Shift paid off for Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup

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Porto Cervo, Italy (September 9, 2021) – The fourth race day in the 31st Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup confirmed the Race Committee’s decision to move the rest day from today to tomorrow as all divisions were able to race in perfect conditions, with an east-southeast wind of 15 to 18 knots, ideal for coaxing top performances from these maxi yachts.

First off the starting line were the yachts of the Maxi division, for whom the Race Committee designed a course of approximately 34 miles, which, after a 3-mile upwind leg, brought the fleet south to round the islands of Mortorio and Soffi, before heading back upwind to the Bisce Pass and rounding the La Maddalena and Caprera islands clockwise, with an upwind finish at the Monaci islet.

Next up were the Supermaxi and Mini Maxi 2, 3, and 4 divisions, with a course of approximately 30 miles, differing from the Maxi’s course at the Secca Tre Monti shallows, where the fleet turned up to Monaci and returned to Porto Cervo. The Mini Maxi 1 fleet completed two windward-leeward races, with crews busy on maneuvers and tacticians equally busy interpreting the shifts in the breeze.

The 115-foot Supermaxi Shamanna was first in real time in her division, but as always the battle between the two J Class yachts came down to seconds, and the pair crossed the line almost simultaneously after 30 miles of racing.

This time it was Topaz to come out on top in compensated time, helmed by Peter Holmberg and with Francesco de Angelis calling tactics, interrupting Velsheda’s winning streak by just 16 seconds, Geist took third place and Shamanna fourth. Velsheda continues to lead the overall provisional classification ahead of Topaz and Geist.

“It was a beautiful race today, especially if you think about the length of the course and the fact that we were side by side the whole time with Velsheda, a reference boat for the J Class,” said De Angelis. “Every day we try to improve, taking it one step further, and today we are happy to have managed to win the coastal race, crossing the finish line a few seconds from Velsheda.”

The Maxi fleet displayed their full potential for speed, especially on the beam reach between Li Nibani and the entrance to the Bisce Pass. The application of corrected time saw the top spots for the day go to the two Wallycentos Galateia and Magic Carpet 3 respectively, followed by the pure racer Rambler 88.

The overall classification has seen a reshuffle in this division, with Magic Carpet 3, owned by Sir Lindsay Owen Jones and with Jochen Schueman calling tactics, now sitting in first place ahead of Y3K, fourth today. Galateia moves up to third place in the provisional overall standings, while Highland Fling XI drops back to fourth place due to a withdrawal for technical problems.

With a bang that echoed around Bomb Alley, the top of the carbon fibre forestay broke on Highland Fling XI while close to the top of the course. A rapid scrabble by the crew saved the now unsupported rig, successfully coaxing their dark green Reichel/Pugh 82 back to port.

The team’s intention now is to see if they can install a new forestay in time for racing on the final day, but this involves sophisticated state of the art technology – fitting the carbon fibre stay and then ‘cooking it’ in situ. The incident for Laidlaw’s team dropped them to fourth overall in the Maxi class.

Stars of the show in today’s two races for the Mini Maxi 1 yachts, on a windward-leeward course of 2.3 miles per leg, were Proteus (1-2) and Vesper (3-1) with a win each, followed by Bella Mente (2-4) and Cannonball (4-3). Cannonball continues lead the overall classification, but with a delta now reduced to two points ahead of Vesper and three ahead of Proteus and Bella Mente – who sit on equal points.

“It’s a venue that you really need to get comfortable with and I felt maybe with the coastal race up until this morning we haven’t really felt that comfortable out there with the shifts and the local knowledge, particularly Cannonball has been doing a good job, but today was a more classical windward-leeward and that could have been anywhere in the world,” explained Gavin Brady, tactician of the Maxi72 Vesper.

“So when you’re doing the windward-leeward racing it takes some of the local knowledge out of it, so I think that was good for us today and it was just really nice to win that last race, and if you can win the race before the lay day it’s even better!”

In the Mini Maxi 2 Division, Luciano Gandini’s Twin Soul B added another victory to yesterday’s in an excellent race right from the off, with a powerful and perfectly timed start on the pin end. Twin Soul B took the win in both real and compensated time, followed by Capricorn, while third place today went to Fra’ Diavolo, owned by Vincenzo Addessi. Capricorn maintains the overall leadership in the class ahead of Twin Soul B and Lorina 1895.

The Wally Lyra, with tactician Hamish Pepper, continued her golden run of four consecutive victories in the Mini Maxi 3-4 class, and was followed today by Riccardo De Michele’s H2O, tactician Lorenzo Bodini, and Luca Scoppa’s Blue Oyster with Roberto Ferrarese on tactics. Naturally Lyra also heads the provisional overall ranking, followed by Blue Oyster and H2O.

Tomorrow will be a lay day. The 31st Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup will conclude September 11 with coastal races scheduled for all divisions.

Racing takes place from September 6 to 11 for the fleet of 44 yachts competing in three maxi classes (Mini Maxi 60-80ft; Maxi 80-100ft; Super Maxi 100+ft) with all three divisions further subdivided based on their performance characteristics.

Source: scuttlebutt – https://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/2021/09/09/shift-paid-off-for-maxi-yacht-rolex-cup/

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