Pulses look set to race once again at the Mediterranean’s greatest festival of big boat competition.
The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS), which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary, in conjunction with the International Maxi Association (IMA), an organization that in turn can trace its roots back nearly four decades.
The forty-eight entries range in size from 18.3 metres to a mighty 36 metres. The combined length of competing craft once again exceeds a kilometre and when racing starts on 4 September, the sailing world will look forward with relish to another week of intense battles between yachts that defy perceived boundaries of design, innovation and technology.
Half-century of passion and excellence
The success of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is due in large part to the continuing efforts of the yacht club that founded the event back in 1980. The YCCS has been a partner club of Rolex for over thirty years and with good reason. It exhibits all the trademark characteristics one would expect from an organization that aims to lead. Riccardo Bonadeo, Commodore of the YCCS, explains the philosophy of the club: “Passion, excellence, innovation and a focus on the next generation represent the driving forces that have positioned the YCCS at the forefront of the international yachting scene and kept it there.”
As usual, this year’s Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup fleet will be grouped into classes depending upon several factors, including size, rating and racing capabilities. Within the smaller participating yachts, between 18.29 metres and 24.08 metres, the sub-division promotes close and fair racing under the prevailing handicap systems.
The all-out racers, the Maxi 72s, will contest the Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship, while the more cruising oriented Mini Maxis will compete for their own trophies and traditional Rolex timepieces. Top picks from this segment of the fleet include three-time world champion, Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente, in the Maxi 72s; Mini Maxi Racer defending champion, Carlo Puri Negri’s Atalanta II, and, the 2016 Mini Maxi Cruising winner, Benoît de Froidmont’s Wallyno.
“The number of international sailing regattas organized by the YCCS has constantly increased,” continues Bonadeo. “Our 2017 sporting calendar counts 20 regattas including the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. This will be the 28th edition of this event, which we have been organizing since the 1980s in collaboration with title sponsor Rolex. We have always had a special bond with the Maxis and their owners and we are delighted to welcome them back every time – especially this year, during our Golden Jubilee.”
Over the thirty-plus years of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, the average size of the competing yachts has increased steadily in correlation with the massive developments in material-science and technology. Regular competitor Vittorio Moretti’s Viriella is currently the biggest entry at 36 metres, and will compete in the Supermaxi class reserved for craft over 30.50 metres.
Last year’s explosive Supermaxi, Win Win, the dual-purpose cruiser-racer drawn by Javier Jaudenes and constructed by Baltic, returns to defend her title, joined by the brand new, 32.50 metre fully-carbon Ribelle, designed by Malcolm McKeon Yacht Design and built by Vitters. Ribelle is an example of the trend for collaboration between various specialized elements of the yacht-building industry. Green Marine in the UK built the hull and superstructure, while Rémi Tessier conceived the interior design.
Wally yachts burst onto the Maxi racing scene in the late 1990s, introducing an elegance, versatility, sophistication and timeless design to the high-octane world of big boat racing. Some fourteen are expected at this year’s Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. J One marks 20 years of competition including several wins at this event. The Wallycentos – Magic Carpet Cubed and Galateia – will represent the very latest concepts in modern high-performance cruisers, with designs that are both luxurious and fast. The majority of attending Wallys will race in their own class, with the winner receiving a special trophy alongside a Rolex timepiece.
Just as it looks back on fifty years of leadership in the maritime world, the YCCS also looks ahead. Besides reaffirming its commitment to organizing sporting events, according to Bonadeo, the YCCS has decided to mark this significant point in its history by giving something back to the ocean that has driven the club’s passion and provided a playing field for its activities: “As we reach this major milestone, we have decided to add our voice to the global conversation on ocean conservancy and, accordingly, will organise the One Ocean Forum in Milan in October.”
Pedigree participants, meticulous management
The yachts competing at the 2017 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup will be some of the most impressive on the planet. Their crews will be yachtsmen and -women at the top of their chosen sport. Both demand the highest level of race management. Unsurprisingly, given its dedication and philosophy, the YCCS race team is one of the best in the sailing world.
As the crown in sailing for almost 60 years, Rolex is extremely proud of its association with the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and its flagship event, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. This longstanding, successful partnership is founded on the principles of excellence, performance and prestige, which, when combined, form a bedrock for both organizations.