Overall glory hung on the final day for some, but was it right for a 26.6m boat to sit on an 18.3m opponent all the way around? Sheahan & Rusch report

Hasso Plattner and his crew aboard Morning Glory have won the Racing class of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, but the final race was a controversial one.

Saturday’s fifth and final race at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup brought a discard into play, meaning sharp tactics were a possibility in the Racing Class. Morning Glory and Loki entered the day on equal points, with Hasso Plattner’s 26.6 metre Morning Glory holding the advantage of carrying one more win on its scorecard.

In generally light conditions, Morning Glory elected to sail the much smaller Loki (18.3 metres) back into the fleet; if both boats ended up sailing what would be their discard race, Morning Glory would claim the chocolates. It was a sound plan, and executed with brutal perfection. As early as the first mark, it became clear what Glory’s intentions were. Stephen Ainsworth, the owner of Loki describes what happened: 

“It started just after the start and went on for forty miles,” a frustrated Ainsworth complained. “There was a little turning mark just a mile or two after the start and we were coming up to it and thought, ‘what’s happening here with Morning Glory, they’re coming back towards us’. Then we realised what they were up to; they were just coming back to sit in our face. And that’s what they did for the rest of the race?just to give us as much gas as they could?it would have been nice if Hasso Plattner had the confidence in his boat and crew to take us on, on the water?but he didn’t do that.”

All down the long downwind leg on the outside of the islands, Morning Glory would roll up its gennaker and turn back towards the wind, positioning itself to weather of Loki before unfurling the big sail in a blanketing position over the smaller boat, slowing her down, and allowing the rest of the fleet to scoot away. At the end of the day, Loki would finish fifth, Morning Glory sixth, and Plattner would claim the prize.

We had to make sure that our competition would not win the race,” Plattner explained. “So we gave them a cover and made sure that we stayed on time behind. It was not that easy, especially downwind, but I think we achieved it.”

In the Wally Class, hopes were high for a tense showdown between J One and Indio, the latter having won two races on the trot to climb within one point of the lead. But on Saturday J One sailed a great race, earning its second win of the series (to go with three second place finishes). In contrast, Indio found itself mired in fourth place on the day, a result it would discard for the final standings.

The beautiful J-Class Ranger all but wrapped up the Cruising division on Friday, but it put an explanation point on the results with a race win on Saturday. Ranger would discard a third place finish and count only bullets, beating rival J Velsheda, and Ghost, which was fortunate to discard a first day DNF, to climb into third.

In the Mini Maxi class, Atalanta II ran away with the championship, entering the final day with an insurmountable lead, once the discard was factored in. Carlo Puri Negri’s boat had its worst result on Saturday – an enviable third place – but it didn’t change anything; he beat the second place boat by five points.

Among those for whom today’s result had little bearing on their final result, Neville Crichton’s Alfa Romeo took line honours in the final race of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup once again. Indeed, so far ahead was the 100ft master blaster that even her nearest rival could barely identify when she had crossed the finish line. During the week Crighton and his crew have become used to hitting the dock first only to find themselves way down the pecking order when the corrected times were posted. But today was different, scorching off the front of the fleet in a breeze barely strong enough to snuff a candle but good enough to put Alfa’s boat speed into double figures.


Racing Division (Owner)

1st Morning Glory – Hasso Plattner
2nd Loki – Stephen Ainsworth
3rd Titan – Titan Racing Inc

Mini Maxi Division (Owner)

1st Atalanta II – Carlo Puri Negri
2nd Allsmoke – Gunter Hertz
3rd Ops 5 – Massimo Violati

Wally Division (Owner)

1st J One – Jean Charles Decaux – Wally 77
2nd Indio – Andrea Recordati – Wally 80
3rd Dark Shadow – Antexis Ltd – Wally 100

Cruising Division (Owner)

1st Ranger – RSV Ltd
2nd Velsheda – Turbat Investment Ltd
3rd Ghost – Arne Glimcher


Rolex Maxi World Championships Day 6

Wind Strength: 8 knots decaying to 5 and less towards the end of the race

Sea State: Flat.

Race : A beat up through the islands once again and a spinnaker return around the outside to the east – 29 miles


On board Alfa Romeo, the 100ft rocket ship. Just 8 knots of breeze, 10 knots of boatspeed – upwind!. 


CLICK HERE for All to play for on final day at Maxi Rolex Cup 
CLICK HERE Whidden waxes on sailing in Sardinia 
CLICK HERE for the mighty Wild Oats dismasted 
CLICK HERE for Keeping the Maxi Show on the Road 
CLICK HERE for Day 2 Report – Racing Postponed 
CLICK HERE for Day 1 Report 
CLICK HERE for Preview 

Matthew Sheahan and Peter Rusch talk to some of the key players during the week. You can also subscribe (free) to updates through iTunes.

CLICK HERE for Loki owner Stephen Ainsworth describing Morning Glory’s clamp-down 
CLICK HERE for Morning Glory’s owner Hasso Plattner explaining the tactics for the day 
CLICK HERE for Ben Ainslie’s life of extremes. Winning the pre-Olympics in his Finn one week, steering the 100ft Alfa the next. Ainslie talks to Matthew Sheahan about a life in the fast lane 
CLICK HERE for North Sails’ CEO, three times America’s Cup winner and racing legend Tom Whidden talking to Peter Rusch about the Maxi scene 
CLICK HERE for Tom Burnham talking to Peter Rusch aboard Ghost. 
CLICK HERE for Wild Oats’ helmsman Mark Richards telling Peter Rusch about their dismasting 
CLICK HERE for Wild Oats’ shore manager Iain Smith on keeping the show on the road 
CLICK HERE for Alfa Romeo Tactician Michael Coxon on Day 1 
CLICK HERE for Mani Frers on Day 1 
CLICK HERE for ALL Audio Stories & Podcasts 

******VIDEO CLIPS******
Aori – Hiking? Forget it when your handy dayglo dolphin of a keel bulb is swung out to one side. Let the lead do the work. 
Aori – A glance aft from the weather rail reveals what the afterguard get up to 
Aori – View from behind the wheel as Aori slips downwind. See how easy modern mainsail trimming is?! 
Aboard Velsheda powering upwind in 16-18 knots. 
The view from Velsheda’s weather rail of Ranger sailing alongside up the first beat. 
Gybing a J Class – Here’s how the Velsheda crew execute a perfect manoeuvre in just over a minute! 

****** RESULTS ******
CLICK HERE for Official YCCS Website & Full Results