Ran into the lead as Shockwave hits the bricks

Dramatic opening day to the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup

Monday September 3rd 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: Italy

A building southeasterly and bright sunshine marked the start of racing at the 2012 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, in Porto Cervo. Following the first start signal at 12:10 CEST, all classes were sent off on a 29 mile coastal race around the Monaci, Secca Tre Monti, Mortoriotto and Soffi islands before finishing off Porto Cervo.

Today’s class winners were: Ran 2 (GBR) in the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship; Velsheda in Maxi Racing; Aegir (GBR) in Maxi Racing/Cruising; Nilaya (GBR) in Supermaxi and Magic Carpet 2 (GBR) in Wally. Fastest round the course was Esimit Europa 2 (SLO), finishing in just over two hours and 32 minutes.

American George Sakellaris’ Shockwave led the Mini Maxis up the first beat and did a fine job fending off Mini Maxi World Champions Rán 2. All was going well until Shockwave suffered a severe collision with a submerged rock. All the crew was thrown into the water after the pushpit on the port side collapsed causing the lifelines and ripping several stanchions from the deck. Fortunately all the crew were safe - they either clambered back on board or were recovered safely by nearby RIBs and deposited back on board. It was the end of Shockwave's race but overnight she was due to be taken down to Olbia, craned out and her keel refaired. Shockwave was one of three boats believed to have collided with the same rock.

This saw the Mini Maxi win go to Rán. “It was a great day for sailing,” reflected owner-driver Niklas Zennström. “We had 12-16 knots of wind and enjoyed a beautiful coastal race. The competition was really close, we were fighting it out for a long time with Shockwave, and Bella Mente finished just behind us."

Zennström believes Rán 2 faces her toughest Maxi Rolex Worlds to date. “We are not as confident as the competition from new boats like Stig and Bella Mente is tough.” However, this surge in the strength of the Mini Maxi fleet excites Zennström. “We come here to race and not to have an easy win. As there are four very similar 72-footers there will be much more boat to boat racing and tactical situations. This is the world championship. It should be really hard to win and this is the way we want it.” Zennström’s secret to success in Porto Cervo?: “In a full week of racing you need to be consistent and make sure you have no really bad races, minimizing your mistakes.”

American Hap Fauth’s new Bella Mente made an impressive start on her Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup debut, claiming an encouraging second place. “Niklas (Zennström) is on his game at the helm and Ran is the favourite," he said. "There are a number of us in the next tier. Ourselves and Stig are both learning with new boats while Shockwave has done well in other regattas and will do well in the light airs here. You have to be consistent and sail conservatively.”

Third placed Jethou, measuring 18.90m, is one of the smaller Mini Maxis, but led by leading America's Cup tactician Brad Butterworth, will be in the running come the week’s close. “Conditions were very good, we all expected it to be light and the forecast was for rain,” commented owner Sir Peter Ogden. “Instead, we ended up having a decent breeze and sunshine. It was a great first day. The event is more competitive having these four 72-footers. It makes it harder for us as they dictate where we go and what we have to do.”

While Alessandro Rombelli’s Stig settled for sixth place on her Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds debut, Alex Schärer’s crew aboard the Mills 68 Caol Ila R – the former Alegre – will be delighted with a fourth place as they perform a rapid transition from their racer/cruiser. “Conditions were classic Sardinia, with lots of changes. It was a great day,” enthused tactician Gordon Maguire. “We tried to keep things simple as it’s our first race, avoiding schoolboy errors. We’ll continue refining how we’re sailing.” Maguire and the crew have a target in sight: “A top four finish in the division would please us, as the level of competition is fantastic. This is one of the finest keel boat fleets on the planet.”

Tomorrow’s racing sees the Mini Maxi and Wally classes scheduled to negotiate windward/leeward racing while the remaining classes contest a second day of coastal racing.

Mini Maxis

Pos Boat Owner Sail No. R1 Total
1 RAN  Niklas Zennstrom GBR 7236R 1.5 1.5
2 BELLA MENTE  Hap Fauth USA 45 3 3
3 JETHOU  Sir Peter Ogden GBR 74R 4.5 4.5
4 CAOL ILA R  Ocean Racing III USA 60669 6 6
5 BRONENOSEC  Vladimir Liubomirov RUS 2460 7.5 7.5
6 STIG  Alessandro Rombelli ITA 65000 9 9
7 H2O  Riccardo de Michele ITA 15668 10.5 10.5
8 @ROBAS  Gerard Logel FRA 60107 12 12
9 WILD JOE  Chemimpex Int. Ltd HUN 7002 13.5 13.5
10 TWIN SOUL 6 - MONSIEUR  Luciano Gandini ITA 19951 15 15
11 B2 NATALI  Michele Galli ITA 88888 16.5 16.5
12 SHOCKWAVE  Artemis Ltd / G. Sakellaris USA 60272 19.5 19.5

From Carlo Borlenghi/Rolex



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