The 2014 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup

The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is held annually in Porto Cervo, Sardinia and open only to yachts over 18.29 metres in length. With a fierce level of competition and challenging and complex racecourses, the event provides a stern examination of a Maxi yacht’s capabilities.

The event was established in 1980 where the vessels’ hulls were made of glass fibre, aluminium and wood, masts and riggings were constructed using metal, and lines controlling sails were made of wire. Heavy and relatively slow, loads were high, manoeuvres ponderous and safety margins slim. A far cry from the sleek, carbon fibre-built designs of today that benefit from aerospace technology, making them fast and agile.

Continued research into the possibilities offered by the latest construction materials has enabled different sizes and types of boat to emerge, and with the range of concepts and solutions on display, it is little surprise that many projects are born at or inspired by the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup.

The developments witnessed each year push the design envelope at the pinnacle end of the sport, and the demand for, and availability of, high-tech material filters down to all aspects of sailing. Maxi yacht owners make a substantial investment to push the perceived boundaries of speed and the desire for increased comfort onboard propels the sport’s continued evolution. Among the innovations anticipated for the future are consequential changes to the underwater profile and foils to increase speed.

Organised by Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, the near 30 year relationship between the event, yacht club and Title Sponsor is one of the longest and most significant relationships in the world of sailing today. The 2014 edition of the competition will take place from 31 August - 6 September.

By Gemma Fottles

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