Mistral puts on a great show at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup
A mistral wind blowing at over 20 knots pushed the maxi yachts to give top performances today, offering a unique sailing spectacle set against the beautiful natural scenery of the Costa Smeralda. The 30th edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda with the support of title sponsor Rolex and the International Maxi Association, concludes tomorrow.
The star of the show today was the mistral wind which, gusting at over 25 knots and pushing the maxis to their limits, provided an exceptional spectacle for spectators and plenty of adrenaline for the crews.
The Mini Maxi Racer 1 division raced on a windward-leeward course while the Race Committee set all other classes a coastal course which took the fleet upwind through the Bisce pass to leave the Secca di Tre Monti rock to starboard. From here the fleet went on a reach to the islet of Monaci, which they left to starboard, then a close reach took them to a mark in front of Porto Cervo before finally descending to circumnavigate the islands of Mortorio and Soffi and return to Porto Cervo. The total miles covered were 32 for the Wally, Maxi Racer, Maxi - Racer/Cruiser and Super Maxi classes, while for the others the route was shortened slightly on the return leg towards the finish line, for a total of 28 miles.
Winners of the day were: Jethou, owned by Peter Ogden (Mini Maxi R1); Roberto Lacorte's SuperNikka (Mini Maxi R2); Flow, owned by Stephen Cucchiaro (Mini Maxi RC); H20, owned by YCCS member Riccardo De Michele (Mini Maxi CR); George David's Rambler 88 (Maxi Racing); Gibian, owned by YCCS member Armando Grandi (Maxi RC); the J Class Velsheda (Super Maxi); and the WallyCento Galateia owned by David M. Leuschen (Wally Class).
The Mini Maxi R1 class sees Cannonball retain their lead after placing third today, but maintaining control over Vesper, fourth today and three points behind the leader in the overall provisional classification. With the wind rising to gusts of 30 knots, the class did not start a second race.
In the Mini Maxi R2 SuperNikka gained another victory of the day over Spectre and Wild Joe. The boats sit in the same order in the general classification. With the victory of the day in the Maxi Racer category, Rambler 88 is back in command by just two points ahead of Highland Fling XI, fourth in today's race.
With a win today the Swan 601 Flow consolidates its position at the head of the Mini Maxi Racer/Cruiser division, followed by Fra Diavolo, owned by Vincenzo Addessi, and Lorina 1895. The Mini Maxi Cruiser/Racer category sees Lunz Am Meer keep the lead in the provisional overall classification followed by H2O and Six Jaguar. Essentia has been forced to say an early goodbye to the rest of the fleet, after withdrawing due to a dismasting.
Another withdrawal took place in the Maxi Racer/Cruiser class, where the provisional leader Vera broke her rudder axle. The SW-RP 90 All Smoke moves into the lead after placing second today behind a surprising Gibian, the Wally 94.2 owned by Armando Grandi.
A new leader emerged among the Super Maxis, with the J Class Velsheda winning the day ahead of the Maxi Dolphin 118 Viriella, owned by YCCS member Vittorio Moretti. The J Class Topaz did not race today, having already announced yesterday their withdrawal from the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup due to a technical problem.
In the Wally Class, Terry Hui's 77.4 Lyra maintains the provisional leadership by just a single point ahead of today's winner, the Wallycento Galateia.
Some of the day's protagonists commented on today's racing:Lorenzo Bodini, tactician on H20: "It was a challenging day, with sustained wind and gusts of up to 28/30 knots, which put both the boat and the crew to the test. We started on the left, because the mistral pays on that side, then we managed the race consistently, without taking risks or putting the equipment under too much stress, exploiting the boat's length."
Anthony Kotoun, strategist on the WallyCento Galateia: "Magic Carpet beat us at the start but we were able to pass them on the reach to Monaci. It was a beautiful, fast Code 0 reach where we were doing 20 knots of boat speed, it was quite puffy and we were able to get above them and pass them there, and we tried to extend from there."
At the conclusion of the fourth day of racing, the leaders of the provisional overall ranking in their respective classes are: Cannonball (Mini Maxi R1), SuperNikka (Mini Maxi R2), Flow (Mini Maxi RC), Lunz am Meer (Mini Maxi CR), Rambler 88 (Maxi Racer), All Smoke (Maxi-RC), Velsheda (Super Maxi), Lyra (Wally Class).
For the classes that complete their sixth race tomorrow, a discard of their worst result will come into play. The forecast is for mistral wind again, down to 12 knots with gusts of up to 15. The warning signal will as usual be at 12 noon CEST and the daily Weather Briefing by Quantum Sails will take place at 9.30 a.m.