caribbean 600 16th February 2013 Antigua
Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous: 20-23 March 2013 YCCS Virgin Gorda
St Barths Bucket Regatta: 28-31 March 2013
Rolex Capri Sailing Week & Volcano Race: 16-24 May 2013
Dubois Cup: 31 May - 2 June 2013 YCCS Porto Cervo
Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta: 3-8 June 2013 YCCS Porto Cervo
Superyacht Cup Palma:19- 22 June 2013
Rolex Fastnet Race: 11th August 2013
Newport Bucket Regatta: 23 – 25 August 2013
Perini Navi Cup: 28-31 August 2013 YCCS Porto Cervo
Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup: 2-7 September 2013 YCCS Porto Cervo
America’s Cup Superyacht Regatta: 9-13 September 2013 San Francisco
Photos: Carlo Borlenghi/Rolex and Jason Holtom
Yacht Club Costa Smeralda
Maxi Rolex Cup Full Results
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