International Maxi Association Brief

International Maxi Association Luxury Yacht Charter & Superyacht News

Another Record Fleet of Racing Yachts for Sardinia

September 02, 2016

Written by Mike Smith

Another record sized fleet for Sardinia. A large number of the world’s largest performance sailing yachts have entered the race and their crews are now keenly readying their yachts in Porto Cervo, Sardinia in the Mediterranean for next week’s Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Porto Cervo, Sardinia

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Porto Cervo, Sardinia

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 4

Photos by ROLEX / Carlo Borlenghi

Press Release: Organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and the International Maxi Association (IMA) with Rolex as title sponsor, this year’s event takes place over 4th-10th September and has 52 entries. Of these, 25 belong to members of the IMA, the body which since 1979 has been guiding and structuring maxi yacht racing globally, in collaboration with the world’s leading yacht clubs.

In terms of length, the fleet spans the giant 49.7m Ohana to entries at the shorter end of the IMA’s permitted size range – 60 footers such as Gérard Logel’s Swan 601 @robas and the Wally 60 Wallyño.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 6

The biggest class at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup will once again be the Wallys (an associated class within the IMA), which features 13 examples of the modernist high performance luxury yachts. Leading the charge off the Costa Smeralda will be the two Wallycentos, Sir Lindsay Owen Jones’ Magic Carpet Cubed and the latest example launched last October, David Leuschen’s Galateia, plus the elongated version, (now 32.7m) Open Season of International Maxi Association President, Thomas Bscher.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup

The Supermaxi class has a formidable line-up including Irvine Laidlaw’s new Swan 115 Highland Fling 15, plus two Baltic Yachts-built high performance carbon fibre one-offs: the Nauta 115 Nikata and the Javier Jaudenes-designed Win Win – both making their Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup debuts. This year sees the return of Sir Peter Harrison’s Farr 115 ketch, Sojana, following a lengthy refit.

The Js are back this year. Lionheart and Velsheda will match race their way around the race track.

The Maxi class (79-100ft) will see two high profile yachts making their Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup debuts. Best known for her offshore program, Mike Slade’s Farr 100 Leopard 3 has travelled to the four corners of the earth to compete in races such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart, the RORC Caribbean 600 and the Fastnet Race, in which she has twice scored line honours victories.

Despite only being two years old, George David’s Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed Rambler 88, also has notched up thousands of sea miles. This year alone she has won the IMA’s annual Volcano Race (from Gaeta, Italy, south around the volcanic Aeolian Islands off northeast Sicily) and last week claimed line honours in the Palermo-Montecarlo race, the fourth and final event of the IMA’s inaugural Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge.

The Maxi class also includes four entries from Southern Wind Shipyard, including the Farr-designed 100ft Blues and Michael Cotter’s Windfall. There are two SWS 82s: Massimilano Florio’s Grande Orazio was winner of the IMA’s Volcano Race in 2015, while Ammonite is brand new, campaigned by leading Australian skipper Marcus Blackmore.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 1

Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship

As ever a major feature of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is the Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship. This year six examples of the ultra-competitive, owner-driven, grand prix racers will be lining up, their challenge being to dislodge Hap Fauth’s dominant Judel Vrolijk design, Bella Mente. The reigning Rolex Maxi 72 World Champion goes into this year’s Worlds straight from victories at Copa del Rey MAPFRE and the inaugural Maxi 72 North American Championship held in Newport, RI in June.

“This is our favourite regatta,” commented Fauth, who is President of the Maxi 72 Class, which is affiliated to the IMA. “There will be six 72 footers and competition will be fierce. It is always challenging conditions both for the around the buoys and the coastal race. It is normally all you want.”

As to Bella Mente being favourite for a third World title, Fauth added: “We have the oldest boat and I am the oldest helmsman, but we have got a very good team. Our execution over the course of a regatta has been good and if there is one reason why we might have a small advantage it is because of that. But it is a very small advantage: The margin of victory in this fleet is two or three seconds – the boats are very close.”

The Mini Maxi class (60-79ft) also has a strong line-up. Roberto Lacorte’s Mark Mills 68 Supernikka returns to defend her title, while she will be up against another Mills 68, the more thoroughbred racer, Prospector, which as Alegre and then Caol Ila R was one of the most competitive boats in what is now the Maxi 72 class. Also to be watched will be American Bryon Ehrhart’s Reichel Pugh 63, Lucky. Winner of last year’s Transatlantic Race, Lucky in her previous life was Loki, winner of the 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart.

In 2015 the Mini Maxi Racer-Cruiser class had one of the tightest finishes and the top four boats return this year, including winner, Riccardo de Michele’s Vallicelli 80 H2O, which finished on equal points with Giuseppe Puttini’s Swan 65 Shirlaf (which this year will face stiff competition from new IMA member Marietta Strasoldo’s Swan 651 Lunz Am Meer.)

Andrew McIrvine, Secretary General of the IMA commented: “It will be an exciting year with a number of new boats competing, especially in the SuperMaxi division where a new generation of more race-oriented boats are appearing. The challenge of manoeuvring these huge craft around the tight courses around the islands of the Maddalena makes for a great spectacle and keeps so many sailors coming back year after year.”

Racing will take place over a mixture of windward-leeward and coastal courses. As usual there will be a magnificent social programme including the annual International Maxi Association Dinner and parties sponsored by Rolex and Audi.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2

The International Maxi Association:

The International Maxi Association (IMA) represents the owners of Maxi yachts from all over the world. Recognised in 2010 as the ISAF international class of Maxi yachts, the IMA is uniquely entitled to organise World and European championships for Maxi yachts.

The Association now has 60 members from all over the world, more than a dozen honorary members, among whom was recently inducted Gianfranco Alberini, Secretary General of the Association for more than 30 years, who died in June 2013. The current President of the Association is Thomas Bscher, owner of the Wally 107 Open Season, while the Secretary General is Andrew McIrvine, also Admiral of the Royal Ocean Racing Club.

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.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2015 Started Today

September 08, 2015

Written by Eva Belanyiova

Today marks the first day of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2015, held off the coast of the stunning Italian yacht charter destination Porto Cervo in Sardinia, which was represented by close, tactical light airs competition through the five divisions. In the Maxi 72 there was no team dominating throughout the race, however in the 13-strong Wally Class, sailing yacht OPEN SEASON was a sure winner of the day.

Sailing Yacht SENSEI - Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup - Photo Carlo Borlenghi for Rolex

Sailing Yacht SENSEI – Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup – Photo Carlo Borlenghi for Rolex

Design icons such as the 1997 Wally, GENIE OF THE LAMP yacht or the older yachts including the Swan 65 ketch SHIRLAF were seen on water today. The 219-foot sailing superyacht HETAIROS or the 100ft COMANCHE yacht are a great example of vessels that demonstrate just how far yacht design has come in the 35-year history of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup.

“This regatta,” says Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, owner of Wally Cento Magic Carpet Cubed. “It’s the one we all love because it’s the most difficult. Here everything is always so different and unpredictable. It’s never quite the same twice, no matter how much you practise.”

Sailing Yacht LYRA - Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup - Photo Carlo Borlenghi for Rolex

Sailing Yacht LYRA – Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup – Photo Carlo Borlenghi for Rolex

Open Season‘s owner Thomas Bscher is renowned for his prowess behind the wheel of fast cars, but today he proved equally adept at steering his Wally 107 yacht in the light breezes of the Costa Smeralda to victory in both of today’s windward-leeward races. With three-time Olympic Champion Jochen Schümann calling tactics, Open Season’s early advantage is going to be a tough challenge for the other Wallys to overcome, although defending champion Lindsay Owen-Jones will be as determined as anyone to beat Bscher’s crack crew.

Owen-Jones shares Bscher’s passion for motor racing, and both owners are long-standing members of the Wally family. After scores of 3,2, Owen-Jones’s 100ft sailing yacht WallyCento lies in 2nd overall and he is determined to do better during the rest of the week. A change of course tomorrow could bring a change in fortunes. At least that’s what Owen-Jones will be hoping. His two previous yachts – Magic Carpet and Magic Carpet Squared – are the most successful in the 20-year history of the Wally racing circuit. Indeed the 1997-vintage Magic Carpet, a 77-footer now known as J One, sits on equal points with scores of 2,3 from today, a testament to the longevity of this German Frers design and of current owner Jean Charles Decaux’s ability to get the best out of this perennial performer.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup - Photo Carlo Borlenghi for Rolex

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup – Photo Carlo Borlenghi for Rolex

The boat that launched the Wally revolution, the one that is widely credited with transforming the look of the modern cruiser/racer, is Genie of the Lamp, a 79-footer built in 1995. Twenty years ago, Genie’s sleek aesthetic was light-years ahead of her time. Genie’s owner for the past eight years, Prince Charles di Borbone des Deux Siciles, was delighted to be helming his family yacht at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup – even if he wished for a better result on the scoreboard. “Genie is a very pleasant boat to helm and after 20 years she is still timeless and able to be competitive. But I haven’t done much racing this season and what I’ve seen is that the level has risen. If you step away from the group even for a little bit, it’s hard to catch up!”

What Wally’s founder, Luca Bassani saw 20 years ago, was that yacht design was too much enslaved by the demands of racing rules of the time. “The racing rules might be good or bad, but for sure they limited the development of boats, they limited the use of new technologies and materials, just because that was the tradition. All the boats were following those rules, and for me, that was wrong. Today at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup we can see boats, not only like the Wallys, but like Comanche for example which are moving forward the rules and the performance of the boats – and the fun of the owners.”

Racing resumes tomorrow with Day 2 of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2015.

Fabulous Virgin Gorda to host Inaugural Maxi Yacht Rolex Caribbean Cup in April 2016

August 27, 2015

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) is pleased to unveil the all-new Maxi Yacht Rolex Caribbean Cup. This new Caribbean Maxi regatta will take place in the fabulous British Virgin Islands yacht vacation location – Virgin Gorda from April 4 to 9, 2016.

Clubhouse Virgin Gorda - British Virgin Islands

Clubhouse Virgin Gorda – British Virgin Islands

The five-day regatta will run on coastal courses set within the Virgin Islands archipelago and yachts will be divided into categories ranging from the Mini Maxi and Maxi 72 classes to Supermaxis with Wally and J-Class yachts also expected to take part in the regatta. The event will be organized with the support of the International Maxi Association.

The Maxi Yacht Rolex Caribbean Cup will take place biennially starting in 2016 on alternate years to the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean. The original Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup hosted by Porto Cervo continues to attract innovative and highly competitive fleets of Maxi racers with some particularly remarkable yachts expected for the 2015 edition, running from September 6 to 12.

J Class racing during Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2014

J Class racing during Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2014

YCCS Commodore, Riccardo Bonadeo, explained the thinking behind the new event: “Our activities in Virgin Gorda have been in continuous expansion since we inaugurated our Clubhouse there in 2012. In addition to a full sporting programme in Porto Cervo, we now organize three to four major regattas in the Caribbean Sea during the winter months. In recent years we have received numerous requests from owners for a Maxi event in the Caribbean. Given that the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is possibly the event that best embodies our sporting DNA, exporting this classic event to the other side of the Atlantic is the logical next step. We have already successfully transferred our organizational know-how with events such as the Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta and the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean, and the addition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Caribbean Cup to our calendar will, I’m sure, be a highlight of the winter racing season.”

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.

Successful debut of Southern Wind SW82 Sailing Yacht GRANDE ORAZIO at Volcano Race

May 27, 2015

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

It has been a highly successful debut for the Southern Wind SW82 sailing yacht GRANDE ORAZIO at the Volcano Race 2015, placing first in the Maxi category and third overall. The Race is a prominent offshore regatta for superyachts, organized by the International Maxi Association (IMA), in partnership with the Yacht Club of Gaeta.

Southern Wind SW82 Superyacht GRANDE ORAZIO under sail - Photo by IMA Gianluca Di Fazio

Southern Wind SW82 Superyacht GRANDE ORAZIO under sail – Photo by IMA/Gianluca Di Fazio

The Volcano Race 2015 Line of Honours went to superyacht Esimit Europa 2, followed by Wild Joe yacht and luxury yacht Grande Orazio. This about 500-mile ‘route of the volcanoes’ is a challenging race, defined by the unpredictable weather and nature of the course, which was only announced on the day of departure, on May 20, 2015.

A wonderful regatta, tough and extremely varied, with weather conditions that can only be described as extremely variable ( with constant sail changes), in a landscape of rare and wild beauty like the sea around the Aeolian Islands in spring,commented Grande Orazio’s owner, Massimilian Florio, who also won the Challenge Trophy awarded by the Base Nautica Flavio Gioia.

Designed by Farr Yacht Design, SW82 superyacht Grande Orazio will now continue her racing season in Sardinia’s Porto Cervo, where this majestic racer cruiser will participate in the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta.

Additional charter yachts by Southern Wind.

Yacht Club Costa Smeralda to host first-class events this year

March 02, 2015

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

With the start of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda‘s sailing season just a few short days away, the Club’s busy 2015 calendar was presented to journalists as well as sponsors at a press conference in Milan’s Four Seasons hotel. An amazing list of regattas set to be held from March to November is set to have owners, yachtsmen and some of the world’s most impressive vessels flocking to the Club’s twin bases in the fantastic Virgin Gorda yacht charter destination, nestled in the British Virgin Islands, as well as Porto Cervo, positioned in Sardinia.

Riccardo Bonadeo, YCCS Commodore - YCCS Press Conference

Riccardo Bonadeo, YCCS Commodore – YCCS Press Conference

The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s winter base in the renowned sailing paradise of the British Virgin Islands is ready and waiting for a spectacular fleet of Swan yachts to start the season in style with the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean (3-7 March), a biennial event held in alternate years to the historic Rolex Swan Cup regatta organized by YCCS, Rolex and Nautor’s Swan in the Mediterranean. The Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta and Rendezvous (11-14 March), now in its fifth edition, follows on immediately and brings a fleet of imposing sailing yachts to the BVI. The first portion Caribbean events concludes with the Oyster Cup BVI (13-18 April).

The first boats on the water in Porto Cervo, as always, will be the Club’s Smeralda 888 one-design sloops competing in the Vela & Golf regatta (22-24 May). The fast and highly manoeuvrable vessels, designed by German Frers for YCCS, will be back in action for the Coppa Europa Smeralda 888 (26-28 June) and the Members Championship on 9th August. During the summer “break” a team of YCCS members will also race in Cowes in celebration of the Royal Yacht Squadron‘s bicentenary.

Roberto Kerkoc, Vice President of the Board - YCCS Press Conference

Roberto Kerkoc, Vice President of the Board – YCCS Press Conference

The Mediterranean superyacht season kicks off in Porto Cervo with the Dubois Cup (28-30 May), a biennial event dedicated to the elegant creations of British naval architects Dubois Yachts. The Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta (2-6 June) follows, bringing with it the perfect blend of sport and style that has been attracting the world’s top sailing yachts since 2008. The sailing giants return in force in September for the Perini Navi Cup (2-5 September), open only to vessels from the Italian shipyard acclaimed for seamlessly combining cutting edge technology with luxury finishes. The season concludes with the traditional Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship (6-12 September) organized in collaboration with the International Maxi Association and Rolex, longstanding official partner of the Club.

Lovers of more purely “combative” racing yachts also have plenty to look forward to as Porto Cervo once again hosts a leg of the 52 Super Series, the Settimana delle Bocche (9-13 June). The RC44 class, another fiercely competitive fleet, visits the Costa Smeralda for the first time on the heels of last year’s successful inaugural event in Virgin Gorda. The Audi RC44 Regatta (16-21 June), is organized in collaboration with Audi, official automotive partner of the YCCS.

YCCS Press Conference - Milan, 27 February 2015

YCCS Press Conference – Milan, 27 February 2015

The fleet will in fact return to the picturesque waters of the British Virgin Islands for the RC44 BVI Regatta (24-29 November), an event which concludes the season for the class created by Russell Coutts and brings a very busy year for the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda to a close.

The 2015 season will also be a demanding one for Azzurra, the sporting symbol of the YCCS which this year launches a new hull built at the King Marine yard in Valencia. The TP52 owned by Alberto Roemmers will make her debut in the 52 Super Series in Valencia (19-23 May), before visiting Porto Cervo (9-13 June), Porto Portals – Spain (14-18 July), and Palma de Mallorca (4-8 August), and finally Cascais – Portugal (16-20 September).

“We are looking forward to a very full season which will entail both a lot of hard work and a great deal of satisfaction. The Club is now running at full sail all year round with our Mediterranean and Caribbean bases. What makes this possible is the dedication of the YCCS team and our partners Rolex, Audi and UBS who share our key values and allow us to remain at the forefront of a sector which is in continual evolution,” commented YCCS Commodore Riccardo Bonadeo during the conference.


A mixed bag of IRC delights on offer at this month’s RORC Caribbean 600 Yacht Race

February 19, 2015

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

Set to kick off in the fantastic Antigua yacht charter location on Monday, February 23, the upcoming RORC Caribbean 600 will be attended by over 60 yachts and is a good example of the diversity of yachts enjoying racing under IRC.  The IRC rating system is the choice of state-of-the-art yachts such as the Maxi 72s, TP 52s, Wally Yachts, as well as 100 foot Maxis, comprising the latest superyacht Ragamuffin 100 from Australia and sailing yacht Comanche constructed in Maine.

George David's superyacht Rambler 90 on the IRC Class 0 start line of last year's RORC Caribbean 600. Photo by Tim Wright

George David's superyacht Rambler 90 on the IRC Class 0 start line of last year's RORC Caribbean 600. Photo by Tim Wright/

Holding an IRC rating allows these yachts to compete for top honours in races such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart, Fastnet and Middle Sea Races, and regattas run under the auspices of the International Maxi Association including their World Championship.

The highest currently rated boat under IRC is the Reichel/Pugh Maxi yacht Wild Oats XI at 1.974 closely followed by Comanche at 1.958 and much has been written about the battle between these two in the 2014 Sydney Hobart both for line honours and corrected time, and it is very exciting to see boats like this racing under IRC.

The upcoming RORC Caribbean 600 boasts an entry of over 60 boats and is a good example of the diversity of boats enjoying racing under IRC.  It illustrates how IRC allows designs like the Volvo Open 70 (Monster Project & Maserati, 2008) to continue racing competitively, and gives a new lease of life to older racers – Volvo 60s (Ambersail & Spirit of Adventure, 2001) and classics (Cuilaun, 1970 McGruer 55; Black Watch 1938 S&S 68 yawl). Meanwhile superyachts such as charter yacht Athos (56m) and superyacht Adela (46m) add a different dimension and glamour to the fleet.  However, reflecting IRC’s main constituents, it is production boats between 37 and 50 feet that form the core 50% of the entrants.

RORC Caribbean 600 provides a mixed bag of IRC delights,says RORC Rating Office Technical Manager, Jenny Howells.

There’s something for everyone within IRC

The exciting, glamorous boats are of course important in IRC, not least because so many of us aspire to compete in the high profile glamorous regattas in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. However, it is also important to remind the general racing fraternity that it is the core fleet that has kept the rating rule afloat for over thirty years. Looking at the last couple of years, the lowest rated boat is a 1964 Kroes en Zonen Classic Blue Eagle of Tonbridge at 0.740 while the average IRC rating for the worldwide IRC fleet is 1.035.

Far from the dizzy lengths of superyachts, the average boat length is 11.5 metres, or around 38 feet.  With the recession of the last few years, there are many more sailors racing smaller boats and having just as much fun as those who are fortunate to own and race the glamour boats. IRC rating encourages a huge variety of sizes and types of boats to compete in events from local club racing to international offshore events, allowing everyone to enjoy mixed fleet racing no matter what their budget.

Esimit Europa project celebrating 20 years this year

January 13, 2015

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

The Esimit Europa project is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The project originally started by connecting two bordering cities between Slovenia and Italy, when Igor Simčič started realizing his vision of providing a symbol of the blurring borders. In 1995, first with the help and support of the mayors of the both bordering cities, he introduced the Esimit Gorizia & Nova Gorica sailing project. The project has been extending across boundaries ever since and gradually becoming more and more European. The yacht representing the project was granted the honourable privilege to sail under the European flag in 2002 and under the patronage of the European commission since 2006.

Esimit Europa 2 superyacht at the 2014 Rolex Capri Sailing Week - Photo by Francesco Ferri

Esimit Europa 2 superyacht at the 2014 Rolex Capri Sailing Week - Photo by Francesco Ferri

Since 2010, the project has been represented by one of world’s fastest and technologically most advanced yachts, superyacht Esimit Europa 2, and its multinational sailing team, composed of European and World champions, Olympic Games medallists, multiple time winners of the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race sailing races, coming from 11 different countries. With 35 consecutive wins since its christening in 2010, Esimit Europa 2 has carried the message of a successful and united Europe around the world.

Numerous official and personal endorsements that the project has received from the most distinguished European diplomats, including the official support of the European Commission, Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, presidents of European countries and governments, foreign ministers and ambassadors prove that it is much more than a sailing project. Throughout the 20 years of the project’s history , by organizing high level receptions and events, it has served as a platform for establishing and fostering sports, diplomatic and business connections, and by engaging in charity activities it extended the message of friendship and collaboration and connected all people without boundaries.

In the jubilee racing season of 2015 sailing yacht Esimit Europa 2 will again be spreading the message of collaboration at some of the classic races in the Mediterranean and conclude it with a gala event dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Esimit Europa project. The gala will be organized at the premises of the Yacht Club de Monaco, which is the home yacht club of the European flagged maxi.

Before that, with an early opening of the season in May, Esimit Europa 2 will participate in one of the first races for the maxis in the Mediterranean, the Volcano Race, at which she participated last year for the first time and took the line honours. In its fifth edition this 400 nautical miles long race will start from Gaeta, and go to Eolian Islands and back to Gaeta. The race will be organized by the International Maxi Association, in association with the Yacht Club Gaeta E.V.S. and the Base Nautica Flavio Gioia.

From there, Esimit Europa 2 yacht will continue to San Remo for the start of the Mediterranean classic in June – the Giraglia Rolex Cup – taking part in both offshore races of the event. First she will participate in the regatta from San Remo to St. Tropez that kicks off from the dock of the Yacht Club San Remo at midnight. This will already be the 6th edition of the approximately 60 nautical miles long offshore race. The team will then prepare for one of the most renown offshore races in the Mediterranean, the famous 242 nautical miles long Giraglia Rolex Cup set from St. Tropez, around the rocky Giraglia Island and back to Genoa. Esimit Europa 2 participated in this race already four times, each time taking line honours, while in 2012 she set an amazing course record of 14 hours, 56 minutes and 16 seconds, smashing the previous one by 3 hours and 6 minutes.

Next on schedule, in August, is the 500 nautical miles sailing challenge, the Palermo – Montecarlo Race, that is set across the Mediterranean, joining two coastal cities, Palermo and the Principality of Monaco. It is organized by the Circolo della Vela Sicilia in collaboration with the Yacht Club de Monaco. After setting a course record in 2010 and taking line honours in 2011 and 2012, Esimit Europa 2 superyacht will participate in this race for the fourth time.

Being the leading yacht that races for the Yacht Club de Monaco, it will be a special privilege for the Esimit Sailing Team to participate in this race with a destination of the course set in front of her home yacht club, even more so during a jubilee year in which the celebration of 20 years of the Esimit Europa project takes place after this race.

With this event the European flagged maxi will not only conclude the racing season of 2015, but also stand as a symbol of the Esimit Europa project’s 20 year story.

RORC Transatlantic Race is Born

December 23, 2014

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

The very first RORC Transatlantic Race, in partnership with the International Maxi Association (IMA), kicked off on Sunday 30 November from Puerto Calero, Lanzarote, Canary Islands bound for Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, a lovely Grenada yacht charter destination in West Indies, 3000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean. An international fleet of yachts participated, with crew from at least 12 different nations racing majestic Maxi yachts, crewed by top professional sailors, as well as production yachts crewed by friends and family.

Line Honours and Overall victory for Jeremy Pilkington's Baltic 78 charter yacht Lupa of London - Image by RORC Arthur Daniel & Orlando K Romain

Line Honours and Overall victory for Jeremy Pilkington's Baltic 78 charter yacht Lupa of London - Image by RORC/ Arthur Daniel & Orlando K Romain

For all the yachts, the adventure started long before the start line. It takes months, sometimes years for the dream of racing across the Atlantic to become a reality, and many of the yachts sailed thousands of miles, just to make Lanzarote.

Historians argue as to whether the Vikings, an Irish Monk or others were the first to cross the Atlantic. Since the five-week voyage of Christopher Columbus in 1492, crossing the Atlantic, quickly and safely from Europe has always been an important part of seafaring history. The Royal Ocean Racing Club’s RORC Caribbean 600 is now in its seventh year and the RORC decided that a dedicated feeder race for the Caribbean‘s premier offshore event was required.

Journey to the start line

Derek Hatfield’s, Volvo 60, Spirit of Adventure started their journey from the frozen shoreline of Novia Scotia, 2,800 miles away, crossing the Atlantic to join the race. Marc Lepesqueux racing Sensation Class 40 should not have been in the race at all. After keel failure in the Route du Rhum, Marc sailed Sensation to Lanzarote and successfully completed the race with a novice crew from France. Yves and Isabelle Haudiquet, racing Pogo 40, Bingo was the only husband and wife team in the race, completing their second Atlantic crossing together. Every team have their story from the race and their feelings and emotions have been captured in the race blog.

Prior to the start, Puerto Calero Marina provided an exceptional base for the yachts to prepare for the race. The Calero family are yacht racers themselves and this was evident in the manner in which the entire staff went out of their way to assist the competitors.

Overall winners and first recipients of the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy as well as the IMA Trophy for Line Honours - charter yacht Lupa of London's crew enjoy a warm Grenadian welcome and a huge basket of local goodies on arrival

Overall winners and first recipients of the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy as well as the IMA Trophy for Line Honours - charter yacht Lupa of London's crew enjoy a warm Grenadian welcome and a huge basket of local goodies on arrival Image by RORC/ Arthur Daniel & Orlando K Romain

Safety first

For the RORC Transatlantic Race, safety is of primary concern and every yacht, prior to the start, is inspected for ISAF Special Regulations Category 1, plus additional requirements covering; communication equipment, personal survival training and First Aid, which is part of the RORC commitment to safety at sea during all of the club’s racing activities. In addition to the safety requirements, every yacht carries a YB Tracker so that their progress can be followed by friends and family from ashore. The tracker provides real-time leaderboards and weather information, as well as their track across the ocean.

As well as providing superb facilities, Puerto Calero Marina was the venue for a week of social activities, notably the Westerhall Rums Pink Hat Party on the Tuesday and RORC Transatlantic Race Gala Party on the Thursday before the race.

After a 24 hour delay due to a frontal system which swept through the Canary Islands, bringing more than 45 knots of wind, the start of the RORC Transatlantic Race was blessed with sunshine and a gentle northerly breeze. The only abnormal weather feature was a perfect double rainbow, pointing the way to the turning mark off Marina Lanzarote, Arrecife – the only mark of the course before the fleet would make landfall in Grenada.

Windfall, the Russian chartered Southern Wind 94, skippered by Fabrizio Oddone put up a fight to the finish with Lupa for Line Honours. Some of the Russian sailors completed their Ocean Yachtmaster during the crossing

Superyacht Windfall, the Russian chartered Southern Wind 94, skippered by Fabrizio Oddone put up a fight to the finish with Lupa for Line Honours. Some of the Russian sailors completed their Ocean Yachtmaster during the crossing Image by RORC/ Arthur Daniel & Orlando K Romain

The Race is on..and results

Line Honours & Overall Winner:

GBR Jeremy Pilkington’s Baltic 78, Lupa of London

In the battle for Line Honours and the IMA Line Honours Trophy, there was an early exit for the hot favourite the Finot-Conq 100 superyacht Nomad IV, sailed by Jean-Paul Riviere. On Day Three, gear failure forced the French Maxi to head back to the Canary Islands for repairs. Russian chartered Southern Wind 94 superyacht Windfall, skippered by Fabrizio Oddone and Jeremy Pilkington’s British Baltic 78 charter yacht Lupa of London took up the running and an epic battle ensued for Line Honours. The two powerful Maxis duelled for 3000 miles with the lead swapping hands on numerous occasions. However, Lupa of London eventually got the better of Windfall in the lighter downwind conditions as the two yachts approached Grenada.

Lupa of London arrived at Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina in an elapsed time of 11 days, 01 hour, 38 minutes and 55 seconds, setting the record for others to beat in future editions of the race. Windfall crossed the finish line less than four hours later to win IRC Zero. The Russian flagged Maxi crew included world-class professionals; Lorenzo Mazza, a seven-time America’s Cup veteran and winner of the 32nd edition with Alinghi; multiple world champion, Francesco Mongelli and Irish Olympic Finn sailor, Tim Goodbody, as well as the Russian charter crew.

With the majority of the fleet still racing, the overall winner after IRC time correction was undecided. However, as the rest of the fleet started finishing, it was clear that Lupa of  London’s corrected time was not to be beaten and the British Maxi scored the double win of Line Honours and Overall under IRC, lifting the RORC Transatlantic Race Trophy and the IMA Line Honours Trophy. Skipper, Daniel Stump was full of praise for the team.

“We were only eight crew, but they are some top sailors with great commitment and willpower. We worked really hard and seamlessly together to get the boat going as fast as we could and I am really proud of all the crew. On the delivery to Puerto Calero, Lanzarote, I sat down with navigator, Jonny Malbon and in our dreams we wanted to take Line Honours and the overall win, but that was a big call, so this really is a dream come true.”

IRC One – USA Class40 Oakcliff Racing

Two highly different teams battled for the class win, with the intensity of the duel propelling the two yachts to second and third overall. The highly experienced crew on board Aref Lahham’s Swan 68,Yacana are all friends from Greece, racing a heavy displacement yacht that they have known for years. In sharp contrast, Class40 Oakcliff Racing, was crewed by four young American sailors who had never crossed the Atlantic before, let alone raced across any ocean. They only started sailing the Class40 on the delivery to Lanzarote.

Oakcliff Racing crossed the finish line on Friday 12th December to win IRC One and take second overall. There was an emotional scene on board as the team congratulated each other with handshakes and bear-hugs. Navigator, Hobie Ponting spoke about the adventure.

“That was epic. We have crossed an ocean and it’s the first time any of us have done it and it feels fantastic. The last 24 hours was the hardest of all. We had very little wind and it was frustrating having spent days charging along at 20 knots. We have all worked so well together and we have finished this race better friends than we started. We don’t know what day it is right now and a shower, some good food and a bed with sheets is top priority.”

Two days later, on Sunday 14th December, Yacana crossed the finish line to take second in IRC One and third overall. Aref Lahham spoke dockside: “This adventure started in Greece over 5,000 miles away. When I heard about the RORC race, it was the ideal way to celebrate all the years we have sailed together. The camaraderie during the race was really memorable for me and when we crossed the line, we all got together and had a great moment. We have spent a lot of time smiling during the race and I am sure that will continue now that we have reached Grenada.”

IRC Two – GBR Nigel Passmore’s  J/133, Apollo 7

Nigel Passmore’s British J/133, Apollo 7, crossed the finish line on Monday 15th December 2014 with an elapsed time of 15 days, 08 hours, 45 minutes and 15 seconds, to win the class ahead of Frank Lang’s French X-40, Optim’X.

Nigel Passmore spoke dockside in Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina about the race and why he decided to take part:

“At the beginning of this race, we went through the hard bit and we had a blustery period mid-Atlantic and I remember one night at the wheel in well over 30 knots of wind. It was pitch black with torrential rain and difficult to read the waves. We didn’t take the kite down or put another reef in, we kept pushing hard. You know you have to keep driving on if you are going to succeed. This is something I have wanted to do for 20 years or more.”

IRC Three – FRA Denis Villotte’s JNP 12, Sérénade

Denis Villotte’s French JNP 12, Sérénade, crossed the finish line on Friday 19th December with an elapsed time of 18 days, 20 hours, 01 minutes and 55 seconds. The three-man team on Sérénade was the final yacht to complete the inaugural race and was the winner of IRC Three.

“That was very hard,” commented Denis. “The first half because of the changing winds and the second half because we were fighting against the light winds. For the last seven days we had just nine knots of wind and we had no spinnaker for the last three days. Both Alain and Pit were close friends before the race. I knew them but less, but we are all close friends now! This is my second transatlantic, the first one was a lot easier as we had much more regular and better winds. For this race, the variety of conditions has made it far more interesting from a navigational point of view.  We are delighted to be here in Grenada to such a fantastic welcome in the middle of the night. We were just looking forward to making land and when we saw Grenada, our joy was huge, but to arrive with so many smiling faces was just incredible.”

Thank you Grenada

Tribute must be paid to the people of Grenada and the management and staff at Camper & Nicholsons Port Louis Marina. Every yacht, regardless of the time of day or night was greeted at the finish line by the marina and escorted to the dock for a warm reception and a cold beer and a basket of Grenadian goods, including Westerhall Rums. During their stay, the helpful staff assisted with immigration, hotel accommodation, island tours and all manner of yacht services. The people of Grenada were just as welcoming.

The RORC Transatlantic Race comes to an end close to Christmas, a time for goodwill to all and there is no finer a place than Grenada to experience that feeling of kindness.