Bella Mente Brief

Bella Mente Luxury Yacht Charter & Superyacht News

The results of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2017

September 13, 2017

Written by Rachael Steele

The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup was held in Porto Cervo from the 3rd to the 9th of September and provided a treat for onlookers with seven classes participating in five races or more throughout the week-long event.

Overall winner of the Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship, SY MOMO. Photo credit: ROLEX / Carlo Borlenghi

Overall winner of the Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship, SY MOMO. Photo credit: ROLEX / Carlo Borlenghi

Sailing yacht MOMO claimed the 2017 Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship, beating closest competitors PROTEUS by a single point BELLA MENTE and CANNONBALL were also close to claiming the top spot, only 2 points behind the overall winner.

“We feel really good. We are happy and proud to win here finally,” said Dieter Schön for the crew of MOMO. “After last season we improved a lot of details in our boat and as a team – very small things multiply to make you quicker.”

The Super Maxi class victory went to RIBELLE. Photo credit: ROLEX / Carlo Borlenghi

The Super Maxi class victory went to RIBELLE. Photo credit: ROLEX / Carlo Borlenghi

In the Super Maxi class, WINWIN also vied for top spot with a single point’s difference between them and RIBELLE deciding victory for the latter, while NILAYA, INOUI and VIRIELLA were challenged as much by the the changeable wind conditions and light breezes as they were by the other racers.

Among the Mini Maxi yachts, the crew of JETHOU proved her worth by coming in first in all 5 races to secure a lead of 7 points or greater against SEPCTRE, LUCKY and ADELASIA DI TORRES.

S/Y SUPERNIKKA claimed Mini Maxi Racer Cruiser 1. Photo credit: ROLEX / Carlo Borlenghi

S/Y SUPERNIKKA claimed Mini Maxi Racer Cruiser 1. Photo credit: ROLEX / Carlo Borlenghi

Although ATLANTA II finished first on the final day of racing for the Mini Maxi Racer Cruiser 1 group, it was the consistent performance of SUPERNIKKA that earned her first place, while the Mini Maxi Racer Cruiser 2 group was won by H20.

Although GALATEIA finished 9th in the penultimate race, finishing 2nd against OPEN SEASON in the final race ensured that she was the overall winner of the Wally class.

The impressive line starts from some of the world's biggest regatta yachts. Photo credit: ROLEX / Carlo Borlenghi

The impressive line starts from some of the world’s biggest regatta yachts. Photo credit: ROLEX / Carlo Borlenghi

The International Maxi Association and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda organised the event, the latter celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. International Maxi Association President Thomas Bscher said of this year’s Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup: “It has been a fabulous week with very good conditions – strong winds, no swell, no big waves. There is a little room for improve on the organisation side and we are trying to support the officials, because we want people to come back and we want to increase the number of boats.”

Prizes were awarded by YCCS Commodore Riccardo Bonadeo, President of Rolex Italy Gian Riccardo Marini, IMA President Thomas Bscher and His Highness the Aga Khan and Princess Zahra Aga Khan.

Division Victories for Sailing Yachts INOUI, WINDFALL, SUPERNIKKA, H20, OPEN SEASON and BELLA MENTE at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2015

September 14, 2015

Written by Eva Belanyiova

Saturday in Porto Cervo, located in the fabulous Sardinia yacht charter destination, the Costa Smeralda, saw the final day of the Maxi Yacht Rolext Cup and Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship, with the fleet of sailing yacht racing in eighteen knots of scirocco wind, resulting in an exciting last day of the race. The 26th edition of the regatta attracted 40 yachts between 18 to 66 metres this year, and was organised by Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in collaboration with the main sponsor Rolex and the International Maxi Association. Sailing Yachts INOUI, WINDFALL, SUPERNIKKA, H20, OPEN SEASON and BELLA MENTE have enjoyed victories in their divisions.

Inoui (Supermaxi) - Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2015 ©Carlo Borlenghi:Rolex

Inoui (Supermaxi) – Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2015 ©Carlo Borlenghi:Rolex

Hap Fauth’s sailing yacht Bella Mente, with a bullet and a third place in today’s two windward-leeward races, was announced Rolex Maxi 72 World Champion 2015. The American team which boasts Terry Hutchinson on tactics managed to whisk victory from the grasp of Roberto Tomasini Grinover with his Robertissima III yacht by just one point. Dieter Schön’s yacht Momo achieved 3rd place in her premier on the waters of the stunning Costa Smeralda.

“It was just fantastic.The level of competition was so high and everyone had fun. We had a great time and the organization and hospitality was excellent.” said Hap Fauth

Comanche (Maxi Racing) - Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2015 ©Carlo Borlenghi:Rolex

Comanche (Maxi Racing) – Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2015 ©Carlo Borlenghi:Rolex

At the end of a coastal course of around 30 nautical miles Marco Vogele’s 33-metre sailing yacht Inoui also celebrated her victory over super yacht Viriella and Hetairos respectively in the Supermaxi division. Newly elected IMA President Thomas Bscher was also celebrating in the Wally division as his Open Season yacht rounded off a week of almost-perfect results with a 2nd place in today’s race to claim overall victory in the Wally division. After an exciting race for 2nd place throughout the week, yacht Magic Carpet Cubed, owned by Sir Lindsay Owen Jones, took the silver prize with J One yacht in third place on equal points.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2015

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2015

The record-breaking 100-foot sailing yacht Comanche, owned by Jim and Kristy Hinze-Clark, gave fantastic performances throughout the week and it is believed that she will be joined by a number of more pure racing machines for the next edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup.

In the Maxi division, which together with the Mini Maxis completed a slightly shorter coastal course, The Southern Wind yacht Windfall, owned by Michael Cotter was enjoying the Rolex prize and timepiece. Following an event-long leadership battle, Masimiliano Florio’s yacht Grande Orazio Pioneer Investments arrived in second place, just one point behind. The Swan 77 Tugela rounded off with the 3rd place.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2015

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2015

Thanks to a victory in today’s race Riccardo di Michele’s sailing yacht H2O managed to beat Shirlaf on countback as both yachts ended with the same score. 3rd place in the Mini Maxi RC/SOT division went to Wallyño yacht. The Mini Maxi Racing Division saw Roberto Lacorte’s 2015-launched Supernikka perform consistently well throughout the week to take first place overall ahead of Britain’s Spectre and Maximilian Klink’s Caro.

“It may seem redundant to say that this was a wonderful event – the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is always a highlight of our sporting calendar – however this 26th edition of the regatta was truly exceptional.” Commented YCCS Commodore Riccardo Bonadeo “The fleet, the owners and the crews were all of an incredibly high standard and mother nature stepped in to provide almost perfect conditions.”

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2015

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2015

Already excited about the next Maxi event Bonadeo continued “The conclusion of a perfect event seems the perfect time to invite you all, if you haven’t already done so, to enrol for the very first edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Caribbean Cup taking place in April 2016 at our Caribbean home in Virgin Gorda where we are lucky enough to have another beautiful regatta course and constant trade winds.”

The YCCS calendar in the Mediterranean continues with the Sailing Champions League final which will see teams from across Europe and beyond competing on J70 boats from 18th to 20th September.

Eagerly awaited Royal Yacht Squadron’s Bicentenary International Regatta kicks off

July 29, 2015

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

Following a cancellation of the first day’s racing, the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Bicentenary International Regatta kicked off yesterday, on July 28, 2015. Gusts of up to 30 knots were recorded on a breezy start line.

Bella Mente Yacht wins IRC Class 1 on day two of the RYS Bicentenary International Regatta © Paul Wyeth pwpictures.com

Bella Mente Yacht wins IRC Class 1 on day two of the RYS Bicentenary International Regatta © Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

“We crossed the start line doing 24 knots’ boat speed,” said Terry Hutchinson, tactician onboard the Class 1 winner, sailing yacht Bella Mente“We had a great race, and it was all down to how the guys handled the boat. We have some great talent on board including Ado Stead and Ian Moore. The Solent is a challenging place to sail.”

George David's 88ft maxi yacht Rambler 88 sped through the entire fleet in the race on Day 2 - Photo by Paul Wyeth pwpictures.com

George David’s 88ft maxi yacht Rambler 88 sped through the entire fleet in the race on Day 2 – Photo by Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

Despite Bella Mente’s amazing speeds at the start, superyacht Rambler 88 overshadowed the entire fleet with the highest recorded speed of the day. This impressive vessel managed to take the lead during the first leg, and went on to complete the 22 mile course in one and a half hours.

Fabulous Porto Cervo in Sardinia to host 26th Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in September

July 16, 2015

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

The fascinating Porto Cervo yacht charter destination, nestled in Italy’s Sardinia, will host the 26th edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup from September 6 to 12, 2015. Organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS), the popular Mediterranean regatta is celebrating a 30-year partnership with its title sponsor, Rolex.

Sir Lindsay Owen Jones' superyacht MAGIC CARPET CUBED (GBR) rounding Mortoriotto - Image by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Sir Lindsay Owen Jones’ superyacht MAGIC CARPET CUBED (GBR) rounding Mortoriotto – Image by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

The race will be attended by a wide array of contrasting and beguiling monohull Maxi yachts, impressive Supermaxis, the majestic lines of the Wally yachts, as well as a group of all-out racing Maxi 72s.

Among the 2015 fleet is the exciting new Jim Clark’s 100-ft Maxi yacht Comanche. Led by skipper Ken Read, Comanche will undoubtedly attract plenty of attention during the event, well known for its excellent race management and a sailing environment revered throughout the world for its fabulous scenery, navigational demands and potential for challenging conditions.

CAOL ILA R (USA) leading SHOCKWAVE (USA) upwind

Sailing yacht CAOL ILA R (USA) leading SHOCKWAVE (USA) upwind – Image by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

“It’s a fantastic event; the combination of Sardinia, Porto Cervo, Rolex, great organisation on the water and on the shore…,” says regular competitor, Bouwe Bekking, “… it’s why these owners come back every year.”

The sixth running of the Maxi 72 Rolex World Championship, previously Mini Maxi, is expected to be one of the highlights of the week. Of the former champions only Hap Fauth’s sailing yacht Bella Mente (USA), winner in 2012, is expected to attend. The other editions were claimed by Niklas Zennström’s formidable luxury yacht Rán 2 (2010, ‘11, ‘13) and Andres Soriano’s yacht Alegre (2014), now owned by Swiss yachtsman Alex Schaerer and known as Caol Ila R (USA).

Eric Bijlsma's FIREFLY (NED) sailing in coastal mode - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Eric Bijlsma’s super yacht FIREFLY (NED) sailing in coastal mode – Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

There is the all-new entry in the form of MOMO (IVB), owned by Dieter Schoen, while the crews of Sir Peter Ogden’s yacht Jethou (GBR) and Roberto Tomasini Grinover’s sailing yacht Robertissima III (ITA), previously known as Rán 2, boast extensive Porto Cervo experience.

“This is always top pick of where we like to sail around the world, the yacht club is always welcoming, it is high end in terms of race management, says renowned sailor Brad Butterworth, tactician on Jethou yacht. “No place in the world is as beautiful as this to go yacht racing.”

Claus-Peter Offen's superyacht Y3K (GER) sailing upwind - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Claus-Peter Offen’s superyacht Y3K (GER) sailing upwind – Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

The Supermaxi class is destined for yachts measuring upwards of 100-ft, typically designed to both race as well as cruise. Last year’s star performer was Eric Bijlsma’s 35m/115-ft superyacht Firefly while the impressive 66,7m (218’) mega yacht Hetairos (CAY), the largest ever yacht to participate in the event, is expected to return to the competition after a three year absence.

Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’s superyacht Magic Carpet Cubed (GBR) will attend the race, competing in the Wally class. Having recently won the Giraglia Rolex Cup, she will start as favourite to repeat her exploits of last year. The Wally fleet will also include Jean Charles Decaux’s luxury yacht J One (GBR) and charter yacht Y3K (GER), owned by International Maxi Association (IMA) President Claus-Peter Offen.

Throughout the week, there will be a rich social programme, and following five days of racing, the individual class winners will be rewarded for their brilliance on the water with Rolex timepieces during the final prizegiving at the YCCS, partner club of Rolex since 1984.

Les Voiles de St. Barth 2015 Wrap Up

April 21, 2015

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

Les Voiles de St. Barth 2015 came to an end in the breath-taking Caribbean yacht vacation location – St. Barth on Sunday, April 19. Established in 2010, this year’s 6th edition of the popular regatta hosted an amazing fleet of 70 yachts, including speedy multihulls such as Lloyd Thornburg’s Mod 70 yacht Phaedo 3, as well as technologically sophisticated new-builds such as George David’s sailing yacht Rambler 88 and Jim and Kristy Hinze-Clarke’s superyacht Comanche.

Les Voiles de St. Barth 2015 Fleet © Jouany Christophe

Les Voiles de St. Barth 2015 Fleet © Jouany Christophe

In the Maxi 2 class, sailing yacht Selene won on corrected time, and charter yacht Lupa of London placed second on the final day of the regatta to secure the class victory overall. Lloyd Thornburg’s U.S. entry in Multihull class, Phaedo 3 yacht, won once again on the last day for a fourth time over four races. Maxi yacht Comanche and sailing yacht Odin established the records for Maxi 1 and Maxi 2 classes, respectively.

The event’s largest, fastest yachts sailed in Maxi 1 class, and it was George David’s superyacht Rambler 88 that won the four-race series there. All eyes had been on Rambler 88 and the larger Comanche during the first two race days, since no one had yet seen the two yachts sail against each other. The powerful superyacht Comanche showed blazingly fast speed, taking line honors in every race. Rambler 88, however, took three first-place finishes in a row on corrected time.

Les Voiles de St. Barth 2015 Winners © GRAAM Michael

Les Voiles de St. Barth 2015 Winners © GRAAM Michael

By Day 4, when Rambler 88 took second to Hap Fauth’s sailing yacht Bella Mente, the focus had returned to who was doing the best on ratings. Rambler 88 maintained her place at the top of the scoreboard, but Bella Mente was able to replace Lucky as runner up. Bella Mente, Lucky and Comanche had all shared the same point score after Day 4 race, but Bella Mente’s performance handed the tiebreaker to their team.

During the prize giving, Principal Event Partner Richard Mille presented George David, who has also become the overall winner of the Maxi division, with a Richard Mille Caliber RM 60-01 Regatta watch.

Start of Les Voiles de St. Barth 2015

April 15, 2015

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

Following a glamorous opening party held on the Quay General de Gaulle, it was a spectacular start to Les Voiles de St. Barth 2015 yesterday, on April 14, 2015, marked by 15-20 knots of wind. Being hosted by the fabulous Caribbean yacht holiday destination – St. Barth, the popular regatta has welcomed 70 teams, racing in 10 classes.

Superyacht Rambler 88 at Les Voiles de St. Barth 2015 Day 1 © Jouany Christophe

Superyacht Rambler 88 at Les Voiles de St. Barth 2015 Day 1 © Jouany Christophe

On Day 1, the seven-boat Multihull class, which was the last of the 10 classes to start, was won by the Mod 70 yacht Phaedo 3. Phaedo 3 finished the long course in just over two hours and 25 minutes, approximately 34 minutes ahead of the next fastest boat in the fleet, superyacht Comanche. Though Comanche beat Rambler 88 yacht by ten minutes in real time, Rambler won on corrected time (5:04:48 compared to Comanche’s 5:11:30).

Mod 70 yacht Phaedo 3 © Jouany Christophe

Mod 70 yacht Phaedo 3 © Jouany Christophe

In the Maxi 1 class, sailing yacht Bella Mente, a favorite here, unfortunately was unable to participate in the race on Day 1, because of an equipment failure that occurred only a few minutes before the start. In the Maxi 2 class, charter yacht Lupa of London led the way on the opening of day of the regatta.

Les Voiles de St. Barth 2015 to see record level of yacht participation

April 08, 2015

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

With almost 80 entries, roughly a dozen more than last year, this year’s 6th edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth will see a record level of participation. To run from April 13 to 18, the event has become one of the most important events on the Caribbean sailing circuit, combining good-vibes racing with stylish shore-side pursuits on the delightfully small yet enormously sophisticated French island of Saint-Barthélemy (aka St. Barth), a popular Caribbean yacht charter destination.

The new Voiles de Saint Barth's Poster - Photo credit to DR

The new Voiles de Saint Barth’s Poster – Photo credit to DR

“With lots of cooperation from many, many people we have been able to exhibit that St. Barths is a valid destination for serious race teams,” said Competition Manager Annelisa Gee, noting that seven 40-foot team containers are being accommodated this year. “That’s huge, because it means logistics of getting boats and equipment here are getting better with each edition. Bigger and better – that’s  the common theme each year, whether it’s referring to the number and quality of boats that come, the amenities and on-shore events for the teams, or adding – in the case of this year – an offshore racing option to the tried-and-true tactical inshore race courses that everyone likes so much.”

Sailing over four racing days (Tuesday-Wednesday, April 14-15, and Friday-Saturday, April 17-18) will be Maxi, Spinnaker, Non-Spinnaker, Racing Multihull, and One-Design classes negotiating various distance courses that typically snake through and around the reefs and smaller  islands surrounding the 9.5 square miles of volcanic island that is St. Barths.

Les Voiles de St Barth © Jouany Christophe

Les Voiles de St Barth © Jouany Christophe

Superyacht Comanche and sailing yacht Rambler 88, both sporting the newest in sail racing’s technological advancements and measuring in at 100′ and 88′, respectively, will surely be the most gripping to watch in the ten-strong Maxi division, especially if organizers choose to showcase the power of these thoroughbreds with a newly designed super-sprint option of 40 plus miles to Tintamarre Island off St. Martin. Dependent on sea state and weather conditions, the other Maxis (and possibly Multihulls) could also sail this course, and they would certainly be no less ambitious about optimizing the reaching legs to achieve a maximum speed – and fun – factor. The Maxi group includes returning teams on the Maxi 72 sailing yacht Bella Mente, which just won overall honors in the Caribbean 600; the Swan 80 superyacht Selene; and the Marten 72 yacht Aragon, while newcomers are the Farr 73 yacht Maximizer, Swan 90 superyacht Odin, the Baltic 78 charter yacht Lupa of London, and the RP 63 Lucky.

With Lupa of London (skippered by Great Britain’s Jeremy Pilkington) fresh off class wins at Giraglia and the Maxi Worlds as well as line honors and overall IRC victory at the inaugural RORC Transatlantic Race, she may be the new team to beat, but not if Lucky has any say in the matter.

“We’ve been around for eight years racing a TP 52 and just transitioned to the RP 63 this spring, so Les Voiles de St. Barth will be our first event in the boat,” said Lucky’s owner Bryon Ehrhart (Chicago, Ill.), who won the 2010 Middle Sea Race (with his TP 52, also named Lucky) on his first try and followed through with impressive finishes at a slew of other “bucket list” sailing events, including Hong Kong to Vietnam (which he won in 2013) and the China Sea Race (second in 2014). Now it’s time for Ehrhart to check off Les Voiles de St. Barth; he says the regatta’s reputation put it squarely in his sights. “I understand it is very well run and in a beautiful setting with great breeze,” he said. “The class includes some of the best competitors in the world, so I’m looking forward to seeing how we match up against them.”

Luxury sailing yachts competing in Les Voiles de St Barth © Jouany Christophe

Luxury sailing yachts competing in Les Voiles de St Barth © Jouany Christophe

In the Spinnaker division, 49 boats will compete, including David Cullen’s J/109 Pocket Rocket and Eamonn Rohan’s chartered Solona 44 Ramanessin, both defending class champions. As in all divisions, it won’t be known until closer to the event how classes will be split exactly, but a sure bet for tough competition will be new contender Spookie, a Carkeek 40 known for cleaning up in IRC and HPR racing in the States. Spookie’s Steve Benjamin (Norwalk, Conn.), who co-owns and sails the boat with his wife Heidi Benjamin, concedes that the CSA (Caribbean Sailing Association) Rule prevailing at Les Voiles de St. Barth may not be as favorable for his boat, but he respects it nevertheless.  “We don’t race just for rating, we race for the competition and the sport,” he said.  “We competed in Les Voiles a few years ago with Decision (also a Carkeek 40) and had a great time. The racing is spectacular; we like the combination of the courses, and of course, the atmosphere in St. Barth can’t be beat.”

Benjamin claims Spookie is very strong sailing downwind and reaching: “The challenging part for us is going to be upwind against the bigger boats, which is what got to us last time we raced here with Decision. We are pretty sure that boats like the TP 52s (Vesper, Sorcha, Conviction-Team Vag) will have a strong advantage upwind.”

Another Spinnaker division competitor returning with a different boat is Jim Madden (Newport Beach, Calif.).  He’ll be sailing his Swan 601 Stark Raving Mad VII with a crew of 16 versus the nine he raced with last year when he won his class on his J/105 of the same name.

“I usually like to have two sizes of racing boats,” said Madden, who sailed the Swan 601 to victory in the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race and the Onion Patch Series that preceded it. “For the larger boats, I focus more on their ability to ocean race and do coastal point-to-point racing, like what we’ll be doing at Les Voiles de St. Barth. I hadn’t heard much about Les Voiles until last year when a few of my crew suggested that we do it. I went there not knowing what to expect, and it actually turned out to be one of the best events I’ve ever done. The island is beautiful, and the race organization did a really good job running the event with clear communication and fair races. It was also windy for the most part, and more breeze makes for more fun.”

The Non Spinnaker division currently has 10 entries, ranging from Matt Dana’s 31-foot J/95 Shamrock VII to Steven Schmidt’s 70-foot Hotel California, which returns each year clearly to have the most fun out of any, sailing with family and friends.

Melges 24s are expected to have their own one-design start, with returning teams Budget Marine/Gill, Island Water World, and Boost’n Sail leading the charge, while nine Racing Multihulls will compete, giving the new Gunboat 55 Toccata a chance to show its wares against the MOD 70 Phaedo 3, which just smashed the Carribean 600 record; the equally powerful Nigel Irens 63 Paradox; the sleek, flying French GC 32 Le Carré/Diamond Genesis, and Gunboat’s newest foiling G4 Timbalero 3.

 

RORC Caribbean 600: The Best Yacht Race in the Caribbean

March 02, 2015

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

The recently concluded 7th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 has undoubtedly featured the best fleet of offshore racing yachts that has ever gathered in the popular Caribbean yacht charter destination. A total number of 66 yachts started the 600 mile race around 11 Caribbean islands, with numerous world champions, America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race sailors participating with passionate Corinthian amateurs, plenty of whom are members of the Royal Ocean Racing Club. Ranging from the latest high performance record breakers to classic yachts from the past, the variety of yachts and sailors taking part demonstrates that the RORC Caribbean 600 has a wide appeal and the growth in popularity, year-on-year, indicating a very healthy future for the event.

Antigua witnessed possibly the finest yacht race in the Caribbean as the 66-boat fleet racing in the 7th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 set off on 23 February. It was to be an epic race. ©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

The beautiful Antigua yacht charter destination witnessed possibly the finest yacht race in the Caribbean as the 66-boat fleet racing in the 7th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 set off on 23 February. It was to be an epic race. ©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

After a classic trade winds start the wind shifted south of east and decreased on the second day, which added gravitas to the tactical decision making for many yachts as they approached the wind shadow of Guadeloupe. By day three, the trade winds were back to provide exhilarating racing for the fleet. By day four, the wind had built to over 20 knots, with gusts in excess of 30 knots and the beat to finish in Antigua from Redonda became a real test for the remaining yachts and exhausted crew.

Three is the Magic Number

Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD 70 yacht Phaedo3 crossed the finish line in Antigua in an elapsed time of 1 day, 9 hours, 35 minutes and 30 seconds, breaking the multihull race record that had stood since the very first edition of the race. Phaedo3 broke the record set by Claude Thelier and John Burnie’s ORMA 60, Region Guadeloupe by 6 hours, 35 minutes and 35 seconds.

“Fast, really fast,” commented a shattered looking Lloyd Thornburg as Phaedo3 tied up in Falmouth Harbour. “Sailing with Michel Desjoyeaux has been an incredible experience. When I was driving, he pushed me out of my comfort zone and then got the guys to wind on the sails even more and the speed just kept climbing and my confidence and experience with it. Surfing at over 30 knots for hours is just an incredible experience. A big thank you to Brian Thompson for putting this all together in such a short period of time. This is right up there; a totally amazing experience!”

Lloyd Thornburg's MOD 70, Phaedo^3 smashed the race record ©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD 70 yacht Phaedo^3 smashed the race record ©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

The crew of Phaedo3: Lloyd Thornburg (Owner), Romain Attanasio, Samuel Bason, Pete Cumming, Michel Desjoyeaux, Warren Fitzgerald, Sam Goodchild and Brian Thompson.

Third Time Lucky for Happy Hap

Hap Fauth’s American JV72 sailing yacht Bella Mente was declared the overall winner of the 2015 RORC Caribbean 600. Whilst several yachts were still racing, by the morning of Friday 27th February none of the remaining teams had the ability to better Bella Mente’s corrected time under IRC. It was third time lucky for Bella Mente as the Maxi 72 has finished second overall for the past two years. Bella Mente was also the winner of the highly competitive IRC Zero Class and retained the Bella Mente Trophy as the first IRC Yacht to finish that is wholly manually powered, without either variable or moveable ballast. A delighted Hap Fauth spoke about the achievement and was full of praise for the entire Belle Mente team:

“This is our third go at winning this race and three is the beauty!” said Hap Fauth. “The majority of this team have been with me for at least five years – it is an outstanding group of guys. They like each other, we have a good time together – they are all mates. Everybody puts safety first, that’s the way it should be offshore, but after that we push to the limit. This race is a series of sprints and every leg is different. You are trying to get out of the blocks at the start of each segment and as soon as you get going, you are looking to get to top speed without increasing the distance sailed in that quest for boat speed. We try to make a couple of minutes up at every corner – with 12 corners if you save three minutes a corner, then that makes a real difference to your finish time. Everybody works together, it is our big strength; the crew did a phenomenal job.”

Overall winner: Team Bella Mente in the 2015 RORC Caribbean 600 ©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

Overall winner: Team Bella Mente in the 2015 RORC Caribbean 600 ©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

Bella Mente Crew: (Owner) Hap Fauth, Thomas Allin, James Baxter, Michele Cannoni, Carlo Castellano, Sean Clarkson, Sean Couvreux, James Dagg, Federico Giovanelli, Peter Henderson, Terry Hutchinson, Keats Keeley, Brian Macinnes, Craig Monk, Ian Moore, Michael Sanderson, Matt Smith, Adrian Stead, Morgan Trubovich, Jim Turner.

Rambler 88 takes Monohull Line Honours

George David’s Juan K designed superyacht Rambler 88 took Monohull Line Honours for the RORC Caribbean 600. Rambler 88 was approximately four hours short of the monohull race record, set by his previous yacht Rambler 100 in 2011.

George David commented dockside: “Rambler 88 was ahead of the monohull race record for some time, but the wind angle on the long leg to Guadeloupe was tighter than in 2012. Rambler 88 is probably faster on every point of sail than the Rambler 100, but the weather really didn’t work for us this year. Rambler 88 is an exciting boat to race, powerful and really wet on deck. We have moved a step closer to harnessing that power and the wet conditions are easily managed with good foul weather gear! A special course and a very well organised race. The RORC should be congratulated once again for producing a great event.”

George David's Juan K designed Rambler 88 ©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

George David’s Juan K designed superyacht Rambler 88 ©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

The crew of Rambler 88: George David (Owner), Rodney Ardern, Silvio Arrivabene, Stuart Bannatyne, Scott Beavis, Curtis Blewett, Brad Butterworth, Simon Daubney, Wendy David, Jan Dekker, Brian Giorgio, Nathan Hislop, Brad Jackson, Jerome Kirby, William McCarthy, Artie Means, Robert Naismith, Mark Newbrook, Dean Phipps, Andrea Visintini, Matthew Welling, Stuart Wilson.

300 Tonne IRC Weapon

The 182ft twin-mast schooner Adela, dating back to 1903, won the Superyacht and Spirit of Tradition Classes and placed fifth in IRC overall; an incredible performance that skipper Greg Norwood-Perkins was rightly proud of. “An IRC weapon!” laughed Greg. “Adela competes in numerous bucket-style short course racing and it is there that we hone our boat-handling – this course demands impeccable manoeuvres from the crew. The owner is really thrilled with the performance of Adela and is full of encouragement, even though we put Adela through enormous stress loads. I am so proud of the crew, most of whom have been racing Adela now for many seasons. It takes every sinew of muscle and brain-power to sail her to the maximum, everyone has to be at the very top of their game.”

Majestic 182ft twin-mast schooner Adela, Greg Norwood-Perkins ©RORC Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

Majestic 182ft twin-mast schooner Adela, Greg Norwood-Perkins ©RORC Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

Sorcha – Tough but thoroughly enjoyable

Bella Mente was the winner of IRC Zero with Peter Harrison’s TP52, Sorcha, in second place and one of the big stories of the race was Sorcha’s battle with Piet Vroon’s Ker 51, Tonnerre 4. Equally matched, the two teams battled side-by-side and were utterly exhausted after an intense match race around the 600-mile course.

Sorcha’s skipper, Campbell Field, spoke dockside: “A tough race but thoroughly enjoyable. Racing around the Caribbean in a TP52 is like attaching a 500 HP outboard to a surf board. Everything and everybody gets a full soaking, even down below there is no respite from the drenching, but this is a great crew with a fantastic spirit and we have all enjoyed the race immensely. The battle with Tonnerre was just the icing on the cake; that is some of the best racing I can remember. I think, all in all, we won’t find many areas that we could have made a lot of time up, so we have to be satisfied with our performance. If the weather had been slightly more in our favour, who knows, we might have won the race overall.”

Otra Vez wins IRC One – We will be back

William Coates, Texan Ker 43, Otra Vez, was the runaway winner of IRC One, even starting half an hour late with a mainsail problem didn’t stop the determined team from claiming victory. “The conditions definitely suited our type of boat compared to the heavy displacement opposition in Music and Maximizer,” commented William Coates. “This is the first race for us but we are definitely coming back, the course is just awesome and the event is the best organised regatta in the Caribbean. We are delighted with the win; it is a great start to our season.”

Hatrick for Scarlet Oyster

Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster won IRC Two for the third time and enjoyed a fantastic battle with Andy Middleton’s First 47.7, EH01 and Lucy Reynolds’ Swan 51, Northern Child. Scarlet Oyster crossed the finish line just 81 seconds in front of EH01 and the three skippers, who are great friends, put aside their bon ami to push their teams to the maximum in search of class glory. EH01 came second and Northern Child third, by just under one minute on corrected time, after three and a half days of hard racing.

“Both EH01 and Northern Child have bought new sails and put up one hell of a fight,” commented Ross Applebey. “We are all race charter yachts and I believe that sailors sign up with us because they know that they will be racing safely but also competitively. All of the Scarlet Oyster crew are experienced offshore sailors and this was a hard fought victory. Just completing the course is a challenge but winning against good competition is a big part of the satisfaction.”

Tough Racing in IRC 3

IRC Three produced the closest contest of any class with four yachts taking the lead at various stages of the race. By Thursday night, the wind had picked up to 20 knots, gusting 30. The beat to the finish from Redonda was exceptionally hard with the crews having to grunt up for the final push to the finish line. Yuri Fadeev’s Russian crew on the First 40.7, Intuition was leading the fleet on the water at Redonda but lost a sail over the side which cost them an hour to retrieve in the rough seas. Louis-Marie Dussere’s JPK 10.10, Raging Bee was sailing Two Handed and finished third in class. After the race, the highly experienced French skipper exclaimed. “The standard of the competition and conditions were more difficult than any Fastnet.” Peter Scholfield’s HOD 35, Zarafa crewed by  young servicemen from the King’s Royal Hussars and Queen’s Royal Lancers were very much in contention, but it was Ed Fishwick’s Sunfast 36, Redshift that pulled away in the wind shadow of Guadeloupe to take the class title.

Nick Cherry, Redshift tactician commented: “We are delighted to have won in such a competitive class against boats like Zarafa and Raging Bee. We were pushing each other along and it was great competition. The highlight of the race for us was the reach back from Desirade, screaming along under the A3, that was amazing. I’ve done this race twice before but none of the others onboard had. We’re all really good mates but hadn’t raced together like this before so we had a great time and a lot of laughs onboard. The race is pretty special – it’s a great place and the course was designed for sailors, pushing the boats and crews. We’ll definitely be back again.”

The 8th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 will start on Monday 22nd February 2016.

Sailing yacht BELLA MENTE – The overall winner of 2015 RORC Caribbean 600

February 27, 2015

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

The overall winner of this year’s RORC Caribbean 600 has become Hap Fauth’s American JV72 sailing yacht Bella Mente. Whilst several yachts are still competing, by the morning of Friday 27th February none of the remaining teams had the ability to better Bella Mente yacht’s corrected time under IRC. It was third time lucky for Bella Mente as the Maxi 72 has finished second overall for the past two years.

Overall winner of the 2015 RORC Caribbean 600, Hap Fauth's JV72, Bella Mente ©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

Overall winner of the 2015 RORC Caribbean 600, Hap Fauth’s JV72 sailing yacht Bella Mente
©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

Luxury yacht Bella Mente was also the winner of the highly competitive IRC Zero Class and retained the Bella Mente Trophy as the first IRC Yacht to finish that is wholly manually powered, without either variable or moveable ballast. A delighted Hap Fauth spoke about the achievement and was full of praise for both the race team and shore crew:

“Friday, before the race start, we had a structural problem with the boat and limped home from practice to assess the problem. We took the boat apart and for two days the shore team set up a temporary boat building workshop and did a great job just to get us to the start line. Throughout the race we had no problems at all and my hat goes off to our ground crew.

“This is the third go at winning this race and three is the beauty! This is the third Bella Mente since 2006 and the majority of this team have been with me for at least five years – it is an outstanding group of guys. They like each other, we have a good time together – they are all mates. Everybody puts safety first, that’s the way it should be offshore, but after that we push to the limit.

Team Bella Mente ©RORC/Ted Martin/Photofantasyantigua.com

Team Bella Mente ©RORC/Ted Martin/Photofantasyantigua.com

“This race is a series of sprints and every leg is different, you are trying to get out of the blocks at the start of each segment and as soon as you get going, you are looking to get to top speed without increasing the distance sailed in that quest for boat speed. We try to make a couple of minutes up at every corner – with 12 corners if you save three minutes a corner then that makes a real difference to your finish time. Everybody works together, it is our big strength; the crew did a phenomenal job.”

Bella Mente’s British navigator, Ian Moore, spoke about a crucial part of the course. Nicknamed the ‘Guadeloupe Casino’, the wind shadow of Guadeloupe can make or break a performance as the largest and tallest island on the course can be an unforgiving trap.

“We knew that the wind direction would flick to the south east just as we were arriving at Guadeloupe and,although we were looking at the current situation, we had pretty much made the decision to take our chances by going inshore. In the past, we have had some bad experiences going offshore, if you run out of wind you can get trapped for a very long time. I would give Bella Mente’s performance in the wind shadow a solid nine out of ten, we did really well but we had to fight for it and use all our skill to keep the boat going. Moose (Mike Sanderson) was driving, Terry (Hutchinson) and Ado (Adrian Stead) had their eyes out of the boat and I was just giving them the numbers and I believe that combined tactical sailing knowledge got us through.”

Hap Fauth had left nothing to chance in his quest to win the RORC Caribbean 600 and brought a team of world class sailors to run the afterguard which included Volvo Ocean race winning skipper, New Zealand’s Mike ‘Moose’ Sanderson, current Rolex US Sailor of the Year, American Terry Hutchinson and British America’s Cup tactician, Adrian Stead, who has been on the winning team for the RORC Caribbean 600 on three occasions. Mike Sanderson spoke about Bella Mente’s victory:

“It was a great race at the end of the day and we had Maserati to race with some of the time. To be boat-on-boat with a Volvo 70 was a nice surprise. We have worked on the boat very hard since we were here last year. Hap loves this race and it was very pleasing for us sitting on the dock feeling that we didn’t leave anything on the table. This was one of our best overall performances. We have two big races this year; the RORC Caribbean 600 and the Rolex Fastnet and we have produced a sail programme that covers the range well for those races. At one point we went through the lee of Leopard, reaching with a jib-top. Charter yacht Leopard is a fast 100 ft canting keel boat, so we are really excited at how well Bella is going with its new mast and new sails. We have done a lot of work on the aero-package and the boat feels great and she is going quick but we are really ringing its neck. To be honest the boat is pretty cranky and very physical. It is some of the most physical keel boat sailing that we do because you are muscling a windward leeward orientated boat around a reaching course, so it is tough on the wheel and there is a lot of grinding for the big boys.”

Bella Mente yacht has become the third Maxi 72 to win the race overall and the fifth American owner to win the RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy. The RORC Caribbean 600 Prizegiving will take place on Friday 27th February at the Antigua Yacht Club.

Sailing yacht Bella Mente Crew: Owner Hap Fauth, Thomas Allin, James Baxter, Michele Cannoni, Carlo Castellano, Sean Clarkson, Sean Couvreux, James Dagg, Federico Giovanelli, Peter Henderson, Terry Hutchinson, Keats Keeley, Brian Macinnes, Craig Monk, Ian Moore, Michael Sanderson, Matt Smith, Adrian Stead, Morgan Trubovich and Jim Turner

RORC Caribbean 600 Yacht Race: Day 4

February 27, 2015

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

By the morning of Day Four of the RORC Caribbean 600, 19 yachts had finished the race and 43 yachts were still competing. Yesterday night the lighter southerly wind had switched back to an easterly direction with substantial cloud activity providing changeable conditions for the yachts. The wind speed was steadily building and squall activity provided sudden exponential increases in the wind speed as well as a variable wind direction.

Majestic schooner, Adela ©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

Majestic schooner Adela ©RORC/Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

 In the IRC Canting Keel Class, with all yachts accounted for, George David’s Juan K designed sailing yacht Rambler 88 has scored the best corrected time. Mike Slade’s Farr 100 charter yacht Leopard, sailed by Chris Bake’s Team Aqua, is in second place with Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50, Privateer in third.

In IRC Zero, three yachts are still racing but Hap Fauth’s JV72 sailing yacht  Bella Mente is the provisional winner of the class with Peter Harrison’s TP52, Sorcha second and True, Doug Baker’s Kernan 47, third. These three yachts also dominate the provisional overall ranking under IRC with Bella Mente currently leading the fleet, Sorcha second and True third respectively.

The story of the night was the battle on the water between Sorcha and Tonnerre 4. They finished the race late last night and both crews were utterly exhausted after an intense match race around the 600 mile course.

Sorcha’s skipper, Campbell Field, spoke dockside: “A tough race but thoroughly enjoyable. Racing around the Caribbean in a TP52 is like attaching a 500 HP outboard to a surf board. Everything and everybody gets a full soaking, even down below there is no respite from the drenching but this is a great crew with a fantastic spirit and we have all enjoyed the race immensely. The battle with Tonnerre was just the icing on the cake that is some of the best racing I can remember. I think, all in all, we won’t find many areas that we could have made a lot of time up, so we have to be satisfied with our performance. If the weather had been slightly more in our favour, who knows, we might have won the race overall.”

Tonnerre 4 stalwart, Frank Gerber was also full of praise for the crew: “This was the first time we had even sailed the new Ker 51 at night, so we have been on a steep learning curve for this race but what an amazing battle with Sorcha. The first 24 hours were just epic. With Paul Wilcox on the helm we hit 25 knots of boat speed on the way up to Barbuda, there was just water everywhere and the rush was thrilling. After Barbuda we were locked in a gybing battle with Sorcha for the downwind leg to Nevis. Two fast yachts surfing at each other at closing speeds of 40 knots, gybe after gybe after gybe, that is thrilling in anybody’s book. Sorcha have a great crew and sailed their boat just that little bit better than us and we applaud them for that but we have learnt so much about Tonnerre 4 and we will be able to up our game for our next race.”

The 182ft twin-mast schooner Adela, dating back to 1903, finished just before midnight winning the Superyacht and Spirit of Tradition Classes, placing sixth in IRC overall and fifth in IRC Zero, an incredible performance that skipper Greg Norwood-Perkins was rightly proud of:

“An IRC weapon!” laughed Greg, dockside. “Adela competes in numerous bucket-style short course racing and it is there that we hone our boat-handling and maximize our boat speed – this course demands impeccable manoeuvres from the crew. The owner is really thrilled with the performance of Adela and is full of encouragement, even though we put Adela through enormous stress loads. I am so proud of the crew, most of whom have been racing Adela now for many seasons. It takes every sinew of muscle and brain-power to sail her to the maximum, our sail configuration is complex and everyone has to be at the very top of their game. Tomorrow, we will celebrate our traditional lunch with a bottle of wine for every sail change. It is an unusual method of motivating the crew for every sail change we do and it will be a long and well deserved celebration of an excellent performance.”

In IRC One only one yacht has successfully completed the 600-mile race. William Coates’ Texan Ker 43, Otra Vez, has set the bench mark for the class, which will be difficult for the remaining 14 yachts in IRC One to beat. Jose Diego-Arozamena’s Farr 72 yacht Maximizer, should be the next yacht to complete the course followed by James Blakemore’s Swan 53, Music.

Seven yachts are still racing in IRC Two. On the water Ross Applebey’s Oyster 48, Scarlet Oyster, holds a slender 3-mile lead over Andy Middleton’s First 47.7, EH01. Lucy Reynolds’ Swan 51, Northern Child is 10 miles astern of the leader ,but after time correction is virtually tied for second place with EH01. This morning the three leading yachts were approaching Barbuda, preparing themselves for a big gybe in freshening breeze to head for Redonda and the last leg of the course, the gruelling 30 mile beat to finish. All three yachts are expected to finish the race this evening.

Seven yachts are still racing in IRC Three. The provisional class leader is Peter Schofield’s HOD 35, Zarafa, crewed by servicemen from the King’s Royal Hussars and the Queen’s Royal Lancers. However Zarafa is not leading on the water, the remarkable Two Handed French team racing JPK 10.10, Raging Bee is ahead by less than a mile after 465 miles of racing. Raging Bee skipper, Louis-Marie Dussere explained the unusual name of the yacht, the winner of the Two Handed Class for the 2014 RORC Season’s Points Championship: “The bee was a symbol used by Napoleon Bonaparte in his campaigns because a bee is both a team player and a ferocious fighter – so we like this imagination for our boat! I raced Raging Bee here two handed and the RORC always provide well managed events, so taking part in the RORC Caribbean 600 was an easy choice.”

IRC Three is producing probably the closest competition of any of 11 separate classes racing in the RORC Caribbean 600. After 70 hours on the race track, there is less than one hour separating the top four yachts after time correction. Zarafa leads by just 25 minutes from Raging Bee with Ed Fishwick’s Sunfast 3600, Redshift is third and Valerio Bardi’s Swan 46, Milanto, fourth.