45 maxis fly around course in Mistral winds

 Porto Cervo, Italy. 7th September 2011.

Although a day late, racing got off to a spectacular start in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup as all 45 competing maxis tore round a 23.5 mile coastal course in mistral winds of up to 28 knots. Leaders of their respective divisions were Ràn 2 (GBR) in the Mini Maxi class, Highland Fling (MON) in the Racing division and DSK (ITA) in the Racing/Cruising division. The 34-metre Nilaya (GBR) took first place in the Supermaxi division while Y3K (GER) won among the Wally fleet. The event, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in collaboration with the International Maxi Association from 5th to 10th September, includes the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship.
Following yesterday’s abandonment due to the Mistral gusting at well over 30 knots, the YCCS Race Committee had moved the start forward one hour in view of the forecast for stronger winds in the afternoon. Racing starting on time at 10.30 a.m. and the 16 participating Mini Maxis were the first boats to fly off the starting line headed for a weather mark and the island of Monaci. From there they turned back southward to Mortoriotto island and then toward the coast, past the Gulf of Pevero and on to the finish line just off Porto Cervo. The remaining divisions started 30 minutes later and followed the same course.

The fastest boat round the course was Esimit Europa 2 (SLO), owned by Igor Simcic and boasting a pan-European crew. The 30-metre sloop competing in the racing division completed the course in just over one hour and 45 minutes, four minutes ahead of direct rival Highland Fling, but was relegated to second place on corrected time.
In the Mini Maxi class, competing for the World Title, Niklas Zennstrom’s Ràn 2 led from the off and was unthreatened for the duration. Second place on corrected time went to Sir Peter Ogden’s Jethou (GBR) while Alegre (GBR) took third place.

“The breeze was approximately 20 to 24 knots off the start line and we saw as much as 28 at the windward mark and the second mark.” commented Adrian Stead, tactician aboard Ràn 2. “A tricky race for us but we came out alright, we managed to get a reasonable jump on most of our opposition at the top mark. We managed to roll Shockwave up the beat and put 30 seconds on them at the windward mark. The Race Committee has quite a difficult task ahead of them looking at the forecast, they made a good call yesterday and today they did a brilliant job of getting a race in before conditions got too extreme.”
Racing is scheduled to continue tomorrow, Thursday 8th September, at 11.30 with windward-leeward races in programme for the Mini Maxi division and a coastal course for all other divisions. North-westerly winds of 20 to 25 knots are forecast.
Live tracking will be available on www.yccs.com during the event.

Photo: Rolex/ Carlo Borlenghi ‘GIBIAN leading the charge upwind’