Porto Cervo, 4 September 2019. The third day of racing was completed today in the 30th edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, an event organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda with the support of title sponsor Rolex and the International Maxi Association. The fleet of over 50 maxi yachts in attendance was welcomed on the starting line this morning by a north-easterly wind of 14 to 15 knots which, as always in this stretch of coast, raised steep waves that the Maxis rode spectacularly in the early stages of the course.
While the Wally Class raced two windward-leewards on a separate regatta course, the rest of the fleet was engaged on a coastal course that took them to circumnavigate the archipelago of La Maddalena clockwise after leaving the islet of Monaci to port, then the Secca di Tre Monti rock to starboard before heading into the channel known as "Bomb Alley" off the island of La Maddalena. The Maxi Racer, Super Maxi - where the two J Class yachts compete - and Maxi Racer/Cruiser divisions left the Barrettinelli lighthouse to starboard before heading on a reach along the northern coast of La Maddalena and Caprera, for a total of 34.5 miles. All the other classes circumnavigated only the islands of La Maddalena and Caprera. Later in the day the wind dropped off, forcing the Race Committee to shorten the course at the Monaci islet on the way to Porto Cervo for most of the fleet, with the exclusion of the Mini Maxi Racer1 and Maxi Racer categories.
The winners of the day in the 8 categories were: Cannonball, owned by YCCS member Dario Ferrari (Mini Maxi R1); Spectre, owned by Peter Dubens (Mini Maxi R2); the Swan 601 Lorina (Mini Maxi RC); Kiwi, owned by Mario Pesaresi (Mini Maxi CR), the R/P 82 Highland Fling XI (Maxi Racing), the Cookson 85 Vera (Maxi RC), the J Class Velsheda (Super Maxi), Terry Hui's Lyra (Wally Class).
The overall ranking is now beginning to take shape and in some classes the provisional leaders have a very small advantage over their opponents. Among the Mini Maxi R1 boats, Cannonball claimed victory again to maintain the overall lead followed only two points behind by Vesper, which placed second today. Two points also separate the leaders in the Mini Maxi R2 class, where Spectre's victory of the day interrupted the winning streak of SuperNikka, second today. Things are extremely close too at the top of the Mini Maxi Racer/Cruiser, division where four boats are separated by only three points. The Swan 601 Flow leads ahead of Wallino and Lorina 1895, winner of the day. In the Mini Maxi Cruiser/Racer class, the Swan 651 Lunz Am Meer maintains the leadership followed by H2O and Six Jaguar.
Among the Maxi Racers, Highland Fling took another victory to bring their lead over Rambler 88 to two points; the situation is similar in the Maxi Racer/Cruiser class, where Vera is consolidating her lead ahead of the SW-RP90 All Smoke and the Swan 90 Nefertiti. The spectacular duel that unfolds between the J Class yachts Topaz and Velsheda (Super Maxi) on a daily basis, today fell in favour of the latter after a true match race that saw these beautiful vessels swapping the lead throughout. The approach to Barrettinelli, where Velsheda overtook Topaz, was decisive. With a first and second place in the two windward-leeward races, Lyra holds onto her lead in the Wally Class.
Leaders of the provisional general classification are: Cannonball (Mini Maxi R1), SuperNikka (Mini Maxi R2), Flow (Mini Maxi RC), Lunz Am Meer (Mini Maxi CR), Highland Fling XI (Maxi Racer), Vera (Maxi RC), Topaz (Super Maxi), Lyra (Wally Class).
Michele Regolo, tactician on Vera commented: "Another great day, when the breeze drops our boat has an advantage, but it was the crew that made the difference, all the manoeuvres were great, with no flaws. After five events together we automatically work perfectly, with the support of a legend like Bouwe Bekking (strategist) who has really given an order to things on board. We are having an excellent season and I would like to thank the owner for the opportunity he has given us all. Today's race was decided in the early stages, with the bold choice of sacrificing the advantage of starting at the pin end and opting for the right, where we found increased pressure that allowed us to round both the offset mark and Monaci in the lead, All Smoke was on our heels and we battled up to Barrettinelli, trying to cover them. Today it worked out!"
Tomorrow, 5 September, a lay day is scheduled. In the evening all the crews are invited to the crew party, organised by the YCCS, which will be held at Cantieri Porto Cervo boatyard. Racing will resume on 6 September with the usual weather briefing by Quantum Sails at 9.30 and a warning signal at 12 noon CEST.