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Monday, September 3, 2012

Racing Gets Underway At Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2012

Porto Cervo, Italy. 3 September 2012

The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2012 got off to an impressive start today with a 29 mile course winding through the granite islands of the La Maddalena archipelago for all five competing divisions.

Bella Mente Photo: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi
The predicted rain held off and the 34 boat fleet was accompanied by sunshine, blue skies and a south-easterly breeze of 10-15 knots. Leaders after day one are Ràn in the Mini Maxi class - competing for their annual World Championship - and Velsheda and Aegir among the Racing and Racing/Cruising division respectively. Magic Carpet 2 leads the Wallys while Nilaya is at the head of the provisional classification in the Supermaxi division. The event, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in collaboration with the International Maxi Association, is taking place from 3rd to 8th September.
Photo: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi
The course took the fleet from the start off Porto Cervo north to round Monaci island before heading south around the tip of Caprera island and around the Tre Monti rock. The 34 maxis then sailed past the Capo Ferro lighthouse and completed a long upwind leg to round the islands of Mortoriotto, Mortorio and Soffi and on to the finish off Porto Cervo again.
Ran Photo: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi
In the Mini Maxi class Shockwave got off to a great start and led round the island of Monaci at the top of the course. The 21.8 metre Reichel-Pugh design was still well ahead of Ran and Bella Mente at the Secca Tre Monti shortly before disaster struck as she hit the rocks and was forced to retire. Niklas Zennstrom's 72-foot Judel/Vrolijk, with Adrian Stead on tactics, took the lead and claimed line honours as well as victory on corrected time. Hap Fath's Bella Mente, with John Cutler on tactics, took second ahead of Sir Peter Ogden's Jethou with tactician Brad Butterworth.
Jethou Photo: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi
Charles Dunstone's brand new Wally Cento Hamilton had a good start but was followed closely by the remainder of the Wally division for the duration and fell back to seventh place on corrected time. Magic Carpet2 took victory on corrected time ahead of J One, owned by Jean Charles Decaux, and Lauro Buoro's Inti in third place.
Wally class Photo: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi
The Racing/Cruising division was dominated by Aegir, which has Olympic medal-winner Steve Benjamin calling tactics. The 25-metre Carbon Ocean Yachts hull took the start and led the fleet to finish with a ten minute delta. This allowed her to retain victory in corrected time ahead of Marco Rodolfi's Berenice Bis and Plis Play, owned by Vicente Garcia Torres.
Highland Fling Photo: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi
Among the Racing yachts Esimit Europa 2 stormed around the course ahead of Highland Fling with the J Class Velsheda in third. The application of the IRC handicap then saw their fortunes reversed as Velsheda took first place on corrected time ahead of Irvine Laidlaw's Highland Fling and Esimit Europa 2, owned by Igor Simcic.
Hetaioros Photo: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi
The new 66-metre carbon fiber ketch Hetaioros was the fastest around the course in the Super Maxi division. It was the 34-metre Nilaya, however, that took first place on corrected time ahead of Peter Harrison's Sojana and Albert Buell's Saudade.
Hetaioros Photo: Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi
Racing is scheduled to continue tomorrow, Tuesday 4th September, at 11:30 am Mistral winds of 15 to 20 knots are forecast together with rain.

Jill Campbell

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