Porto Cervo, 6th September 2014. The curtain closes on a superlative 25th edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship with the victory of Magic Carpet 3 (Wally), Firefly (Supermaxi), Highland Fling (Maxi), Lupa of London (Mini Maxi Racing Cruising) and Lionheart (J-Class) in their respective divisions. Andres Soriano's Alegre claims the title of Mini Maxi Rolex World Champion 2014 in the event organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in collaboration with the International Maxi Association.
Today's fifth and final day of racing brought near-perfect conditions once again with a brisk 15-20 knots of northerly wind on the race course. While the Mini Maxi, Wally and J-Class boats competed in two windward-leewards, bringing the Minis to the full quota of 8 races run, the remainder of the fleet faced a coastal course bringing them through the infamous “Bomb Alley”, around La Maddalena island and back home through the strait of Capo Ferro for a total of approximately 30 nautical miles.
Alegre's victory brings to a close a week of thrilling racing in the fiercely competitive Mini Maxi fleet. Although the US boat with John Kostecki calling tactics led from day one, the delta was minimal and today's racing was decisive. A third and a fourth place were sufficient for Soriano to secure the championship. Roberto Tommasini Grinover takes second place with his Robertissima just half a point ahead of Niklas Zennstrom's Ran 5 which was the boat of the day having posted two bullets.
Soriano was delighted to have finally claimed the title that he missed out on by just one point last year: “We worked hard. The competition is very strong in this fleet. We sailed in Palma a few weeks back and it was not one of our better performance, so it's very nice to come back here, to bounce back and do well. Today was an important day but we raced like we did all week, just trying hard.”
A battle to the death between the magnificent J-Class boats came to a happy ending for the 43-metre Lionheart which lifted the Rolex timepiece for the division. Ranger and Rainbow, who had also been jostling for the top spot all week, follow in second and third place respectively, separated by just one point each. Rainbow narrowly missed out on victory after being disqualified as a result of a protest in the final race. Today's race winner Velsheda sits in fourth.
In another highly competitive division, just one point separated the top three boats in the Wally fleet this morning. However a final push from Sir Lindsay Owen Jones' Magic Carpet 3, claiming a bullet in today's first windward-leeward, brought the Wally Cento to the top of the classification and any hope of victory to an end for Jean Charles Decaux's J One and Claus-Peter Offen's Y3K who placed second and third overall respectively.
A fourth bullet over five races held was the icing on the cake today for the 35-metre Supermaxi Firefly who takes the top spot in the division ahead of Swiss boat Inoui and Vittorio Moretti's 36-metre Viriella.
Sir Irvine Laidlaw's Highland Fling presented a perfect scorecard with five consecutive victories in the Maxi division. Second place overall went to the Swan 90 Odin while Bristolian took third place.
No change in today's overall classification for the Mini Maxi Racing Cruising division where Lupa of London takes first place ahead of Russia's Bronenosec and French yacht
YCCS Commodore Riccardo Bonadeo summed up the character of this unique sailing spectacle: “Everyone here this week agrees that this 25th edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex is one of the most spectacular to date. The boats and teams have changed a lot since the first edition in 1980: the technology used here is just amazing and the teams now bring personal trainers and dieticians with them to get an edge over the competition – but the spirit is the same as it has always been: comradeship, sportsmanship and above all a healthy appetite for good, clean competition.”
As the Maxis prepare to haul anchor, a fleet of no less than 90 yachts is ready and waiting to occupy the quays of Porto Cervo Marina for next week's Rolex Swan Cup and Swan 45 World Championship (8-14 September).
Final results, photos and videos of the regatta are available at www.yccs.com