If you feel the least bit confident calling yourself a sailing buff, then you probably followed The Maxis – the competition of international sailing. Last week, 39 yachts battled it out for the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Port Cervo, Sardinia. An elite group of Maxi gurus (owners and designers – spearheads of their contemporaries) had the goal of first across the line in eight different classes: Supermaxi, Maxi RC, Maxi R, Mini Maxi SOT, Mini Maxi R, Wally, Line Honours, and of course, the Rolex Maxi 72. The event is graciously hosted by the Yacht Club Costa Smerelda (YCCS) and the International Maxi Association (IMA). Acclaimed for its resort appeal and professionalism, it’s no wonder sailing competitors flock to prove themselves.
With Rolex being a partner for 30 years this year, this made it a very special win for Marco Vogele (Inoui), Michael Cotter (Windfall), Jim Clark (Comanche), Hap Fauth (Bella Mente), Riccardo de Michele( H2O), Roberto Lacorte (SuperNikka) , and Thomas Bscher (Open Season) – this year’s champions for each class. There were a few candidates for the watching crowds to keep their eyes on, such as Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones (Magic Carpet Cubed), Dieter Shon (MOMO), Open Racing IV’s Caol Ila R, Hap Fauth, Peter Ogden (Jethou), George Sakellaris (Proteus), Roberto Tomasini (Robertisima III), among others. All classes seemed to contain sufficient energy and optimism for a thrilling race.
The event couldn’t have fallen on a better week – the stretch of weather was phenomenal, despite the late lay day on Friday. With 24 knots to push the Maxis along at a glossy and glorious pace off Porto Cervo, all skippers could truly lose themselves in the thick of healthy rivalry.
The Maxi 72s in particular were fortunate enough to clip a quick race with 17-22 knots as other classes sailed coastal. Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente started and ended the day an outright winner, taking the lead immediately by just a few points with Robertissima III and MOMO close behind (although MOMO was quickly called OCS, cutting out one more competitor for Bella Mente, who went on to win that race, making it her first of the day.) Later, however, MOMO had the opportunity to redeem herself by winning her own first race of the day – after both Jethou and Proteus slowed themselves down by failing to steer clear of traffic. Proteus in particular had an unfortunate disadvantage, the bottom of her rudder blad being accidentally torn off in training. Once the Proteus team switched over to their Ex-Ran 5, they experienced smoother sailing.
The fleet of Mini Maxis had a tough act to follow, but the group of contenders left people wondering if it really wouldn’t be as intense. Competitors included Roberto Lacorte, Spectre Yachting Ltd. (Spectre), & Maximilian Klink (Caro). Spectre, manned by Nick Rogers and Neal McDonald won a glorious race for themselves (and what’s not to be expected of an experienced skipper and an Olympic silver medalist?) However SuperNikka’s second win boosted them to overall championship victory.
With tight races and high spirits, this year may be one of the sweetest to remember for each class winner. Official and complete results can be found here.