Open Season Brief

Open Season Luxury Yacht Charter & Superyacht News

The results of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2017

September 13, 2017

Written by Rachael Steele

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

S/Y Saudade Wins Superyacht Class at the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 2017

June 05, 2017

Written by Rachael Steele

Sailing yacht SAUDADE has been crowned the winner of this 10th edition of the event after taking first place in the final race of the Superyacht class at the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 2017, while MAGIC CARPET³ beat competitors OPEN SEASON for their first win in the Wally class in two years.

Saudade - Winners of the Superyacht Class at the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, Sardinia, 2017. Photo credits Borlenghi, YCCS and BIM

Saudade – Winners of the Superyacht Class at the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, Sardinia, 2017. Photo credits Borlenghi, YCCS and BIM

Albert Buell, owner of SAUDADE, has raced successive yachts by the name of Saudade since Winning the Admiral’s Cup in 1973. Abert Buell won his first race on Sardinia back in 1988 and has gained a taste for the race along with his crew, some of which have been racing at his side for over 20 years. After winning the Superyacht class in 2015 and 2016, this is sailing yacht SAUDADE’s third consecutive win.

“We made the triple. That was the dream.” Buell smiled as he lifted the regatta’s top award, the Silver Jubilee Cup. “The dream is a reality. There is not too much difference to how we won the last two years. This week was special because the winds were light and changed a lot. We had a lot of luck but the crew worked hard and we sailed smoothly.”

Magic Carpet³ - Winners of the Wally Class at the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, Sardinia, 2017. Photo credits Borlenghi, YCCS and BIM

Magic Carpet³ – Winners of the Wally Class at the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, Sardinia, 2017. Photo credits Borlenghi, YCCS and BIM

Both sailing yacht SAUDADE and MAGIC CARPET³ underwent an overhaul during the winter, the former receiving a new keel, rudder, bowsprit and rigging while the latter has reduced her overall weigh for smoother performance during racing.

Saudade placed 1st overall in the Superyacht Class at the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 2017. Photo credits Borlenghi, YCCS and BIM

Saudade placed 1st overall in the Superyacht Class at the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 2017. Photo credits Borlenghi, YCCS and BIM

Magic Carpet³ placed 1st overall in the Wally Class at the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 2017. Photo credits Borlenghi, YCCS and BIM

Magic Carpet³ placed 1st overall in the Wally Class at the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 2017. Photo credits Borlenghi, YCCS and BIM

Yacht Club Costa Smeralda will host its next event – the Melges 40 Grand Prix – from the 14th to the 17th of June. To find out of any of these regatta yachts are available for charter in the Mediterranean this upcoming season, contact CharterWorld.

Join the action at the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta in Sardinina

March 30, 2017

Written by Rachael Steele

The Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous is set to take place in Sardinia, Italy, from the 30th of May until the 3rd of June, kicking off the summer events season with intense action from newcomers and veterans alike.

The rocky coast of Sardinia creates an impressive setting for the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta. Photo credit: YCCS

The rocky coast of Sardinia creates an impressive setting for the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta. Photo credit: YCCS

Registration is currently open until the 2nd of May for what promises to be the largest fleet in the event yet. Previous winners SAUDADE and OPEN SEASON have returned to defend their titles against proven competitors MAGIC CARPET 3 and INOUI, while new additions FARFALLA, ESCAPADE and GALATEIA promise to spice up the action.

Porto Cervo is set to welcome participants at the world renowned Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, where each crew and owner had the opportunity to size up the competition for the Silver Jubilee Cup before the first day of sailing.

Saudade from the 2016 edition of the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta. Photo credit: Carlo Borlenghi

Saudade from the 2016 edition of the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta. Photo credit: Carlo Borlenghi

Sardinia is one of the most highly regarded destinations in the Mediterranean: Regattas, yacht clubs such as the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, glittering beaches and high-end shopping all add to the allure of the area, where many new superyachts make their summer season debuts. Find a fine selection of yachts available for Sardinia charters here.

 

Press Release: The winners of the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta

June 14, 2016

Written by Rachael Steele

The winners of the final day of the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta in Sardinia, Italy were announced on the 11th June 2016. Victors in Superyacht Class A were Saudade, while Grande Orazio took first place in Superyacht Class B. Open Season placed first in the Wally Class and Saudade placed first again in Grande Superyacht Sub-Class C.

The following is a Press Release from the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda.

Press Release

Winning Dreams Come True at the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta on the Costa Smeralda Saudade, Grande Orazio and Open Season victorious

Saudade, Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 2016. Photo Carlo Borlenghi

Saudade, Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 2016. Photo Carlo Borlenghi

Porto Cervo, Itay. 11th June 2016. Three experienced superyacht owners realised their personal goals today as the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in collaboration with Boat International Media, concluded in light winds on the Costa Smeralda.

A delighted Albert Büll fulfilled his dream when the crew of the Wally 45m Saudade retained the regatta’s top award, The Loro Piana Prize: The Silver Jubilee Cup by Boat International Media, for the second year in a row. Their consistent performance across a very varied range of wind conditions sees them top Class A just as they did in 2015.

And Massimiliano Florio realised his own dream of winning his class three times in a row on Grande Orazio, the successful Southern Wind 24.7m.

On the Yacht Club Smeralda dock where he first stood some 30 years or more ago, the Saudade owner revealed: ” It was a dream of mine to win again and now it is reality. It was a fight because we had everything this week, strong wind, we had light winds and we had very light winds. The conditions were so different each day and that is the speciality of the Costa Smeralda. The boat sails very well in the light.”

“I sailed here for the first time in 1976 and it is always great to come back. I have done so many races here, the Settimana delle Bocche and the Sardinia Cup which we won (in 1988 with the German team). And there are still people here this week who have been racing for as long.”

Grande Orazio, Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 2016. Photo Carlo Borlenghi

Grande Orazio, Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 2016. Photo Carlo Borlenghi

And Florio, the effervescent winner of Class B, with two bullets and two second places was delighted to have fulfilled his goal of winning the Loro Piana regatta in Porto Cervo three times in a row:
“I dreamed and hoped but I never really thought we could do it. Two out of three is good but three in a row I thought was impossible. But this such a great regatta.” the owner-driver commented. “The regatta was fantastic. The wind helped us all the way through the week. Our team worked so very hard and really we did not make many mistakes and that means we were always competitive. And above all to win for the third time is really special. Our class is very competitive indeed with boats which have won here before such as My Song and so winning this time, for us is the most satisfying Loro Piana win yet.”

The 12-strong Wally Class witnessed a head-to-head battle of the giants between Open Season and Magic Carpet 3 that went to the wire over two final windward leeward races. The first circuit saw an incredible tie between the two, corrected out to the same second after handicap. But on the deciding race Open Season clinched the Class win with a crucial victory while Magic Carpet 3 -which has led the regatta since the start – scored a fourth to drop to second, one single point behind their German-flagged rivals on aggregate.

Jochen Schumann, the Open Season tactician smiled with relief: “Sometimes you have to wait until the last race to win a regatta but we got there in the end. We made a couple of rough decisions early in the week but when we had good starts and got away we won those races. I think in the end we deserved it. I think we are such even boats with Magic Carpet, we have such close fights. And I think that matters. We all come here to enjoy the racing and make sure the owners enjoy their sailing with competitive crews around them. It could not be much closer.”

The superyacht fleet today raced a relatively short course as dictated by the forecast for capricious light winds from the SE. For most the 13.7Nm course south to round the little islands of Mortorio and Soffi before running back NW to a turning mark at Capo Ferro – just at the entrance to Bomb Alley – then beating back upwind for a short final loop to the finish at the YCCS line at the entrance to Porto Cervo.

In the gentle breeze – 6 to 9kts – it was essential to stay in clear air and reduce the number of manoeuvres where possible. In the Superyacht A division the pre-regatta decision to make a full survey of the anticipated rocky corners paid off today for SeaWave, the 31.78m Southern Wind which was only launched less than a year ago.

Tactician Titch Blachford and navigator Mike Broughton’s rock reconnaissance allowed then to shave a few corners today which allowed them to build from their excellent start. They sailed clear ahead of started very well and were able to stay clear of their key rivals to win on corrected time by over three minutes today.

“The key was from the windward mark to the islands. With the fleet mixing and playing with each other behind us we worked hard to extend away from them. And then the next critical stage was being able to cut the corners at the islands, looking at the rocks earlier in the week.” remarked Blachford. “Winning today means so much for this team at their first Superyacht regatta together.”

Open Season, Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 2016. Photo Carlo Borlenghi

Open Season, Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 2016. Photo Carlo Borlenghi

Saudade’s fourth today was enough to seal the class overall, scoring 1-5-2-4 over their four coastal races. Tactician Bouwe Bekking, who sailed with the owner Büll many years ago, remarked: “I think we have a great team and that made it easy for me to step on board for the first time this week even if I sailed with the owner many years ago. This is such a different beast to when we sailed so many years ago on a 40 foot one tonner. This is a big animal but it still takes the same spirit and drive to win a regatta.”

In the Superyacht B division Maegan, the 25.15m Oyster, finished their regatta on a high note, winning by over one minute ahead of the overall class winner Grande Orazio.
“We made our best start today. We were on the gun, on the pace and that helped.” Recounts David Tydeman, Maegan’s safety officer, “We got the key wind shifts right and that helped on the leg down to the islands, making it more of a port fetch. We had good hoists at the islands. It has been great to have the two Oysters racing here.”

The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s sporting calendar continues with the Invitational Team Racing Challenge from 15-18 June and the Audi Settimana delle Bocche from 27 June to 2 July. The next appointment for the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta is in 2017 with the Caribbean edition scheduled to be held in Virgin Gorda from 10 – 13 March.

Les Voiles de St. Tropez 2015 Wrap Up

October 05, 2015

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

Les Voiles de St. Tropez 2015 came to an end in the fabulous South of France yacht holiday location – St. Tropez yesterday, on Sunday, October 4. This year, the popular Mediterranean regatta hosted an impressive fleet of 330 Classic and Modern yachts, and saw two days of competing cancelled, due to poor weather conditions.

Les Voiles de St. Tropez 2015 - Photo by Voiles de Saint Tropez 2015 Photo Gilles Martin Raget

Les Voiles de St. Tropez 2015 – Photo by Voiles de Saint-Tropez 2015/Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

André Beaufils, President of the Societe Nautique de Saint-Tropez, said: ”We made the best of it. We learn something new each year about the effect the elements have on proceedings and we’ll take that into account more and more in the future. The initial reactions from the competitors are positive, as they understand the difficulties we face when working with Mother Nature. The Race Committees were able to adapt to the daily problems and already we’re reflecting on the siting of the village next year as the Harbour Master’s Office is being expanded.”

Les Voiles de St. Tropez 2015 - Photo by Voiles de Saint Tropez 2015 Photo Gilles Martin Raget

Les Voiles de St. Tropez 2015 – Photo by Voiles de Saint-Tropez 2015/Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

Sailing yacht Maria Giovanna II won on the second day and took the Rolex Trophy. She won just a point ahead Namib and Stiren yachts.

Les Voiles de St. Tropez 2015 - Photo by Voiles de Saint Tropez 2015 Photo Gilles Martin Raget.jpg

Les Voiles de St. Tropez 2015 – Photo by Voiles de Saint-Tropez 2015/Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

The majestic Wallys enjoyed 5 very windy races. Though superyacht Magic Blue benefited from the retirement of Magic Carpet Cubed yacht in the last race, her victory was much deserved. The Wallys participated in 5 races, including two coastal courses. Magic Blue secured 3 victories, leaving charter yacht Y3K several boat lengths astern in 2nd place. Open Season yacht, dominated in elapsed time, showing her rating off to full glory and completing the podium.

Les Voiles de St. Tropez 2016 will run from Saturday 24 September to Sunday 2 October.

Two New Silver Sponsors for Superyacht Cup Palma 2015

March 04, 2015

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

The organizers of the Superyacht Cup Palma 2015, set to run in the beautiful Mallorca yacht charter location from June 17 to 20, are proud to present two new silver sponsors, Palma-based Marine Hydraulic Services (MHS) as well as Italian premium lines manufacturer Gottifredi Maffioli. Both companies are important suppliers to the superyacht and megayacht market and excellent partners to have supporting the leading superyacht regatta in Europe.

Luxury charter yacht Highland Breeze, teamwork on the bow, SYC Palma 2014

Luxury charter yacht Highland Breeze, teamwork on the bow, SYC Palma 2014

“The Superyacht Cup consistently draws some of the most spectacular superyachts in the world to Palma. Prior to the regatta the majority of the yachts undertake refit work and race optimization here on the island, this gives us a great opportunity to provide our hydraulic services to existing and new clients as well as building relationships with other sponsors and industry professionals who attend the regatta each year,” explained Chris Geraghty, Operations Manager at MHS.

Gottifredi Maffioli have been manufacturing rope since 1926. Their new ideas, solid tradition, great experience, advanced technology and strict quality controls have been the corner stones for their long success.  “We manufacture a wide range of high quality ropes, braids and yarns made of high tenacity synthetic fibres and with our extensive experience and innovative techniques we are constantly developing new products. The Superyacht Cup in Palma provides us the ideal platform to present our brand and extensive product range to the superyacht industry where quality, reliability and innovation are so important,” commented Massimo DellAcqua.

Sailing yacht Saudade - SYC Palma 2014

Sailing yacht Saudade – SYC Palma 2014

The outstanding selection of modern and classic superyachts already registered include many regulars who year after year have enjoyed the unique atmosphere; the exhilarating racing amongst a truly breathtaking fleet and the relaxed, informal evening functions held on the dock in the heart of Palma, a cosmopolitan city with so much to offer visitors.

Luxury charter yacht Highland Breeze (Frers/Nautor Swan 34m) will be making her fifth consecutive appearance at SYC with her smartly uniformed Gaastra crew under the guidance of experienced Captain Albert Keularts. Competitive on the race course and always highly visible on the dock, the Highland Breeze team certainly know how to join in the spirit of the event and experience the regatta to the full. As gold sponsors to The Superyacht Cup, Gaastra supply the Race Officials and SYC staff with team clothing.

Superyacht Saudade (Tripp/Wally 45m) is another regular visitor to Palma, a fast powerful sloop she is always a keen contender and ready to take on the new arrivals. This year she will be joined by another Wally Yacht, the 30m luxury yacht Open Season (Judel/Vrolijk/Wally), a newer generation design launched in 2012. The two rivals will be determined to out perform each other around the race track.

2014 Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta – Day One

June 05, 2014

Written by Eva Belanyiova

The 2014 edition of the renowned Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta has seen an exciting start, as Costa Smeralda, also a fabulous Sardinia yacht charter destination, provided almost ideal conditions for the first day of racing. Beautiful blue skies and northwesterly breeze that started at 12 knots and built to 22 knots meant that the fleet of 21 sailing superyachts racing in the event, organised by Boat International Media and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, were in for a fantastic experience.

The fleet enjoy fantastic conditions on day one of the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta Carlo Borlenghi | Borlenghi Studio

The fleet enjoy fantastic conditions on day one of the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta Carlo Borlenghi | Borlenghi Studio

Principle Race Officer Peter Craig chose a course that would make the most of the conditions, sending the yachts anticlockwise around the islands of Caprera and La Maddalena before giving them a long run home through bomb alley and past Capo Ferro.

The fleet, comprising 19 superyachts, was divided into three divisions and the start sequence sent the yachts over the line in staggered starts, with the slowest rated yacht crossing first. The line-up includes a wide variety of the world’s finest sailing superyachts, ranging from the 24m Bloemsma van Breemen-built sailing yacht Drumfire to the 46m Vitters yacht Ganesha. Notable names include the latest WallyCento Magic Carpet 3 superyacht , the 33m Vitters yacht Inoui, Claasen Shipyards’ F Class Firefly, Loro Piana Caribbean division winner charter yacht Moonbird, the beautiful 30.6m Spirit Yachts Gaia yacht and the Royal Huisman-built regatta regular yacht Unfurled. In addition, a fleet of Southern Wind yachts scattered throughout Classes B and C – including the 28.6m Windfall, new 24.7m Grande Orazio yacht and 30.26m Cape Arrow, chartered for this event by Lord Irvine Laidlaw – will be battling for additional honours as the event incorporates the 2014 Southern Wind Trophy.

After staggered starts the fleet compressed as they rounded the islands of La Maddalena Jeff Brown | Superyacht Media

After staggered starts the fleet compressed as they rounded the islands of La Maddalena Jeff Brown | Superyacht Media

As Drumfire got the first race underway, it was clear that the beat to the top of La Maddalena would be critical, and so it proved. Moonbird, with Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson at the helm – managed to claim an overlap on the 27m Oyster yacht Karibu as the two yachts approached the famous Monaci rocks, and from there Moonbird never looked back, soon after hauling in Drumfire and holding her lead on the water almost to the finish.

Spirit Yachts' classically styled Gaia revelled in the conditions and the course presented on day one of racing Jeff Brown | Superyacht Media

Spirit Yachts' classically styled Gaia revelled in the conditions and the course presented on day one of racing Jeff Brown | Superyacht Media

‘The first day at the Loro Piana was beautiful,’ smiled Cameron Appleton, who is calling the shots on Moonbird. ‘As we sailed towards the top end of La Maddalena the wind built up into the early 20-knot range and provided a nice beat. From Monaci we were able to sail in clear air and enjoy the lead part of the race. As the wind freed up round the top of La Maddalena we had a nice power reach, then hoisted the chute for the run all the way down to the finish.’

For the chasing pack, fleet compression as the yachts hit the reach and the run meant crew manoeuvres and tactical calls became critical. ‘It was getting pretty busy on the run,’ beamed Tom Aiken, skipper of the 30.6m Gaia. ‘There was lots of communication on the radio and lots of gybing! But it was nice, and it was fun sailing with everyone else.’

The crew of Ghost tirelessly pack their kite at the end of the final run Jeff Brown | Superyacht Media

The crew of Ghost tirelessly pack their kite at the end of the final run Jeff Brown | Superyacht Media

As the yachts reached the hoist point at the top of bomb alley, off the southwestern tip of La Maddalena, the faster Class A yachts had started to make their way through the fleet providing some exciting, close-quarters action for the owners and their crews. As the kites went up, Moonbird held the lead on the water closely followed by the Southern Wind Grande Orazio, Gaia, Unfurled, Karibu and Firefly. Cape Arrow and the Swan Selene followed neck and neck, with Wally Whisper, Ganesha, Southern Wind Feelin’ Good and Pier-Luigi Loro Piana’s yacht My Song close behind. Sir Lindsey Owen-Jones’s Magic Carpet 3 led the charge of the performance yachts with the 30.5m Wally Open Season pushing hard, with Inoui, the Southern Wind charter yacht Farewell and the Vitters 37.2m Ghost fighting hard.

Magic Carpet 3 took line honours whilst energetic Firefly received first place in Class A on corrected time Carlo Borlenghi | Borlenghi Studio

Magic Carpet 3 took line honours whilst energetic Firefly received first place in Class A on corrected time Carlo Borlenghi | Borlenghi Studio

At the finish, the Wallys Magic Carpet 3 and Open Season just managed to overhaul Moonbird on the water, with Magic Carpet 3 taking line honours. The results on corrected time showed just how close today’s racing had been, though, with the top three of Class B – Moonbird, followed by Unfurled and Cape Arrow – split by just 37 seconds.

In Class A, Firefly took an emphatic win on corrected time, with Magic Carpet 3 third just 25 seconds behind second-placed Ghost. Class C was taken by Grande Orazio, ahead of Karibu and Selene, although in the Southern Wind Trophy subdivision she was pushed into second by Cape Arrow, with Farewell scoring a third.

The owner of Inoui was pleased with their performance and didn't want to stop racing! Jeff Brown | Superyacht Media

The owner of Inoui was pleased with their performance and didn't want to stop racing! Jeff Brown | Superyacht Media

‘We had a good run because we sailed well,’ said Cameron Appleton. ‘We got an early jump and we were able to maintain that by just being ahead in clear air and sailing new breeze lines whenever we wanted to – we weren’t dictated to or governed [by other yachts]. It was a great race, and all in all we’re pleased particularly when we found out that we were 12 seconds ahead of Unfurled. That was a real close battle and it’s probably going to stay like that all week.’

‘We are delighted with this start to the week,’ enthused Grande Orazio’s owner, YCCS Member Massimiliano Florio. ‘The boat is brand new, launched in January and brought here from South Africa in March so this is the first regatta she has participated in. We’re testing the boat – today we were very fast and we had to be careful of keeping our distance from the other boats. We have a strong crew that has sailed together for a long time and so we hope to keep improving.’

For others, just being out on the water was a result in itself. ‘It was a fantastic, wonderful day,’ beamed the owner of the Southern Wind Farewell. ‘The YCCS and Boat International Media have organised an incredible event on this wonderful isle. I think every yacht managed to release the full stable of horses today! This is a wonderful place for wind – good for super maxis and superyacht racing.’

‘Today was good,’ added the owner of the Vitters-built Inoui. ‘The part I enjoyed most was that the big Wallys didn’t get us right away. Upwind we were doing pretty well, and the downwind leg was certainly fun. We needed perfect manoeuvres as even the slow boats are not that slow… The course today was perfect, although when things are going well 31 miles feels very short…’

Eleonora Abbagnato, Prima Ballerina of the Paris Opera Ballet delights guests of this evening's dinner Mark Sims | Superyacht Media

Eleonora Abbagnato, Prima Ballerina of the Paris Opera Ballet delights guests of this evening's dinner Mark Sims | Superyacht Media

Tonight owners and their guests enjoy the Loro Piana Owners’ Dinner on the YCCS terrace, which this year is being created by Michelin 3 Star chef Massimo Bottura, while prima ballerina Eleonora Abbagnato will perform with the sort of poise and grace that the crews will be aiming to emulate when racing resumes on Thursday.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2013: Amazing Finale

September 07, 2013

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

Today, September 7, saw this year’s Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Sardinia‘s Porto Cervo come to its end. An impressive last day ensued with three yachts making amazing recoveries to seal championship titles.

Velsheda superyacht's bow reflections

Velsheda superyacht's bow reflections - Photo credit to Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Two windward/leeward races concluded the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship with a coastal race through the Maddalena archipelago organized for the remaining classes.

Today’s winners were: Sailing yacht Rán 2 (GBR) in the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship with a bullet and a second; superyacht Velsheda (GBR) in J-Class; luxury yacht Morning Glory (GER) in Maxi Racing; charter yacht Nefertiti (GBR) in Maxi Racing/Cruising; superyacht Nilaya (GBR) in Supermaxi; and, luxury yacht Open Season (GBR) in Wally.

2013 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup winners are: Rán 2 in the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship; Velsheda in J-Class; Aegir (GBR) in Maxi; sailing yacht Altair in Maxi Racing/Cruising; Nilaya in Supermaxi and luxury yacht J-One (GBR) in Wally.

Luxury yacht Aegir reaching during the coastal race

Luxury yacht Aegir reaching during the coastal race - Photo credit to Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

In mounting a stunning comeback during both the week and today’s final race, Niklas Zennström’s Rán 2 has reclaimed her Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship title. “It is hard to believe,” admitted owner/driver Zennström. “It was really awesome as the competition went down to the wire.”

Victory in yesterday’s coastal race left Rán 2 two points behind Andres Soriano’s fellow 72-ft sailing yacht Alegre going into the final day.  “We decided to sail the way we usually do: confident, fast, concentrated and quietly,” explained Zennström, whose crew mounted a similarly successful recovery in 2010. “In today’s first race we had a good start, rounding the top mark ahead of everyone. We had a first and they finished fifth which took us two points ahead for the last race.” That left Ran 2 firmly in the driving seat, and Alegre faced with reversing the result of the first race.

Superyacht J-One and crew members celebrate their win in the Wally Class

Superyacht J-One and crew members celebrate their win in the Wally Class - Photo credit to Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

“It was a tough day. Everyone lifted their game,” explained Alegre tactician Chris Main. “Today it came down to the starts. Rán had a really good start in winning the first race. In the second race we had a good start and a good race.” Alegre performed gallantly in winning race two before waiting to see how things played out behind. “It was exciting coming into the finish. We were holding our breath,” admitted Main. However, in the final 100 metres, Rán 2, enjoying a fast downwind leg, decisively overtook Hap Fauth’s defending champion Bella Mente from the United States to claim second place and seal the title.

A euphoric Zennström has even more reason to treasure this third Mini Maxi Rolex World title. “This is the last regatta for this boat (a new Mini Maxi Rán will launch next year). It is a special win and amazing to end on a high note. Rán must be the most successful Maxi in many, many years.” George Sakellaris’ Shockwave completed the championship podium finishing third.

Final prizegiving on Piazza Azzurra at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda

Final prizegiving on Piazza Azzurra at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda - Photo credit to Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Rán 2 was not the only yacht to mount an impressive comeback. Brian Benjamin’s 82-ft superyacht Aegir 2 was seemingly out of the running halfway through the Maxi Racing competition having not started the first race before finishing a disappointing third on day two. However, three straight bullets elevated Aegir to the top of the standings ahead of two very contrasting and successful boats – Lord Irvine Laidlaw’s 82-ft luxury yacht Highland Fling and Hasso Plattner’s 87-ft Morning Glory – both former winners. “We didn’t expect to do so well against the other two boats but the races have come down to seconds. Below ten knots and we are in with a shout,” explained Aegir trimmer Pete Cummings before today’s racing.

Aegir performed strongly in the light conditions that prevailed this week. “We’ve done the impossible. It feels good, unexpected,” said Benjamin. “It wasn’t very windy this week which helps us as the other two boats were unable to plane.” Aegir adds the Maxi Racing title to last year’s Maxi Racing/Cruising crown – a title this year won this year by Altair by Robertissima.

The crew of Altair Yacht - Winners of the Maxi Racing/Cruising Class

The crew of Altair Yacht - Winners of the Maxi Racing/Cruising Class - Photo credit to Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

In the Wally class, J-One – a winner here in 2007 – finished a massive eight points ahead of her nearest rival Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’s Wally Cento superyacht Magic Carpet 3. Great satisfaction for owner Jean Charles Decaux. “Consistency, focus and great teamwork is the magic combination and we are very happy to be the winner again after six years.” Decaux continued: “We are the oldest boat in the fleet and smaller compared to the new ones. We really had to make no mistakes, or at least fewer mistakes than our competitors to achieve a good result.”

In the J-Class superyacht Rainbow and the 1933-build sailing yacht Velsheda have exchanged positions all week with the former going into today’s final race one point ahead. “We got in the right position from the start. We kept the lead for the whole race,” explained helmsman Ronald de Waal as Velsheda turned the competition around by winning today’s race. “The competition was strong. Rainbow is a new boat with the newest materials and is very fast. Our advantage is that we have been sailing the boat for ten years or more.”

Ran 2 Yacht crew members - Winners of the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship

Ran 2 Yacht crew members - Winners of the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship - Photo credit to Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Filip Balcaen’s 112-ft Nilaya had already sealed a third straight Supermaxi title yesterday.

The final prizegiving was held this evening on Piazza Azzurra at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. Trophies and Rolex timepieces were awarded to the six class winners and to Lupa of London as the best Mini Maxi Racer/Cruiser. The inaugural Commodore Alberini Perpetual Trophy, established to commemorate Past YCCS Commodore Gianfranco Alberini who ‘sailed away in June’, was awarded to Gerard Logel’s @robas.

A full review of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup will be available on Wednesday 11 September.

FINAL RESULTS 2013 MAXI YACHT ROLEX CUP
Position, Boat Name, Boat Owner, Races- Total Points

Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship

1. RAN 2 (GBR), Niklas Zennström 3-4-2-(10)-7-1.5-1-2; 20.5
2. ALEGRE (GBR), Andres Soriano, 1.5–5–1-(11)-5-3-5-1; 21.5
3. SHOCKWAVE (USA), George Sakellaris 4.5–1–3-(6)-3-7.5-6-3; 28

Maxi Racing

1. AEGIR (GBR), Brian Benjamin, 5–3-1-1-2; 7
2. MORNING GLORY (GER), Hasso Plattner, 2-2-2-2-1; 7
3. HIGHLAND FLING (MON), Irvine Laidlaw, 1–1-3-3-3; 8

Maxi Racer / Cruiser

1.  ALTAIR (ITA), Paolo Scerni / Roberto Tomasini, 1-1-1-1-5; 4
2.  NEFERTITI (GBR), Anders Nordquist, 2-2-2-2-2; 8
3.  FREYA (USA), Donald Macpherson, 4-3-4-3; 14

J-Class

1. VELSHEDA (GBR), Tarbat Investment Ltd, 1-1-2-3-1; 5
2. RAINBOW (NED), Chris Gongriep, 2-2-1-1-2; 6
3. RANGER (CAY), RSV Ltd., 3-3-3-2-3; 11

Supermaxi

1. NILAYA (GBR), Filip Balcaen, 1-1-1-2-1; 4
2. FIREFLY (NED), Eric Bijlsma, 2-2-2-1-3; 7
3. INOUI (SUI), Marco Vögele, 3-3-4-3; 13

Wally

1. J ONE (GBR), Jean Charles Decaux, 1-2-1-1-(3)-1-3; 9
2. MAGIC CARPET 3 (GBR), Sir Lindsey Owen Jones, 6–1–2-(6)-1-2-5; 17
3. OPEN SEASON (GBR), Thomas Bscher, 4–4-4-3-6-3-1; 19

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2012 attended by Hall Spars equipped yachts

September 13, 2012

Written by Zuzana Bednarova

Well known for its close competition as well as changing wind conditions, this year’s edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, held in Sardinia‘s Porto Cervo, could be described as one of the leading events in the yachting world.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2012 Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2012 Photo by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Inaugurated in 1980 and the jewel in Rolex’s international yachting portfolio since 1985, the event, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) and the International Maxi Association (IMA), attracted 34 international Maxi yachts – measuring upwards of 18.29 meters (60 feet) for a week of top quality racing.

Hall Spars equipped yachts claimed victory in three of the five Divisions:

Bella Mente (USA) Wins Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship
Hap Fauth’s JV72 sailing yacht Bella Mente dominated an evolving and competitive Mini Maxi fleet, claiming victory in the third running of the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship.

Sailing yacht Bella Mente Photo credit RolexCarlo Borlenghi

Sailing yacht Bella Mente Photo credit: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Hall Spars Sweep the Supermaxi Class
Filip Balcaen’s Baltic 34m superyacht Nilaya made short work of the Supermaxi class – the division for the week’s largest yachts. Nilaya, the only Supermaxi equipped with racing sails, took advantage of being able to perform tight maneuvers much quicker than her rivals, thanks also to teamwork honed by a crew that has been together for over a decade. Further congratulations to more Hall Spars clients rounding out the top three: Wally 45m luxury yacht Saudade in second place and Farr 35m charter yacht Sojana claiming third.

Superyacht Nilaya - Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Superyacht Nilaya - Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Four Bullets for Aegir
In the Maxi Racing/Cruising Class, open to yachts dually designed to sail at speed and with comfort, Hall Spars-equipped sailing yacht Aegir, a Rodgers Carbon Ocean 82, claimed victory. Owner Brian Benjamin adds this victory to the class title earned in 2010, with four first-place race finishes in this year’s Maxi R/C roundup.

Aegir superyacht - Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Aegir superyacht - Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Hall Spars’ Eric Hall and Andea Merani Join the Open Season and Inti Teams
Thomas Bscher’s 28,60m yacht Open Season (GBR) claimed a strong second place finish in the Wally Division, Group 1, with assistance from Hall Spars’ founder and president Eric Hall on crew. Wally 80 yacht Inti, skippered by Hall Spars’ Andrea Merani, took a second place finish in the Wally Division, Group 2.

2012 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup – Arresting and challenging week of prestige and endeavour

September 10, 2012

Written by Eva Belanyiova

The 2012 edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup that took place in Porto Cervo, Sardinia could be described as both vintage and challenging, marked by close competition and changing wind conditions. Engaging, challenging and driven by a constant evolution in design and technology, the 23rd edition offered a timely confirmation of the race’s status as one of the top events of the yachting world.

ESIMIT EUROPA 2 (SLO) winner of the Maxi Racing class - Photo Carlo Borlenghi

Inaugurated in 1980 and the jewel in Rolex’s international yachting portfolio since 1985, the event, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) and the International Maxi Association (IMA), attracted 34 international Maxi yachts – measuring upwards of 18.29 metres (60 feet) – for a week of top quality racing.

For owners and crews alike, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is the unmissable fixture in the international sailing calendar. American Hap Fauth certainly felt it was the perfect setting for his brand new 21.94m Mini Maxi sailing yacht Bella Mente: “It’s spectacular. This is probably the finest place to sail in the Mediterranean. We love being here, the hospitality is fantastic and the International Maxi Association does a great job in conducting racing. The competition is superior, who wouldn’t want to be here?” “I’ve been here about ten, eleven times,” commented Brian Benjamin, owner of the 25.08m Maxi Racer/Cruiser yacht Aegir (GBR). “And it’s the first thing we put on our calendar every year. When God invented sailing, he built this little area for us to play in. It is always windy, the island courses and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda are great.”

Final prizegiving at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda on Piazza Azzurra - Photo Carlo Borlenghi

Final prizegiving at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda on Piazza Azzurra – Photo Carlo Borlenghi

Likewise, for sailors, the diversity of the racecourses, often featuring rocky outcrops and shifting winds, provide numerous enthralling and unexpected tactical challenges. “Taking part in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is about the great boats, scenery, blue waters, challenging weather conditions. It’s always different,” said Mike Broughton, navigator on the classic-lined 39.5m J-Class Velsheda yacht (GBR).

A view echoed by Mike Sanderson, ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year in 2006, afterguard on Bella Mente. “For me the highlight of coming to the Maxis is seeing the hardware, a collection of amazing boats. It is a wonderful event, I am always so impressed with the boats both in terms of power and sail.”

NILAYA (GBR), leading the Supermaxi Class - Photo Carlo Borlenghi

NILAYA (GBR), leading the Supermaxi Class – Photo Carlo Borlenghi

Grand designs

Indeed, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup provides a window into the current trends prevalent in Maxi yacht design. Established in 1980, the event was born of a desire to provide the Maxi class of yacht – first prevalent during the 1970s – with an opportunity to engage in a direct competition, in a suitably challenging environment. Ever since, it has been an unforgiving and breathtaking proving ground for ambitious, breakthrough Maxi yacht designs.

Three of this year’s 34 entries were new launches, heralding some significant shifts in the Maxi yacht world. Bella Mente and Alessandro Rombelli’s Stig (ITA) bolstered an evolving and competitive Mini Maxi fleet, competing in the third running of the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship. The two new 72-foot designs arrived with the mandate of challenging a class dominated in recent years by Niklas Zennström’s all-conquering and two-time Mini Maxi Rolex World champion Rán 2 (GBR).

Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones' MAGIC CARPET (GBR), winner of the Wally class - Photo Carlo Borlenghi

Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’ MAGIC CARPET (GBR), winner of the Wally class – Photo Carlo Borlenghi

It is a prolific class in terms of project activity, reflecting the desire of a highly competitive crop of owners that enjoy intense racing against similar size boats. The trend has delighted Mini Maxi owners. Zennström welcomed the upsurge in competition: “Having four very similar 72-footers creates much more boat on boat racing, everyone has to sail better, leading to more tactical situations. That is what we love to do. This is the world championship. It should be really hard to win and this is the way we want it.”

Meanwhile, the new sailing yacht Wally Cento is intended as a template design, and its first iteration, Charles Dunstone’s Hamilton (GBR), made its debut this week. “The idea is to have boats of a certain size, that are dual purpose, which means they are able to be used as a cruiser as well as a racer but with the maximum potential they can get out of this compromise,” explained leading yacht designer Rolf Vrolijk of Judel/Vrolijk.

From left- Riccardo Bonadeo, YCCS Commodore, Brian Benjamin, owner of Aegir, Gian Riccardo Marini, General Director Rolex SA - Photo Carlo Borlenghi

From left- Riccardo Bonadeo, YCCS Commodore, Brian Benjamin, owner of Aegir, Gian Riccardo Marini, General Director Rolex SA – Photo Carlo Borlenghi

Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, in attendance with his 28.53m Wally Magic Carpet 2 (GBR), and San Diego-based yacht designers Reichel/Pugh are currently working on the second Wally Cento launch in Magic Carpet 3, ready for 2013. “It is a very exciting project,” explained Pugh, President and co-founder of the renowned studio. “It is not an absolute full race design but has to reach the class rules of considerable accommodation.”

Drive and determination

The weeklong competition witnessed four days of racing and two days wiped out because of the weather – Day 2 was lost to thunderstorms and torrential rain, the final day owing to benign conditions. It has been a constant challenge for the crews. Winning on the waters off Porto Cervo is complex and requires nerve, solid tactics, harmonious teamwork, dedication and sometimes extreme patience.

On the first day of competition both the 21.80m Mini Maxi Shockwave (USA) and Lord Irvine Laidlaw’s 25.25m Highland Fling yacht (MON), a Maxi racer, separately collided with uncharted rocks. Overnight repairs were needed for the yachts to return to the fray. Proof that sailing a myriad of coastal courses through the Maddalena Archipelago is not always as idyllic as it appears to the naked eye.

The shifting elements were embraced by some crews more than others. Tom Whidden, tactical advisor on Magic Carpet 2, explained that being able to adapt to constant changes in weather and course is essential: “With the racing around the islands it is very important to know what is coming because the boat performs with a given sail, a given [wind] range and a given angle and if you pick the wrong sail the boat is so big that to make a sail change is very difficult for the crew.”

from left- Riccardo Bonadeo, YCCS Commodore, Igor Simcic, owner of ESIMIT EUROPA 2, Gian Riccardo Marini, General Director of Rolex SA - Photo Carlo Borlenghi

from left- Riccardo Bonadeo, YCCS Commodore, Igor Simcic, owner of ESIMIT EUROPA 2, Gian Riccardo Marini, General Director of Rolex SA – Photo Carlo Borlenghi

For all crews efficient communication is crucial in decision-making and in performing key tactical manoeuvres. In the past, communication on large boats involved crew passing instructions along the length of the boat. In the intensity of a race, this was hardly efficient and could occasionally result in chaos. “On Velsheda, it takes a lot of people to coordinate even a spinnaker drop,” added Broughton. “The size of the sails and rig are huge. Communication is one of our biggest challenges but by using [wireless] headsets it works very well.”

Simply having the most high-tech, state-of-the-art boat is not enough to ensure victory at a demanding event like the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. Teamwork is an equally key component in success. Steve Hayles, navigator on Rán 2, believes the crew’s togetherness was key to its impressive week, culminating in a second place in the Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds. “We are a team that has sailed together now for five years. It’s a tight group, we work for each other.”

New Mini Maxi launches BELLA MENTE (USA) and STIG (ITA) in close racing - Photo Carlo Borlenghi

New Mini Maxi launches BELLA MENTE (USA) and STIG (ITA) in close racing – Photo Carlo Borlenghi

Winners rewarded

During a week of contrasting conditions and courses presented by the Race Committee, the winning crews were those most adept at adapting to the ever-changing environment.

The Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship provided a fantastic 12-boat contest.  A dramatic competition ensued between Zennström’s Rán 2 and Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente. The latter led all week before Rán 2 drew level on the penultimate day. Unfortunately, the expected ‘match race’ on the final day fell victim of the weather. Both crews had won three races but by virtue of a second place to Rán’s fourth on countback, Bella Mente ended Zennström’s domination of the competition since its inauguration in 2010.

“It was a great week, we had tremendous sailing, and are delighted with the outcome. It is an honour to be on a racecourse with these guys. The gentlemen sailing is fantastic. It is as close racing as I’ve ever done,” explained Fauth who paid tribute to his crew’s tight bond during a topsy-turvy week. “We live together in every way. We’ve got a 30-man travelling team so you get to know the guys very well. We win together, we lose together and hopefully we have learnt how to do both.”

From left- Riccardo Bonadeo, YCCS Commodore, Gian Riccardo Marini, General Director of Rolex SA with the crew of BELLA MENTE - Photo Carlo Borlenghi

From left- Riccardo Bonadeo, YCCS Commodore, Gian Riccardo Marini, General Director of Rolex SA with the crew of BELLA MENTE – Photo Carlo Borlenghi

In the diverse Maxi Racing class, contested by four very contrasting yachts, Igor Simcic’s 30.48mEsimit Europa 2 was the fastest boat on the water throughout the week. On corrected time she had to share the spotlight with sailing yacht Highland Fling and Velsheda. With all three crews finishing on eight points, victory on the penultimate day of racing was enough to hand the title to Simcic’s pan-European crew. “We have been winning from beginning of the season,” said Simcic, who won the class in 2010. “This is not the ideal type of racing for our boat especially in the strong winds. The team worked very hard, as every second counts.”

In the Maxi Racing/Cruising class open to yachts dually designed to sail at speed and with comfort, Benjamin’s Aegir reclaimed the title he won in 2010 with his previous boat, this time emphatically winning all four races. “The competition was at about the same level as in the previous years,” said Benjamin. “We were cruising two weeks ago and return to cruise mode next week so what pays is the hard work that goes into preparing the boat.”

In the Wally class, sailing yacht Magic Carpet 2 probably made her last appearance at the event before her owner upgrades to a new Wally Cento, Magic Carpet 3. Claiming three victories in five races,Magic Carpet saw off a spirited challenge from Thomas Bscher’s 28.60m yacht Open Season (GBR). It is a third success in Porto Cervo for Owen-Jones, following victories in 2006 and 2008.

“It is always extremely exciting and uncertain until the last moment. There is always seconds between us as the boats are very equally handicapped and at any given moment it can all go wrong,” said Owen-Jones. Like Fauth, Owen-Jones put the week’s success down to the team’s longstanding collaboration: “I try to choose the very best people and I’m not afraid of having people who are more talented than I am around me!”

Filip Balcaen’s 34.13m Nilaya yacht made short work of the Supermaxi class – the division for the week’s largest yachts. Sailing Yacht Nilaya was the smallest of the Supermaxis, dwarfed by the likes of the 66m sailing yacht Hetairos (CY), which is the largest boat ever to appear at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. However, size is not everything as Nilaya, the only Supermaxi equipped with racing sails, took advantage of being able to perform tight manoeuvres much quicker than her rivals, thanks also to teamwork honed by a crew that has been together for over a decade.

A captivating week on the water was concluded with the customary prizegiving on Piazza Azzurra in front of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. The winning crews were presented with Rolex timepieces, the ultimate reward for their endeavour throughout a high-class competition whose star continues to ascend.