Porto Cervo, Italy, 09 September 2017 –The 28th edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup reached a pulsating climax today, as the competing yachts continued to push to the wire to assert their individual claims to their class throne. Winning the event that is widely-regarded as the most important of the big-boat racing season, requires a mix of many factors. Meticulous preparation beforehand and consummate skill on the racecourse are immediately brought to mind. So too are a degree of patience and the decisive opportunism necessary to grab chances when presented. Successful regatta organization requires the same and, in the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, the Maxi yacht racing world is fortunate to have a master of all facets at its disposal.
THE WINNERS’ CIRCLE
The final prize giving on the Piazza Azzurra in front of the YCCS clubhouse provides the perfect opportunity to applaud the winners. In the successful pursuit of excellence within yacht racing, few rewards are more cherished than those on offer at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. The respect of one’s peers, the trophies awarded to class winners and, of course, the Rolex timepieces. In the closely fought Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship, it was Dieter Schön’s largely German crew on Momo that executed best across the week. David Leuschen’s Galateia overcame the teething-problems experienced in 2016 to dominate the Wally class. In the SuperMaxis, Ribelle achieved the dream start to her Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup career.
Elsewhere, the Maxi class went to Irvine Laidlaw’s Highland Fling XI R, with the Swan 90 Nefertiti a surprise second. Mini Maxi Racing was a comparative stroll for Peter Ogden’s fast-moving Jethou, while in Mini Maxi Racing Cruising Roberto Lacorte’s Supernikka won Group 1 with Riccardo de Michele’s H20 securing Group 2, both in the face of intense opposition. In recognition of its special anniversary, one of the biggest cheers of the celebratory occasion was reserved for the YCCS, which once again had so ably demonstrated why the club and its racing ground are so fabled in the yachting world.
A longstanding partner of the YCCS and title sponsor of the event since 1985, Rolex S.A. has a deep affinity with the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and its host club. Arnaud Boestch, Rolex SA Communication & Image Director, expressed the Swiss watchmaker’s appreciation of the club’s achievements and milestone year: “The partnership between Rolex and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda is one of the most enduring in sailing. Beyond a shared passion for the sport, our relationship is founded on common values that reflect the spirit of this noble past-time. Rolex has been involved in sailing for close to sixty years and we have been privileged to support the activities of the YCCS during so much of that time. The YCCS is a widely-respected organization that leads and innovates. We congratulate it on reaching this significant milestone and we look forward to a long and fruitful continuation of our collaboration.”
Salvatore and Paola Trifirò, the owners of Ribelle, are members of the YCCS and to win at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup at their first attempt with their new yacht was already considered a huge success. To win this year of all years, though, is extra special: “This is the cherry on the cake!” exclaimed Paola. “Not only have we won the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, but we have done so during the 50th anniversary of the YCCS. We have so many friends and have enjoyed so many sporting occasions here, it is really a part of us. It is a complete dream to win this year of all years.”
Ribelle is quite different to the Trifiròs’ previous boat – the 49.7 metre, 370 tonne aluminium cruising sloop Zefira. The 32.64 metre, 84 tonne Ribelle (rebel) is so named to reflect the spirited approach of her owners in creating a striking lightweight carbon-fibre performance cruiser that has turned heads all week with her lines and turn of speed against seasoned opposition. Paola again: “The world had totally changed in the years since we built Zefira. We wanted a combination of things: lighter, faster, more manoeuvrable, fewer crew, potential to race and innovative lines. We were already satisfied with the boat, but this result is proof that the satisfaction is justified.”
Helming Ribelle for much of the week was Italian sailing legend Francesco de Angelis, a regular competitor in Porto Cervo and at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. De Angelis was delighted with the win: “Porto Cervo is a beautiful environment. The racing conditions are so challenging with breeze that can be light or strong mixed with the rocks and islands. There are so many different inputs, it is never easy here, let alone winning.”
Putting a Maxi on the start line at this event is a true commitment requiring investment of considerable time and energy, with only one guarantee: that one’s opponents are doing much the same. According to de Angelis: “It takes time to develop such big boats. The bottom line is you have to race; this was the third event of the season for us and we learned in each of them. We knew we had to perform well. The class was very nicely matched, but the week was good for us. It was open, with many races decided by seconds, which confirms the skill level and preparation of everyone. The fact that all the other boats in our class had won here before speaks very highly of the class and all the other teams.”
A VICTORY FOR PERSEVERANCE
Although not a complete newcomer, having competed with Galateia last year, owner David Leuschen admitted they, too, were on an enormously steep learning curve to succeed here: “We are only in our second year and we had a pretty uneven season last year. We made a few changes to the boat and the crew has spent an inordinate amount of time together preparing. For the hard work, the credit goes to them.”
For Leuschen there is no easy, fast track route to achieving the ultimate prize: “It’s like the 10,000 hours’ concept. It takes time and a lot of practice, and we are still getting better. I have learned one or two huge lessons this week: never give up and be patient. Yesterday, two smart manoeuvres at the death put us from third to first against Magic Carpet and Open Season within two minutes.” Asked what it meant to win here, Leuschen points to the legendary status acquired by the event and the names of the competing sailors as indicators of the seriousness. Simply put: “It means so much.”
Andrew McIrvine, Secretary-General of the International Maxi Association (IMA) co-organizers with the YCCS, was another full of praise for an exceptional week of competition: “We’ve had a fabulous week with racing every day despite some very tricky conditions. The YCCS race committee are to be commended for pulling off a difficult programme of coastal and windward/leeward races. Competition has been very close in most fleets, with many classes decided on the final day. It’s been especially pleasing to see some of the new boats doing so well.” As for the anniversary celebrations of the YCCS, McIrvine’s remark was poignant: “This is the club where Maxi racing really became established. The IMA was born here and so it’s wonderful that the event and the organization behind it are all still flourishing after so many years.”
The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is now in its thirty-eighth year. It is clearly a remarkable event of standing and reputation. Expertly organised by the YCCS in conjunction with the International Maxi Association and with the support of title sponsor Rolex, the 29th Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup will be held in September 2018.
Provisional Results of the 2017 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup
Position. Name, Country; Designer; R1, R2, R3, R4, R5, R6, R7; Total Points
Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship
1. Momo, IVB; Judel/Vrolijk; 3.75, 1, 1, 1, 3.75, 3, (5); 13.5
2. Proteus, USA; Judel/Vrolijk; 2.5, 4, 2, 3, (6.25), 2, 1; 14.5
1. Ribelle; Malcolm McKeon; 2, 1, 2, 1, (2); 6
2. WinWin; Javier Jaudenes; 3, (4), 1, 2, 1; 7
1. Galateia, CAY; Reichel Pugh; 4, 2, 1, 1, (9), 2; 10
2. Nahita; Farr; 3, 4, 2, 5, 1, (8); 15
1. Highland Fling XI R, MON; Frers; 1, 2, 2, 2, (3); 7
2. Nefertiti, GBR; Frers; 2, 4, (4), 1, 1; 8
Mini Maxi Racer
1. Jethou, GBR; Judel/Vrolijk; 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, (1); 5
2. Spectre, GBR; Frers; 3, 2, 3, 2, (3), 2; 12
Mini Maxi Racing Cruising 1
1. SuperNikka, ITA; Vismara/Mills; 2, 2, 1, 1, (2); 6
2. Wallyño; Farr; 3, 1, 2, 2, (3); 8
Mini Maxi Racing Cruising 2
1. H20, ITA; Vallicelli; 2, 1, 1, (2), 1; 5
2. Shirlaf, ITA; Sparkman & Stephens; 1, 2, 2, 1, (5); 6
A NATURAL AND SUPPORTIVE PARTNER
Rolex has always sought to associate with activities that are motivated by passion, excellence, precision and team spirit. Naturally, Rolex gravitated toward the elite world of sailing, forming an alliance that dates back to the late 1950s. Today, Rolex is Title Sponsor of some 15 major international events, from leading offshore races, such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart and the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race, through to the highest-level grand-prix competition at the Rolex TP52 World Championship and spectacular gatherings at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Swan Cup. The Swiss watchmaker’s close relationships with the most prestigious yacht clubs around the world, including the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (Italy), the New York Yacht Club (US) and the Royal Yacht Squadron (Cowes, UK), are the foundation of Rolex’s enduring relationship with pinnacle of yachting.
Rolex, the Swiss watch brand headquartered in Geneva, enjoys an unrivalled reputation for quality and expertise the world over. Its Oyster and Cellini watches, all certified as Superlative Chronometers for their precision, performance and reliability, are symbols of excellence, elegance and prestige. Founded by Hans Wilsdorf in 1905, the brand pioneered the development of the wristwatch and is at the origin of numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926, and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism invented in 1931. Rolex has registered over 400 patents in the course of its history. A truly integrated and independent manufacturing company, Rolex designs, develops and produces in-house all the essential components of its watches, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Rolex is also actively involved in supporting the arts, sports, exploration, the spirit of enterprise, and the environment through a broad palette of sponsoring activities, as well as philanthropic programmes.
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