Maxi Yacht Rolex cup
Competitive and compelling
Thursday 16 August 2012
With the 23rd edition of the annual Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup less than a month away, anticipation is building for the pinnacle event of the Mediterranean sailing season. Close to 40 international crews have registered for this top-level competition that is open only to yachts of 18.29 metres (60 feet) or more. Running from 2-8 September, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, held in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, has been supported by Rolex since 1985.
Five days of intense racing throughout the celebrated Maddalena Archipelago are scheduled. The environment is perfectly suited to offer high-class sailing with the promise of challenging winds, scenic waters and rugged, rocky shorelines. The fleet is divided into five size-dependent classes – Supermaxi, Maxi Racing, Maxi Racing/Cruising, Wally and Mini Maxi, which also comprises the third running of the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship.
The Mini Maxis currently entered include two-time world champion Rán 2 (GBR), owned by Niklas Zennström and fielding a highly professional crew. The 21.91-metre (72-foot) Rán 2 will face determined opposition provided by the likes of the recent Rolex Volcano Race winner, Sir Peter Ogden’s revamped 18.9-metre (62-ft) Jethou (GBR), as well as George Sakellaris’ 21.8-metre (71-ft) Shockwave (USA) and the much-anticipated, newly-launched 21.94-metre (72-ft) Bella Mente (USA), owned by Hap Fauth.
Intriguing confrontations are guaranteed across the fleet. In the Supermaxi class, Filip Balcaen’s 34.13-metre (112-ft) Nilaya (GBR) is back to defend her title against Saudade 45.19-metres (148-ft) and two more goliaths, both of which are making their competitive debut at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup: Better Place (CAY) 47.64-metres (164-ft) and Heitairos (CAY) 66-metres (216-ft). In Maxi Racing, the 30.48-metre (100-ft) pan-European crew on Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) will seek to get the better of last year’s class winner Highland Fling (MON). In Maxi Racing/Cruising, Brian Benjamin’s 25.10-metre (82-ft) Aegir 2 (GBR) will be determined to avoid last year’s final-race heartbreak when she lost the overall title by seconds. Meanwhile, the Wally class is set to crown a new winner. Claus-Peter Offen’s four-time champion Y3K (GER) is not scheduled to take part, opening the door for the likes of seasoned Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup campaigner Magic Carpet 2 (GBR), owned by Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, and debutante Hamilton, owned by Charles Dunstone.
Organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and the International Maxi Association, prestigious organizations with close ties to Rolex, the week is a demonstration of both the latest trends and the constant evolution in Maxi yacht design. It also hosts a first-class social programme, including the Rolex Crew Party and the final Prize-Giving Ceremony, where the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cups and Rolex timepieces will be presented to the winners.