The world’s most impressive monohull yachts - known in the sailing community as Maxis - are admired for their power and elegance. The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, held annually in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, is the ultimate test for these magnificent craft.

Owned and frequently helmed by individuals accustomed to considerable success in all aspects of life, Maxis are sailed by outstanding talent and designed by architectural visionaries. Open only to yachts over 18.29 metres (60 feet) in length, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup was first held in 1980 and is organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and the International Maxi Association.

The YCCS is a preeminent organisation in the sport of sailing and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017. Rolex has been a partner of the club since 1984 and Title Sponsor of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup since 1985. The 29th edition takes place  from 2-8 September. 

Fact: The record number of entrants at the competition stands at 52, set in 2016.


A crucial part of any yacht race or regatta is the expertise of the organizing body. Top class events featuring cutting-edge yachts and the foremost in international sailing talent demand the highest professionalism in race management. This approach is fully endorsed by Rolex, whose involvement in yachting is centred upon its privileged alliance with the most respected yacht clubs around the world. Its relationship with the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda stands as one of its longest, stretching back over 30 years.

Fact: The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda was founded on 12 May 1967 by H.H. the Aga Khan, André Ardoin, Giuseppe Kerry Mentasti and Luigi Vietti


The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup was born to provide the largest, most powerful yachts of the day with an opportunity to compete directly in a suitably challenging environment. Continuing that philosophy, it is regarded as a showcase for the latest innovations and advances in design and technology. Maxi yachts have come a long way since the early days of the event, when boats were typically heavy displacement with fixed

keels and fairly shallow draft. Many of the yachts that race in Porto Cervo today are unrecognizable from their predecessors. Embracing the latest construction materials and techniques, while employing forward-looking thinking has led to a profusion of high-profile designs from futuristic Wallycentos, to Swan 115 Supermaxis, to fully customized racing boats.

Fact: The first winner of the event was the 76-foot (23.2 metre) Australian Maxi Bumblebee.



Maxi 72s are cutting-edge racing yachts crewed by skilled professional sailors and driven, both metaphorically and literally, by the energy and passion of their owners. The class World Championship is held during the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, pitting the finest exponents against each other in close gladiatorial combat. Races are decided by fine margins. Nothing is left to chance on or off the water. 

Fact: Niklas Zennström’s Rán 2 and Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente hold the record for the most victories in the Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship with three  successes apiece. 


Founded in 1999, Wally yachts are high performance cruisers typified by expansive decks and aggressive hull lines concealing chic interiors. Offering the latest in innovative design, construction techniques and sailing technology aligned with modern-day comfort, the yachts have proved adept on the racecourse. The latest evolution in this tech-driven, accomplished fleet is the 100-foot Wallycento. 

Fact: Positioned bow to stern, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup fleet regularly measures in excess of a kilometre.


J-Class yachts had their first heyday in the 1930s when they were the unsurpassed monarchs of the yacht-racing world. These emblematic craft, either restorations of original designs, more than 80 years old, or authentic replicas, add a graceful edge to proceedings. Owned by passionate individuals for whom tradition and history is paramount, they make an impression wherever they appear.

The challenge in restoring, replicating and sailing these boats is immense. Needs and solutions have changed considerably since the J-Class first came to prominence. It is a delicate balance to maintain the beauty of an original design and make something that performs in and meets the expectations of the modern age.

Fact: The J-Class Lionheart displaces a spectacular 170 tonnes, the Wallycento Magic Carpet Cubed tips the scales at 49.95 tonnes, and the Maxi 72 Bella Mente, at half the length of Lionheart, weighs a mere 16.8 tonnes.


The Supermaxi class is reserved for goliaths measuring upwards of 100 feet. From boats designed to both race and cruise, to those with speed as their single purpose, they reflect a continuing desire to set new benchmarks of power,  comfort and elegance.

More often than not the epitome of luxury afloat, Supermaxis push the boundaries of knowledge and know-how of the world’s top designers, builders, equipment manufacturers, sailmakers and eventual crew. Seemingly ever bigger, ever more powerful designs are launched each year, as understanding of the possibilities presented by today’s materials and structural science continues to grow. 

Fact: The largest yacht ever to race at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is Hetairos measuring in at an extraordinary 218 feet (66.7 metres)


As befits its elevated status in world yachting, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup looks after the participants on both the sea and shore where a first-class social programme offers the sailing fraternity an opportunity to reflect on their experiences during the week and their views on the sailing industry at large. Over the years, this complete approach has ensured the Maxi Yacht Rolex continues to lead the way in both tradition and innovation, values that resonate strongly with Rolex and that have secured the longstanding partnership between the event, organizer and Title Sponsor.

And, in keeping with the eminent standing of the event, after five intense days of competition, the individual class winners are justly rewarded for their triumph with Rolex timepieces, the recognized reward for excellence.


Virginie Chevailler
Rolex SA
+41 22 302 26 19

Giles Pearman
+41 79 763 37 34


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