For the 47 competitors, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup got off to a superb start Monday with a northwesterly that built to 20+ knots and a superb beat up the La Maddalena archipelago’s ‘Bomb Alley’.
There was upset in the Mini Maxi Racer 1 class with new kids on the block – Jim Swartz’s Vesper (ex-Momo) prevailing. A 1st and 3rd left Vesper leading, one point ahead of Dario Ferrari’s Cannonball, with Sir Peter Ogden’s 77ft Jethou winning race two.
The rest sailed coastal courses, the Wallys and Maxi Racers on the longest at 34.5 miles, up past La Maddalena and around Spargi where they made the most of the sizable swell rolling in through the Strait of Bonifacio.
Here George David’s Rambler 88, was surfing down waves at 25+ knot speeds, ultimately winning under IRC despite being highest rated Maxi Racer.
Bizarrely, given their breakneck speeds downwind behind the islands, off Capo Ferro, in sight of the finish line, the breeze disappeared, replaced by a light southeasterly. In many classes this transition defined the results.
Sir Lindsay Owen Jones’ Wallycento Magic Carpet Cubed won the Wally class, from David M Leuschen’s Wallycento Galateia.
The other classes sailed a similar course, but not rounding Spargi.
The two Js came out on top in the Super Maxi class with Topaz winning from Ronald de Waal’s Velsheda.
It was a phenomenal match with the longer, higher rated Topaz doing all she could to fend off her rival.
Ultimately Topaz broke her spinnaker end, forcing to her to sail wing-on-wing. This kept them in the game while Velsheda passed, but then Topaz made a better job of the transition.
Among the Maxi Racer-Cruisers, the Reichel/Pugh 90 All Smoke prevailed over class favourite, Vera.
In the Mini Maxi Racer 2 SuperNikka recovered from a start line touch with Peter Dubens’ Frers 60 Spectre to win the day.
In the Mini Maxi Racer/Cruiser class Benoît de Froidmont’s Wally 60 Wallyño won from Vincenzo Addessi’s Mylius 18E35 Fra’ Diavolo.
Among the Mini Maxi Cruiser/Racers it was also the lowest rated that won, in this case Tony Ball’s Six Jaguar, a 40-year-old Swan 65 sloop which Ball describes as “having more in common with the J Class than the Swan 651 . . . apart from the running costs.”
The 30th edition of the most prestigious maxi boat event, organised between the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and the International Maxi Association, the World Sailing-recognised body that representing maxi boats globally, runs out of Porto Cervo until Saturday 7 September.