Supermaxi Luxury Yacht & Superyacht News

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2014, August 31 – September 6

July 03, 2014

Representing the world’s number one rendezvous for Maxi yachts, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup will return in a little under two months time, running from 31 August – 6 September. The competition is always one of the international yachting calendar’s standout occasions, sponsored by Rolex since 1985. Organized by the International Maxi Association (IMA) and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS), this unmissable event for yacht designers, sailors and Maxi owners alike will be hosted by the fabulous Sardinia yacht charter destination – Porto Cervo.

Superyachts Y3K and HAMILTON during the windward-leeward races in Porto Cervo - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Superyachts Y3K and HAMILTON during the windward-leeward races in Porto Cervo - Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

One of the competition’s most contested divisions is the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship, where the quality increases year after year. Sailing yacht Rán 2, Niklas Zennström’s outstanding 72-ft Mini Maxi, has won three of the four championships to date, although 2013’s dramatic victory in the final race was to be her last in the hands of Zennström who launched a new Rán earlier this year. Despite the new boat’s impressive start, Rán’s crew are fully aware that competing on the Costa Smeralda’s myriad of challenging racecourses will provide its sternest test to date.

Luxury yacht Alegre was 2013’s new launch and performed impressively. Expectations are that the crew will be more familiar with boat’s potential and once again she will be among the frontrunners alongside Hap Fauth’s yacht Bella Mente from the United States, winner in 2012. The fleet is likely to be bolstered by the presence of other quality Mini Maxis including George Sakellaris’ yacht Shockwave (USA), Sir Peter Ogden’s new 72-ft luxury yacht Jethou (GBR), the former Stig, Swiss Alexander Schaerer’s yacht Caol Ila R and sailing yacht Robertissima III (ITA), formerly Ran 2.

Mini Maxis at the race start - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Mini Maxis at the race start - Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Rivalries are abound throughout the competition. Last year’s Wally competition witnessed the Porto Cervo debut of Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’s new Wally Cento 100 superyacht Magic Carpet 3 although it was Jean Charles Decaux’s luxury yacht J-One which claimed its first title since 2007. Both crews are expected to return this year. 2013 witnessed the return to the Maddalena archipelago of the J-Class, where restorations compete with replica builds of original 1930s designs, adding both grace and class to the spectacle.

The Maxi class welcomes yachts from 80-100ft, usually the fastest boats on show. Recent participants have included Igor Simčič’s all conquering 100-ft Reichel/Pugh superyacht Esimit Europa 2 as well as Lord Irvine Laidlaw’s 82-ft hybrid yacht Highland Fling. In terms of sheer scale and power, the Supermaxi class, open to yachts over 100-ft, catch many admiring glances. Comprising boats dually designed to cruise and race, Filip Balcaen’s superyacht Nilaya has won the last three editions although it was mega yacht Hetairos’s appearance in 2012 that made the most memorable headlines. At 216-ft (66.7m) she became the largest yacht ever to appear at the event. Proof that the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is always pushing boundaries, forever evolving.

Dramatic conclusion to inaugural Frers Cup 2014

July 02, 2014

The very first edition of the Frers Cup came to a dramatic end on the race course, with three Maxi yachts tied on points for second place, with less than a minute deciding the eventual podium positions. The penultimate party at the Frers Cup was just as exciting, but much more relaxed. Frers owners and their guests enjoyed a sundowner on Friday night at Erice, towering over the west coast of the beautiful Sicily yacht charter destination, 751m above sea level. Erice is a fabulous ancient town, providing fantastic views of Trapani as well as the Mediterranean Sea.

Prizegiving Ceremony - Frers superyacht Alarife - Image by Frers Cup/Carlo Borlenghi

Prizegiving Ceremony - Frers superyacht Alarife - Image by Frers Cup/Carlo Borlenghi

Under the auspices of the Club Canottieri Roggero di Lauria and assisted by Match Race Trapani, the final day of the Frers Cup took place on Saturday 28 June. Blessed with sparkling Mediterranean sunshine and a gentle north easterly breeze, GWM Racing selected a ten mile windward leeward course west of Favignana and Levanzo with an offset mark and an upwind finish. Light conditions produced a close encounter for the fourth and final race of the inaugural Frers Cup.

Starting well is always important, especially with the monumental sail area of the Frers Maxis, where the amount of disturbed air is a significant proportion of the true wind. Vicente Garcia Torres’ Swan 80 yacht Plis Play chose to hang back and take the windward end of the line, to avoid the wind shadow from the colossal Frers Maxis. The fleet, save German Frers’ Swan 112 charter yacht Mystery chose to head for Levanzo, and were rewarded with an increase in wind funnelling between the islands. Once again, Plis Play showed great speed in light airs to make the top mark in first position and once into clear air, the Spanish team were unstoppable taking their third win of the regatta and the overall prize of the Frers Cup.

Armando Grandi's Wally 100 Yacht Gibian

Armando Grandi's Wally 100 Yacht Gibian - Image by Frers Cup/Carlo Borlenghi

“Our owner and all of the crew feel honoured to be here and to win the Frers Cup has been incredible. The conditions were suited to our boat but we have a very good team that have been together for a few years, so handling the boat is something that we have really worked together to try to perfect. This is the first time I have ever sailed in these waters and I was really surprised. Racing around the islands you see some really beautiful scenery, castles and historic buildings, The Egadi Islands are so interesting.”

The last race of The Frers Cup proved to be a tremendous battle for second place at the regatta. Juan Entrecanales’ Frers Maxi, Alarife crossed the line after Plis Play following a tremendous battle with Armando Grandi’s Wally 100 superyacht Gibian. Frers Maxi charter yacht Bristolian was the next yacht to finish followed by German Frers Swan 112, Mystery. After time correction three yachts were tied for second place for the regatta. Bristolian, Gibian and Mystery had all scored the same number of points. However, Bristolian’s second place in the last race, secured the British yacht as runner up for The Frers Cup by just 32 seconds from Gibian.

Plis Play Yacht Crew

Plis Play Yacht Crew - Image by Frers Cup/Carlo Borlenghi

North Sails, Yves Montanari is part of the crew racing on Frers Maxi, Bristolian. “The spirit of the Frers Cup has been fantastic. North Sails does not have a major loft facility in Sicily. However, Francesco Valenza from Doyle Sails, Italy was very happy to allow all of the competitors to use their large loft in Palermo. Wally 100, Gibian needed a small sail repair and Francesco was quick to offer help. Francesco has been sailing on Bristolian for the regatta and he has been a pleasure to sail with and  while we had a great battle with Gibian in the last race, ashore all of the teams are always happy to help each other out, that is the nature of The Frers Cup.”

The official Prize Giving was held at one of Trapani’s finest public gardens, Villa Magherita. Exclusively opened for the Frers Cup by the City of Trapani, the gardens were planted in 1878, shortly after the unification of Italy by Garibaldi, who started his quest in Sicily. Honoured guests included Vito Damiano, Major of Trapani and Giancarlo Russo, Trapani Harbour Master.

Vicente Garcia Torres' Swan 80 Yacht Plis Play

Vicente Garcia Torres' Swan 80 Yacht Plis Play - - Image by Frers Cup/Carlo Borlenghi

German Frers Snr. Opened the ceremony with a light hearted, yet passionate speech about the competitors. Each competing yacht owner and crew was roundly applauded with the biggest cheer saved for the first winner of the Frers Cup. Vicente Garcia Torres, owner of Swan 80 Plis Play, lifted the trophy and the Spanish owner was roundly applauded for their excellent performance.

German Mani Frers took the podium to give a closing address and was quick to thank the organisers of the event, especially Kathryn Thomson, Sarah Goodacre and Francesca Natoli and also announced that The Frers Cup, will be once again, held in Trapani in 2015.

Frers Cup 2014: Day 2

June 28, 2014

Competing was delayed by an hour on Day Two of the Frers Cup, but it was well worth the wait. After the gentle north easterly breeze settled, a windward leeward course was laid just off Favignana for the second race of the regatta. Swan 112 charter yacht Mystery, helmed by German Frers Snr., got away to an amazing start, staying in the shadow of Favigana, a fabulous Sicily yacht charter location. She was rewarded with lifting pressure, but the nimble Swan 80 sailing yacht Plis Play, with Vincente Garcia Torres at the wheel, revelled in the light conditions to gain first place at the top mark.

Frers Cup 2014 Race Start

Frers Cup 2014 Race Start - Frers Cup/Carlo Borlenghi & Luca Butto

After a perfect spinnaker hoist, Plis Play immediately gybed to make use of their symmetrical spinnaker to sail a more direct route to the finish. Plis Play took the gun and their second win of the regatta. German Frers Snr racing Swan 112, Mystery was second and Armando Grandi’s Wally 100 superyacht Gibian was third.

By the start of Race Three, a sea breeze had developed, shifting the freshening breeze to the northwest and pumping the wind speed up to 17 knots. It was a perfect scenario for a race around Favignana, the largest of the Aegadian Islands. Nicknamed the Butterfly of the Mediterranean for its shape and beauty, Favignana’s stunning scenery is fabled through out Italy.

The Frers Cup fleet enjoyed spectacular conditions through out the two hour race. Passing Capo Faraglioni, the yachts encountered an agitated sea state, whipped up in the narrow strait between Favignana and Levanzo. The Frers Maxis were in their element, smashing through the waves in a supreme display of power, whilst swapping tacks in close quarters. After rounding the top mark, Frers Wally 100 Gibian was leading the fleet on the water but a sail problem was costly. Plis Play passed them to take up the running and hugged the rugged coast line past the picturesque Isolotto Prevero. Plis Play stayed inshore to protect their windward position, preventing Gibian from overtaking and the well sailed Spanish Swan 80, Plis Play gained their third line honours in a row, however a starting infringement was to drop Plis Play into second place.

Superyachts Plis Play and Gibian

Superyachts Plis Play and Gibian - Frers Cup/Carlo Borlenghi & Luca Butto

After an intense battle, German Frers Swan 112, Mystery was the winner of Race Three after time correction. Vincente Garcia Torres’ Swan 80, Plis Play was second with Armando Grandi’s Wally 100, Gibian third.

German Mani Frers was racing with his father on board Mystery. “We had a lot of fun, the crew only really came together yesterday but today we really clicked together and produced some good results. That in itself gives you a great feeling but the racing today, against the other yachts, was really intense and thoroughly enjoyable.”

The Frers Cup is designed to encourage yacht owners and their guests to enjoy each other’s company and the Boat Hop Party was very successful in that regard. Owners invited fellow competitors on board to share their stories and appreciate aspects of the different styles of Frers yachts. Frers Maxi Alarife was a popular location for the Boat Hop.

Juan Entrecanales’ Frers Maxi yacht Alarife is well travelled, the 100 ft Frers Maxi was designed with a flush deck. However in cruising mode, custom made protection has enabled her owner to extensively cruise around the world. In 2010, Alarife left her home port in Palamós, Spain and did not return for almost two years. After crossing the Atlantic, Alarife sailed through the Panama Canal into the Pacific, cruising through the Galápagos Islands, Tahiti, Fiji and New Zealand. Alarife rounded Cape Horn and sailed to Patagonia, negotiating the Beagle Channel and Magellan Strait and cruised through Brazil, before returning to the Mediterranean.

Luxury yacht Alarife

Luxury yacht Alarife - Frers Cup/Carlo Borlenghi & Luca Butto

“It was a fantastic trip and one that I shared with all my family, including some of my grandchildren.” Smiled Juan Entrecanales, owner of Alarife. “We didn’t do all of the trip but returned to Spain on occasions. Alarife was just perfect, so reliable and comfortable for all my family and I have so many fond memories of the adventure. The boat captain and crew had a very rough passage in the Southern Ocean but the boat had no problems at all. My only real fear during the experience was diving in the Galapagos. Along with my family we were joined with sharks of up to four metres. The Frers Cup is an excellent event, Alarife is not designed for racing but this regatta is about having fun with owners of Frers yachts and the atmosphere is excellent.”

Frers Design Focus – Frers Maxi, Bristolian

Designed by German Frers and launched in 1998, as Mari Cha II, the Frers Maxi charter yacht Bristolian smashed the Trans-Atlantic record. Completing the course from Ambrose Lighthouse, New Jersey, to Cape Lizard, England in just under nine days, Mari Cha II broke the previous record by over two and a half days. Bristolian is both luxury yacht and racing thoroughbred. Extensively refitted with a new carbon rig and teak deck, Bristolian races extensively in the Caribbean winter and cruises and races in the Mediterranean in the summer months. Last year, Bristolian was the victor of the Grand Dames Class, at the prestigious Newport Bucket Regatta, Rhode Island, USA.

Racing at the Frers Cup will conclude on Saturday 29 June with the final race of the regatta, which will be followed by the Frers Cup Prize Giving, in the ancient city of Trapani.

Hoek-designed sailing yacht Lionheart Crowned King of the J-Class fleet

June 27, 2014

Hoek Design are celebrating yet another amazing victory, after the J-Class sailing yacht Lionheart won the fourth and final race at the Palma Superyacht Cup, which was hosted by the beautiful Mallorca yacht charter destination last weekend. Superyacht Lionheart took victory in the J-Class fleet, with a 1-1-3-1, and an exceptional 4.5-point lead over charter yacht Ranger, taking second place.

Superyacht Cup Palma 2014

Superyacht Cup Palma 2014

The final coastal race was a fitting showdown with just 1 point separating the regatta leaders luxury yacht Lionheart from superyacht Hanuman but once again it was to be Lionheart’s day. Andre Hoek, a regular race crew member of the Lionheart team was on board and extremely proud not only to see the owner and crew race the yacht so well but also of his team in The Netherlands who, based on their philosophy of ‘Performance Through Research’, did a vast amount of analysis and development to optimise the design of Lionheart for all conditions, something which is clearly paying off.

Having won 8 out of 9 races so far this season, the owner of the Claasen-built yacht Lionheart also took home The Corinthian King’s Cup’, an award presented as a perpetual trophy ‘for friendly competition between J-Class yachts, each sailed by an amateur owner helmsman,’ and just to top it off, after Lionheart won the class’s top trophy in 2012 and Hanuman in 2013, this year the ‘King’s Hundred Guinea Cup’ was awarded jointly to the owners of both yachts!

With 5 other Hoek Design yachts competing in The Superyacht Cup fleet, last year’s overall winner sailing yacht Heartbeat once again raced exceptionally well, winning not only her class but also ‘The Hoek Cup’ for the second consecutive year, while luxury yacht Drumfire and charter yacht This Is Us finished with a very respectable 3rd and 4th.

Frers Cup 2014: Day 1

June 26, 2014

Destined exclusively for owners of yachts penned by German Frers, the inaugural edition of the Frers Cup kicked off with a dockside Welcome Party, hosted by the ancient City of Trapani, a lovely Sicily yacht charter destination, nestled in Italy. Following the Skippers’ Briefing from GWM Racing, Frers yacht owners and their crew enjoyed a Sicilian Wine Reception at the exclusive Regatta Village, courtesy of Terre di Giafar.

Frers Cup 2014 Race Start

Frers Cup 2014 Race Start - Photo credit to Frers Cup/Carlo Borlenghi & Luca Butto

German Mani Frers bid the assembly a warm welcome and was especially praiseworthy of the City of Trapani for their generous hospitality. The stunning new trophy, The Frers Cup, was unveiled to the party. Designed by German Mani Frers and created by Andrea Salvatori, the art piece is fashioned from Faience tin-glazed ceramic and carbon fibre. The Frers Cup depicts Gianni Agnelli’s Frers 93′ sailing yacht Stealth, one of the fastest and certainly most remarkable racing yachts ever built.

Honoured guests for the Welcome Party included, Vito Damiano, Major of Trapani who welcomed the Frers Cup to the city of Trapani. Dr. Stefano Donati, Director of the Marine Protected Area of Favignana, presented a slideshow of the stunning Egadi Islands.

Under the auspices of the Club Canottieri Roggero di Lauria and assisted by Match Race Trapani, racing at the Frers Cup started with a scenic course around Levanzo, the smallest of the three main Aegadian Islands, nine miles west of Trapani. The three hour race provided spectacular views of Levanzo and a tactical challenge for the magnificent Frers fleet.

Frers 94 charter yacht Bristolian

Frers 94 charter yacht Bristolian - Photo credit to Frers Cup/Carlo Borlenghi & Luca Butto

The 94ft Frers Maxi charter yacht Bristolian got a great start but was soon overhauled by Wally 100 superyacht Gibian which led at the first mark. A tight reach to the channel between the islands of Levanzo and Favignana proved to be a perfect angle for Gibian’s 700 square metre Code Zero and the powerful Maxi, helmed by Armando Grandi, extended her lead. Vincente Garcia Torres’ Swan 80 yacht Plisplay was first to hoist a spinnaker and correctly anticipating the lift on the approach to Levanzo, the Spanish team was closing the gap on the leader. The stunning north coast of Levanzo is a place of extraordinary beauty, steep rocky coves pitted with caves containing neolithic paintings dating back over 11000 years. Plisplay made a tactical move after rounding the top of Levanzo by staying high and re-hoisting their spinnaker to take the lead on the water,  passing Gibian at the limestone lighthouse high above Capo Grosso. Plisplay took both line honours, and won the race on corrected time, to the delight of the owner and crew who come from all over Spain.

“We were all delighted to have the honour of an invitation to race at the Frers Cup,” commented Plisplay’s boat captain, Marco Ibanez. “German Frers have designed so many incredible yachts and I am sure that the event will not only grow but become a venue for these creations. Today, the meteorology was in our favour. The wind speed was only light and I am sure that with more wind the bigger yachts will have the advantage of a greater righting moment and bigger sail area.”

Swan 80 Yacht Plis Play

Swan 80 Yacht Plis Play - Photo credit to Frers Cup/Carlo Borlenghi & Luca Butto

Frers Design Focus –  Swan 112,  Mystery

German Frers designed a flagship for the Nautor’s Swan fleet in the late 1990s. Charter yacht Mystery was the second of five Swan 112’s built. The Frers design pedigree is evident on Mystery with an easily driven hull form and powerful sail plan with megayacht levels of quality and redundancy.

Swan 112 charter yacht Mystery

Swan 112 charter yacht Mystery - Photo credit to Frers Cup/Carlo Borlenghi & Luca Butto

“At that time, one of Mystery’s new design features was the custom designed upper salon, which provides the owner and crew with a sweeping panoramic view and protection from the elements, this was a very new design concept in the late 90s. On delivery to Trapani for the Frers Cup, this feature was put to great practical use. Mystery experienced 40 knot head winds, however the crew, including my son Mani, were well protected. At the time the yacht was created it was a new requirement to have a tender storage solution and we decided on a hydraulic lazarette, which could be let down to the waterline to make it easier to use. These features are now used on many yachts but in the late 90s, they were very new requirements.” – German Frers Sr.

Racing at the Frers Cup continues Friday 28 June with a social programme after racing in the Frers Cup Regatta Village, Trapani.

A great regatta season for McConaghy yachts in USA and Europe

June 26, 2014

McConaghy Boats is proud to announce that it has been a very successful 2014 regatta season for their yachts so far. McConaghy yachts have taken home the trophies in the USA as well as Europe.

Shockwave

McConaghy Yacht Shockwave under sail

NEWPORT BERMUDA RACE

George Sakellaris’s McConaghy built and Reichel/Pugh designed mini-maxi yacht Shockwave crossed the finish line off Bermuda’s St. David’s Lighthouse Monday morning at 6:34AM local time to take Line Honours in the Legendary 635-mile Newport Bermuda Race.

Her elapsed time was 63:04:11, which is fast enough to secure victory in IRC and ORR. Congratulations to George Sakellaris and the team aboard sailing yacht Shockwave for winning this year’s race. The win adds to Shockwave’s growing list of recent victories, highlighted by their division win in the 2012 Newport-Bermuda Race, the 2013 Montego Bay, and the 2014 RORC Caribbean 600 Race. Originally launched in 2008 as Alfa Romero 3, Shockwave continues her winning ways and adds to McConaghy Boats long history of success in this race.

Esimit Europa 2

Superyacht Esimit Europa 2

GIRAGLIA ROLEX CUP

Igor Simcic’s superyacht Esimit Europa 2 crossed the finish line off Monte-Carlo at 12:35 CEST, to secure the Reichel Pugh designed 100’ super maxis’ seventh Line Honours victory in the offshore race of the Giraglia Rolex Cup. (3 victories as Neville Crichton’s Alfa Romeo and 4 victories as Esimit Europa).

Her elapsed time of 24 hours, 35 minutes, 56 seconds was well outside her record (14 hours, 56 minutes and 16 seconds) for the 62nd edition of 241-nm race, which she set in 2012 when the race finished in Sanremo. The predicted tricky wind conditions of the past 24 hours put paid to any hope of bettering her benchmark time.

Skipper Jochen Schumann said: “It was perfect to win line honours in this special edition of the Giraglia Rolex Cup finishing in Monaco. We were lucky to finish much earlier than expected. Aside from a critical point off Saint-Tropez where the wind was very light we got our strategy just right”.

JP MORGAN ROUND THE ISLAND RACE

Ned Collier-Wakefield skippered his McConaghy built Ker designed Forty(1) Design, Team Concise 8 to a class victory in the 2014 Round the Island race last Saturday. Ned and his crew were 9th boat across the line in a fleet of over 1500 yachts and multihulls. An outstanding result for this exciting new design from Ker which is starting to show its potential in the highly competitive short handed offshore focused Class 40 fleet.

Giraglia Rolex Cup: A symbol of friendship between countries, yachtsmen and yacht clubs

June 26, 2014

The Giraglia Rolex Cup has always been more than a simple yacht race. It represents a symbol of friendship between countries, yachtsmen, as well as yacht clubs. This year’s 62nd edition was no exception. An impressive number of 242 yachts attended the event as a whole, some 206 participating in the offshore race; 20 nations were represented; five clubs from three sovereign states cooperated in the organization; and, yachts from France, Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom shared the major silverware. In all respects, the 2014 Giraglia Rolex Cup exceeded its normal high standards of camaraderie and competition.

Superyacht ESIMIT EUROPA 2 (SLO) arriving at the finish off Monte-Carlo to secure her fourth Line Honours victory - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Superyacht ESIMIT EUROPA 2 (SLO) arriving at the finish off Monte-Carlo to secure her fourth Line Honours victory - Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Cross-border relations

The dominant story ahead of the race was the decision to finish in Monte-Carlo. Since 1953 tradition dictates the Giraglia Rolex Cup offshore race starts in France and ends in Italy, or vice versa. It would take something exceptional to break this convention. The founding organizers, Yacht Club Italiano and Yacht Club de France, were united in the view that the inauguration of a new clubhouse by their twinned club, Yacht Club de Monaco, was appropriate justification. Rolex, a partner of the event since 1997, was fully supportive. The Yacht Club de Monaco is one of its partner clubs. Most importantly, the competitors endorsed the decision with a record fleet participating across the event.

The Giraglia Rolex Cup started life as a 241-nm offshore race linking two nations torn apart by the Second World War. The motive of the founding fathers was to help build bridges through the sport of yachting.  Over the years the course has departed from different ports and finished in just as many. A single constant has been the rounding of the Giraglia, a rock off the northern tip of Corsica. Since 1997, the event has evolved considerably, growing in size, shape and popularity. In 1998, the decision was made to fix the starting port at Saint-Tropez and to add a series of inshore races. 10 years later a prologue race starting from Sanremo, historically one of the Italian start/finish ports, was added.

Bernard Vananty's Swan 42 Yacht TIXWAVE on her way to an overall win in the 2014 Giraglia Rolex Cup - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Bernard Vananty's Swan 42 Yacht TIXWAVE on her way to an overall win in the 2014 Giraglia Rolex Cup - Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Prelude acts

The success of these decisions lies in the number of entries. An impressive 107 yachts took part in the 58-nm sprint from Sanremo to Saint-Tropez. Setting off at midnight on Friday, 13 June, first across the finish line on Saturday morning was the French VOR 70 SFS, skippered by Lionel Péan. Richard Burton’s 35-foot Jet Lag took the overall win on handicap under IRC.

The three days of inshore racing off Saint-Tropez is always a spectacle. This year 172 yachts took part, at times filling the eastern horizon of the Gulf of Saint-Tropez with a blanket of sails. Competition was fierce as yachts across five classes sought to stamp their authority within their own division. Only one, appropriately named, achieved a clean sweep: Jean Marie Vidal’s Easy in IRC B. Most eyes were on the battle of the big boats, those yachts 60-feet and above, which included four 72-ft professionally crewed Mini Maxis. The three-time Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship winning crew on Ràn 5 set the pace, winning race one. The following day, Andy Soriano’s Alegre took victory. The third day witnessed a tense tussle from which Alegre once more emerged triumphant, enough to take the series win from Ràn 5 by virtue of a tiebreak.

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, Gian Riccardo Marini and the TIXWAVE (GBR) team, overall winner of the 62nd Giraglia Rolex Cup - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, Gian Riccardo Marini and the TIXWAVE (GBR) team, overall winner of the 62nd Giraglia Rolex Cup - Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

The main attraction

The day of the offshore start dawned seemingly unaware of the major race about to leave from the Gulf of Saint-Tropez. An insipid sky and no wind set all the crews wondering not when they would finish, but how far from Saint-Tropez they would be that first night. The owner of the 45-ft Alizée and winner of the race in 2013, Laurent Camprubi, was on the one hand excited by a forecast of light winds with the possibility of breeze at the rock. Such conditions might favour his yacht once again. On the other hand, he had a real concern, which he expressed with a smile: “I’m not even sure if I will be out of the Gulf tonight.”

Jochen Schümann, skipper of the fastest yacht in the race, the 100-ft Slovenian Maxi yacht Esimit Europa 2, suggested the concern for the larger yachts would be the finish: “All the models are showing the same: 10 knots in the beginning and then quite a bit lighter at the approach to the Giraglia rock, and the final leg. Tomorrow afternoon in Monaco if we are lucky.”

The models were almost spot on. After starting at midday on Wednesday, 18 June in light airs, the blue Maxi escaped Saint-Tropez unimpeded by virtue of a 44-metre mast-height and mammoth sail-area. Sailing yacht Robertissima 2 briefly spoilt the party by leading off the start line, but superyacht Esimit Europa had established a race winning lead by the time she reached the first turning mark off Cavalaire-sur-mer.

Luxury yacht ALEGRE (GBR) enjoys some downwind sailing during Day 1 of the Inshore Series off Saint-Tropez - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Luxury yacht ALEGRE (GBR) enjoys some downwind sailing during Day 1 of the Inshore Series off Saint-Tropez - Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

First home

Rounding the Giraglia by moonlight at 03:00 CEST on Thursday, Schümann’s 11-nation crew, including Pierre Casiraghi of Monaco, faced a difficult last leg to Monte-Carlo. Estimated times of arrival were as variable as the wind. In the end the line was crossed at 12:35: “We were lucky to finish much earlier than expected. Aside from a critical point off Saint-Tropez where the wind was very light and Robertissima was really close we got our strategy just right. We always had breeze even if it was down to 2/3 knots at times.”

Casiraghi, a member of the YCM Management Committee, was delighted to be the first Monacan to finish the race and to dock off the magnificent new clubhouse: “It’s fantastic to [be part of] the first real race to arrive here with this new building. I’m really happy.”

Esimit Europa yacht’s arrival did not open the floodgates, as the next arrivals dripped in over several hours. The bulk of the fleet would arrive in the early hours of Friday. However, she did mark the beginning of 48 hours of festivity and celebration in Monte-Carlo.

Bowmen calling the start - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borleghi

Bowmen calling the start - Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borleghi

Opening Day

Friday was to be a remarkable day as HSH Prince Albert II, accompanied by the royal family and the building’s architect Lord Foster officially opened the new premises of the Yacht Club de Monaco. It was a historic occasion attended by 4,000 guests, including government ministers, members representing 66 nationalities, and crews taking part in the Giraglia Rolex Cup.

The official part of the proceedings started at 16:00 with the cutting of the ribbon and a blessing bestowed on the building by Monaco’s Archbishop Bernard Barsi. Later that evening, HSH Prince Albert II crossed the harbour by boat to deliver the club’s flag from the old premises to the new. He was greeted on arrival by members of his family, to the cheers of members who lined two levels of the yacht club, and by the Giraglia Rolex Cup fleet, which filled the marina in front of the clubhouse.

HSH Prince Albert II, President of the YCM for the past 30 years, said this about the building: “The flag I have just raised today flies proudly on the mast at the top of our new premises. It marks an important phase in the life of our Club, for Port Hercule and for the Principality. With this architectural masterpiece we wished to affirm Monaco’s yachting identity, our ambition being to continue to orient our country’s future prosperity towards the sea.”

And, of the show of support from the organizers of the Giraglia Rolex Cup, he commented: “We have had a great relationship with the Yacht Club Italiano and the Yacht Club de France for many years. We’ve been talking about this for quite some time and to have it actually come to realisation is a wonderful testimony not only to what these two friendly yacht clubs mean to us and what they wanted to do with us, but I think it’s a tremendous honour and I think it’s a great part of the celebration.”

Close Mini Maxi battle between JETHOU (GBR), ALEGRE (GBR) and RÁN 5 (SWE

Close Mini Maxi battle between JETHOU (GBR), ALEGRE (GBR) and RÁN 5 (SWE) - Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

40 years on

Shortly after the ribbon had been cut, the Yacht Club Italiano added to the excitement by announcing the overall winner of the offshore race. The victory of Bernard Vananty and his Swiss-French crew on the 42-ft Tixwave further contributed to an overriding sense that this edition was something exceptional: “It was quite special to do the Giraglia Rolex Cup this year because it is exactly 40 years ago that I did my first one. I was 18/19 years old. It was very windy, we had a prototype boat and we could not finish the race. Last year we came back to do the race again, we were second overall and this year we have won!”

It had not been plain sailing for Tixwave, after effectively managing her race strategy for 241-nm it almost all fell apart: “20 to 30 metres from the finish line there was hole and we were in trouble. We started to check the time, thinking that all our efforts had been ruined in these last metres… it took us 14 minutes to cross the finish line!”

The euphoria on Tixwave echoed that elsewhere in the marina as crews and YCM members celebrated well into the early hours of Saturday morning the closing of another chapter in the history of the Giraglia Rolex Cup and the opening of a new one in the history of a yacht club founded by remarkable coincidence in the same year as the race: 1953. Sometimes the script just writes itself.

The final prize giving on Saturday brought the events to a fitting conclusion. Rolex timepieces and trophies were awarded to Vananty and Igor Simcic, the owner of sailing yacht Esimit Europa 2 in recognition of their successes. And, while no one was in the mood to end this year’s festivities, fortunately the “old lady of yacht-racing”, as Carlo Croce, President of the Yacht Club Italiano, described the race will return again next year to provide a platform that proves the passion and dedication associated with yacht-racing knows no boundaries.

Huge success of Royal Huisman yachts at Superyacht Cup Palma 2014

June 25, 2014

Having taken place in the fabulous Mallorca yacht charter destination, positioned in Spain, from June 18 to 21, this year’s Superyacht Cup Palma was marked by great results of Royal Huisman yachts. The Alustar aluminium Frers-designed superyacht Unfurled has become the overall winner of this popular Mediterranean regatta.

Royal Huisman Sailing Yacht UNFURLED - Photo by Claire Matches

Royal Huisman Sailing Yacht UNFURLED - Photo by Claire Matches

In addition, the Super-J Class yacht Hanuman shared the King’s 100 Guinea Cup with luxury yacht Lionheart after finishing tied on corrected time.

The Bruce King designed Royal Huisiman charter yacht Maria Cattiva became overall 2nd in class, while sailing yacht Heartbeat was awarded as winner of this class (possibly like last year’s victory, again with a little help of Huisfit).

Royal Huisman congratulates to all owners and teams.

Superyacht Cup Palma 2014: Overall victory for sailing yacht LIONHEART in J Class

June 24, 2014

With a victory in the fourth as well as final race, a fast 30-mile coastal course with over 20 knots of brisk sea breeze back and forth across the lovely Mediterranean yacht charter destination – the Bay of Palma, sailing yacht Lionheart lift the trophy that they consider the season’s most prominent and hardest to win, triumphing in the five strong J Class at the Palma Superyacht Cup.

Luxury superyacht Lionheart under sail - Photo by clairematches.com

Luxury superyacht Lionheart under sail - Photo by clairematches.com

Having missed out on overall victory on the last race here last year when they could not recover from a poor start, this time Lionheart fought back from a modest opening to the first upwind and took the lead when they went to the far left of the upwind, making a big gain to lead charter yacht Ranger around the first buoy.

From there they were challenged only when the breeze went soft at a leeward mark and the leaders compressed closer, but with excellent speed upwind and downwind Lionheart yacht proved comfortable winners.

With their second win from four races, also sharing Wednesday’s King’s Hundred Guinea Cup with superyacht Hanuman, the team which has Volvo Ocean Race skipper Bouwe Bekking as tactician win their second J Class regatta in a row, after winning in Mahon, Menorca last month. Consistency proved key for the Erle Williams skippered Ranger which took an excellent second overall, pipping last years champions Hanuman by half a point.

Today’s coastal race brought the series to a fitting showdown. With just one point separating regatta leaders luxury yacht Lionheart from Hanuman, the latter made poor start and only on the final run to the finish did they rescue fourth place when they passed superyacht Rainbow.

The well drilled, diligent Lionheart yacht team learned from their own mistakes from Friday’s race, and their extensive post race de-briefs this time offered a pointer towards today’s improved start.

Even if the five boats did not all hit the line at the same time, within seconds they were all bow to bow for a remarkable few minutes of intense action. A long fast reach down across the bay saw no place changing, but on the return leg all the way back to a mark under Cabo Blanco, Velsheda yacht held low and were able to pop through into second which they held to the finish, their best score of the regatta.
Bekking, who returns tomorrow to skipper’s duties on the Volvo 65 in Kiel, was delighted with the Lionheart win:

“This was the one we wanted to win because this is where we have the five boats. Last year we were leading until the last day and then we lost it. We had a bad start then and could not get back. Today we got a good start and got bounced back a bit but we got back into it and clawed our way back to first and from there on it was quite easy.

We have such a nice group of people and are always having a good time. We work very hard at it. We always do three full days of practice and every race we do a big, full debrief for at least 45 minutes to an hour with video integrated and even like yesterday we had a bad start and we executed on that today.

In Minorca we had speed upwind and downwind so the other guys have caught up or perhaps it is the venue a bit, some boats go really well at a venue, Ranger has gone fantastic at this event, some boats just fit certain events.

I have won a few events here so I was pretty confident when we went to the big left. I was a bit amazed the others let us go. After that it was game over.

I think we have been sailing well and I think our crew work is among the best here. And the owner driver has made huge steps in the last two years and now with two events in a row it is finally paying off.

It is so great to win here. This is for the owners because they look after us and so it is good to give something back.”

Ranger skipper Erle Williams was almost bemused to have taken second, but with four times America’s Cup winner Murray Jones sailing his second regatta as tactician, and solid, dependable crew work to build from their excellent starts ñ they started four times off the left, pin end of the line, their success was well earned:

“We are thrilled because the newer boats are fast and are being sailed well and they are hard to beat. Last year we struggled and it was hard. There are some great sailors out there sailing these boats. The whole J Class story here is a great success story, having five boats here, different winners on each day has been fantastic. But here consistency has been good for us in a tough field, we didn’t win this time, but maybe next time.

Lionheart is extremely fast, they had pace today. They were tucked in behind at the start and they just sailed around us but they are sailing well. But the rest of the boats are very even. Today we saw Velsheda sail better for second. Ranger has form as a team. The boat is set up nicely and the guys are trimming very nicely. Our sails are nice. The boat is kind of heavy and hard work at times, but I think we are sailing it well.

We don’t have as much stability as the others, about six to ten per cent less, and so the stronger breeze was not so good for us, we struggle a little. Apart from Lionheart I think all the boats are pretty even and I think it is down to who sails the boat best and gets off the line and can keep clean air. That has been the big thing for us, to have a regatta where we have been able to sail in clear air. We have started off the pin and that has worked well for us.”

Superyacht Cup Palma 2014 attended by five Claasen yachts

June 24, 2014

Taken place in the popular Mediterranean yacht charter destination – Palma in Spain from last Wednesday to Saturday, the recently concluded Superyacht Cup Palma 2014 was attended by 26 top sailing yachts from around the world. The fleet of giants comprised five jewels built by the Claasen shipyard, namely charter yacht Atalante, Heartbeat, sailing yacht Lionheart, Drumfire and luxury yacht Firefly. All five performed exceptionally well in the fabulous location of the Bay of Palma as the crews were pushed to their limit in a series of amazingly exciting and extraordinarily close races.

Claasen yachts at the Superyacht Cup Palma 2014 - Photo courtesy of Claasen Shipyards - Stuart Pearce

Claasen yachts at the Superyacht Cup Palma 2014 - Photo courtesy of Claasen Shipyards - Stuart Pearce

The fierceness of the competition makes it all the more admirable to report that Lionheart and Heartbeat yachts both came out top in their class. Lionheart won two of the four J-class races outright and shared the King’s 100 Guinea Cup with superyacht Hanuman on another. Luxury yacht Heartbeat won Class 3, coming first in two races and second in the other.

Superyacht Cup Palma 2014 - Photo courtesy of Claasen Shipyards - Stuart Pearce

Superyacht Cup Palma 2014 - Photo courtesy of Claasen Shipyards - Stuart Pearce

Sailing yacht Drumfire was third in Class 3 and Atalante yacht sixth, while Firefly came sixth in Class 1. With such small margins of victory, all our yachts can be delighted with their performance and we congratulate the owners, the crews and designer Andre Hoek!

Classen Shipyards has released a short video to capture a flavour of this successful four-day event in the stunning Palma yacht holiday location.