International Maxi Association Brief

International Maxi Association Luxury Yacht Charter & Superyacht News

Publication of Notice of Race for RORC Transatlantic Race

April 11, 2014

The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) is delighted to announce the publication of the Notice of Race for the RORC Transatlantic Race. The event will kick off from Lanzarote, Canary Islands on Saturday 29th November 2014, finishing in the fabulous Caribbean yacht charter destination – Grenada.

RORC

The Notice of Race can be viewed and downloaded from the RORC Transatlantic Race website or by contacting the RORC Race Office.

Organised by The Royal Ocean Racing Club in Association with the International Maxi Association, the race is supported by: Puerto Calero Marina, Lanzarote, Camper & Nicholsons Marina Port Louis, Grenada and Grenada Tourism.

RORC Transatlantic Race supported by International Maxi Association

March 10, 2014

The International Maxi Association (IMA) has teamed up with the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) in the organisation of the very first RORC Transatlantic Race and will hand over an exclusive vintage sterling silver trophy to the Line Honours winner.

Line honours victory for Hap Fauth's American Mini Maxi, Bella Mente in action during the recent  RORC Caribbean 600 - Credit: Tim Wright/photoaction.com

Line honours victory for Hap Fauth's American Mini Maxi Yacht Bella Mente in action during the recent RORC Caribbean 600 - Credit: Tim Wright/photoaction.com

The IMA invites the expanding Maxi fleet to a new format of a classic autumn competition, starting from Puerto Calero, Lanzarote on 29 November and racing 2,800 n miles across the Atlantic to the inviting waters of Grenada in the Caribbean.

IMA Secretary General, Andrew McIrvine is pleased with the RORC association for the race:
“The IMA’s support will provide a resounding endorsement of RORC’s new Transatlantic Race which has a strong future. With time, it will attract a large and competitive fleet that aspire to a real challenge and strong competition in a warm-water race to the Caribbean. The IMA are pleased to support the RORC organisation and are delighted that the beautiful island of Grenada has been chosen for the finish of the race. The IMA will continue the partnership with the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda with a planned rally and party at its yacht club in British Virgin Gorda following the finish of the RORC Transatlantic Race.”

The International Maxi Association has been expanding its activities since 2010 when the first Mini Maxi World Championship took place in Porto Cervo, Italy with 24 entries from two continents and 49 Maxis participating in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. Its growing membership boasts 12 Honorary Members and 60 Members with boats such as sailing yacht RÁN; charter yacht Sojana; luxury yacht Alegre; sailing yacht Bella Mente and superyacht Nilaya regularly competing in the RORC’s international racing programme of over 20 races, including the RORC Caribbean 600 and Rolex Fastnet Race.

It is anticipated that a strong fleet of Maxi, Mini-Maxi and Superyachts will take part in the inaugural RORC Transatlantic Race which also allows them to compete in Caribbean regattas before heading back to the yacht racing season both sides of the Atlantic.

Grenada Tourism Authority with Camper and Nicholsons Marinas, will host the first edition of the race to the spice island of Grenada which will also act as a set-up for The Atlantic Ocean Racing Series. This quadrennial event is run jointly by the New York Yacht Club, Royal Yacht Squadron, Royal Ocean Racing Club and Storm Trysail Club. Starting in February 2015 with the RORC Caribbean 600, followed by the Transatlantic Race from Newport R.I. to England, the Rolex Fastnet Race and finally the Rolex Middle Sea Race.

Final racing calendar for 2014 season confirmed by Wally Class

February 26, 2014

The final racing calendar for the 2014 season has been confirmed by the Wally Class, representing the largest fleet of performance yachts over 24 metres. The calendar includes four of the world’s most significant luxury yacht regattas in the most enchanting locations of the popular summer yacht charter destination – the Mediterranean.

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez 2013 - Day 1 - Wally Yachts and J Class

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez 2013 - Day 1 - Wally Yachts and J Class

Gaastra PalmavelaPalma de Mallorca, 30 April – 4 May
• Menorca Maxi – Mahón, 21– 25 May
Maxi Yacht Rolex CupPorto Cervo, 31 August – 6 September
Les Voiles de Saint TropezSt.Tropez, 28 September – 4 October

Wallys will also competitively race in other renowned regattas against yachts of other types: further events include Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta and Rendezvous in Virgin Gorda, BVI and two of the most important offshore races in the Mediterranean, the Rolex Volcano Race, 22 May and the Giraglia Rolex Cup, 13-21 June.

The new addition to the traditional racing circuit is the first edition of the Menorca Maxi Regatta, an event specifically created for Wallys and J Class yachts, that will take place in the beautiful Balearic Island, and supported by the Government of Menorca.

The close competition will engage participants and spectators: this year the Wally fleet is scheduled to display between eight and 12 yachts on the starting line of the different events, offering a unique and spectacular sight of the highest performance sailing cruisers. Everybody is looking forward to the exciting and close racing!

Due to the exceptional performance of Wally yachts and their resulting competitive advantage, the Wally Class is part of the IMA (International Maxi Association) and is recognised internationally as a division of the world’s most important Superyacht regattas.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup – the ultimate testing ground and showcase for Maxi yachts

September 05, 2013

Owned and helmed by individuals used to success outside of sport, sailed by excellent professional talent and penned by architectural visionaries, the world’s most spectacular monohull yachts, known in the sailing community as Maxis, are admired for their speed, elegance, as well as power.

Mini Maxi Fleet racing downwind - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Mini Maxi Fleet racing downwind - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

The ultimate testing ground and showcase for Maxis, their owners, sailors and designers is the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, held annually in Porto Cervo, Sardinia and open only to yachts over 18.29m (60-ft) in length. With a fierce level of competition, challenging and complex racecourses, the event provides a stern examination of a Maxi yacht’s capabilities.

This year’s event has once again proved an unmissable rendezvous for those captivated by the latest and most thought-provoking thinking in yacht design.

Superyacht Magic Carpet 3 reveals her twin rudder configuration as she heads upwind

Superyacht Magic Carpet 3 reveals her twin rudder configuration as she heads upwind - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Dominant designs
Jim Pugh of San Diego-based Reichel/Pugh, Rolf Vrolijk from German studio Judel/Vrolijk and Mark Mills of Ireland-based Mills Design Ltd are three of the most active, and successful, in the rarefied world of Maxi yacht design. All three are present at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup observing firsthand a number of their latest creations in action.

Judel/Vrolijk designs include two previous winners of the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship – Hap Fauth’s defending champion sailing yacht Bella Mente and Niklas Zennström’s two-time winner Rán 2 yacht. Judel/Vrolijk also worked on the concept and launch of the first Wally Cento – Sir Charles Dunstone’s 100-ft superyacht Hamilton.

Reichel/Pugh have provided the vision behind several renowned Maxis including the 100-ft superyacht Esimit Europa 2, a recent line honours winner at the Rolex Fastnet. Two other Reichel/Pugh Maxi designs boast current Rolex offshore race records – George David’s 90-ft luxury yacht Rambler at the 2007 Rolex Middle Sea Race, and the 100-ft superyacht Wild Oats XI at the 2012 Rolex Sydney Hobart. Among their designs in attendance in 2013 is Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’s brand-new Wally Cento superyacht Magic Carpet 3.

In turn, Mark Mills drew the lines for the very latest Mini Maxi launch, Andres Soriano’s 72-ft sailing yacht Alegre, completed earlier this year. A testament to the quality of his studio’s work lies in the continued success of the former Alegre, now sailing as Caol Ila R yacht.

Dockside at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda after the second day of racing

Dockside at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda after the second day of racing - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

From aluminium to carbon
Established in 1980, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup was born of a desire to provide the large, powerful yachts with an opportunity to engage in a direct competition, in a suitably challenging environment. Organized by Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and the International Maxi Association, the event has been the jewel of Rolex’s international yachting portfolio since 1985.

In the 1980s hulls were made of glass fibre, aluminium, sometimes even wood. Masts and rigging were constructed using metal. Heavy and not particularly fast, loads were high, manoeuvres ponderous and safety margins slim. A far cry from the sleek, carbon fibre-built designs of today that benefit from aerospace technology and are fast, and agile. In the right hands some appear to be sailed like dinghies.

“Initially, Maxis were heavy displacement, fixed keel boats with a fairly shallow draft,” starts Pugh. Those racing in Porto Cervo this week are unrecognisable from their predecessors – rules, materials and knowledge have all changed over the intervening years expanding the opportunities considerably. “Some of the Maxi boats now weigh 26 metric tonnes whereas 30 years ago they weighed 75 tonnes – a huge difference. The rigs are probably twice the size and due to a much longer waterline, they are more powerful, probably going three times the speed they did thirty years ago.”

Vrolijk points to a number of factors affecting why and how design has evolved: “A lot of the changes have been influenced by rating rules which have determined how boats are built.” Other developments have occurred following improvements in a different area, for example “sail development in terms of cloth and design has occurred parallel to improvements in mast design.”

Continued research into the possibilities offered by the latest construction materials, has enabled different sizes and types of boat to emerge. The landscape has broadened immensely: from all-out racing Mini Maxis between 60 and 72 feet to imperious Supermaxis measuring in excess of 165 ft (50m); from boats designed to both race and cruise to those with speed as their single purpose. All reflect a continuing desire to break boundaries in terms of power and elegance. The differences between an all out racing Mini Maxi (Bella Mente) and a Supermaxi (defending Class champion superyacht Nilaya), designed primarily to cruise, are outlined in an accompanying infographic.

Superyacht Rainbow and charter yacht Ranger sail pass Isola delle Bisce

Superyacht Rainbow and charter yacht Ranger sail pass Isola delle Bisce - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

A collaborative process
With the range of concepts and solutions on display, it is little surprise that many projects are born at or inspired by the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. “Coming to an event like this you see so many different styles of boat,” explains Pugh. “It is definitely very stimulating in terms of creativity.”

Pugh confirms that the design process is categorized by several key steps starting with the owner’s brief: “You will discuss what the owner wants to do, how he wants the boat to perform, gaining an idea about where the boat has to sail, where it has to have its strong points to meet his vision.”

Some briefs can be truly specific, as Mills reveals for the new Alegre: “More than a perfect testing ground, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is the boat’s raison d’être. The boat’s design, everything about it, is about coming here and doing our best. It is the template around which Alegre was designed.”

Once commissioned, an exhaustive research and development (R&D) process begins. “So much of this sort of boat design is driven by R&D,” explains Mills. “The first thing you do is set up a weather model, agree on the right conditions and let 80 or 90 hull shapes run through that model. The hull shape and parameters of the boat come out of R&D work. To that end it is the child of the research process.”

“Sometimes we will tank test, other times we will test through computational testing,” explains Pugh. “Then we will develop a number of other designs that are slightly different, varying parameters of the baseline such as beam and displacement and different styles of hull shapes so we can run those computationally. It is a fairly long process, taking somewhere between four to seven months.”

Once the design concept and testing is finalised, the complex build process is set in motion, a collaboration involving composite structural engineers, together with sail and mast makers, and specialists in almost every conceivable aspect of a sailing boat.

Once constructed the crew begin a further testing process through extensive sea trials and then sailing the boat at competitive events. It can take a while for a new launch to reach her full potential. “Everyone hopes to be right on target out of the blocks,” explains Mills, “but the size of these boats and level of complexity involved, including a crew of around 22, means it usually takes a year to get a boat fully working.”

Technology enables crews to crunch an amazing amount of data from cameras recording sail shape to sensors noting backstay and forestay tension. Of course, the data is nothing without skilled human interpretation. The sailors at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup are a who’s who in this regard, nearly all with a skill beyond simply knowing how to sail.

Superyacht Magic Carpet 3 during the first day of racing

Superyacht Magic Carpet 3 during the first day of racing - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Larger and lighter
Development is not confined to pure race boats. The Wally Cento is one of the latest concepts in dual purpose yachts required to both cruise and perform on the racecourse. Hamilton was the first iteration, launched last year, and Reichel/Pugh has recently delivered the second in Magic Carpet 3. The response to another owner taking advantage of evolution in stronger, lighter materials to improve speed. “It is a very exciting project,” continues Pugh, “It is not an absolute race design and has to reach the class rules of considerable accommodation. This is an even bigger challenge than doing a stripped out racing boat.”

Magic Carpet 3’s owner, Sir Lindsay Owen Jones, explains his concern throughout the process was whether his new yacht would be fast. The answer he says emphatically is yes: “It’s much faster. It is much more fun, much more exciting. Paradoxically, it is a much better cruising boat because of its extra width, which gives people air and space and makes it a very stable cruising platform. When you feel it accelerating it really is an exciting feeling. It feels like a racing boat and that’s what we wanted.”

Luxury yacht Alegre during the second day of racing

Luxury yacht Alegre during the second day of racing - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Improving on perfection
This year’s competition is adorned by the presence of four graceful J-Class yachts. Of the four-strong fleet charter yacht Shamrock and superyacht Velsheda are restorations of original yachts, both in excess of 80 years old, while Rainbow yacht and charter yacht Ranger are authentic replicas of original designs.

The challenge in restoring, replicating and sailing these boats is involved. Needs and solutions have changed considerably since the J-Class heyday in the 1930s. John Williams, owner of the 136-ft Ranger, a three-time winner at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, was a forerunner in helping the Class return to splendour a little over ten years ago. “The original Ranger was built in 1936 and won the America’s Cup in 1937,” he explains. The boat was then scrapped for steel in early 1940s. “I took the plans of the original Ranger and replicated it.”

The process was not simple, as Williams testifies: “The original J’s had no engine, generators, air conditioning, hot water, so to take the original hull and put all modern elements in was incredibly difficult. It took twice as long to design than to build. Even now we continually tweak it.” For designers and owners it is a delicate balance between replicating the beauty of the original boat and making something that performs in the modern age.

Evolution not revolution
What can we expect to see over the coming years in terms of Maxi yacht design? “There are parameters that limit you so you are not going to see an revolution in design,” warns Pugh. “But you may see a continuing evolution in hull design in terms of performance, and in sail plans and in rigs.”

“The possibilities are always there,” adds Vrolijk “and a desire to push the boundaries of speed will always be prevalent. For every generation of boats, the new ones have to be faster.”

As certain as Maxis will continue to break boundaries, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup will forever be the proving ground for the world’s greatest and fastest yachts.

Five-day racing at Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2013 to kick off today

September 02, 2013

The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup represents the world’s premiere rendezvous for Maxi yachts, marked by sunny clime, rocky outcrops, ideal wind conditions, as well as high-class sailing. To be hosted by the fabulous Italian yacht charter destination – Porto Cervo in Sardinia, this year’s 24th edition of the event, bringing five days of exciting racing on the Costa Smeralda, is set to kick off today. It will be attended by 37 spectacular Maxi yachts, varying in size from 60 to an impressive 157 feet, negotiating an environment as challenging as it is dramatic.

Dockside preparations at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Dockside preparations at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda - Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

“The two things which make the event unique are the race courses and the participants,” explained Riccardo Bonadeo, Commodore of event organizers Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. “The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup from the very beginning has always been the event of excellence for ocean-going boats. And the environment is perhaps the most spectacular and technical in the world.” “Somebody has got to tell me if there is a better place to go sail boat racing than Porto Cervo,” revealed Peter Craig, Principal Race Officer. “All the owners and sailors look forward to it like no other event. It’s a gorgeous venue with reliable breeze. One group of sailors, the navigators, may be the only people less enthused because there are plenty of rocks to negotiate around the coastline!” The event, co-organized with the International Maxi Association was first held in 1980 and has been the jewel of Rolex’s global yachting portfolio since 1985.

Preparation, whether physical, strategic or tactical, plays a crucial role in the lead up to a contest that demands perfection and where competition across the board is fierce. Crews started the last day before racing undertaking tailor-made fitness regimes onshore before honing starts, manoeuvres, tactics and communication on the water.

Rig check dockside at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda

Rig check dockside at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda - Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

The 37-strong fleet comprises 13 yachts competing in the fourth running of the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship. The Class, governed by an owner/driver rule, is in the ascendancy with a host of yachts in contention this year. Sailing yacht Ran 2 (GBR) won the first two editions in 2010 and 2011. She narrowly relinquished her title in 2012 on countback to Hap Fauth’s fellow 72-ft luxury yacht Bella Mente (USA).

Understandably, Zennström and his crew are determined to reclaim their title. “The (Mini Maxi) boats are amazingly fun to sail. They are powerful and for monohull sailing boats as good as it gets today,” explained Zennstrom. “The fleet is getting closer which means there are more boat on boat situations at [mark] roundings, and close crossings, which sharpen your skill as a helmsman.”

Zennström offers a personal insight into what it takes to win such a highly demanding event: “All teams are good. It’s about making the fewest mistakes. It’s not about trying to win every single race but being consistent and not having any shockers.” Ran 2’s list of rivals is formidable – the aforementioned Bella Mente, Andres Soriano’s brand new sailing yacht Alegre (GBR), together with yacht Caol Ila R (USA), sailing yacht Shockwave (USA) and luxury yacht Stig (ITA).

Crew members of Lupa of London yacht during sail measurement on Piazza Azzurra

Crew members of Lupa of London yacht during sail measurement on Piazza Azzurra - Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

An absolute contrast to the cut and thrust of the ultra-modern Mini Maxis is provided by the presence of four elegant timeless J-Class yachts, all in excess of 120-ft. Two of which – charter yacht Shamrock and superyacht Velsheda – were first launched over 80 years ago. The sight of these yachts gliding elegantly through the Maddalena Archipelago will provide onlookers with a vista of rare grace. Equally, the talent and technology offered by the Maxi, Supermaxi and Wally classes – showcases for contrasting styles and designs – will provide compelling sailing. The largest attending yacht is the 157-ft superyacht Nativa from Italy.

“Weather-wise it’s going to be a little bit of everything, starting off relatively light but towards the end of the week we will see more breeze,” forecast Craig. “It’s going to be a terrific week.”

Sail measurement on Piazza Azzurra

Sail measurement on Piazza Azzurra - Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

EVENT PROGRAMME

Sunday, 1 September
Inspections, registration and briefing
YCCS Welcome Reception

Monday, 2 September
Race (s)

Tuesday, 3 September
Race (s)

Wednesday, 4 September
Race (s)

Thursday, 5 September
Lay day or resail

Friday, 6 September
Race (s)
Rolex Crew Party

Saturday, 7 September
Race (s)
Final Prize Giving

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2013 expected to host 37 international crews

August 29, 2013

Set to run from September 1 to 7, this year’s 24th edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup will be hosting a quality line up. Thirty-seven international crews are expected to arrive in Sardinia‘s Porto Cervo in Italy for the high-class annual competition, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) as well as the International Maxi Association (IMA). Rolex has been title sponsor since 1985.

Scenic Costa Smeralda in the fabulous Italian yacht charter destination - Sardinia

Scenic Costa Smeralda in the fabulous Italian yacht charter destination - Sardinia - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Thirteen yachts are currently registered for the fourth Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship, open to boats measuring from 60 to 78-feet. This includes the two 72-ft former winners of the competition: Niklas Zennstrom’s sailing yacht Rán 2 (GBR), triumphant in 2010 and 2011, and defending champion Hap Fauth’s luxury yacht Bella Mente (USA). Both fresh from competing virtually side-by-side in the Rolex Fastnet Race.

This year they have an new adversary. Andres Soriano has a fine track record in the Mini Maxi class. His latest yacht Alegre (GBR), also a Mark Mills design but 4-ft longer than her predecessor, made her offshore debut at the Giraglia Rolex Cup. Other expected frontrunners are Alessandro Rombelli’s ever-improving Italian entry luxury yacht Stig, the 2013 Rolex Volcano Race winner yacht Caol Ila R (USA) and sailing yacht Shockwave (USA), owned and helmed by George Sakellaris.

Luxury yacht Shockwave and Ran approach the lighthouse at Monaci - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Luxury yacht Shockwave and Ran approach the lighthouse at Monaci - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

The Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds is only part of the week’s attraction. In among the high-tech carbon-fibre speed machines of the 21st century, a poised and elegant J Class fleet includes the 1930-build luxury charter yacht Shamrock, a poignant reminder of yesteryear. At the other end of the age spectrum, Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’s recently launched Wally Cento superyacht Magic Carpet 3 (GBR) is guaranteed to draw admiring glances.  Owen-Jones has an enviable record in Porto Cervo and his new Magic Carpet with the highly-respected Jochen Schümann as tactician, recently claimed line honours at the Giraglia Rolex Cup.

Competition in the Wally class will be fierce. Fellow Wally Cento superyacht Hamilton, owned by Sir Charles Dunstone, will count on the tactical expertise of British Olympian Ian Walker. Four-time winner superyacht Y3K (GER), owned by Claus-Peter Offen, will push hard for a fifth victory following a winter refit.

Bella Mente Yacht starring at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup

Bella Mente Yacht starring at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

In the other classes, experience, design prowess and sailing talent are all at the fore. The 112-ft superyacht Nilaya (BEL), offering the perfect compromise between a racing and a cruising yacht, and with Bouwe Bekking as tactician, has dominated the Supermaxi class in the previous two years. Hasso Plattner returns with his former event winning maxZ86 yacht Morning Glory (GER) in the Maxi Class, where defending champion luxury yacht Aegir (GBR), for whom American Olympian Steve Benjamin is tactician, has an outstanding more-recent record.

The Costa Smeralda is often considered the perfect sailing environment except for one problem. Crews have precious little time to bask in the sun and admire the inviting turquoise waters. The five days of racing are intense, and, navigators and tacticians must contend with the rocky outcrops that have claimed many notable victims over the years. Complacency is punished without exception.

Start of the Wally Class - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Start of the Wally Class - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Sailing begins on Monday 2 September. A week of dramatic action and sophisticated social events will conclude with the final prizegiving on Saturday 7 September.

EVENT PROGRAMME

Sunday, 1 September
Inspections, registration and briefing
YCCS Welcome Reception

Monday, 2 September
Race (s)

Tuesday, 3 September
Race (s)
Wednesday, 4 September
Race (s)

Thursday, 5 September
Lay day or resail

Friday, 6 September
Race (s)
Rolex Crew Party

Saturday, 7 September
Race (s)
Final Prize Giving

Swan yachts to compete for the Swan Maxi Trophy at Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2013

August 28, 2013

Preparations for this year’s Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup are in full swing in Italy‘s Sardinia, where a fleet of Maxi Swan yachts will compete for the prestigious Swan Maxi Trophy, awarded to the best placed Swan yacht at the event.

Swan 90S superyacht Freya at the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean 2013 - Photo credit to Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Swan 90S superyacht Freya at the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean 2013 - Photo credit to Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

The prestigious regatta is organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) in conjunction with the International Maxi Association (IMA) and brings together some of the largest sailing yachts in the world. Taking place from the 1st – 7th September in the beautiful Porto Cervo, the event is key in the Maxi calendars.

The Swan yachts will complete the five scheduled days of racing, with Swan 90S superyacht Freya, Swan 90 Altair and Swan 90 charter yacht Nefertiti all competing for the Swan Maxi trophy and the winning title. Swan 90 Solleone will also be present at the event and Swan 601 @robas will be racing this year in the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship 2013.

Swan 90 luxury yacht Altair raced in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2012 following a refit in the Nautor’s yard in Finland. Taking second place in the Maxi Racing/Cruising Class, owner Mr Paolo Scerni is back again this year; “Together with our crew and sponsor the Robertissima sailing team, headed by my close friend Roberto Tommasini, with whom we have joined forces with for the event, we are very much looking forward to being back in Porto Cervo this year. We are quite excited to see that 5 Swans will be there, 4 of which are the latest Swan 90’s. We will definitely do our best, as a team and boat to be competitive.

In preparation, Swan 90 Altair has just had minor fine tunings and has undertaken some great training with Roberto, who will steer the yacht for the duration of the event. Until now, the summer has been quiet for Altair; we have been cruising with her for a couple of weeks with family before getting prepared for MYRC.”

It is not only Altair yacht’s crew who are enthusiastic about the MYRC; racing in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup for the first time, owner of Swan 90S Freya, Mr Don Macpherson commented; “I am very excited to participate in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup this year. We have been working very hard getting Freya into race mode to compete in this prestigious race. We look forward to racing with our family and friends in the beautiful Porto Cervo. This race is the third regatta we have participated in this year but it will be the most competitive race that Freya has competed in and we are looking forward to joining the fleet of Swan yachts at Yacht Club Costa Smeralda.”

After the long days of racing, the evenings ashore will provide plenty of entertainment for the Swan owners and crews, as they can look forward to a welcome reception, exclusive dinners and a crew party in the stunning Italian surroundings.

Once racing is over, Swan 90S luxury yacht Freya will leave Porto Cervo and sail to Monaco to attend the Monaco Yacht Show; there she will be the showcase yacht for Nautor’s Swan. The stunning Swan 90S was built in 2012 and became the 2,000th Swan to leave the yard in Pietarsaari, Finland.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2013, September 1 to 7

July 22, 2013

The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup represents one of the most eye-catching and momentous events in the international sailing calendar, hosting an amazing line up of design, power, as well as prowess. The 24th edition of the world’s most important meeting of Maxi yachts will take place in the fabulous Italian yacht charter location – Porto Cervo in Sardinia. The event is organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) and the International Maxi Association (IMA). Rolex has been title sponsor since 1985.

Mini Maxi Fleet dwarfed by the sails of superyacht Hetairos - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Mini Maxi Fleet dwarfed by the sails of superyacht Hetairos - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

The stage is set for a dramatic week of sailing with an impressive fleet of yachts all upwards of 60-feet (18.29-metres) in length preparing to grace the alluring but often uncompromising waters of Sardinia’s La Maddalena Archipelago. Competition will take place in different categories, including Mini Maxi, Maxi Racing, Maxi Racing/Cruising, Supermaxi and Wally.

The 12-strong mini maxi fleet - Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

The 12-strong mini maxi fleet - Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

The highly competitive Mini Maxi Class – yachts measuring from 60-79 ft – is experiencing something of a golden age; the fleet is closely matched, highly competitive and increasingly popular. This year marks the fourth running of the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship. The defending champion is Hap Fauth’s 72-ft American entry, sailing yacht Bella Mente. Last year, the new launch narrowly defeated Niklas Zennström’s 72-ft yacht Rán 2, winner in 2010 and 2011. The level of competition is even greater this year. Andres Soriano is expected to arrive with his recently launched 72-ft yacht Alegre (GBR), the freshest Mini Maxi design. His former 68-ft Alegre is now owned by Alexander Schaerer and is continuing to excel as Caol Ila R. Other forecast entrants like George Sakellaris’s Shockwave, Sir Peter Ogden’s yacht Jethou and Alessandro Rombelli’s luxury yacht Stig are all equally capable of upsetting the form book.

At 66m, mega yacht Hetairos recently became the tallest vessel to navigate the Panama Canal

At 66m, mega yacht Hetairos recently became the tallest vessel to navigate the Panama Canal - Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Rivalries will be renewed throughout the competing fleet. The Wally class always reserves dramatic action. This year looks particularly appetising. Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’s Magic Carpet crew – perennial winners in Porto Cervo – will be racing for the first time on Owen-Jones’s new Wally Cento superyacht Magic Carpet 3. The line honours winner at June’s Giraglia Rolex Cup features experienced former Olympic medallist Jochen Schümann as skipper. Meanwhile Claus-Peter Offen’s 100-ft luxury yacht Y3K from Germany will hit the water after recent modifications in an effort to maintain her remarkable run of success in Porto Cervo.

Luxury sailing yacht Ran 2

Luxury sailing yacht Ran 2 - Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Belgian Filip Balcaen’s 112-ft superyacht Nilaya has dominated the Supermaxi class – reserved for yachts measuring in excess of 100-ft – over the past two years. The Class is typically the most diverse, attracting yachts built for both luxurious cruising and competitive sailing. Last year, the event set a new record with the appearance of the gigantic 216-ft mega yacht Hetairos, the largest boat to ever feature in the competition.

Luxury yacht Stig chases Bella Mente yacht - Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Luxury yacht Stig chases Bella Mente yacht - Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

EVENT PROGRAMME:

Sunday, 1 September

YCCS Welcome Reception
Inspections, registration and briefing

Monday, 2 September

Race (s)

Tuesday, 3 September

Race (s)

Wednesday, 4 September

Race (s)

Thursday, 5 September

Lay day or resail

Friday, 6 September

Race (s)
Rolex Crew Party

Saturday, 7 September

Race (s)
Final Prize Giving

Rolex Capri Sailing Week Volcano Race 2013: Capricious conditions for Maxi yachts

May 28, 2013

The fantastic Italian charter destination, the island of Capri, and the fabulous Tyrrhenian Sea hosted this year’s Rolex Capri Sailing Week Volcano Race, which came to an end on Friday, May 24, after a week of close-fought inshore and offshore competing. Constantly changing as well as difficult conditions ensured exciting racing for the fleet of Maxi yachts.

Fleet during coastal race - Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Fleet during coastal race - Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Organized by the International Maxi Association, in collaboration with the Yacht Club Gaeta EVS and the Yacht Club Capri, the opening event in Rolex’s Mediterranean yachting calendar drew boats and crews from around the world, with the 14 participating yachts representing Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The proud winner of the week’s most coveted prize – the Rolex Trophy and Rolex timepiece – was Alexander Schaerer’s Mini Maxi yacht Caol Ila R (USA), which secured line honours and the handicap victory in the final offshore race on the way to an overall event win.

Start of the first coastal race - Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Start of the first coastal race - Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Far from idyllic
The third edition of the Rolex Capri Sailing Week Volcano Race offered a variety of tactical tests and capricious conditions with some of Italy’s most iconic destinations forming the backdrop. The weeklong event, beginning on 18 May, comprised three segments: the first an offshore race from Gaeta, on the Italian mainland, to Capri; the second featured inshore racing off Capri; and the third a long-distance offshore race that started and finished off Capri.

Crews and owners agree that the beauty of the region and the blend of races provided a combination of awe and challenge. “The key draw here is definitely the level and quality of the competition,” revealed Mike Broughton, navigator onboard Sir Peter Ogden’s Mini Maxi yacht Jethou. “The beautiful coast on the southeast side of Capri is a great draw, as is the tactical challenge of sailing around a volcano or an island like Capri. Mastering that is a test in itself and makes for great racing.” Jethou – overall winner of the 2012 event – performed admirably but had to settle for second place.

Alex Schaerer came to the event with prior experience of racing in the waters off Capri, although this was the first year with his new racing yacht – the former Alegre, line honours and overall winner of the event in 2011. Schaerer was surprised by the gale force conditions encountered during the final offshore race. “We went into racing exactly three years ago here in Capri and this is my second regatta with the new boat after last year’s Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. The funny thing is that we thought there would be nice, light winds here in Capri, which would allow us to get to know the boat, which has a new mast and rig for the 2013 season. Well, if anything, in the rough conditions of the offshore race we certainly got to know her! I was lucky to have a very seasoned crew onboard, with over 40 Rolex Sydney Hobart wins in total, and they managed to bring us home safely to this beautiful island.”

Superyacht Y3K during Race 1 from Gaeta to Capri - Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Superyacht Y3K during Race 1 from Gaeta to Capri - Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Part One: Y3K Leads the Fleet to Capri
The first race from Gaeta, past Ponza and Ventotene, to a finish off Capri began on 18 May under full sun and light winds of about five knots. The 100-nm race was dominated by superyacht Y3K, a 30.5m Wally owned by IMA President Claus-Peter Offen, which secured line honours and the win on handicap with a 02:11 CEST finish the following day.

Caol Ila R yacht was second across the line and the first Mini Maxi to arrive in Capri. Her result was good enough to finish second overall, with sailing yacht Jethou in third.

Luxury yacht Jethou surfing the waves during Race 4

Luxury yacht Jethou surfing the waves during Race 4 - Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Part Two: Right Winds for Jethou in Coastal Race
The second segment comprised two days of inshore racing. The first – on Monday 20 May – saw the Race Committee set a 30-nm coastal race off Capri that began in south-south easterly winds of 8-10 knots. Jethou and Caol Ila R continued their engaging tussle for supremacy with the former prevailing on this occasion.  “The race was very close. We came in second, but we also could have won or come in third. The conditions here change from one minute to the next and you can win or lose just before the finish which is what happened to us,” commented Schaerer.

Proving the point about the constantly changing conditions, the scheduled second day of inshore racing was abandoned due to insufficient breeze. Crews used the unexpected rest day to make last preparations for the final, longest race of the week. That evening they were able to relax at the Rolex Party held at the famous La Canzone Del Mare. Breathtaking views of Capri’s Faraglioni offered a stunning backdrop to the week’s most glamorous social event.

Sailing yacht Caol Ila R

Sailing yacht Caol Ila R - Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Part Three: Cyclonic Conditions Propel Caol Ila R to Offshore Victory
The next day, there was more change in the weather, and extreme conditions, which included torrential rain and gale force winds, particularly around the Aeolian Islands forced the race committee to modify the original Rolex Volcano Race course. The resulting 210-nm long-distance race, which started on 22 May, took the yachts from Capri to Santa Maria di Castellabate on the Italian mainland shore, back past Capri and on to the island of Ponza before finishing off Capri’s Marina Grande.

Tensions ran high on sailing yacht Caol Ila R on the first evening, as the yacht experienced gusts of 35-40 knots at Ponza. The crew had to remain vigilant, and Schaerer admitted that a broken bowsprit near Ventetone led to a moment of doubt. “At first I wasn’t sure if we would still be able to fly a downwind sail. We had quite a big advantage over the others at that point, but it would have been tough if we couldn’t have flown the spinnaker coming back to Capri because Jethou was still right behind us. So there was a moment of, ‘did we just lose the race?’ Fortunately, only part of the bowsprit was broken and we were able to tie a rope on to the remainder and still fly a downwind sail for the return.”

After successfully negotiating their troubles at Ponza, the crew realised they were doing well against their nearest competitor, Jethou, and shifted their primary concern to bringing the boat home safely. “We had an eventful night,” reflected Brett Ellis, the navigator. “The many thunderstorms and squalls played havoc with our electronics and forced us to make many sail changes. Full credit to our crew who worked hard all night in very difficult conditions.”

Spinnaker drop onboard Caol Ila R Yacht

Spinnaker drop onboard Caol Ila R Yacht - Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Caol Ila R averaged over eleven knots for the race and crossed the finish line at 05:07 CEST on 23 May, securing line honours and completing the 210-nm course in a respectable 18 hours, 2 minutes.

Second-placed Jethou finished the race in just over 20 hours. “The Rolex Volcano Race was very tough because there was a great amount of extremely variable winds – more than I’ve ever seen in the Mediterranean for a race,” said Broughton. The cyclonic system propelled the wind through four changes of 90 degrees in 24 hours, keeping all the crews busy, and in Broughton’s words, “did not allow me to switch off thinking for more than ten minutes over the whole race.”

The tremendous thunderstorms and heavy winds asked serious questions of the ambitious Maxi fleet. Third to finish in Capri was Marton Jozsa’s Hungarian entry Wild Joe, while superyacht Y3K was one of three boats to withdraw from racing. Tactician Thomas Jungblut, explained the decision to retire was strictly weather related. “The forecast announced more than 30 knots of wind and waves over six metres after Ponza and we decided we don’t want to break anything before the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. In 2012 this race had winds of 20-23 knots and [the conditions] were already pretty dangerous for us.” Y3K had a substantial lead at the time the decision was made, and it was clearly one not made lightly.

The week’s proceedings culminated with the prizegiving ceremony on 24 May at the Marina Grande, which saw the Rolex Trophy and Rolex timepiece presented to Caol Ila R for her overall victory. “The fact that we won a Rolex in our first competitive outing with the new boat is really a dream come true, but of course we hope it’s not going to be the last one!” exclaimed a jubilant Schaerer.

Alex Schaerer, owner of Caol Ila R Yacht, overall winner

Alex Schaerer, owner of Caol Ila R Yacht, overall winner - Photo by Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

After a memorable week in Capri, attention now turns to the Giraglia Rolex Cup scheduled for 14 – 22 June. Another event renowned for changing conditions.

Overall Results Rolex Capri Sailing Week Volcano Race

1st IRC Overall: Caol Ila R (USA), Alexander Schaerer
2nd IRC Overall: Jethou (GBR), Sir Peter Ogden
3rd IRC Overall: Wild Joe (HUN), Marton Jozsa

Rolex Capri Sailing Week Volcano Race 2013: The final prizegiving ceremony

May 24, 2013

Today, May 24, saw the third edition of the Rolex Capri Sailing Week Volcano Race conclude with the final prizegiving ceremony, taking place at the docks in Capri’s Marina Grande. During the event, the crew of Alexander Schaerer’s sailing yacht Caol Ila R (USA) was honoured with the week’s most prestigious prize – the Rolex Trophy and Rolex timepiece – awarded to the overall winner of the event on IRC.

Sailing yacht Caol Ila R off the beautiful Italian yacht charter destination - Capri - Photo credit to Rolex Kurt Arrigo

Sailing yacht Caol Ila R off the beautiful Italian yacht charter destination - Capri - Photo credit to Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

“It was exactly three years ago here in Capri that we went into racing,” explained Caol Ila R owner Alexander Schaerer, “and the fact that we won a Rolex in our first competitive outing with the new boat is really a dream come true, but of course we hope it’s not going to be the last one!”

“A big thanks goes out to my crew,” added Schaerer at the prizegiving ceremony. “We came here with the idea that it would be a nice holiday in Capri with little wind for our first offshore race so we could get to know the new boat. If anything, we certainly got to know her; we know the bowsprit can only take up to 40 knots but not more than 40 knots- because then it breaks off! I was lucky to have a very seasoned crew onboard, with over 40 Rolex Sydney Hobart wins in total, and they managed to fly a downwind sail off a broken bowsprit and bring us home safely to this beautiful island. A big thank you to Rolex, IMA, the yacht clubs and the cities involved in making this event possible.”

Alex Schaerer, owner of CAOL ILA yacht, and crew at the final prizegiving

Alex Schaerer, owner of CAOL ILA yacht, and crew at the final prizegiving - Photo credit to Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

The Rolex Capri Sailing Week Volcano Race began on 18 May and was comprised of one leg from Gaeta to Capri, an inshore race off Capri and a long-distance offshore race that started and finished off Capri. Caol Ila R yacht was not only the winner of the event overall on handicap, but also claimed line honours for the offshore race, the 210-nm Rolex Volcano Race, completing the course in a blistering 18 hours, 2 minutes, and finishing off Capri at 05:07 on Thursday.

Extreme weather conditions around the Aeolian Islands during the scheduled race period led the race committee to alter the original course for the final offshore race. The resulting long-distance race took the participating Maxi fleet from Capri to Santa Maria di Castellabate, back past Capri and on to the island of Ponza before finishing off Capri’s Marina Grande.

The Rolex Capri Sailing Week Volcano Race is organised by the International Maxi Association, in collaboration with the Yacht Club Gaeta EVS and the Yacht Club Capri, and upholds a decade-long tradition of Rolex’s involvement in Capri’s international yachting calendar.

Luxury yacht Jethou surfing the waves

Luxury yacht Jethou surfing the waves - Photo credit to Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Line Honours Rolex Volcano Race

Caol Ila R (USA), Alexander Schaerer

Overall Results Rolex Capri Sailing Week Volcano Race

1st IRC Overall: Caol Ila R (USA), Alexander Schaerer
2nd IRC Overall: Jethou (GBR), Sir Peter Ogden
3rd IRC Overall: Wild Joe (HUN), Marton Jozsa