Porto Cervo, 11 September 2021. The 31st Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda with the support of Title sponsor Rolex and the International Maxi Association, concluded with victory awarded to the boats already sitting at the top of their respective classifications.
Today's light and shifty breeze meant that the final coastal race could not be completed, despite the determination of the Race Committee, which had prepared two different courses to make the most of the weather conditions. After a further consultation with the meteorologists on the possibility of an increase in the breeze, at 1.10 p.m. Principal Race Officer Peter Craig sent the competitors back to the docks, declaring the regatta officially concluded.
The Mini Maxi Blue Oyster, owned by Luca Scoppa, with tactician Roberto Ferrarese, approached the Race Committee boat for a round of applause, while the rest of the fleet radioed their thanks for the committee's work.
In the Supermaxi division the J Class yacht Velsheda, with Mike Toppa calling tactics, took three firsts and a second place to claim victory ahead of the other J Class, Topaz, with Peter Holmberg at the helm and Francesco De Angelis on tactics. The two J Class boats raced neck and neck throughout the week, and their tacking duel in the La Maddalena channel on day three will go down in the annals. Third place for Geist, Christian Oldendorff's 111-foot Spirit of Tradition yacht.
The Maxi division sees two YCCS members occupying the top spots, with first place going to the Wallycento Magic Carpet 3, owned by Sir Lindsay Owen Jones and fielding Jochen Schuemann on tactics, followed by Claus-Peter Offen's Y3K, with tactician Karol Jablonski. Third place went to the other Wallycento taking part, Galateia owned by David Leuschen, with tactician Murray Jones. A particular mention of merit must go to Lord Irvine Laidlaw's Highland Fling XI with Bouwe Bekking calling tactics, forced off the podium by a failure of the forestay attachment and their consequent withdrawal on day four. The yacht was nevertheless ready to go in into battle again today, following some technically complex repair work.
The five Maxi72 Class boats were the protagonists of some hard-fought duels in the Mini Maxi 1 division. Taking the top spot on the podium was Dario Ferrari's Cannonball, with tactician Vasco Vascotto, followed just two points behind by Vesper, owned by Jim Swartz and with Gavin Brady in the role of tactician. The fact that Proteus, in third place, finished just one point from Vesper and on equal points with Bella Mente in fourth place, is a testament to the fierce level of competition in this class.
Alessandro Del Bono's Capricorno, with tactician Flavio Favini and a crew that has written the history of Italian offshore sailing, wins the Mini Maxi 2 division ahead of the Mylius 76 Twin Soul B, owned by Luciano Gandini, and the Swan 601 Lorina 1895, owned by Jean Pierre Barjon. Capricorno also claimed the first edition of the perpetual trophy established in memory of yachtsman Paolo Massarini, assigned to the winner of the division with the most boats.
In the Mini Maxi 3 and 4 group the Wally 77 Lyra, owned by Terry Hui and with Hamish Pepper on tactics, had already secured victory on Thursday when she racked up her fourth consecutive win. Second place went to Blue Oyster, owned by Luca Scoppa, with the 78-footer H2O, owned by YCCS member Riccardo De Michele and with Lorenzo Bodini calling tactics, just one point behind in third.
The perpetual trophy dedicated to the memory of the first Commodore of the YCCS, Gianfranco Alberini, was awarded to Vincenzo Addessi’s Fra’ Diavolo.
The 31st Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup concluded with a prize giving ceremony attended by the President of the Board of Directors of the YCCS, Princess Zahra Aga Khan, the President of Rolex Italy, Gian Riccardo Marini, and the President of the IMA, Benoit de Froidmont.
Michael Illbruck, YCCS Commodore: “It has been an incredible week. The Race Committee did a great job in ensuring all the participants enjoyed the best possible competition. Today, unfortunately, the breeze was too light to let us hold the final scheduled coastal race, but the energy here is absolutely positive, back on the docks there were nothing but smiles and applause. I think it's been great for everyone here to get back to racing in Porto Cervo again, in this setting, with a fleet of the highest level and internationally renowned sailors, after a difficult period caused by the pandemic, which meant that the event was not held last year. On behalf of the YCCS I'd like to thank all the owners and crews who came here for the 31st edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, despite the difficulties. My thanks also go to our long-standing partner Rolex and the International Maxi Association for their invaluable support and the Race Committee, the jury and all the staff of the YCCS who have made such an important contribution to the success of this event.”
Mike Toppa, tactician on Velsheda: “Porto Cervo never disappoints, today we didn't have much wind but all week it's been fantastic sailing conditions, a great Race Committee and a great fleet. You can't ask for more, if you like sailing, this is the best.”
Sir Linday Owen-Jones, owner of Magic Carpet 3: “This is the sixth time winning for us, and we're truly delighted, the race here in Porto Cervo is 'the' most prestigious race that we all want to win every year.”
Dario Ferrari, owner of Cannonball: “Everything went very well, although in the preparation phase we were not so sure that the Americans would be able to come. We have had the best possible racing, with four boats always at each other's heels, for me that is the beauty of sailing. We raced well, the boat has scope for development that we didn’t exploit, so we are very happy to have won all the same and we will prepare to continue to win next season.”
Alessandro Del Bono, owner of Capricorno: “We are obviously pleased, in spite of being 26 years old, the boat has proved that it's still very fast. This victory is a great reward for both the crew, most of whom have been with us for 25 years, and for my father and my son, we have three generations of the family on board.”
Hamish Pepper, tactician on Lyra: “The week went very well. We're obviously very pleased with how the team did today and all week. The owners Terry and Olivia are pretty happy that we managed to do it with all bullets, so it's fantastic.”
Throughout the week, all participants were able to take advantage of a Covid-19 testing service provided by the Mater Olbia hospital, thanks to an agreement with the YCCS.
The YCCS sporting calendar continues with the Vela & Golf event, scheduled for next weekend, while from 7 to 10 October the final of the Sailing Champions League will take place, an event for club teams that will round off the season on the waters of Porto Cervo.