Archive | Various

Keeping a Good Watch

Posted on 24 October 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source:RMSR] Peter Dimech, Principal Race Officer and Race Chair spoke about the storm that raged through the fleet. “The remaining yachts racing in the Rolex Middle Sea Race are expected to arrive at the Royal Malta Yacht Club by today and tomorrow. Whilst the wind speed has decreased, the sea state is still significant and we are keeping a close watch on the yachts still at sea. Before the start of the race, every yacht was inspected to make sure that they were in compliance with the special regulations for the race. During the storm, that safety equipment becomes a vital part of safety on board. In general, the fleet has showed excellent seamanship in difficult conditions, probably the biggest lesson we have learnt is that communication with yachts is very important and the tracker has been invaluable in that respect.”
Whilst there are still yachts racing, the class winners for the 35th Rolex Middle Sea Race have all been decided.



Line Honours Winner

Skipper Jochen Schumann, Maxi 100, Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) “We would have come sooner if we could!” Joked Jochen Schumann, enjoying a bowl of pasta and a glass of wine, at the Royal Malta Yacht Club. “In a special way, light airs racing is also very difficult. The sail we used the most during was the wind seeker and using that to its full potential requires a huge amount of concentration from all of the crew on deck. We needed to keep alert because if we stop, the boats behind can see that on the tracker and can avoid the wind hole we have found ourselves in. Ran made a big gain at Pantelleria, we stopped for a while and they caught us up, that is very difficult to defend against, but in general if we think we are going to park up, we would choose a place where the competition would need to pass close to us, to negate that effect.”

For the boats still racing, it looks like they will have a lot of wind over the next few days, they don’t really need my advice. I am sure they are really prepared and so is their equipment they are all good sailors but the race could be quite tough for them.”

Winner IRC 1

Niklas Zennstrom, JV72, RAN V (SWE)

“All you can do is try to win your class and hope that the weather is in your favour” commented Niklas Zennstrom. “As always, Team Ran prepared the boat and raced to a very high standard, so we can be happy with our performance. I would like to thank the Royal Malta Yacht Club, for organising the race and especially coming out to the boat with cold beer and warm greetings at the end of a long race.”

Winner IRC 2

Paolo Semeraro, Neo 400, Neo Bank Sails (ITA)

“It was a tough race from Favignana, especially for a small boat of just 40 feet” commented Paolo Semeraro. “We had a lot of wind, from Favignana but it was manageable and between Pantelleria and Lampedusa we were often sailing at over 20 knots of boat speed. After Lampedusa the first two hours were okay but after that we had something like 45 knots of wind on the beam and waves of six metres. We finished with two reefs in the main and a storm jib but it was still too much sail area up – the Comino Channel was really hard, maybe 50 knots at times. My crew is very good and we are proud to see that we were up with the bigger boats in real time, not just corrected, which was incredible.

This is a new boat, launched in February and I built it in Bari, this is the first one – the prototype. I think that offshore racing in Italy is on the increase because ultimately you spend less days on the shore and more days on the water. When you go windward – leeward racing in a regatta, you have to stay five days in the hotel and feed and accommodate ten people and often at regattas you lose days racing because of too much or too little wind. Inshore, the amount of money for the hours of sailing is not a good proportion. In a race like this, you get a full five days sailing and long distance racing is becoming more popular in Italy because of this.”

Winner IRC 3

Josef Schultheis Xp-44, XP-ACT Bank Sails

XP-ACT is a local boat and I live in Malta, this is the biggest event of our calendar, we wait all year for the race. XP-ACT has been on the podium for the last three years, no other boat has done that. I am very proud to win this race with this crew on board. In conditions from no wind to 47 knots with huge waves, with the right crew on board you can achieve anything. It was satisfying to manage the boat in such conditions. The Rolex Middle Sea Race is a yacht race that any boat can win, the fast professional yachts don’t just disappear in their own weather system. In this race all of the boats have different wind systems so it is a more level playing field. Performing well is always a combination of the crew, the sails and the boat and 22.9 knots is the fastest we could go with two bedrooms and two bathrooms!



Winner IRC 4

Lee Satariano, J/122, Artie (MLT)

Lee Satariano was asked before the race if the record entry of 122 yachts and the fact that Artie is a J/122 was an omen? “I am not superstitious anymore!” commented Lee just after stepping ashore. “It was a very very tough race. The crew have worked around the clock from day one and the race didn’t start well for us but during day two we started to get our the shifts right and co-skippers Sebastian and Christian Ripard did a great job on the tactics and the end result was a series of correct decision that put us in a good position before the storm arrived. As always, having a good crew on board allows you to give the effort an extra push, with a good boat and an excellent crew are intention at the start was to win and we hope we have achieved that.”

Winner IRC 5 and Double Handed (ITA)

Azuree 33, Pierpaolo Ballerini and Stig Westergaard

Azuree, Stig Westergaard two times winner of the Finn gold cup, multiple Soling medallist and two round the world races teamed up with boat builder and designer Pierpaolo Ballerini for the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Azuree won the double handed class and took the win in IRC 5 by just under six minutes from Isidoro Santececca’s JOD 35, Cuor di Leone.

“On the first night we were caught in a fishing net, I don’t like swimming in the dark but was round the keel the propeller everywhere, it cost us nearly two hours. When the storm arrived, we didn’t know that it would be so strong, we thought it would be sailable and we were doing well in the race but as the smallest boat in the race, we got washed away big time. For us it was a case of stay in one piece during the night and make sure we make breakfast. Paolo and I are a match made in heaven for Double Handed, we were able to win our class and fourth overall because we are a combination of a sailor and a seaman. Any practical issue on board, Paolo took care of including all of the sail changes and I focused on driving the boat. Even in the heavy weather, the relationship didn’t change. Paolo was struggling with sea sickness but Paolo showed exceptional stamina. He was still up on the foredeck, sea sick and changing sails in 40 knots, that takes tremendous courage.”

The prize giving ceremony for the Rolex Middle Sea Race will take place on Saturday 25th October at the Republic Hall, Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta at 12:00pm. Attendance is by invitation only.

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Artie’s Heroic Return

Posted on 23 October 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source:RMSR] After probably the toughest 24 hours in the 46 year history of the race, Lee Satariano’s Maltese J/122, Artie finished the Rolex Middle Sea Race on Thursday 23 October 2014 at 00h 45m 5s in an elapsed time of 4Days 13hours 35mins and 05secs.

Artie was the first Maltese boat to finish the race and is the provisional winner of IRC 4 and ORC4. 72 yachts are still racing, however Artie’s corrected time, which decides the overall winner is unlikely to be beaten by any of the remaining competitors.

Lee Satariano was asked before the race if the record entry of 122 yachts and the fact that Artie is a J/122 was an omen? “I am not superstitious anymore!” commented Lee just after stepping ashore. “It was a very very tough race. The crew have worked around the clock from day one and the race didn’t start well for us but during day two we started to get our the shifts right and co-skippers Sebastian and Christian Ripard did a great job on the tactics and the end result was a series of correct decision that put us in a good position before the storm arrived. As always, having a good crew on board allows you to give the effort an extra push, with a good boat and an excellent crew are intention at the start was to win and we hope we have achieved that.”

Christian Ripard has competed in numerous offshore classics including the infamous Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, often with many of the Artie crew. – “The sea was big, it was very windy, we don’t know exactly how windy because the windex at the top of the rig blew off! – yes this race is up there with the toughest Hobarts I have done. In fact we were saying on board ‘when was the last time we saw a sea like this?’ and I had to say it was during a windy Sydney Hobart but to have those conditions for over 24 hours is very rare, almost exceptional. You are always learning in this game and the experience showed me that it is good to go with a bloody good crew! Truly, it is the only way you can sail the boat like we did. If you don’t have a good crew, you just won’t get through it or you will break things and when it comes down to it – a good crew is what you need and we have done a lot of miles together on Artie, they are my nephews, my friends and we have been together for thousands of miles at sea.”

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Line Honours for Esimit Europa 2, big breeze for others

Posted on 22 October 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source:RMSR] Last night, the 100ft canting keel Maxi, Esimit Europa 2, skippered by Jochen Schumann, was outside record pace for the course but this is the fourth time Esimit Europa 2 has taken Line Honours for the Rolex Middle Sea Race and that has never been achieved before. Royal Malta Yacht Club Commodore, Godwin Zammit, presented Esimit Europa 2 with their fourth line honours flag.

DAY 5 AM UPDATE 09:00 CET: The expected frontal system arrived around Midnight last night at the northwest corner of the course. Reports of storm force winds and big seas have been received by the Race Committee and 17 yachts had officially retired from the race by 11:00 CET on Wednesday 22 October.

The Race Committee has received no reports of any injuries to crew from the fleet. Officially retired from the Rolex Middle Sea Race: GYR Scarlet Oyster, Alcor V, Intuition Kabestan, Varuna, Walle G, Gordons, Lady Ruth ACR, Il Moro di Venezia XXVII, Unica, El Stan, Durlindana3, Ton Ton Kabestan, Salana, Mascalzone Latino, Magic Dragon, Little Emily, Gaetana and Zenhea Takesha.

The yachts still racing cracked sheets last night, hitting the turbo, flying downwind at incredible speeds. It will be a blast on board, surfing down waves with the salt spray hissing at the rail and warm water breaking over the bows and cascading down the deck. This speed comes with a price, if the boat loses control or accelerates into the waves too fast, the loads involved can be too much resulting in damage. The saying; ‘To finish first, first you must finish.’ will be very much the mantra.

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Flying dreams by Phantom International

Posted on 21 October 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Phantom International] Flying Dreams movie directed by the talented Elsa Blayau is an ode to ocean, water sports and femininity. Based on an original idea from Alex Udin, Elsa Blayau transformed the project to a complete story and brought it to reality with this realization. The main character is played by Claire-Lise Welter a french water ski athlete double European champion in slalom. Claire-Lise embodies the modern woman, elegant and sporty.

The movie was shot with 2 cameras one Phantom Flex rigged on a stabilized crane and a Sony F55 CineAlta 4K to provide high speed, high quality and high resolution. During two days, more than 20 crews participated to the shooting that took place some miles away from the coast of Brittany. Phantom International is very pleased to share this movie with you and we hope you will all have Flying Dreams.

Alex Udin, Founder Phantom International: “I have for a long time wanted to make a film that connects to people who are not necessarily experts in sailing. To show our sport in a new way, which is more artistic, more sensual and less focused on the racing and performances. I also wanted to show how surprising some unknown places in Brittany could be.

This film focuses on the passion I have for the sea, it is a place of total freedom. I wanted to share with people, the environment in which I live and that fascinates me. I am captivated by water skiing also because I find this extremely elegant and graceful, especially when practiced at a high level by a woman. Sailing is my passion and also my job as a designer of flying boats. That is an interesting combination of both worlds furthermore with this sporty and elegant woman embodied by Claire-Lise Welter.

It was an amazing experience to have had the opportunity to work with true screen professionals such as Elsa Blayau, the cinematographer Pierre-Hugues Galen and his entire team. I think the film shows our sport and our region as we have never seen it before. I hope we’ve managed to make the audience enter this world that makes me dream so much.”

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RMSR: The Messina Trap

Posted on 19 October 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Rolex Middle Sea Race] The second night of the Rolex Middle Sea Race could well be a decisive part of the race. At 1700 CET, 39 yachts had passed through The Straits of Messina, the tide was set to turn against those yachts that did not make it through and with the wind due to fade during the night. The Messina Trap is likely to take grip on a number of yachts this evening.

Igor Simcic’s Maxi Esimit Europa 2 passed Stromboli at approximately 1430 CET and was making 8 knots. The next corner is the beautiful island of Favignana, off the North West corner of Sicily. If Esimit Europa 2 enjoy good breeze during the night, the team could be turning south in the early hours of tomorrow morning. A record run for Esimit Europa 2 is very unlikely but the wind is expected to become very light for the yachts behind and to the north of Sicily. Esimit Europa 2 may be able to keep going in fresher breeze and mount a challenge for a win on corrected time as well as line honours.

In IRC Two, 15 yachts have now passed through the Straits of Messina. Stefan Jentzsch’s Carkeek 47, Black Pearl is leading under IRC after time correction by just eight minutes from Dmitry Samohkhin’s Swan 60, Petite Flamme. Andy Beadsworth, tactician on board Petite Flamme contacted the Rolex Middle Sea Race Media team. “This morning the approach to Messina was very difficult, we had very little wind and adverse current in the middle of the channel. We went right inshore on the Italian mainland, with less than 1.5 metres under our keel. There was lots of cheering from the bathers on the beach! The tactic worked and we made it through Messina in good shape but we still have very little wind about ten miles away from Stromboli.”

David Anastasi, racing on J/122 Oiltanking Juno is taking part in his 11th Rolex Middle Sea Race. Oiltanking Juno is going well and have found good pace and provisionally Oiltanking Juno is leading IRC 3. David reflects on the experience learnt after taking part in the race so many times.

“The Straits of Messina is a major turning point in the race, if you fall back here the chances for a good position are practically gone. When you arrive at the straits you either get a free ride with the help of the tide or have to fight against it. It is a gate, which is either open or closed depending what time you arrive.”

Royal Ocean Racing Club Admiral. Andrew McIrvine, is racing on Grand Soleil 46, Belladonna, which is enjoying a great battle with Oiltanking Juno. Belladonna passed through The Straits of Messina at 1700, just as the tide was due to turn – shutting the gate.

“The tide has not even remotely behaved as it should do!” Explained Andrew McIrvine from on board Belladonna. “We were supposed to have tide with us but we have been fighting against the tide until we got very close to the exit. What is more, we have been in a gybing duel with Juno, Anna, and Iskareen along the Italian coastline to stay out of the tide. We must have put in 40 gybes this afternoon and last night I counted 16 sail changes. The weather may be light but the crew have been working hard to keep us competitive.”

Zenhea Takesha, skippered by Aldo Quadarella, has retired from the race and are making their way back to Malta without requiring any assistance.

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Rolex Middle Sea Race to rewrite the record books

Posted on 01 October 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Rolex Middle Sea Race] The 35th edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race is fast approaching and appears likely to rewrite the record books. Entries are shortly due to close and the Royal Malta Yacht Club is already bracing itself for the biggest fleet to grace its island home since the Great Siege of 1565.The Ottoman Armada of 450 years ago was recorded to be 193 in strength. This year’s race entry is currently 129 and, even with the likelihood of some falling by the wayside before the start on Saturday, 18 October, there is every possibility that the number crossing the start line in Grand Harbour will exceed the current highest entry of 99 participants set last year.

The vibrant interest in this 606-nm offshore race reflects a resurgent passion within the yacht racing community for events that offer a proper test to both Corinthian and professional crews. The similar length biennial Rolex Fastnet Race is the biggest in terms of sheer numbers, attracting in excess of 300 yachts in each of its two most recent editions. This year’s 70th edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart (slightly longer at 628-nm) anticipates a fleet around 130 yachts, which would be its largest entry for 20 years.

As a core component in the offshore ‘circuit’, the Royal Malta Yacht Club can take pride in its ability to consistently draw yachts from around the world. Italy and the United Kingdom provide a solid foundation, with Russia, Germany, The Netherlands and France sizeably swelling the ranks. The local Maltese naturally contribute a good contingent, while entrants from Australia and the USA add a touch of glamour to a nation/territory roster that currently stands at 23.

Predicting the outcome of the race is full of ‘what ifs’ this far out. Esimit Europa 2 is the most powerful boat, and a banker to be first home should all go according to plan. Skipper Jochen Schümann is looking forward to the race: “The Rolex Middle Sea Race is both the highlight and the end of the year for Mediterranean offshore sailing. It is a tradition and one of the best races we do.” If the wind cooperates Schümann will undoubtedly have half an eye on the course record of 47 hours 55 minutes and 3 seconds set by American George David’s Rambler in 2007. His crew will take nothing for granted having had to withdraw from last year’s race after the yacht’s rig broke during the delivery passage to Malta.

The wind gods will also play their part in determining the overall victory. Swedish internet entrepreneur, Niklas Zennström will be hoping the mythological deities will favour his latest Rán (named after a Norse sea goddess) in the quest to add the Rolex Middle Sea Race to his impressive list of palmarés, which includes back-to-back Rolex Fastnet wins. Zennström’s Maxi 72 recently finished second at the Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds in Porto Cervo.

The Greek pair of Pericles Livas and Nikos Lazos, racing the 52-ft Optimum 3 will recall their famous victory in 2004, and will hope the mid-fleet gets the better of the conditions as they prepare for another assault on the course that takes yachts from Malta, north to the Strait of Messina, past the volcanic island of Stromboli across the northern coast of Sicily, through the Egadi Islands and south to Lampedusa and Pantelleria, before heading eastwards back to Malta. Another former winner, Lee Satariano skipper of the 40-ft Maltese yacht Artie, which sent national pride soaring in 2011,will be leading the prayers for the smaller yachts in the fleet.

Whatever the eventual conditions and the eventual outcome, the 2014 Rolex Middle Sea Race looks set to further cement the race’s place in the gilded pantheon of offshore yacht racing. And, the island at the ‘Crossroads of the Mediterranean’ will take centre stage once again as a cosmopolitan fleet prepares to take on this classic adventure.

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New class champions crowned at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup

Posted on 07 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Maxi yacht Rolex Cup] The final verdicts on the water were delivered during the final day’s pulsating and decisive racing, marking the conclusion of the 25th edition of the sailing spectacular organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) and the International Maxi Association (IMA) and sponsored by Rolex since 1985

Andres Soriano’s Alegre claimed a first Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship following a final day head to head with Roberto Tomasini Grinover’s resilient Robertissima III. In the Wally Class, Magic Carpet 3 sealed the title after a week of numerous twists and turns; Lionheart is the new J-Class champion; in Supermaxi Fireflyconfirmed her domination of the regatta; Lupa of London claimed Maxi racing/cruising. At the final prizegiving, class winners received a Rolex timepiece and Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup trophy.

LIONHEART (NED), overall winner in J-Class division. Photo Credit:Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

LIONHEART (NED), overall winner in J-Class division. Photo Credit: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Alegre: Joy Unconfined

Tension on the docks was palpable in the morning. Crews desperately sought to maintain a sense of composure ahead of an intense day’s racing; tactical plans were clarified, sail choices defined. In the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship, Alegre had twice gone into the final day (2010, 2013) with destiny in her own hands. On both occasions she lost out to Niklas Zennström’s Rán 2. This year Zennström and his new Rán 5were out of the running, beginning the day in third place and over ten points behind the leader. Alegre would still have to defeat Zennström’s all-conquering boat – the former Rán 2 is now in the capable hands of Grinover. Three points separated the two teams. Two windward/leeward races remained. All to play for.

We can’t let them [Robertissima] get away. We need to be cautious and keep it close,” confirmed Alegre’s Olly Cameron pre-race. On Robertissima, the atmosphere was disteso. “We are lucky to have this opportunity and we should be proud of what we have achieved until now,” said tactician Vasco Vascotto. “We just need to focus on sailing well. We said to the crew this morning treat it like it’s a Saturday race with your local club, pretend there’s not something important at stake. If we give our all it’s enough.

In a gustier day than expected – winds averaged 18-20 knots – it was Rán who enjoyed a typically impressive final fling claiming bullets in both races to finish third overall; more importantly Alegre’s third and fourth places were enough to curtail Robertissima’s dreams of success and in the process seal that elusive title.

It’s a great achievement for the team to be World Champion,” said Soriano. “I’m relieved, it’s something we strove for, we’ve been (in this position) twice already and we finally were able to get over the last hurdle. We sailed our own race; loose, relaxed, confident like we have all week. This year the level of the competition has been raised, more than any of us could have imagined.” The dockside congratulations reserved for Soriano from fellow Mini Maxi owners demonstrated that while the Class is about tough, competitive racing on the water, a gentlemanly spirit punctuates rivalries.

Irvine Laidlaw's HIGHLAND FLING (MON), overall winner in Mini Maxi Racing/Crusing division. Photo Credit:Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Irvine Laidlaw’s HIGHLAND FLING (MON), overall winner in Mini Maxi Racing/Crusing division. Photo Credit: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi


The only certainty in the J-Class is that a new champion will be crowned. Velsheda has failed to finish higher than third all week, leaving a three-way battle between Rainbow, Lionheart and Ranger for the title. The week’s largest boat, the 43.7m Lionheart holds a slender one-point advantage over Rainbow, three-time winnerRanger is a further point adrift.

Magic Carpet: Flying

In the Wally class, there was no obvious favourite going into today’s racing. The three leading crews were separated by just one point, all had winning Porto Cervo pedigree, all had led at some point during the week. Frenchman Jean-Charles Decaux’s defending champion J One began the day level on terms with Claus-Peter Offen’s four-time winner Y3K. Stalking just one point behind was Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, five-time winner at the event, and his Magic Carpet 3

A third bullet of the week enabled Magic Carpet 3 to take the first windward/leeward race; Y3K stumbled early suffering from a poor start; J One could not match Magic Carpet’s mastery of the conditions and had to settle for third. Magic Carpet’s supremacy was confirmed in the final race as her rivals fell by the wayside; J One had to retire; equipment issues led to Y3K failing to finish; survival of the fittest and third place was enough for Owen-Jones to claim a first success with his 2013-launched Wally Cento.

It was a close week,” reflected Owen-Jones, “J-One sails well, I know it well having been a boat of mine. We’ve been coming here a long time, it is the one we all want to win.”

Eric Bijlsma's FIREFLY (NED), winner in Supermaxi class. Photo Credit:Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Eric Bijlsma’s FIREFLY (NED), winner in Supermaxi class. Photo Credit: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Lionheart: Valiant

Sleek lines, tall masts and decks gleaming with polished winches and varnished woodwork, mean the J-Class boats have caught many admiring glances. The four-strong fleet swapped positions throughout the week, magnified during racing on the final day. With defending champion Velsheda out of the running after a poor week by her standards it was left to Lionheart, Rainbow and Ranger to compete for the title.

Lionheart’s day did not start well. Last place in the first windward/leeward race following a jib problem handed the initiative to her rivals; Rainbow faired little better, penalised for crossing the start line too early and finishing in third; Velsheda took the bullet, Ranger claimed second place.

Going into the final race, Lionheart, Rainbow and Ranger were tied at the top on ten points. Winner would take all. “It was pretty tough out there today,” explained Lionheart tactician Bouwe Bekking. “In the last race we didn’t make a brilliant start, but then we had a good run and got right back into it, Rainbow lost their spinnaker, and we had to tack off to clear it; they then had a tussle with Velsheda.” It was a tussle which finished in the Protest Room and saw Rainbow, winners on the water, disqualified. “Sometimes that’s how yacht racing goes,” reflected Bekking. “It has been really close, better racing you can’t get. The crew won us the regatta.”

A full review of the 25th Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup will be available on Tuesday 9 September.

Place, Boat Name, Boat Owner, Races; Total Points

Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship
1. Alegre (GBR), Alegre Yachting Ltd., 18 pts
2. Robertissima (CAY), Roberto Tomasini, 22 pts
3. Rán 5 (GBR), Niklas Zennstrom 22.5 pts

Mini Maxi R/C
1. Lupa of London (GBR), Jeremy Pilkington, 5
2. Bronenosec (RUS), Alpenberg S.A., 8
3. Arobas (FRA), Gerard Logel, 12

Maxi Racing
1. Highland Fling XI (MON), Irvine Laidlaw, 4
2. Odin (CAY), Tom Siebel, 8
3. Bristolian (GBR), Bristolian Marine Ltd., 13

1. Lionheart (GBR), Stichting Lionheart Syndicate, 12
2. Rainbow (NED), SPF JH2, 13
3. Ranger (CAY), R.S.V. Ltd., 14

1. Firefly (NED), Eric Bijlsma, 4
2. Inoui (SUI), Marco Vögele, 7
3. Viriella (ITA), Vittorio Moretti, 12

1. Magic Carpet 3 (GBR), Sir Lindsey Owen Jones, 13
2. J One (GBR), Jean Charles Decaux, 14
3. Y3K (GER), Claus Peter Offen, 15

Complete results may be found here

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Maxi yacht Rolex Cup: pressure point

Posted on 05 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup] Dramatic showdowns have been set up for the final races at the 2014 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. Verdicts in three classes will be decided during tomorrow’s decisive day: true proof of the close nature of the racing. All classes sailed a coastal course today with around seven knots from the north at the start, building to a 12-15 knot north-easterly midway through the race.

The Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship is living up to its pre-event billing as the tightest and most competitive in its five-year history. Heading into today’s critical coastal race, just two points separated the leading three teams.

Consistency, sound decision-making and taking only calculated risks are credited as the determining factors in such a tight championship. Andres Soriano’s Alegre, three-time runner-up, is proving the most reliable performer. “It’s going to be a very competitive week. One mistake and that’s that,” promised Soriano ahead of the competition. Today Alegre assumed impressive control of the 25-nm long coastal race after rounding the first mark well ahead of her rivals. Her lead remained unthreatened for the remainder of the race, which took yachts south to Mortoriotto, back up the coast into the Maddalena Archipelago and a brief glimpse of Bomb Alley, before turning north to Monaci and the run home.

Andres Soriano's ALEGRE (GBR) sailing to win the coastal race. Photo Credit:Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Andres Soriano’s ALEGRE (GBR) sailing to win the coastal race. Photo Credit: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Robertissima III, the Italian-crewed boat (and formerRán 2, last year’s winning yacht), has enjoyed a terrific week and today claimed second place. She trailsAlegre by three points ahead of tomorrow’s two scheduled windward/leeward races, and Alegre’s crew know from bitter experience that such a margin is vulnerable. “We’ve been playing averages. It would have been nice to have put more points between ourselves and Robertissima ahead of the final day, but these two boats now have a jump on the fleet,” saidAlegre’s Olly Cameron. “We can’t let them [Robertissima] get away. We need to be cautious [tomorrow] and keep it close.”

The learning curve for Robertissima owner Roberto Tomasini Grinover and his crew has been steep but one they are mounting at impressive velocity. “We are an inexperienced team in this class. Less than a year ago, we were here looking at the 72-ft boats and said how wonderful they were,” explains tactician Vasco Vascotto. “It’s a dream to be part of this class – it is not only about great boats but top class teams. We want to be very competitive.”

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Sir Lindsay Owen Jones’ Wally Cento MAGIC CARPET CUBED (GBR). Photo Credit: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Niklas Zennström’s Rán crew started the week as the defending champion and have experience in making dramatic comebacks in Porto Cervo, but today’s sixth place on his new Rán 5 has all but ended the crew’s chances of a fourth title in five years. A new champion is all but guaranteed after 2012 victor Bella Mente also struggled in today’s coastal race, leaving Hap Fauth’s crew in fourth.

Wally Form
Engaging competition and a dramatic final day is also offered by the Wally class. Four-time winner, Claus-Peter Offen and Y3K are tied on points with defending champion Jean-Charles Decaux and his J One crew. And one point behind lies Magic Carpet 3Y3K performed better of the three teams today, finishing in third while J One claimed fourth and Owen-Jones’s Magic Carpet 3 had to settle for sixth.

“The Wally class is very strong,” explains Offen, President of the International Maxi Association, “with the two Wally Centos (Magic Carpet 3 and Open Season) and many other well-sailed yachts, it will not be easy for Y3K to win the Wally title back, but we are working on it.”


Irvine Laidlaw's HIGHLAND FLING (MON) sailing to protect her leadership in the Maxi class. Photo Credit:Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Irvine Laidlaw’s HIGHLAND FLING (MON) sailing to protect her leadership in the Maxi class. Photo Credit: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

J-Class report
The only certainty in the J-Class is that a new champion will be crowned. Velsheda has failed to finish higher than third all week, leaving a three-way battle between RainbowLionheart and Rangerfor the title. The week’s largest boat, the 43.7m Lionheart holds a slender one-point advantage overRainbow, three-time winner Ranger is a further point adrift.

Elsewhere, bullets today have handed Firefly (Supermaxi), Lupa of London (Mini Maxi Racing/Cruising) and Highland Fling (Maxi) insurmountable leads in their respective classes.

Racing ends tomorrow. Up to two windward/leeward races are scheduled for the Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds fleet, the J-Class and Wally, while the remaining classes will sail a coastal course.

A full review of the 25th edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup will be available tomorrow.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup
The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) and the International Maxi Association (IMA). Rolex has been title sponsor since 1985.

Place, Boat Name, Boat Owner, Races; Total Points

Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship

1. ALEGRE (GBR), Alegre Yachting Ltd., 1.5-1-3-4-(5)-1.5; 11
2. ROBERTISSIMA (CAY), Roberto Tomasini, 6-2-1-(5)-2-3; 14
3. RÁN 5 (GBR), Niklas Zennstrom 4.5-3-2-2-(7)-9; 20.5

Mini Maxi R/C
1. LUPA OF LONDON (GBR), Jeremy Pilkington, 1-1-2-1; 5
2. BRONENOSEC (RUS), Alpenberg S.A., 4-2-1-2; 9
3. AROBAS (FRA), Gerard Logel, 2-4-3-3; 12

Maxi Racing
1. HIGHLAND FLING XI (MON), Irvine Laidlaw, 1-1-1-1; 4
2. ODIN (CAY), Tom Siebel, 2-2-2-2; 8
3. BRISTOLIAN (GBR), Bristolian Marine Ltd., 4-4-3-3; 14

1. LIONHEART (GBR), Stichting Lionheart Syndicate, (4)-1-2-2-1; 6
2. RAINBOW (NED), SPF JH2, 2-3-1-1-(4); 7

3. RANGER (CAY), R.S.V. Ltd., 1-2-(4)-3-2; 8


1. FIREFLY (NED), Eric Bijlsma, 1-1-2-1; 5
2. INOUI (SUI), Marco Vögele, 2-2-1-2; 7
3. VIRIELLA (ITA), Vittorio Moretti, 3-3-3-3; 12

1. Y3K (GER), Claus Peter Offen, (3)-2-1-3-2; 8
2. J ONE (GBR), Jean Charles Decaux, 1-(3)-2-2-3; 8
3. MAGIC CARPET 3 (GBR), Sir Lindsey Owen Jones, 2-1-(5)-1-5; 9

Complete results may be found here

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