The top event of the Mediterranean sailing season, the 23rd edition of the annual Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is to start in less than one month. Open exclusively to yachts of 18,29m (60ft) or more, almost 40 international crews have already registered for this highly anticipated race. Taking place from 2 to 8 September, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, hosted by Porto Cervo in Sardinia, has been supported by Rolex since 1985.
Five days of intense racing throughout the celebrated Maddalena Archipelago are scheduled. The environment is perfectly suited to offer high-class sailing with the promise of challenging winds, scenic waters and rugged, rocky shorelines. The fleet is divided into five size-dependent classes – Supermaxi, Maxi Racing, Maxi Racing/Cruising, Wally and Mini Maxi, which also comprises the third running of the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship.
The Mini Maxis currently entered include two-time world champion, yacht Rán 2 (GBR), owned by Niklas Zennström and fielding a highly professional crew. The 21.91-metre (72-foot) Rán 2 will face determined opposition provided by the likes of the recent Rolex Volcano Race winner, Sir Peter Ogden’s revamped 18.9-metre (62-ft) sailing yacht Jethou (GBR), as well as George Sakellaris’ 21.8-metre (71-ft) luxury yacht Shockwave (USA) and the much-anticipated, newly-launched 21.94-metre (72-ft) yacht Bella Mente (USA), owned by Hap Fauth.
Intriguing confrontations are guaranteed across the fleet. In the Supermaxi class, Filip Balcaen’s 34.13-metre (112-ft) superyacht Nilaya (GBR) is back to defend her title against the 45.19-metre (148-ft) Saudade superyacht and two more goliaths, both of which are making their competitive debut at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup: the 47.64-metre (164-ft) superyacht Better Place (CAY) and the 66-metre (216-ft) megayacht Heitairos (CAY).
In Maxi Racing, the 30.48-metre (100-ft) pan-European crew on sailing yacht Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) will seek to get the better of last year’s class winner, superyacht Highland Fling (MON). In Maxi Racing/Cruising, Brian Benjamin’s 25.10-metre (82-ft) superyacht Aegir 2 (GBR) will be determined to avoid last year’s final-race heartbreak when she lost the overall title by seconds. Meanwhile, the Wally class is set to crown a new winner. Claus-Peter Offen’s four-time champion, sailing yacht Y3K (GER) is not scheduled to take part, opening the door for the likes of seasoned Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup campaigner Magic Carpet 2 (GBR), owned by Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, and debutante Hamilton, owned by Charles Dunstone.
Organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and the International Maxi Association, prestigious organizations with close ties to Rolex, the week is a demonstration of both the latest trends and the constant evolution in Maxi yacht design. It also hosts a first-class social programme, including the Rolex Crew Party and the final Prize-Giving Ceremony, where the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cups and Rolex timepieces will be presented to the winners.
Sunday, 2 September
Inspections, registration and briefing
Monday, 3 September
Tuesday, 4 September
Wednesday, 5 September
Thursday, 6 September
Lay day or resail
Friday, 7 September
Rolex Crew Party
September, 8 September
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- 2012 Rolex Volcano Race: Awards for Jethou yacht and Nilaya superyacht