Reports, interviews and podcasts from the event

Some of the biggest, fastest and most prestigious maxis in the world will be gathering in Sardinia for the Rolex Maxi World Championships for promises to be a spectacular week.

Yachting World’s Matthew Sheahan and Peter Rusch will be reporting live from the event bringing daily reports, interviews and podcasts throughout the event.

Racing starts on Monday 3 September and runs through to Saturday 9 September. Log on to Yachting World and be there. In the meantime, here’s a taster of what’s in store.

A full 38 owners and crews from 11 countries have gathered at the picturesque Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) in preparation for the Maxi Yacht Rolex Club which starts today (Monday).

This is the 18th edition of one of the premier events in World yachting and the line-up is befitting of both the stunning locale and prestigious event. Four divisions are scheduled to begin racing on Monday at noon, over a variety of windward leeward, coastal and island courses.

The ‘Racing’ division is the formula one of the Maxi fleet and close action is expected at the sharp end of this fleet. Bob Oatley’s Wild Oats XI (AUS) and Neville Crichton’s Alfa Romeo (NZL) are two near-identical 98 foot Reichel-Pugh designs. Alfa Romeo has previously won the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup twice in her division (2003, 2006) with Wild Oats claiming the last two editions of the Sydney-Hobart Race. George David’s Rambler (USA), fresh from victory in the Super Zero division of the Fastnet Race, has shown it will be a force to be reckoned with.

But it’s not all about the hard-core and high-tech this week in Sardinia. The ‘Cruising’ division (now an amalgamation of ‘Spirit of Tradition’ and ‘Cruising’ divisions), features several J-Class boats, including the relatively new (2003) Ranger (CAY), a three-time division winner of Antigua Classic week. It will be up against a boat 70 years its senior; the classic 1933, Camper and Nicholson designed, Velsheda (USA).

The poplular ‘Mini Maxi’ division will be one of the largest with thirteen boats enrolled. The yachts, which range from 18 to 23.9 metres in accordance with IMA regulations, include Carlo Puri Negri’s Atalanta II (ITA), winner of the 2006 edition in this division and Massimo Violati’s Ops 5, division winner at this year’s Rolex Capri Sailing Week.

And the Wally division can expect a close-fought battle between last year’s winner Magic Carpet Squared (GBR), with owner Lindsay Owen-Jones at the helm, and the 2005 winner, Y3K (GER), owned by IMA President Claus Peter Offen.

The Sardinian coast off Porto Cervo is known for unsurpassed natural beauty, stunning turquoise blue waters and good sailing breezes.

The forecast is promising just that, with lighter (8-10 knot Westerly) wind on Monday, followed by Mistral conditions on Tuesday where gusts are forecast to reach 30 knots from the Northwest. Racing is scheduled to start at noon, local time, on Monday.