In the fresh wind off Porto Cervo, the Maxi Rolex fleet made short work of the long course on the opening day of the regatta

The 2003 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup started in Porto Cervo today in 20-25kts of breeze. Organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, the 34-boat fleet was sent on the longest course available to the race committee, and in the fresh conditions quick work was made of the 40-mile distance.

The first start saw the IMS and IRC race machines line up in the one metre swell and head off upwind to be followed 10 minutes later by the 11-strong Wally class.

The first two groups were sent on the same course which meant a 20-mile beat through the inside passage of the Maddalena Archipelago. With a wind-driven current running against the fleet, the shores were the favoured place to be and with the harsh gusts of wind blowing straight over the hilly islands, sail trimmers and helmsman had to be on their guard.

Neville Crichton’s Alfa Romeo rounded the top mark first, two minutes short of two hours after the start. Ten minutes later, with her spinnaker flying, the grey-hulled boat from New Zealand was just a speck on the horizon as the rest of the fleet made they way to the turn. The route back to the finish was outside the islands in rougher water and crews enjoyed good surfing conditions. What had taken the leader two hours upwind, took one hour downwind and the 40-mile course took just three hours to complete

The last group to start was the combined classes of Spirit of Tradition and the Jongert class. They were given a shorter course and didn’t have to sail all the way to Corsica. George Lindemann’s 44m Adela revelled in the conditions to take an easy victory in a class that saw two thirds of the boats retire, one with a broken mast.

Results (provisional after one race)

Class IMS

1st Bumblebee 5 Sydney 62 John Kahlbetzer 2:34:10

2nd Alexia Reichel/Pugh 75 Alberto Roemmers 2:35:32

3rd Idea SAI Reichel /Pugh Raffaele Raiola 2:37:48

Class IRC

1st Virtuelle Proto C/R Carlo Perrone 2:55:46

2nd Unfurled Frers 112 Harry Macklowe 2:58:37

3rd Alfa Romeo Reichel/Pugh 90 Neville Crichton 3:00:21

Wally Class

1st Wallyno Wally 60 Luca Bassani Antivari 5:14:24

2nd Genie of the Lamp Wally 77 Gian Luca Vacchi 5:15:50

3rd Nariida Wally 105 Morten Bergesen 5:17:49

Jongert & Spirit of Tradition Class

1st Adela Spirit of Tradition George Lindemann 2:52:44

2nd Whitefin Spirit of Tradition Alfredo Canessa 3:04:20

3rd Danubio III Jongert Jose Figueras Mitjans 4:12:59