Porto Cervo, 5 September 2021. The 31st edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda with the support of Title Sponsor Rolex and the International Maxi Association, officially gets underway today with the skippers’ briefing followed by a welcome cocktail on the YCCS terrace. Racing will start tomorrow at 12 midday, and run through Saturday 11 September.
The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is renowned internationally as the key event for maxi yachts, a showcase of innovation, technology and competition at the highest level, with this year’s edition set to be a particularly special one. Following a temporary stop imposed by the pandemic in 2020, the presence of 44 yachts on the starting line is a testament to the great desire in international yachting to return to competitive activities.
The entire event will take place in compliance with regulations to prevent the spread of Covid-19, as well as additional initiatives implemented by the YCCS to further reduce any risks. Among these was the decision taken with the support of the organisers to carry out only coastal races, where the number of crew on board can be reduced in comparison to windward-leeward courses. Only the Mini Maxi 1 class, designed for highly technical races, will complete two windward-leeward races.
Due to the variety of yachts competing, ranging from pure racers to cruiser-racers that enable their owners to cruise as well as take part in regattas, the fleet has been divided into three main divisions: Supermaxi, Maxi and Mini Maxi. The boats are then grouped into subdivisions according to their characteristics, with the aim of creating competitive groups with comparable performance levels. The rating system for calculating scores will be the IRC, with the exclusion of the Supermaxi class where the ORCsy system will be used, specially designed for the largest racing boats.
Standing proud in the Supermaxi Division are Topaz and Velsheda, two beautiful examples of the J Class vessels designed for the three editions of the America’s Cup from 1930 to 1937. They are joined by the 111-foot Geist, a modern yacht with classic lines, the 115-foot Shamanna and the 118-footer Viriella, owned by YCCS member Vittorio Moretti and with Mauro Pelaschier at the helm.
The Maxi class promises thrills, with the return of the 100-foot (30.5 m) Comanche in the hands of a new owner, and the debut of the 85-footer Deep Blue. The same class will be home to Arca SGR, owned by Guido Miani and fronting an Italian-Monegasque crew led by Furio Benussi, as well as Rambler 88 and the Wallycentos Galateia, owned by David Leusschen, and Magic Carpet Cubed. The Swan 98′ BeCool will also be making her debut at the event, and will be up against her closest rival, the Wally Y3K.
The Mini Maxi 1 class includes the competitive Maxi72 yachts, in addition to the Mylius 60 Cippa Lippa X and the 60-foot Wild Joe, equipped with a DSS foil. The subdivisions of the Mini Maxi class will host Wallyño, owned by IMA President Benoît de Froidmont, and 79-foot Capricorn, owned by Alessandro Bono, a 1995 yacht back on the regatta circuit after a refitting, boasting a highly experienced Italian crew that includes Flavio Favini, Tiziano Nava, Stefano Rizzi, Matteo Plazzi, and Giovanni Cassinari.
As always during the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, the biggest names in international sailing will grace the docks of Porto Cervo. Competing in this edition are Brad Butterworth, Vasco Vascotto, Terry Hutchinson, Murray Jones, Hamish Pepper, Mike Sanderson, Lorenzo Bressani and Karol Jablonski, to name but a few.
The first starting signal is scheduled for tomorrow, 6 September at 12 midday, with a northerly breeze of 10-12 knots forecast. Thermal breezes are expected for the remainder of the week.
YCCS Commodore, Michael Illbruck: “The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is a reference point in terms of international yachting, as well as the regatta of the year at the YCCS. Seeing the docks filled once again with these boats, at the cutting edge of naval design, and sailors famous the world over for their outstanding curriculums, is truly wonderful. We would like to thank Rolex, an institutional partner of the Club for over three decades now, and the International Maxi Association, for their constant support. On behalf of the YCCS I want to welcome the owners and crews and wish all of them fair winds for this special 31st edition of the event.”