33rd Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup concludes in Porto Cervo

Porto Cervo, 9 September 2023 // Published by the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup here

The 33rd edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda with the support of title sponsor Rolex and in collaboration with the International Maxi Association, concluded today in Porto Cervo. 
For the last day of racing the Race Committee had moved the start forward to 11 a.m., with the intention of having all classes complete a coastal race of approximately 21 miles, circumnavigating the islands of Mortoriotto and Soffi in a clockwise direction. All classes, with the exception of the Maxi C, the last in the starting sequence, got off to a steady start in about 6 to 7 knots of north-westerly wind, which soon began to fade. The Race Committee was left with no choice but to hoist the AP flag for the Maxi C class and stop racing for all other classes. After about an hour of waiting for any thermal breeze to fill in, at 1 p.m. the Race Committee announced that there would be no new start, thus declaring the 33rd edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup closed.

In the Maxi A Class, David Leuschen and Chris Flowers’ WallyCento Galateia won with a clear lead over Leopard 3 and Bullitt, which must be credited with an excellent comeback after retiring on the first race day. Yesterday, due to a calculation error, Bullitt was wrongly classified as having finished in second place. On his return to the dock, David Leuschen commented: “It has been an exceptional week, the key factors for our success have been our consistency, nothing but second- and third-place finishes, and our starts, probably the best we have ever had in a regatta. Winning the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is an extraordinary achievement, for us it’s like the Holy Grail, so we feel very good.”

Bella Mente, with 2 wins and 3 second places is the winner of the Maxi B Class, 3 points ahead of Proteus, the initial class leader, and 6 ahead of Pepe Cannonball in third. Owner Hap Fauth, who is also Team Principal of American Magic, the New York Yacht Club’s challenger for the 37th America’s Cup, was delighted with the victory: “I fell very attached to the regattas held here in Porto Cervo, this victory has a special meaning for me, because the years are going by and I’m not a kid anymore. This is the fourth time we have won the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, our first was in 2012, followed by victories in 2015 and 2016. This year we were confident that we had a competitive boat and we lived up to those expectations, but it wasn’t a piece of cake, by day four we were tied with Proteus, an excellent team.” 

The Maxi C Class was dominated from day one by Spirit of Lorina, Jean Pierre Barjon’s Botin 65, which racked up a series of three firsts and a fourth place. Second place went to YCCS member Riccardo de Michele’s Vallicelli 78 H2O, which also won in Sub-Class 4. In third place was Oscar 3, a Mylius 65 owned by Aldo Parisotto. Stella Maris, Matteo Fossati’s Starkel 64, took the win in Subclass 5 within this group. “This is a great day.” said Jean Pierre Barjon, owner of Spirit of Lorina. “The best day of my life in sailing because I began when I was young, when I was seven years old, and this is my best victory, which is also the result of the work by the whole crew on the new boat I bought a year ago.”

In the Multihull Class, included for the first time in this Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, YCCS member Adrian Keller’s Allegra triumphed, followed on equal points by Highland Fling 18 and Convexity 2. Adrian Keller was naturally delighted: “We couldn’t have wished for better, the venue is top class, the first two days were great racing, and I think some of our colleagues on the monohulls have understood that catamarans can also be competitive. Some of them have come on board to see what we are doing. I think we will see more participants next year, we have agreed among ourselves to make a joint effort to attract more boats, so it will be even more exciting in the future. A big thank you to Sardinia and the YCCS of which I am a member, wonderful hosts.”

Y3K, the brand new Wally 101 owned by YCCS member Claus-Peter Offen, won the Supermaxi class on her debut outing, ahead of the Swan 115 Moat and the Briand 108 Inoui. Karol Jablonski, Offen’s trusted tactician of many years, explained how they got there: “We are more than pleased with the result. We only had three days to test the boat and we are very happy with the job Wally Yachts have done. It is all about teamwork and how fast you learn about the new boat. We’ve been improving from day to day. I must admit that conditions in the first three days were perfect for learning about the boat, because it was blowing quite hard. Then we had light breeze conditions, so we had to learn very fast how to sail the boat in the light breeze as well. So it’s a learning process, and we managed well in this first event.”

The J Class Svea dominated the class, with a perfect run of 6 wins out of 6 races held. Velsheda and Topaz followed in second and third respectively. Svea’s helmsman and co-owner is Swede Niklas Zennstroem, who has already won the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup five times in the past, four on board the Maxi72 Ran and once last year, also with Svea. “It was a fantastic week,” he commented, “we really performed well the whole week. This is our second year, we have been training the crew a lot and working really hard on the performance of the yacht. With these big boats, involving over 30 people, there is a lot of teamwork and this is the reason we’ve been doing so well. With Svea we are particularly proud of the Swedish yachting heritage. She was designed in the 1930s by the Swedish designer and sailor Tore Holm, but at the time she wasn’t built, she is the only Swedish J Class design and we made her a reality and got her sailing. Half of our team is Swedish, we fly the Swedish flag and we represent the Royal Swedish Yacht Club.

A packed prize-giving ceremony saw trophies awarded to the top three finishers in the six classes, as well as prizes such as Maxi Yacht Line Honours, which went to Roberto Lacorte’s FlyingNikka, for the boat with the best real time in the coastal races. The Perpetual Trophy in memory of Commodore Alberini was presented to YCCS member Pier Luigi Loro Piana, owner and helmsman of My Song. The Paolo Massarini ORC Challenge Trophy, meanwhile, went to Claus-Peter Offen for Y3K’s victory in the Supermaxi class. YCCS Commodore Michael Illbruck commented: “I would like to thank all the owners and sailors who make this event unique in terms of the standard of the crews and the technological level of the boats, ranging from the majestic J Class yachts to the Multihulls, taking part in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup for the first time this year. It has been a fantastic week, the participants have been able to put themselves to the test in the most varied weather conditions, which have ranged from sustained winds to light breezes. Thanks to our partner Rolex for their continued support, to the International Maxi Association for their cooperation, to the Race Committee and to our staff ashore and at sea for contributing to the success of this 33rd edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup.”

The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda used MarkSetBot robotic buoys for the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, which maintain their position thanks to an electric motor combined with a GPS system, eliminating the need for anchors on the seabed. In its drive to make its events ever-more sustainable, the YCCS obtained Gold Clean Regattas certification from Sailors for the Sea for the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup.

The 34th edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup will take place from 8th to 14th September 2024.
The next regattas on the YCCS calendar will be dedicated to the International 5.5 Metre Class: first the Scandinavian Gold Cup, running from 20th to 24th September, followed by the World Championship from 24th to 29th September.
For further information, resultsentry listprogrammenewsphotos, please visit the YCCS website, the section dedicated to the event, or contact the Press Office.

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