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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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Flying Phantom major milestone first customer delivery

Posted on 04 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Phantom International] Phantom International is pleased to announce that the first customer has taken delivery of the second Flying Phantom unit to be produced. The boat was delivered in August to the banks of Fuschl Lake, 20 km (12 miles) from Salzburg, in Austria.

The delivery of the FP002 is a major milestone for Phantom International and confirms that the industrialization phase is now well underway after months of processing, racing and optimisation of the mechanical and production processes. This unit integrates all the modifications decided upon following the testing sessions and race events with the FP001 i.e. the Flying Phantom presented at the Paris Boat Show in December 2013.

It was a huge challenge to move from a representative prototype to a production One Design boat due to the requirements and objectives for a new flying class and the need to define new standards. On the one hand, flying with an 18-foot catamaran requires high performance foils, a light weight boat and high stiffness for the platform, while the process needs to be easily repeatable and reliable to keep all the boats as identical as possible with a styling and standard of finish never before seen in the world of racing cats.

All constitutive parts (476 components in the bill of material) were carefully chosen to address all the different design aspects of the boat including a target weight below 165kg. One of the key elements concerning the construction of the hulls and foils is the use of Prepreg carbon fibre with a NOMEX honeycomb. This composite technology is widely used in the construction process of Formula 1 car chassis and body panels and America’s Cup catamarans. The resulting composite structures offer a high strength-to-weight ratio and rigidity-to-weight ratio: tensile and compression stresses are supported by the carbon skins and shearing stress is supported by the honeycomb core resulting in rigidity in several directions and excellent weight saving.

Mechanical parts were manufactured using a high performance aluminium alloy. Their design requirements and implementation ensure perfect control of all moving parts and increase the rigidity of the platform when we are looking at the overall structure.

With their cumulative experience and all the hard work done by the Phantom International team, the engineering staff and the sub-contractors, the ultimate objective of producing the first and unique One Design 18-foot flying catamaran has been achieved.

Ten boats have already been produced and are currently being shipped to customers around the world. The current production rate is two boats per week and will ramp up to three boats per week by the end of September in order to maintain a high rate of production in order to satisfy the demand from customers.

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Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup – Mixed fortunes on day 2

Posted on 03 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: YCCS] Clear skies and a fresh mistral breeze marked the start of the second race day in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2014. After yesterday’s coastal race for the entire fleet, the Race Committee decided to shake things up, setting windward-leeward courses for the Mini Maxi Racing, Wally and J-Class yachts while the remainder of the fleet sailed two slightly different coastal courses.

In the fiercely competitive Mini Maxi fleet, battling for their annual World Championship, Andres Soriano’s Alegre remains in the top spot as do Firefly (Supermaxi), Highland Fling (Maxi) and Lupa of London (Mini Maxi Racing/Cruising) in their respective divisions. Among the classic J Class boats the 40-metre Rainbow moves up the overall classification to claim first place and Y3K takes command of the nine- boat Wally fleet.

MAGIC CARPET CUBED, Sail n: GBR1001R, Owner: SIR LINDSAY OWEN JONES, Lenght: "30,48", Model: Wally100 Photo Credit:Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

ALEGRE (GBR) Mills 72. Photo Credit: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

While the Mini Maxi Racing, Wally and J Class divisions completed two windward-leeward races just off Porto Cervo, the rest of the fleet completed a 29 mile coastal course which was adjusted to 24 miles for the Mini Maxi Racing/Cruising boats. The route visited many of the famous ‘natural buoys’ of the Costa Smeralda regatta course – Monaci Island, the Secca Tre Monti rock, the strait off Capo Ferro and the island of Mortoriotto to the south – and provided spectators and photographers with some stunning images.

Thanks to top-rate performances in both of today’s races – producing a second place and a bullet – YCCS Member Roberto Tommasini’s Judel-Vrolijk 72 Robertissima climbed from fourth place to second overall. Alegre, with John Kostecki calling tactics, holds on to first place and Niklas Zennstrom’s Rán 5 with tactician Adrian Stead remains in third.

RAINBOW, Sail n: JH2, Owner: SPF JH2, Lenght: "39,90", Model: J Class Photo Credit:Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

RAINBOW, J Class. Photo Credit:Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Robertissima’s tactician, Vasco Vascotto had mixed feelings about the day’s performance: ‘It was a great day even if we weren’t too pleased with the first race, we didn’t sail brilliantly, we can do better than that. Everything went right for us in the second race though, we were a bit worried about the wind shift on the final upwind leg but we were able to control the boat well and get the result. We are happy today but we know that this week will be a real battle.’ 

The spectacular battle among the J-Class yachts continues with the giant of the fleet, the 43-metre Lionheart, posting a 1-2 scoreline in today’s windward-leewards. It wasn’t enough to put them at the top of the classification, however, as Rainbow claimed a convincing win in the final race of the day despite blowing a spinnaker on the first downwind leg. Rainbow now leads the division by just one point ahead of Lionheart and Ranger who both sit on seven points ahead of Velsheda. 

MAGIC CARPET CUBED, GBR1001R, Wally100. Photo Credit:Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

The results in the Supermaxi division were an exact replica of yesterday’s and leave Firefly heading up the classification ahead of the Swiss yacht Inoui and Italy’s Viriella with Mauro Pelaschier at the helm. 

In the Wally division IMA President Claus Peter Offen’s Y3K took a second place and a bullet in the windward-leewards to move up to first place overall ahead of J One while the Wally Cento Magic Carpet 3 slipped back to third place after coming fifth in the second race of the day. 

The Mini Maxi Racing/Cruising division saw Jeremy Pilkington’s Lupa of London dominate for the second consecutive day, taking victory in real and corrected time. Russia’s Bronenosec in took second place in today’s coastal race and climbed to second place overall in the overall classification ahead of French yacht Arobas.

Vladimir Liubomirov , at the helm of Bronenosec, was cautiously oprimistic for tomorrow: ‘The wind was a bit shifty today, but we got a race in which was good and it was a really tight finish on the course. The same type of conditions are forecast for tomorrow, we will try to hold our position and if we were able to beat Lupa of London we would be happy, but we will see. This regatta is very important for us but we are also working as a team and adjusting the boat as we’ll be here next week as well for Rolex Swan Cup.’ No change in the Maxi division as Sir Irvine Laidlaw’s 25-metre Highland Fling claimed another bullet ahead of the Swan 90 Odin.

Complete results may be found here

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Strong winds for the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup start

Posted on 01 September 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Maxi yacht Rolex Cup] The 25th edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup commenced with gusto today as the 35 competing Maxi yachts completed a coastal course through Sardinia’s Maddalena archipelago. Strong winds ensured conditions were exacting for the five classes of Maxi yacht contesting the event, among them the beguiling J-Class yachts, where competition offers competitive racing and a compelling insight into sailing heritage.

RAINBOW and RANGER, battle for the first J-Class victory of the week. Photo: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

RAINBOW and RANGER, battle for the first J-Class victory of the week. Photo: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Restoring glories   
Owing to their sleek lines, tall masts and decks gleaming with polished winches and varnished woodwork, the five attending J-Class boats catch many admiring glances on the docks of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. The America’s Cup boat of choice in the 1930s, victim of the steel shortage during World War 2 when a number of its kind were destroyed, has enjoyed a revival since the turn of the century. In 2000, the J-Class Association was formed encouraging the construction of replicas of the perished originals. Lionheart, Rainbow, Ranger, Shamrock V and Velsheda are the five J-Class boats on show in Porto Cervo for the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. The former three are replicas of original designs; the latter two restorations. Graceful to watch, captivating and fun to sail, the Class is equally defined by the Corinthian spirit of its competition.

Jeroen de Vos designed the replica of the original Rainbow for Dykstra & Naval Architects. It was launched in 2012 after two years of intense work between the design studio and shipbuilders Holland Jachtbouw. The great challenge for a latter-day J-Class designer is creating a finished yacht which is aesthetically loyal to its original design, complies with class rules, includes a full, luxury interior and is capable of high performance.

ROBERTISSIMA III (GBR), BELLA MENTE (USA) and JETHOU (GBR) fighting for the best start. Photo: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

ROBERTISSIMA III (GBR), BELLA MENTE (USA) and JETHOU (GBR) fighting for the best start. Photo: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

In order to compete on racecourses as demanding as those at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, the contemporary take on the J-Class requires 21st century engineering musts. “We worked with the original line span from 1934 – it’s the one fixed factor in the design,” explains de Vos, “the boat now has an engine and there are an extra ten centremetres of freeboard to allow for all the systems and interior – all the stuff that they didn’t have in the ‘30s. Additionally, there are powered winches, there is a little deck house, the rig is taller and there is more sail area so while it looks the same from a distance, the way the boats are sailed is completely different from the old days.”

Bouwe Bekking is a professional sailor of considerable expertise, drawing on a career competing on boats as varied as Farr 40s, Volvo 70s and Supermaxis. At the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, he is a key decision maker on Lionheart, a restoration completed in 2010. “I’ve been sailing with Lionheartfor about three years,” explains Bekking. “All the boats are pretty similar that’s the nice thing about the J’s. Sailing them goes back to heritage of the America’s Cup, the roots of offshore racing, they are magnificent to view, great to sail.”

RAINBOW, Sail n: JH2. Photo: Carlo Borlenghi

RAINBOW, Sail n: JH2. Photo: Carlo Borlenghi

The similarities in design of the J-Class yachts ensures close competition in the Class, rewarding who sails best on a given day. They are challenging boats to manoeuvre – loads are enormous, they weigh in excess of 170 tonnes, the sail area can cover up to 1,000m². The crew of 35 skilled sailors onboard need to plan and execute manoeuvres effortlessly, communicate efficiently. “Every manoeuvre has its time and point to make a decision. The tactician and the navigator know those cut off times and they have to make a decision at a certain point,” explains de Vos. “We have departments onboard; the foredeck, mast, middeck and trimmers and back of the boat and a crew boss who needs to reach a couple of people. Then there are the radios, so communication is quick.” “It’s practice, practice, practice,” adds Bekking, “so you can get in a routine that allows the guys can do a good job. However, we approach it like sailing a Farr 40, sometimes jibing every 2-3 minutes. The pressure is on but its great fun when you can pull manoeuvres off in such short distances.”

In parallel with the yesteryear elegance is fierce competition and a will to win as intense as the all out racers contesting the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship. “They all want to win, the owners are competitive, the atmosphere is nice. It’s great competition, everyone can win,” says Bekking.

Day 1 – On The Water
Velsheda is the defending J-Class champion, however today it was three-time Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup winner Ranger who claimed the first bullet. Defeating Rainbow by only five seconds on corrected time further demonstrates the close nature of the competition.

The eagerly anticipated first race of the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship was dominated by Andres Soriano’s Alegre, particularly important as today’s coastal race is doublescored.  American Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente claimed second place while Niklas Zennström’s Rán 5, on its competition debut, finished in third.

Elsewhere, defending champion J One won the Wally class, pursued by Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’s Wally Cento Magic Carpet Cubed. Firefly won Supermaxi, Lord Irvine Laidlaw’s Highland Flingprevailed in Maxi Racing and Lupa of London triumphed in Mini Maxi racing/cruising.


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

Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship
1. ALEGRE (GBR), Alegre Yachting Ltd., 1.5; 1.5
2. BELLA MENTE (USA), John Fauth, 3; 3
3. RÁN 5 (GBR), Niklas Zennström 4,5; 4,5

Mini Maxi R/C
1. LUPA OF LONDON (GBR), Jeremy Pilkington, 1; 1
2. AROBAS (FRA), Gerard Logel, 2; 2
3. WALLYNO (LUX), Benoit de Froidmont, 3; 3

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

1. RANGER (CAY), R.S.V. Ltd., 1; 1
2. RAINBOW (NED), Chris Gongriep, 2; 2
3. VELSHEDA (GBR), Tarbat Investment Ltd, 3; 3

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

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

Complete results may be found here

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Quality fleet for Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2014

Posted on 30 August 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Maxi yacht Rolex Cup] 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.

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.

The appearance of Rán 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.

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 LionheartRainbow,RangerShamrock 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.

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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Big Fleet Racing In Store For Audi Melges 20s On Lake Garda

Posted on 21 August 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Melges20 Associoation] Riva Del Garda, Italy – More than 50 Audi Melges 20 teams will compete this weekend at the Riva Del Garda edition of the 2014 Audi-Tron Sailing Series, the fourth act of the five-part European program that also serves as a prelude to the World Championship. The Worlds is scheduled to take place in late August (25-30) in the same location, hosted by Fraglia Vela Riva, organized by B.Plan Sports & Events and Melges Europe.

In Riva, the International Class is proud to present representation from nine countries including Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Monaco, Russia and the United States. Italy is best represented with 23 entries, followed by Russia with 7, Monaco and the U.S.A. share 4 each.

Much is at stake in Riva Del Garda. For 2014 Melges 20 Audi-Tron Sailing Series leader (after three events) Dario Levi aboardFremito D’Arja with crew members Nicolo Bianchi and Stefano Lagi, will attempt to sustain their lead. On the newly presentedWorld Ranking stage, Richard Davies and his Section 16 team comprised of two-time Olympic Bronze Medallist and U.S. Sailing High Performance Director Charlie McKee as tactician along with the young and highly skilled Matt Pistay, will work exceptionally hard to push past Wes Whimyer’s Slingshot (not present in Riva) and place some space between themselves and the rest of the fleet on the scoreboard.


The general Entry List is long and well-endowed. Reigning Melges 24 World and European Champion tactician Gabriele Benussi will call the shots on Guido Miani’s Out of Reach, while fleet newcomer Corrado Augusta’s Customly will employ America’s Cup Luna Rossa team member Pietro D’Ali. Alessandro Rombelli’s Stig will feature Danielle Cassinari, and sailing with Roberto Martinez on Audi g-Tron Fratelli Giacomel is none other than Enrico Fonda.

On the family side of the fleet, Russ Lucas will sail his very famous Shimmer Audi Melges 20 with the help of multi-world and national champions Harry Melges and Federico Michetti. Russ’ daughter Grace Lucas, a recent graduate of the College of Charleston and an extremely accomplished young sailor will sail on Shimmer 2 with the talented husband and wife team of Chris and Dani Rast.

Racing officially commences on Saturday and concludes on Sunday. Six races are scheduled.

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Three new World Champions!

Posted on 10 August 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: ORC World Championship] As if an intentional counterpoint to the light winds found during most of this week, the final day and final race of the 2014 ORC World Championship had strong gusty winds, alternating rain and sun, and the same steep choppy waves that are so famous for Kiel. In these conditions new champions were born and the remaining podium positions filled after nine races among the 151 entries from 19 countries in this event. In all, the podium was filled with teams from Italy, Germany, Estonia, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and Sweden.

On the strength of their domination of Class C and the Jury’s dismissal of an attempt to re-open a protest last night against them and two dozen other entries, Giuseppe Giuffre’s Low Noise from Italy knew they had earned their third World title crown and did not have to brave the wind and rain today.

I have looked to the GPH for the positioning in the fleet to remain in Class C,” said designer Matteo Polli, whose optimization work has helped get the Low Noise team into the winner’s circle. “The M37 has always been performing very well in medium-heavy conditions but the challenge has been to improve in the light conditions. In 2011 I designed the new keel and that has been a huge step in this direction. Then after the big changes in the VPP I decided to go heavier with a little bow down trim. I know it may seem strange but this has helped even more in the light winds.”

Enfant Terrible sailing to ORC World Championship. Photo copyright

While not quite as dominant in Class B as Low Noise was in Class C, Jaak Jögi’s X-41 Forte was in a similar situation last night when they too learned they won the title for their native Estonia and would have the day off. While Jögi is not new to winning – he was the 2006 X-99 World Champion – their preparation strategy focused more on the software than the hardware, as well as sensible big fleet sailing tactics.

“We did not know before the worlds what to expect, even if it was clear that the X41 fits well in the ORC system,” said Jögi. “With a good performance we were hoping for a top 6 position. We sailed very conservatively, and have avoided taking risks, so it was good speed and good starts that led us finally to success. In Estonia we have some good competitors and we have training a lot at Wednesday regattas at home.”

Jögi’s Gold medal team included Alar Volmer, Kalev Kaal, Marko Nuud, Olaf Sylla, Ando Raud, Kalev Vapper, Tammo Otsasoo, Martin Kaal, and Indrek Rajangu.

With the winners determined, the remaining fights in these classes were to fill the remaining positions on the podium. In Class B this could not have been tighter, with the Bronze and Silver medal winners ending up tied on points and an extremely close margin in corrected time that just a few seconds different could have produced a completely different outcome. Peter de Ridder’s Dutch Swan 45 Checkmate’s third place in this final race was only 4 seconds ahead of Christopher Opielock’s Corby 38 Rockall IV in fourth, and only 15 seconds ahead of Milan Hajek’s Czech Beneteau 40.7 Three Sisters in fifth. Even the slightest change could have deprived de Ridder and his team of their Silver medals, or even the Czech team their Bronze medal performance.

In Class C, the race for the Silver and Bronze medals was also quite close at times, although Patrik Forsgren’s modified Beneteau 36.7 Team Pro4U from Sweden and Martin Nilsson’s Salona 37 Vencom had a good enough margin coming into the day to only need a top ten finish to earn their respective positions on the podium.

This left Class A to provide the real excitement of the day to produce their winners. Claus Landmark’s Landmark 43 Santa from Norway had been leading all week on some impressive scores earned in the first few days of racing with no discards yet applied. But as soon as steadier conditions prevailed and the discards dropped the worst scores, this lead started melting away to be only four points coming into today.

The strong breeze and big waves were just what the lighter boats were waiting for all week, so even with a 100 seconds/mile corrected time margin owed to Santa, Alberto Rossi’s TP 52 Enfant Terrible from Italy defeated not only them but all the others, planing and non-planing alike. With this first place and an additional several points between them and Santa, Enfant Terrible won their third World Championship title in four years.

“I think ORC racing is very good, very close, the system is working well,” said Rossi, who is also active in the Farr 40 Class circuit. “We have many different types of boats here, but when they are sailed well anyone can have the chance to win.”

Rossi’s Gold medal team this week included Lorenzo Bressani as Tactician, Daniele Cassinari, Francesco Mongelli, Gabriele Benussi, Claudio Celon, Nicholas Dal Ferro, Matteo Stroppolo, Massimo Gheraducci, Federico Giovannelli, Samuele Nicolettis, Matteo Mason, Roberto Strappati, Marco Carpinello and Saverio Cigliano.

With Santa claiming the Silver medal prize, another planing race boat, Heinz-Peter Schmidt’s GP 42 Silva Neo, earned Bronze and finished as the top German boat in the event.

Corinthian Trophy winners among all-amateur teams in each class included Kai Mares’s Immac One4All (6th in Class A), Checkmate (Class B), and Team Pro4U (Class C).

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