Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi)

A record-sized fleet of the world’s largest performance yachts is readying itself in Porto Cervo, Sardinia for next week’s Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. Organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and the International Maxi Association (IMA) with Rolex as title sponsor, this year’s event takes place over 4th-10th September and has 52 entries. Of these, 25 belong to members of the IMA, the body which since 1979 has been guiding and structuring maxi yacht racing globally, in collaboration with the world’s leading yacht clubs.

In terms of length, the fleet spans the giant 49.7m Ohana to entries at the shorter end of the IMA’s permitted size range – 60 footers such as Gérard Logel’s Swan 601 @robas and the Wally 60 Wallyño.

The biggest class at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup will once again be the Wallys (an associated class within the IMA), which features 13 examples of the modernist high performance luxury yachts. Leading the charge off the Costa Smeralda will be the two Wallycentos, Sir Lindsay Owen Jones’ Magic Carpet Cubed and the latest example launched last October, David Leuschen’s Galateia, plus the elongated version, (now 32.7m) Open Season of International Maxi Association President, Thomas Bscher.


Photo: ROLEX / Carlo Borlenghi

The Supermaxi class has a formidable line-up including Irvine Laidlaw’s new Swan 115 Highland Fling 15, plus two Baltic Yachts-built high performance carbon fibre one-offs: the Nauta 115 Nikata and the Javier Jaudenes-designed Win Win – both making their Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup debuts. This year sees the return of Sir Peter Harrison’s Farr 115 ketch, Sojana, following a lengthy refit.

The Js are back this year. Lionheart and Velsheda will match race their way around the race track.

The Maxi class (79-100ft) will see two high profile yachts making their Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup debuts. Best known for her offshore program, Mike Slade’s Farr 100 Leopard 3 has travelled to the four corners of the earth to compete in races such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart, the RORC Caribbean 600 and the Fastnet Race, in which she has twice scored line honours victories.

Despite only being two years old, George David’s Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed Rambler 88, also has notched up thousands of sea miles. This year alone she has won the IMA’s annual Volcano Race (from Gaeta, Italy, south around the volcanic Aeolian Islands off northeast Sicily) and last week claimed line honours in the Palermo-Montecarlo race, the fourth and final event of the IMA’s inaugural Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge.

The Maxi class also includes four entries from Southern Wind Shipyard, including the Farr-designed 100ft Blues and Michael Cotter’s Windfall. There are two SWS 82s: Massimilano Florio’s Grande Orazio was winner of the IMA’s Volcano Race in 2015, while Ammonite is brand new, campaigned by leading Australian skipper Marcus Blackmore.

Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship

As ever a major feature of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is the Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship. This year six examples of the ultra competitive, owner-driven, grand prix racers will be lining up, their challenge being to dislodge Hap Fauth’s dominant Judel Vrolijk design, Bella Mente. The reigning Rolex Maxi 72 World Champion  goes into this year’s Worlds straight from victories at Copa del Rey MAPFRE and the inaugural Maxi 72 North American Championship held in Newport, RI in June.

“This is our favourite regatta,” commented Fauth, who is President of the Maxi 72 Class, which is affiliated to the IMA. “There will be six 72 footers and competition will be fierce. It is always challenging conditions both for the around the buoys and the coastal race. It is normally all you want.”

As to Bella Mente being favourite for a third World title, Fauth added: “We have the oldest boat and I am the oldest helmsman, but we have got a very good team. Our execution over the course of a regatta has been good and if there is one reason why we might have a small advantage it is because of that. But it is a very small advantage: The margin of victory in this fleet is two or three seconds – the boats are very close.”


Photo: ROLEX / Carlo Borlenghi

 

The Mini Maxi class (60-79ft) also has a strong line-up. Roberto Lacorte’s Mark Mills 68 Supernikka returns to defend her title, while she will be up against another Mills 68, the more thoroughbred racer, Prospector, which as Alegre and then Caol Ila R was one of the most competitive boats in what is now the Maxi 72 class. Also to be watched will be American Bryon Ehrhart’s Reichel Pugh 63, Lucky. Winner of last year’s Transatlantic Race, Lucky in her previous life was Loki, winner of the 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart.

In 2015 the Mini Maxi Racer-Cruiser class had one of the tightest finishes and the top four boats return this year, including winner, Riccardo de Michele’s Vallicelli 80 H2O, which finished on equal points with Giuseppe Puttini’s Swan 65 Shirlaf (which this year will face stiff competition from new IMA member Marietta Strasoldo’s Swan 651 Lunz Am Meer.)

Andrew McIrvine, Secretary General of the IMA commented: “It will be an exciting year with a number of new boats competing, especially in the SuperMaxi division where a new generation of more race-oriented boats are appearing. The challenge of manoeuvring these huge craft around the tight courses around the islands of the Maddalena makes for a great spectacle and keeps so many sailors coming back year after year.”

Racing will take place over a mixture of windward-leeward and coastal courses. As usual there will be a magnificent social programme including the annual International Maxi Association Dinner and parties sponsored by Rolex and Audi.

Entry List

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2016 Tracking

 

#sail #race #racing

 

CAOL ILA AND STIG CROSS TACKING (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Enthusiasm was in abundance at the 2013 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup as a gathering of the finest sailors, most passionate owners, and inspiring yachts met in Porto Cervo, Sardinia for the pinnacle rendezvous of the annual Maxi yacht racing calendar.

Velsheda's Classic Low Freeboard Awash (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

“The two things which make the event unique are the racecourses and the participants,” explained Riccardo Bonadeo, Commodore of event organizers Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS). “The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup from the very beginning has always been the event of excellence for ocean-going boats. And the environment is perhaps the most spectacular and technical in the world.”

“This is the pre-eminent regatta. Everyone is training for it for the whole season. It’s where everyone comes together,” explained Niklas Zennström, owner of the highly successful Mini Maxi Rán 2. “It’s the one we all want to win.”

Inoui Spinnaker flys (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

37 yachts, divided into six classes, contested a myriad of challenging racecourses organized during the weeklong event on the Costa Smeralda. While conditions throughout the 24th edition of this pre-eminent competition were light, the Race Committee was able to successfully organize a gripping week of racing.

Fast and fascinating

The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, sponsored by Rolex since 1985, has always been the showcase and proving ground for a fleet of contrasting yachts, and a chance for designers and owners to meet and draw inspiration for future projects. “I’m always looking for the latest, newest technology and something that’s a bit different to what other people are doing,” admitted Lord Irvine Laidlaw, owner of the 82-ft Highland Fling. A sentiment and quest echoed by many in attendance.

Many owners are using advances in technology to drive the design of faster boats; an idea at the forefront of Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’s mind when he commissioned Magic Carpet 3, a 100-ft yacht designed to answer his quest for a boat that would be comfortable and sail fast whether cruising or racing. Line honours success at the Giraglia Rolex Cup was an early indication of the boat’s speed potential compared to his previous yacht. “It’s much faster. It is much more fun, much more exciting. It feels like a racing boat and that’s what we wanted,” explained Owen-Jones. “Paradoxically, it is a much better cruising boat because of its extra width, which gives people air and space and makes it a very stable cruising platform.

Magic Carpet 3 on Day 3 (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Owen-Jones had firm ambitions for Magic Carpet 3. “We’ve written our name five times on the wall next to the door to the Yacht Club (Costa Smeralda), the idea of putting it there a sixth time, which I think would be a record for any name, is a terribly exciting idea.”

Jean Charles Decaux – J-ONE Despite the presence of Magic Carpet 3 and Sir Charles Dunstone’s Hamilton, whose crew included both British Olympian Ian Walker and Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran fame, the Wally Class was dominated by Jean Charles Decaux’s J-One, which won four of the seven races. “Consistency, focus and great teamwork is the magic combination and we are very happy to be the winner again after six years,” explained Decaux. “We are the oldest boat in the fleet and smaller compared to the new ones. We really had to make no mistakes, or at least fewer mistakes than our competitors.”

 

Spinnaker Drop on the J Class Rainbow (Photo by Rolex.Carlo Borlenghi)

Elegance Personified

While eyes feasted on some of the newer boats, the J-Class offered purists with an eye-catching reminder of yesteryear. Of the four J-Class yachts entered at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Shamrock and Velsheda are restorations of yachts launched over 80 years ago, while Rainbow and Ranger are design replicas of original boats destroyed for metal during the Second World War.

Those competing in the J-Class were not intent on solely distracting photographers. “We enjoy close racing and have to be very mindful dealing with equipment that is incredibly valuable and doesn’t respond that quickly. However, none of us want to simply nurse the boats around the course. We want to push it in the gap, that’s the challenge,” revealed Velsheda’ s Tom Dodson.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

 

 

 

 

 

Wally Fleet Start 2011 (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Wally Fleet Start 2011 (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

A fleet of 34 international Maxi yachts are braced for tomorrow’s start to competitive action at the 2012 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, held in Porto Cervo, Sardinia. Five days of racing are scheduled for the 23rd edition of this annual contest, open to Maxi yachts upwards of 18.29 metres. Boats representing fourteen different countries make up the entry list from the smallest competitor – the 18.30m Mini Maxi @robas  (FRA) – to the gigantic 66m Supermaxi  Hetairos (CY). A stunning spectacle is always guaranteed when the world’s most technologically impressive Maxis lock horns in the challenging and scenic racecourses offered by the Costa Smeralda and the Maddalena Archipelago.

Ever since its inception in 1980, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup has represented a rare for opportunity for Maxi yachts to engage exclusively in direct competition. It has also been synonymous with the latest developments in yacht design and technology. 2012 is no exception as three eagerly-anticipated new launches prepare to make their bow: Charles Dunstone’s 30.47m Wally Hamilton(GBR) and two new entries in the intriguing Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship: Hap Fauth’s 21.94m Bella Mente (USA) and the similarly sized Stig (ITA), owned by Alessandro Rombelli.
Edoardo Recchi, Sporting Director of event organizer the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS), believes a vintage edition is in store, revealing: “We are very happy to have a fleet of 34 boats with a number sailing here for the first time. The Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship, in particular, will be very competitive because all the Mini Maxis are, from a certain point of view, as good as new, with many having changed keels or rigs.” As Recchi confirms, the week will be a test of each crew’s resolve and endurance: “For the Maxis and Supermaxis five coastal races are planned and for the Mini Maxis and Wallys there will be three coastal races and four windward/leeward races.” Tomorrow, coastal races are scheduled for the event’s five classes (Maxi Racing, Maxi Racing/Cruising, Mini Maxi, Supermaxi and Wally).
A number of this season’s most successful boats are in attendance. Sir Peter Ogden’s 18.90m Mini Maxi Jethou (GBR) triumphed in May’s Rolex Volcano Race; Filip Balcaen’s 34.13m Nilaya (GBR) won line honours at that same event and returns to Porto Cervo to defend her Supermaxi class title. Igor Simcic’s 30.48m Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) has enjoyed a stellar year, smashing the race record at the recent Giraglia Rolex Cup before arriving in Sardinia in style, setting a new fastest time between Monte Carlo and Porto Cervo.

The third running of the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship is likely to be one of the week’s most eye-catching contests. The previous two editions have been claimed by the 21.91m Rán 2 (GBR). Niklas Zennström’s fully professional crew start off as favourites, but the competition will be determined and races decided by the merest fractions. Strength in depth across the Championship is provided by the revamped Jethou, George Sakellaris’ 21.80m Shockwave (USA), Stig and the 21.01m Caol Ila R (USA), the former Alegre – second place finishers in 2010 and 2011 – as Alex Schärer and his crew make the transition from their racer/cruiser of the same name.

Ran 2  (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Ran 2 (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Brand-new Bella Mente (USA), counting on the expertise of 2006 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Mike Sanderson, concedes nothing to Rán 2 in terms of length although the crew have the challenge of tackling the competition for the first time. “We’re really excited,” remarks Sanderson. “The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is one of the great events on the calendar, where the fascination is seeing all of the hardware together – a collection of amazing boats in terms of power and sail.” Sanderson is expecting a baptism of fire: “In the Mini Maxi class, the level is very high. The other guys currently have a bit more refinement and finesse including Rán who are a very polished act with a very consistent crew.”

Navigators are facing a difficult time predicting what the week’s weather will provide: “The forecast is really tricky,” confirms Sanderson. “There is a low settling off to the west of Sardinia. Some forecasts are saying 50 knots and others five! So we are in for a pretty changeable week.”

The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and the International Maxi Association, prestigious organizations with close ties to Rolex. A first-class social programme is in store, including the Rolex Crew Party and the final Prize-Giving Ceremony, where the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cups and Rolex timepieces will be presented to the winners.

EVENT PROGRAMME

Sunday, 2 September
Inspections, registration and briefing
Welcome Reception

Monday, 3 September
Race(s)

Tuesday, 4 September
Race(s)

Wednesday, 5 September
Race(s)

Thursday, 6 September
Lay day or resail

Friday, 7 September
Race (s)
Rolex Crew Party

Saturday, 8 September
Race(s)
Final Prize-Giving

 

SHOCKWAVE (USA) AND RÁN (GBR), APPROACH THE LIGHTHOUSE AT MONACI (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

SHOCKWAVE (USA) AND RÁN (GBR), APPROACH THE LIGHTHOUSE AT MONACI (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

 

 

FANTASTICAAAANIENE Swan 100 (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

FANTASTICAAAANIENE Swan 100 (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

The Rolex Swan Cup is one of the most visually captivating sailing competitions: a unique meeting of some of the world’s finest yachts, all built by Nautor’s Swan. So far, nearly 70 Swan yachts have confirmed participation and the final figure is expected to reach 100 – an impressive showing for one of the Mediterranean’s most iconic yachting occasions. This biennial event was inaugurated in 1980 and its enduring partnership with Rolex began in 1984. Traditionally held in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, the 17th edition takes place from 10-16 September.

RITA Swan 55 (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

RITA Swan 55 (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Four classes are anticipated: Maxi (18.29 metres/60 feet and above), Grand Prix (18.28m and below), Classic (models designed by Sparkman and Stephens) and Swan 45 One-Design, where 2010 World Champion Earlybird (GER) is returning to defend her crown.

The international reach of the Rolex Swan Cup is confirmed by the presence of some 13 countries in the entry list. Debutante Russian entrant Bronenosec (Swan 60) has been a regular on the 2012 Rolex circuit with notable performances at both the Rolex Volcano Race and the Giraglia Rolex Cup. Plis Play (ESP, Swan 80), which also featured at the Rolex Volcano Race, is one of two Spanish entries. The other is Clem (Swan 56), which finished a close second in the Grand Prix class in 2010.

 

Two yachts that will be aiming to improve their 2010 results are the Italian Swan 65 Shirlaf and the German Swan 60 Emma. Both finished second in their respective classes (Classic and Maxi) two years ago. Shirlaf is one of a number of participating Swan 65s; the classic Sparkman & Stephens design won the inaugural Whitbread Round the World Race in 1974 and helped cement Nautor’s Swan’s legendary status in yachting’s firmament.

The Swan 43 Fidibù has the honour of representing the make’s homeland of Finland. Arriving from furthest afield appears to be the American crew on Constanter (Swan 62RS). The smallest participant at 11.66 metres (38 feet), Italian Swan 38 Only You is also one of the oldest, while the largest yacht attending is the 34.4-metre (112-foot) Swan Highland Breeze.

GERONIMO Swan 651  (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

GERONIMO Swan 651 (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Five days of racing are scheduled on the revered waters of the Costa Smeralda and the Maddalena Archipelago. Competition will be fierce but refreshing, as regular competitor and President of Nautor’s Swan since 1998, Leonardo Ferragamo, explains: “The event has a unique spirit because it represents a love of boats and a desire to compete not just in any regatta, but in a regatta where there is uniformity in the competition. The feelings of friendship and good sportsmanship that characterize this regatta have grown over time.”

The regatta is organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and concludes with a traditional prize-giving on the Piazza Azzura where winners of all four categories will be presented with a Rolex timepiece to crown their excellence on the water.

Ginger Swan 70 (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Ginger Swan 70 (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

ROMA - ANIENE, Yacht Name: ITA 535, Nation: ITA, Owner: C.C.Aniene / F.Faruffini, SAUDADE, Yacht Name: N/A, Nation: MLT, Owner: Albert Buell, Model: Wally (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi )

ROMA - ANIENE, Yacht Name: ITA 535, Nation: ITA, Owner: C.C.Aniene / F.Faruffini, SAUDADE, Yacht Name: N/A, Nation: MLT, Owner: Albert Buell, Model: Wally (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi )

With an active racing season well underway, a fleet of top maxi yachts have committed to being in Porto Cervo to compete at the 2010 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. The event is a favourite gathering for these competitive and striking sailing craft, which will meet off Sardinia’s spectacular Costa Smeralda from 5 – 11 September.

2010 marks the 21st edition of this annual autumn gathering and, as usual, the international fleet will comprise a mix of the latest launches and those well known on the racing circuit. The regatta features some of the most impressive sailing yachts in the world. The primary limitation on entry is length: minimum rather than maximum – all yachts must be over 18.29-metres (60-feet) in length. This year the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup forms the final act in the 2010 Rolex IMA Championship series and also includes the inaugural World Championship for the Mini Maxi fleet.

The list of returnees is strong, with a good showing of the gargantuan supermaxis, including the 45-metre Saudade (MLT) and Salperton (CAY), and Hasso Plattner’s 44-metre Visione (GER), as well as the stunning classic-looking 42-metre J-Class, Ranger.

Back to defend their 2009 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup division titles are Neville Crichton’s Shockwave (ex-Alfa Romeo 3) (NZL), Niklas Zennstrom’s Rán (GBR), Michael Cotton’s Whisper (IRL), and Claus-Peter Offen’s Y3K (GER).

Crichton, who has previously found success with a string of larger maxis, is a strong contender for the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship. He will be helming the Reichel/Pugh-designed 21.8-metre Shockwave, with Stu Ballantyne and Ian Moore in the afterguard. Crichton says, “we think that this will be a very close event with any of five boats able to win. I would pick, though, Rán as our biggest challenger. Our crew is largely unchanged from the Giraglia Rolex Cup and that result shows what we can achieve (1st IRC overall; 1st Mini Maxi Racing). This event is one that I always look forward to because the racing conditions in Porto Cervo are, quite simply, some of the best and most challenging in the world.”

The Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds are open to all maxi boats between 18.29-metres (60-feet) and 24.08-metres (79-feet) in length, but for the World Championship Trophy itself there is a strict owner/driver requirement. Zennstrom’s Rán has been on an impressive roll over the past year with a division win in the 2009 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, overall win at the 2010 Onion Patch Series and a class win in the 2010 Newport Bermuda Race. Zennstrom, who will be helming Rán, is looking forward to some very close racing in his class, “this is the one regatta where the Mini Maxi fleet comes together and the one everyone is well prepared for and wants to win. All boats have become more competitive this year, so anyone can win. Porto Cervo is one of the best sailing venues in Europe so it should be a very exciting week.”

WHISPER, Yacht Name: IRL 77777, Nation: IRL, Owner: Michael Cotter, Model: Souithern Wind ( Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi )

WHISPER, Yacht Name: IRL 77777, Nation: IRL, Owner: Michael Cotter, Model: Souithern Wind ( Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi )

Along the way, Rán and her crew have been trading wins with another aspirant for the world title, Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente (USA), which has enjoyed a skilful season with class wins at Key West Race Week, New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta; 2nd in class in the Newport Bermuda Race, and an Overall Team win in the Onion Patch Series. The top boats in the Mini Maxi fleet are constantly being tweaked to find that extra bit of speed. Bella Mente is no exception. She underwent modifications in 2009, changing the hull shape and reducing displacement, dramatically transforming the potential of the 21-metre sloop.

The process of refinement is ongoing and, last winter, Bella Mente’s chain plates were moved and the spreaders enlarged. Fauth acknowledges this attention to detail is part of what it takes to stay ahead, “it’s an impressive international fleet. Shockwave, Alegre (GBR), Rán, and Bella Mente are very closely matched speed- and rating-wise. We have a rivalry with all of them — there are a lot of very competitive, extraordinary, highly skilled sailors involved. It’s always a privilege to sail with this fleet.”

Another American racing Mini Maxi is Titan XV, the 22.90-metre (75-foot) Reichel/Pugh design launched last year by Tom Hill. Bill Koch, winner of the 1992 America’s Cup, has chartered Titan XV for this regatta. Koch is no stranger to the Maxi class, but it has been 20 years since his revolutionary Matador 2 broke onto the scene winning all races she entered, including the Maxi Worlds in 1990 (a series contested in Newport, Miami, and the US Virgin Islands.) and 1991 (Saint-Tropez and Porto Cervo). Koch will be helming Titan XV with New Zealander Gavin Brady calling tactics and some of Koch’s America’s Cup teammates as crew.

Until recently, Koch had been competing in the 12-Metre class circuit with KZ7/Kiwi Magic, but eventually tired of the racing. At the time Koch was thinking, “maybe I’ll just get out of sailing and spend my time on my ranch with my kids. But, each time I get on the water I find I love it. So, when Peter (Grubb, project manager for Koch), suggested I might try one of the mini maxis because they’re fun and they go fast, I said ‘I’ll give it a try and charter a boat. And if I really like it, I’ll buy one.’ It’ll be fun and to have my crew back from the America’s Cup and maxis keeps the friendships going.”

Each year the Mini Maxi category continues to gain in numbers and level of competition. Once again this type of maxi will comprise half of the 44-boat fleet currently entered at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. Not all are stripped out racing machines. One newcomer is Alessandro Rombelli’s 21-metre Judel Vroljk-designed Baltic 65, launched this year. Stig (ITA) was conceived with both racing and cruising in mind. It has a full interior and a telescopic lifting keel that cleverly does not influence or limit the cabin arrangements. Rombelli is more usually seen racing something smaller, in the Melges 20 circuit. For this event, he will be sailing with Lorenzo Bressani on board as tactician, “we put a lot of effort in the thinking and designing of Stig and it will be a pleasure to see it participating among some very fast and beautiful boats.”

The Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship will include eight windward/leeward races and one coastal race of no more than 150 nautical miles. Four races are required to award the World Championship title.

Elsewhere in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup fleet, there are plenty of yachts to watch out for. The Adrian Konyendyk designed and McConaghy of Sydney built 24.5-metre (80-foot) sloop-rigged Singularity (GBR), launched in January this year, arrived in the Mediterranean in mid-June. Volvo Ocean Race veteran, Bouwe Bekking is the racing skipper/helmsman. According to Bekking, “Singularity is as close to a racing yacht with a full cruising interior as you can get. She was built with speed in mind and one of the key requisites throughout the design and build process was to find optimum weight-reducing solutions, but without completely compromising the ability to cruise.” With a Design Unlimited interior proving her luxury credentials, Singularity will certainly make a mark.

The Wally class will be well represented and includes Irvine Laidlaw’s Wally 82 Highland Fling (MON), launched in 2009 and making her debut at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. Lindsay Owen Jones’ Magic Carpet 2 (GBR) is back for another tilt at the title he has won three times, whilst the 100-footers, Y3K and Dark Shadow (GBR) are joined by Andrea Recordati’s brand-new Indio (ITA).

Two elegant Swan 90s will also be on hand, Leonardo Ferragamo’s Solleone (ITA) and Danilo Salsi’s flush-decked racer DSK Pioneer Investments (ITA).

The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2010, organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda takes place from 5 to 11 September. Racing commences on Monday, 6 September and concludes on Saturday, 11 September. Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, along with title sponsor Rolex, will provide a lavish array of first class social events each evening that will include the International Maxi Association Dinner, Rolex Crew Party, Rolex Gala Dinner, and Saturday’s final Prize giving Ceremony, where the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cups and Rolex timepieces will be awarded to the overall winner of each Division.

From the most luxurious, the most traditional, to the most advanced monohulls afloat today, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is nothing if not an astonishing line-up of sail power.

Luna Rossa (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi )

Luna Rossa (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi )