Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Maxi Fleet Takes Off In Porto Cervo

Porto Cervo, Italy. 6th September 2016
Photo: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi
After yesterday's strong mistral winds kept the fleet on the docks yesterday, racing in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2016 officially got underway in 18 to 20 knots of north-easterly breeze this morning. The key factor in today's competitions across the various competing divisions was the crews' ability to handle the huge swell and incredibly lumpy seas that the change in wind conditions left behind. The leaders after day one are a mix of veteran competitors and new blood, showing that experience is not always everything, particularly when Porto Cervo throws up such unusual conditions.
Photo: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi
The Maxi 72 class, competing for their World Championship, and the Wally division were assigned two windward leeward races today while the remainder of the fleet completed a coastal course which brought them north through the straits along the coast of Sardinia before rounding the northern tip of the island of La Maddalena, and homeward around the outside of the archipelago for a total of approximately 30 nautical miles.

Photo: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi
The games commenced in the largest division of the fleet with two convincing bullets from 2015 class winner, Thomas Bscher's Open Season, leaving him at the head of the provisional overall classification. A fourth and a second-place finish allowed the Wally 80 Tango G, with Thierry Pepponet on tactics, to slip in just ahead of the 70-footer Lyra which sits in third place on equal points.
Photo: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi
Thomas Bscher, Open Season: "It's just the first day because yesterday we couldn't sail and today was perfect. It was hard because when the east wind comes in it is always very bumpy, so it was not easy, but the Wallys are very stable and very well-built boats, so we had no breakage problems in the fleet."

Maxi 72
Bella Mente Photo: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi
Among the Maxi 72s vying for the World Championship crown, current title-holder Bella Mente got off to a strong start with a bullet and a second place in the windward-leewards and sits in first place overall. A bullet for Germany's Momo in race two leaves them in second overall just half a point ahead of the newly launched Robertissima III, making her regatta debut here.
Photo: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi
Terry Hutchinson, tactician on Bella Mente: "It was a reasonably good start. A little bit frustrating to have been leading in both races at the top mark and we ended up tying with Robertissima in the second race on second place. But all in all a good day, we have some areas of improvement to work on, downwind in particular whereas the boat moves well upwind. That northeast swell is really hard, I commend Hap and the trimmers for doing a really good job on keeping us going through the water, it was not easy."
Photo: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

It was all in the name for WinWin at her first participation in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. In this division, which hosts the biggest boats in the fleet, second place went to Nikata, another first-time competitor with Kelvin Harrap on tactics, while third place went to the mainly British team on Sojana.

Maxi Racing
Photo: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi
The duel between the George David's 2014-launched Rambler 88 and Mike Slade's multi speed-record attaining Leopard 3 got off to a thrilling start as the pair roared around the islands, the only two boats to complete the course in under 2 hours 30 minutes. Making her Maxi debut, Rambler clearly liked the conditions today and crossed the finish line with a comfortable delta of more than seven minutes in real time over Leopard.

Maxi Racing Cruising
Photo: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi
A hard-fought race between last year's division winner Windfall and Pier Luigi Loro Piana's My Song, a regular competitor at YCCS regattas, saw Windfall cross the finish line just 10 seconds ahead of the Italian boat. Victory in corrected time however went to My Song, with Tommaso Chieffi on tactics. Third place went to another Italian yacht, the 82-foot Grande Orazio.
Photo: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi
Mini Maxi Racing

Also making a great first impression at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup was the US crew on Prospector which triumphed in real and corrected time in the Mini Maxi Racing division. Lucky also lived up to her name with a second place in today's race ahead of English boat Spectre, returning for her second Maxi event.

Mini Maxi Racing Cruising

The 2015 division winner H20 claimed the first victory in this group ahead of the 60-foot WalliƱo, while the classic 1976 yacht Shirlaf took third place.

Southern Wind

Windfall, with America's Cup sailor Cameron Appleton on tactics, sits at the top of the separate classification styled for the participating Southern Wind Yachts.
Photo: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi
After a tough day on the water crews gathered to swap stories at after race drinks on the Piazza Azzurra. With more strong winds predicted for tomorrow morning the YCCS Race Committee has moved to postpone the first start until 2.30 p.m., in the hopes that the less gusty conditions predicted for the afternoon will materialise.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup Media

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