Porto Cervo, 31 August 2014. A spectacular fleet of 35 Maxi yachts is lined up along the quays of Porto Cervo Marina ready and waiting for the off in the 25th edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. Organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in collaboration with the International Maxi Association and with the support of title sponsor Rolex, the event runs from 31st August to 6th September. These spectacular sailing yachts, many of which are over 100 feet in length, will take to the waters off Porto Cervo tomorrow, Monday 1st September for the first of five days of racing.
For the fifth consecutive year the event will also host the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship. Among the eight boat boats competing is Rán 5, the newly launched Judel-Vrolijk 72 owned by Niklas Zennström, who will be looking to gain his fourth world title. Competition will be stiff, with Hap Fauth's Bellamente, winner of the 2012 edition fielding Terry Hutchinson on tactics, and Andres Soriano's Alegre, second by just one point last year, both keen to prove their worth.
The remainder of the fleet will be divided into five categories based on each boat's size and technical characteristics. The Wally division hosts last year's winner J One, owned by Jean-Charles Decaux, who will be up against the 30-metre Magic Carpet 3, owned by former L'Oreal CEO Sir Lindsay Owen Jones. The 35-metre Firefly will be competing in the Supermaxi division and hoping to replicate her successful participation in the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta in Porto Cervo in June. In the Mini Maxi Racing /Cruising division the Russian Swan 60 Bronenosec will be up against Arobas, also from the Nautor's Swan shipyard.
A special mention must go to the J-Class division: five of these magnificent racing yachts, designed and built to compete in the America's Cup competitions of the 1930s, will grace the race course this week. Two of the enrolled yachts are true classics: the 39-metre Velsheda, launched in 1933 and division winner in 2013, and the 36-metre Shamrock V, which dates back to 1930. Alongside these historic yachts will be the contemporary builds Ranger, Rainbow and, at almost 44-metres the largest yacht in the fleet, Lionheart.
As always the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup has attracted the cream of the yachting world and sailors of the calibre of America's Cup winner Peter Holmberg on Highland Fling, Olympic medal-winner Ross MacDonald on Open Season, America's Cup Francesco De Angelis on Rainbow, Italy's Vasco Vascotto on Robertissima III, and America's Cup legend Brad Butterworth on Jethou abound.
The event promises to be spectacular both on and off the water thanks to the exclusive social events hosted by the organizers. From this evening's welcome cocktail at the YCCS Clubhouse to the IMA dinner on Wednesday and the Rolex Crew Party on Friday, owners, crews and guests are set to have as much fun ashore as at sea.
Over the course of the week the J-Class, Maxi, Supermaxi and Mini Maxi Racing/Cruising divisions will be assigned a range of coastal courses while the Wally and Mini Maxi classes will also complete windward-leeward courses. Tomorrow, Monday 1st September, the fleet is scheduled to take to the starting line at 11.30. The infamous Sardinian mistral wind is set to put in an early appearance, with around 20 knots predicted for the afternoon.