A collection of some of the world’s finest, fastest and most famous Maxi yachts will gather in Porto Cervo, Sardinia for the 25th edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup from 31 August – 6 September, an occasion which marks the 30th year of the relationship between event organizers Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) and title sponsor Rolex.
What’s new this year?
The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup always welcomes new, cutting edge designs for whom the ultimate proving ground is the event’s myriad of challenging and rocky racecourses. Last year the eye-catching launch was Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’s Wally Cento Magic Carpet 3. In 2014 another highly successful businessman passionate about sailing arrives in Porto Cervo with a new build. Niklas Zennström recently launched the Mini Maxi Rán 5 and seeks to continue his impressive run of success at the competition.
Where is the tightest competition forecast?
The appearance of Rán 5 will add intrigue to an already mouth-watering Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship. The class is continuing to grow, not only in numbers but in quality, as rivalries intensify. Zennström won three of the four championships to date with his former Ran 2, now competing as Robertissima III and helmed by Italian Roberto Tomasini Grinover. Hap Fauth’s United States entry Bella Mente is the only other boat to have won the title and will seek to better last year’s fourth place finish when poor performance in the longer coastal races cost her a podium place. Andres Soriano’s Alegre finished second last year in the boat’s debut at the event. Denied by mere seconds in 2013, a year on and with greater confidence in their boat’s potential, Alegre will be one of the favourites. Completing the roster are some great boats and experienced crews: Rán 5 will come face to face with Sir Peter Ogden’s latest iteration of Jethou and United States entries Caol Ila R and Shockwave, class winner at the recent Copa del Rey.
And outside the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship?
Five boats are set to take part in the J-Class which made its return to the event last year. A mix of replicas and restorations of original 1930s designs, this year’s fleet comprises Lionheart, Rainbow, Ranger, Shamrock V and Velsheda. In comparison to the slick, carbon fibre, stripped-out racing boats, the J-Class provides a more genteel and elegant approach to sailing. Handling these boats is not easy though - loads are huge, complicated, everything needs to be executed precisely by up to 40 skilled sailors.
And what are the largest boats?
The 67m (220-ft) Hetairos set the record as the largest ever boat to compete at the event in 2012 when her immense 62.5m (205-ft) mast dwarfed over most of the fleet. The largest boats outside of the J-Class - where Lionheart measures 43.7m (143-ft) and Ranger 41.6m (136-ft) - are the two Supermaxis Firefly (35m, 115-ft) and Viriella (36m, 118-ft). A near 40-strong fleet is expected to take part comprising boats from around 15 different countries.
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