Picture perfect racing at Maxi Worlds
Published on September 5th, 2014
Porto Cervo, Italy (September 5, 2014) – The penultimate day of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship started off looking unpromising, with light and shifty air across the regatta course, however the Porto Cervo magic soon came into play and the 32-strong fleet enjoyed another day of picture-perfect racing with 10-15 knots of northerly wind.
Heading into the final day of racing in the event, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in collaboration with the International Maxi Association, the winners in some classes are already a mathematical certainty. Firefly (Supermaxi), Highland Fling (Maxi) and Lupa of London can approach tomorrow’s race with the knowledge of having secured overall victory in their fleets. In the Wally and J-Class divisions meanwhile the field is still wide open and respective leaders Y3K and Lionheart will have a fierce battle on their hands. US boat Alegre leads among the Mini Maxis, competing for the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship but, with two windward leewards to be held tomorrow, is by no means safe from the competition.
After a short delay as the YCCS Race Committee waited for the breeze to fill in as predicted, all divisions were set coastal courses ranging from 23 to 25 nautical miles and touching on the islands of Mortoriotto to the south of Porto Cervo, and Monaci to the north.
Andres Soriano’s Alegre has held a slim lead in the Mini Maxi division since day one and now sits three points ahead of Roberto Tomasini Grinover’s Robertissima with Vasco Vascotto on tactics. Niklas Zennstrom’s new 72-footer RÃ¡n 5 only manage a sixth place today but manged to hold on to third place overall. Zennstrom, along with the rest of the fleet will be hoping to reach the full quota of eight races by completing two windward leewards tomorrow to be in with a chance of snatching the crown from Soriano.
John Kostecki, tactician aboard Alegre commented on today’s race: “We got a good start and we sailed well up the first leg and rounded the mark first, we tried to cover Robertissima. It was a fairly simple race today because the wind conditions made for a lot of reaching so not a lot of tactics, it was just a question of getting from one point to another as well as possible. Tomorrow is another day and we will obviously do our best.”
The grace and elegance of the four competing J class yachts has not stopped them from engaging in a heated battle throughout the week with lead changes each day and just over 20 seconds separating the second and third boats across the line today after a 25 mile course. Victory in real and corrected time, however, went to Lionheart, with Bouwe Bekking on tactics and moved the 43.7-metre yacht into first place overall ahead of Rainbow and Ranger. With just one point separating each of the top three boats and the possibility of two windward-leewards tomorrow, it looks set to be a thrilling final fight in this division.
With tomorrow’s races also decisive for the Wally division current overall leader Y3K, owned by Claus-Peter Offen, will need to give it her all to pull away from Jean Charles Decaux’s J One, sitting in second on equal points. Magic Carpet 3, in third place overall, is also firmly in the running with a delta of just one point. Victory in today’s race went to the Wally 80 Ryokan.
In the Supermaxi, Mini Maxi Racing Cruising and Maxi divisions, the leaders tied things up a day early with their performances today. Bullets for Firefly, Lupa of London and Highland Fling ensured their places on the podium.
Sir Irvine Laidlaw, owner of Highland Fling, was understandably happy on his return to shore: “We had great wind today. It was a real bonus as the breeze was so light this morning we didn’t think we’d be able to do anything. But in the end it turned out to be a fantastic race, incredibly enjoyable.”
Report by event media. Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi