Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2018 sails off to a strong start

Written by Vivian Hendriksz

The 29th edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup & Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship officially opened Sunday evening in Porto Cervo, with owners, captains and skippers coming at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) in Sardinia. The event marks the start of a month of racing in Costa Smeralda, with the fleet going head to head on a mix of windward-leewards and coastal races.  Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2018Photo: Rolex / Studio Borlenghi This year’s 41-strong fleet welcomes owners and crews, including America’s Cup, Olympic and Volvo Ocean Race winners from the around the world. “I am pleased with the strength of the entry - there is great support for the event," said Andrew McIrvine, Secretary General of the International Maxi Association on welcoming the fleet to Porto Cervo. “This year we are delighted to see three Js racing. The variety between the boats and the strength and expertise of the crews this year is remarkable.”  

The competing fleet is diverse and includes racers to cruiser-racers to classics and manufacturer classes ranging in length from 60 footers such as the Swan 601 Lorina up to the Baltic 130-footer My Song. The yachts have been divided into six different categories based on their technical performance and characteristics, with the 'smallest' yachts in the fleet the Swan 601s and the 60’ Spectre, and the longest the J Class Svea, measuring 43.61-metres in length.   Rambler 88 at Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2018Photo: Rolex / Studio Borlenghi “I think the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Porto Cervo is the best event. You have the best boats coming at the end of the summer – it is great,” says Loro Piana. “Usually we are cruising at this time of this year, but we have decided to come and have fun.” My Song will be competing in the Supermaxi class against three J Class yachts, Svea, Topaz and Velsheda as well as Viriella. “We are all about the same length - 40m – so it will be interesting to see how we have progressed in 80 years. I think we will have good competition,” continues Loro Piana.  Galateia at the Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship Photo: Rolex/ Studio BorlenghiThe Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship sees six boats competing for the world title of the Maxi 72 class. The reigning champion Momo, owned by Dieter Schön, will race against Cannonball, Jethou, Lucky, Proteus and Sorcha. The fastest boat to at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is Rambler 88, owned by George David, which recently claimed line honours in the Palermo-Montercarlo regatta. Among those defending their titles, this year are David M. Leuschen’s Galateia in the Wally Class, Roberto Lacorte’s SuperNikka in the Mini Maxi Racing Cruising (RC) group 1 division and Riccardo De Michele’s H20 in the Mini Maxi RC group 2 and overall. The Mini Maxis has been divided into two classes, according to their speed.  H20 at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2018Photo: Rolex / Studio BorlenghiRacing is set to start on Monday morning, 3rd September at 11.30 am and will end on Saturday, with the prize ceremony taking place in Piazza Azzurra. Thursday 6th September has been set aside as a lay day or recovery from any cancelled races. The weather forecast indicates ideal wind conditions for Monday, with a mistral wind of up to 18 knots. "We have reached twenty-nine editions of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, a regatta that is a hallmark of our Club and which always sees a large fleet of entries," adds Riccardo Bonadeo, YCCS Commodore. “A warmest of welcomes goes to those who are visiting us for the first time as much as to those - the majority of the fleet - who have been participating for many years. Fair winds to all!” 

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