Preparations are well underway for a record-breaking September at Porto Cervo's Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS). Both the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup & Rolex Maxi 72 Worlds (4 – 10 September) and the Rolex Swan Cup & Swan 45 Worlds (11 – 18 September) have already registered unprecedented numbers of entries. Fifty-three yachts are enrolled for the highlight of the Maxi racing season, organised in collaboration with the International Maxi Association, while 121 Nautor's Swan yachts from around the globe will flock to the Costa Smeralda to help the Finnish shipyard celebrate 50 years since its foundation. Originating in 1980, both of the events are classic appointments on the YCCS sporting calendar – and indeed on the world regatta scene – with the Maxi event held annually in Porto Cervo and the gathering of Swan yachts a biennial affair. In addition to exceptional fleets, the Maxi 72 and Swan 45 World Championships taking place within each of the respective regattas promise to add further spice to an already exciting programme.
The yachts competing in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup & Rolex Maxi 72 Worlds cover the full spectrum of racing and racing-cruising yachts of over 60 feet in length. Divided into various categories based on their size and performance characteristics, the fleet hosts everything from classic J-Class yachts such as the 153-foot Lionheart and the 1933-launched Velsheda, to the ultra-modern Galateia, launched in late 2015 and one of the Wallycento box-rule performance cruisers competing. Porto Cervo's magnificent race course combines breathtaking scenery with reliable breeze and some notoriously hair-raising passages as well as the renowned rocky channel to the north of the La Maddalena archipelago known among sailors as “bomb alley”. The combination of top-notch racing and the exclusive social events organised by title sponsor Rolex have been attracting Maxi owners to this corner of the Mediterranean each September for decades and all six of last year's division winners – Bella Mente, H20, Open Season, Inoui, Windfall and Supernikka – will be looking to defend their titles in 2016.
Among those challenging Hap Fauth's Bella Mente for the title of Maxi 72 World Champion 2016 will be Proteus, division winner at the St Barths Bucket in March and winner of the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy, as well as Robertissima, a regular competitor in YCCS regattas that missed out on victory by just one point last year.
The 19th edition of the Rolex Swan Cup sees the Nautor's Swan family from around the world gather for a celebration of 50 years of sailing. A splendid array of models, ranging from the very latest Clubswan 50, the most recent addition to the Swan performance one-design stable, to a contingent of no less than 37 Sparkman and Stephens designs representing the early years of the yard. Weighing in at the most imposing end of the scale are the Swan 115s Highland Fling, Shamana and Solleone, three of the four hulls launched since this new flagship line was presented last year.
Racing in their own dedicated one-design classes will be 9 Swan 42s, including 2014 winner Natalia, and of course the 16-strong Swan 45 fleet, battling it out for their World Championship. Among the 45s to watch will be Earlybird, a German boat owned by Nagel and Brandis and four-time winner of the World Champion title.
“The Maxi and Swan regattas are some of our most traditional appointments and have been organized together with our partner Rolex for over 30 years. They consistently draw fleets of the world's top yachts, owners and sailors and we are looking forward to two weeks of highly competitive sailing on the beautiful waters that we are so fortunate to have here in the Costa Smeralda. ” commented YCCS Commodore Riccardo Bonadeo.
While top-class racing is assured throughout both the Maxi and Swan events, on the water action will, as always, be accompanied by a host of social events for owners and crews ranging from welcome cocktails and owner's dinners to crew parties and daily after-race refreshments.
– YCCS Media