Published: Thursday, 04 September 2014

The 25th Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup got off to a superb start as the fleet completed a coastal course that wound through the islands of the La Maddalena archipelago covering more than 30 nautical miles of choppy seas. Leaders in their respective divisions at the conclusion of Day One were Alegre (Mini Maxi), Ranger (J Class), J One (Wally), Highland Fling (Maxi), Firefly (Supermaxi), Lupa of London (Mini Maxi Racing/Cruising). Organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) in collaboration with the International Maxi Association, racing will continue through Saturday 6th September with Thursday 4th scheduled as a lay-day.

Following a short postponement ashore as the Race Committee waited for the strong overnight winds to abate, the first starting signal sounded at 13.00 and the fleet set off north to round Monaci island accompanied by 8-10 knots of northerly breeze. The Mini Maxi and Wally fleets then rounded the Barettinelli islands at the top of the archipelago while the remainder of the fleet cut inside to round the top of the main La Maddalena island for a slightly shorter course.

Maxis Mixing It Up In Porto Cervo

In the Mini Maxi fleet Alegre had a good start, took the lead from Rán 5 before the windward mark and quickly developed a comfortable delta over the rest of the fleet competing in the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship. Alegre dominated right to the finish and maintained her lead in corrected time over Hap Fauth's Bella Mente in second and current world champion Rán 5, owned by Niklas Zennstrom, in third.

"It's only the first race of what I am sure will be a highly competitive series but I was delighted how well the boat performed today." commented Alegre's owner Andres Soriano on his return to shore. "The wind forecast showed 20 knots or more, so we went with the smaller main and to get to the top mark first was an excellent performance. In this fleet, getting there first is always a top priority. Rán and Robertissima were just behind us, but got into a one-on-one, and had to tack to make the turn. However, the fleet came back at us on the run back and that is always expected with this quality of competition."

Maxis Mixing It Up In Porto Cervo 1

The J Class start was a spectacular sight with four of the classic yachts, ranging from 39.5 to 43.7 metres in length, taking to the line while the 1930-launched Shamrock looked on from the sidelines. After a few early lead changes it was the 40-metre Rainbow that took command and claimed victory in real time. The Sparkman and Stephens-designed Ranger stole victory in corrected time by just five seconds ahead of Rainbow while the classic 1933 J Class yacht Velsheda took third.

Among the Supermaxis the Dutch crew on Firefly took first place in corrected time ahead of the 33-metre sloop Inoui. YCCS Member Vittorio Moretti claimed third place with his Viriella.

Maxis Mixing It Up In Porto Cervo 2

Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones' Magic Carpet 3, launched in 2013, stormed around the course well ahead of the remainder of the Wally division but slipped back to second place in corrected time behind Jean-Charles Decaux's J One.

The 6-boat Mini Maxi Racing/Cruising division saw Jeremy Pilkington's Lupa of London get off to a superb start and claim line honours and victory in corrected time ahead of Gerard Logel's Arobas and the 18.5-metre Wallyño.

The Maxi Racing/Cruising division was dominated by Sir Irvine Laidlaw's Highland Fling which now sits in first place ahead of the Swan 90 Odin.


Provisional Results


Position. Boat - R1 - Total 

1. Alegre - 1 - 1

2. Bella Mente - 2 - 2

3. Rán5 - 3 - 3



Position. Boat - R1 - Total

1. J One - 1 - 1

2. Magic Carpet 3 - 2 - 2

3. Y3K - 3 - 3



Position. Boat - R1 - Total 

1. Firefly - 1 - 1

2. Inoui - 2 - 2

3. Viriella- 3 - 3



Position. Boat - R1 - Total 

1. Highland Fling - 1 - 1

2. Odin - 2 - 2

3. Bristolian - 3 - 3



Position. Boat - R1 - Total 

1. Lupa of London  - 1 - 1

2. Arobas - 2 - 2

3. Wallyno - 3 - 3



Position. Boat - R1 - Total 

1. Ranger - 1 - 1

2. Rainbow - 2 - 2

3. Velsheda - 3 – 3


Photos by Carlo Borlenghi/Rolex