The 2009 20th edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup starts.
Image: Sailing yacht Ghost a Vitters 37.2m © http://www.richard-page.com
At Porto Cervo, Italy, forty two maxi yachts are putting the finishing touches to registrations and preparing for tomorrow’s first day of racing in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2009.
The assembled yachts range from 18 to 45.5 metres in length and represent 14 nations (CAN, CAY, FRA, GBR, GER, HKG, IRL, ITA, MLT, MON, NZL, POL, SUI, USA). The event, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda together with the title sponsor Rolex, will run from 6th to 12th September with racing scheduled to start tomorrow, Monday 7th September, at 11.30.
The Maxi fleet will be split into five divisions: Cruising/Spirit of Tradition, Mini Maxi Racing, Mini Maxi Racing/Cruising, Racing/Cruising and Wally. Each division will have a separate start and may be assigned different courses. The schedule foresees windward-leeward or coastal races for Monday 7th and Tuesday 8th while a longer Islands Race is scheduled for Wednesday.
Thursday will be a lay day and racing will continue on Friday and conclude on Saturday 12th September. The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s Race Committee, headed by President Peter Craig, will set courses in and around the islands of the La Maddalena archipelago off the north-eastern coast of Sardinia.
Competition is expected to be particularly fierce in the Mini Maxi Racing division which sees top level sailors such as Francesco De Angelis, winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2000, calling tactics aboard Luna Rossa and Adrian Stead, America’s Cup participant in 2003 and 2007, aboard Niklas Zennstrom’s Ran.
Stead, who is fresh from victory in the Rolex Fastnet Race aboard Zenstrom’s 22 metre Judel –Vrolijk designed sloop, is looking forward to an exciting week: “I think we’re going to see some absolutely fantastic racing.
The forecast is good, moderate to fresh north easterly breezes, at least for the first part of the week. An excellent fleet has assembled here and it’s the first time all eight of the Mini Maxi racers will sail together so there is a lot of interest and expectations are high for this week. I’m looking forward to seeing how the new Alfa Romeo performs.
As regards the boat to beat in his division, Stead was cautious. “All of the boats are strong in certain conditions, there are no weak boats in the Mini Maxi fleet and they are all well sailed.”
Other names of note include America’s Cup winner Jochen Schueman (Alinghi, 2003 and 2007) aboard Thomas Bscher’s Wally Open Season and Karol Jablonsky, 2002 world match racing champion, aboard Albert Buell’s 45 metre Saudade.
As is always the case with YCCS and Rolex events, owners and crews will be kept thoroughly entertained ashore thanks to daily social events including after race refreshments on the Club’s Piazza Azzurra, a Rolex Party for owners and crews and a gala dinner at the Cala di Volpe hotel.
Racing is scheduled to start tomorrow with the first signal at 11.30 for the Mini Maxi Racing division. Seventeen to eighteen knots of wind from north east are forecast.
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