(Photo @Rolex/ Daniel Forster)

(Photo @Rolex/ Daniel Forster)

Sydney, 24 December 2017 – For over seventy years, Australia has stood still at lunchtime on the 26 December to mark the start of one of the world’s great sporting institutions. 2017 is no exception with 102 yachts set to embark on the 73rd edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Four 100-footers will lead the famous 628nm charge south, followed hard by the remainder of the highly competitive fleet representing some 27 countries from both northern and southern hemispheres. With two days to go, attention has turned firmly to who might prevail in the battle to be first to finish and the contest to win overall, the sought-after main prize.

Organized by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, with the support of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania and partnered by Rolex since the 2002, the Rolex Sydney Hobart starts at 13:00 AEDT on Tuesday, 26 December. The current weather forecast suggests an upwind start from Sydney Harbour into a 5-10 knot easterly. Once outside the heads, the wind strength will increase to around 15 knots, and turn towards the north east later on Tuesday afternoon. This direction is set hold until early on Thursday morning. The fastest boats are predicting a quick run, although the record of 1 day, 13 hours, 31 minutes and 20 seconds set in 2016 by Perpetual LOYAL does not appear threatened.

The four expected front-runners, all from Australia, come with some serious pedigree in both their achievements and their crews. A fierce contest is expected with the conditions likely to favour each yacht at different times. Forecast wind transitions will test the resolve and skill of these powerhouse yachts. At a press conference this morning, featuring the skippers of LDV Comanche (Jim Clooney), Wild Oats XI (Mark Richards), InfoTrack (Tom Slingsby) and Black Jack (Mark Bradford), the collective view was that LDV Comanche looks to have the upper hand. Her crew features some rare talent, including James Spithill, Stan Honey and Brad Jackson, able to push this rocket-ship hard. “There’s a period of time when we think conditions will be very good for Comanche, but I think conditions are good for all of us and there will be parts of the race where one boat will shine more than the others,” opined Clooney. “We’re looking at one of the most intense and exciting races for a long time.”

Wild Oats XI is a former two-time treble winner (line honours, course record and overall victory). Despite not finishing the last two races, undone by frustrating breakages, and a lightning strike a week ago that led to a flurry of unplanned activity to put her right, Mark Richards is confident that the boat is prepared and ready for the contest ahead: “We couldn’t ask for a more comfortable forecast and it will be an exciting race between the four fastest 100-footers on the planet.”

Black Jack is a near-sistership of Wild Oats XI in terms of design. Her race set-up, though, is different and she is in new hands since winning line honours in 2009. Mark Bradford can see real opportunities with the forecast: “We are hedged pretty heavily for light air, but everyone’s going to get their moments. The first bit is going to favour us and hopefully the last bit.”

Formerly Perpetual LOYAL, InfoTrack carries the weight of 2016 record-breaking glory. This means little to new owner, Christian Beck – embarking on his first ever Rolex Sydney Hobart – or his stellar afterguard which includes Grant Simmer on his twentieth race and former Rolex World Sailor of the Year and Olympic gold medallist, Tom Slingsby. Simmer believes that though they are perhaps the least favoured there will be some chances: “We just need to be smart. These boats are so big, so powerful and so difficult to make any sail change. You can lose a lot in a sail change. Managing and planning ahead is what’s important for us.”

Race aficionados believe the 2017 Rolex Sydney Hobart is set to provide conditions most suited to yachts in the 50-foot range. With close to thirty yachts around this size, it is a tough call to pick a single standout contender.

Matt Allen’s Australian TP52 Ichi Ban, launched this year, is well-regarded. The boat has proved fast and competitive in early season racing. Allen’s experience and that of his crew is substantial with over 150 races between them.

The similar-sized Quest may be older, but skipper Bob Steel has two overall wins to his name and the confidence that comes with that: “The Rolex Sydney Hobart used to be a marathon, and now it’s a sprint race. You have to change the mentality. There’s a gate every 50 miles and you have to get to that gate first. Then you start the next sprint. You cannot settle back, you have to be intense from minute one. You have to do everything well and at speed.”

The international contingent is also strong in this size bracket. A number of crews will be challenging Australian hegemony. The Italian Cookson 50 Mascalzone Latino is a former winner of the 605nm Rolex Middle Sea Race. Her crew is highly-tuned and are not here to make up the numbers, according to tactician Adrian Stead: “We are here to give ourselves the best chance of winning. We think we’ve got a good boat, we’ve got a great sailing team and we’ve come here to try to win this race on handicap. We know there are a lot of others that have that same goal. Looking at the weather it’s not bad for us and we’re quite excited.”

It is not clear-cut. Smaller boats, too, see possibilities. Andrew Weiss from the USA with his 43-foot Christopher Dragon is fulfilling a life-long dream, and with the overriding ambition to perform: “We’ve done a lot of racing over the years. When we race, we try to do well. It’s a huge organizational challenge to get here and we are not here just to tick the event off the list.”

One of the smallest boats in the fleet is 35-foot Banque de Nouvelle-Caledonie, owned by Michel Quintin. In 2015 Quintin finished second overall behind a TP52. He counts among his crew 2015 Rolex Fastnet winner Alexis Loisin, a formidable sailor: “We’re good in all conditions. The forecast looks okay at the moment, certainly the start and down to the bottom of Australia. The last part looks less clear- maybe with wind, maybe no wind, even a lot of rain and with a big transition of the wind. We’ll see.”

What is certain is a rousing reception in Hobart for each and every crew participating in the race. And, at the final prize giving, on 31 December the eventual winner will have their achievement acknowledged with the historic Tattersall Trophy and a Rolex timepiece, the recognized reward for excellence.

The 73rd edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race starts on Tuesday, 26 December at 13:00 AEDT. Daily video highlights will be available on the Rolex Yachting YouTube channel throughout the race.

(Photo @Rolex/ Daniel Forster)

(Photo @Rolex/ Daniel Forster)



Abracadabra, Allegro, Another Painkiller, Arch Rival, Ariel, Banque de Nouvelle Caledonia, Beau Geste, Black Jack, Black Sheep, Blunderbuss, Calibre, Celestial, Chancellor, Charlie’s Dream, China Easyway , Christopher Dragon, USA4304, Chutzpah , Climate Action Now, Concubine, Dare Devil, Dare to Lead, Dark and Stormy, Derucci, Dorade,
Duende, ENVY Scooters Beachball, Enchantress, Enigma, Euphoria II, Eve, Extasea, Flying Fish Arctos, Freyja, GPB Yeah Baby, GREAT Britain, Garmin, Grace O’Malley, Gun Runner, Hartbreaker, Helsal 3, Highfield Caringbah, Hollywood Boulevard, HotelPlanner.com, Ichi Ban , Imalizard, Indian, Infotrack, Invictus Games, Invictus Games, Jazz Player, Khaleesi, Kialoa II, Koa, Komatsu Azzurro, LDV Comanche, Liverpool 2018, M3, Magic Miles, Maluka, Mascalzone Latino 32, Mayfair, Merlin, Merlion, Mister Lucky, Mondo, Nasdaq, Ocean Gem, Opt2Go Scamp, Oskana, PSP Logistics, PYR-ArnoldCo/Wot Eva, Patrice, Pekljus, Qingdao, Quest, Ran Tan II, Reve, Rockall, SailDNA, Sanya Serenity Coast, Seamo Racing Mahligai, She, She’s The Culprit, Smuggler, Snowdome Occasional Coarse Language Too, Sonic, St Jude, TSA Management, Takani, Triple Lindy Triton, Unicef, Vanishing Point, Visit Seattle, Warrior Won, Weddell, Wild Oats X, Wild Oats XI, Wizard, Wots Next, XS Moment


Pugwash, owner David Murphey; Wings, owner Mike Bruno & Tom Boyle (Photo by Billy Black / Rolex )

Pugwash, owner David Murphey; Wings, owner Mike Bruno & Tom Boyle (Photo by Billy Black / Rolex )

New York Yacht Club 158th Annual Regatta Presented by Rolex

After a rousing 19-mile Around the Island Race on Friday, sailors at the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) 158th Annual Regatta presented by Rolex had to face light winds on Saturday and Sunday and a subsequently abbreviated race schedule where every move counted as critical to final results.  With 104 boats entered in Friday’s race (separately scored and optional) and 133 entered in weekend racing, this 2012 edition of what is revered as America’s oldest regatta will go down in sailing history as having its biggest fleet ever…and, for some, the most intriguing last-minute victories.
One for the record is Alex Jackson’s (Riverside, Conn.) trumping of the nine-boat Melges 32 class with Leenabarca in the second of two races today.  Two of the class’s world champions (Doug Douglass on Goombay Smash and Pieter Taselaar on Bliksem) were tied for first going into that race, which was the last of three in the regatta series, and Jackson trailed in scoring by one point.  According to Douglass, who exchanged friendly banter with Jackson back onshore, “We both went right, and Alex schooled us by going left and winning—he stole (the series) from us!”  Jackson joked that while the competition was incredible, “we were just better,” but in all seriousness, the stakes are high for this class as it prepares for its world championships here later this summer.  “More teams will be showing up as we get closer to that event,” said Jackson, who finished sixth two years ago at the worlds, “so I wouldn’t say that this was the biggest fleet of Melges 32s we’ve ever had, but it sure included some of the toughest teams.”
Also winning on the final note today was defending champion Mike McCaffrey (Newport, R.I.) aboard Osprey in the Herreshoff S class.  Stephan Sloan’s (East Greenwich, R.I.) Argument was leading the regatta until it was forced over the start line prematurely in today’s second race and had to restart. “That gave us the opportunity to salvage a first out of what was looking to be a second or third,” said McCaffrey.
Andrew Fisher (Greenwich, Conn.), winner of the Swan 42 class with Bandit, said his team also had an “incredibly bad start” in today’s first race, but it battled back to finish fifth.  “Luckily, we were very much in phase in the second race,” said Fisher, “and we picked more of the right wind shifts than the wrong ones and won.  It was a little bit of luck, a little bit of skill.”  His closest competition was John Hele’s Daring, which represented the Royal Canadian Yacht Club to win last year’s New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex and is helmed by Canada’s Terry McLaughlin, an America’s Cup veteran and 1984 Olympic silver medalist in the Flying Dutchman class.
Among the largest boats in the fleet was George Sakellaris’s (Framingham, Mass.) Mini Maxi 72 Shockwave, which won IRC 1. “We had a conservative day,” said the boat’s captain and crew member Reggie Cole (Newport) after today’s single race. “We just wanted to beat (George David’s) Rambler today, because that’s what we had to do to win, but it was just by happenstance that we also beat (Hap Fauth’s) Bella Mente.  She  blew out a spinnaker and we passed them to finish first.”
Ptarmigan, Larry Dickie’s (Greenwich, Conn.) Ker 43, came from behind to win today in IRC 3.  Skipper Bill Lynn (Marblehead, Mass) said that Saturday it had been hard to get out of the shadow of James Madden’s (Newport Beach, Calif.) Swan 601 Stark Raving Mad, which won the day on the merit of posting victory in a single race. “There was massive wind sheer and shifts to deal with,” he said, explaining that on the first beat his team had looked good, but “after that, we were struggling” and finished third.  Though today proved more manageable, playing shifts was still the name of the game and Ptarmigan made the most out of them to finish first to Stark Raving Mad’s fourth and post four points to its five (for second place).
Steered by Lexi Gahagan, Dennis Williams’s (Hobe Sound, Fla.) Victory 83 dominated the 12 Metre class, posting three victories in as many races, while in IRC 5 class, Leonard Sitar’s (Holmdel, NJ) J/44 Vamp took class honors with a 2-1 in his series.
Past J/122 North American champion Mike Bruno and Tom Boyle (Irvington, N.Y.) finished 2-1 in the regatta’s two races to take IRC 6 on his J/122 Wings, while past J/109 North American champion Bill Sweetser (Annapolis, Md.) on the J/109 Rush topped IRC 7.
David and Sandra Askew’s (Annapolis, Md.) IRC 52 Flying Jenny 2 won IRC 2, while winning IRC 4 was the Taylor 45 Africa, skippered by Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Jud Smith (Marblehead, Mass.).  Peter Kellogg’s (Short Hills, N.J.) Catboat 33′ Silent Maid won CRF 2 Non-Spinnaker, and Lars Forsberg’s (Greenwich, Conn.) S&S Yawl Black Watch took CRF 1 Non-Spinnaker.
In PHRF Navigator’s class, 22 boats competed, proving that this relatively new concept (begun last year) is popular for those who prefer a classic government buoy course to the more prevalent short-course racing on Saturday and Sunday.  Defending champions Ben Hall and Bill Berges (Tiverton, R.I.) won Class 5 on their Evelyn 32 Bluto, while Paul Koch’s (East Greenwich, R.I.) Freedom 35 Jazz Fish took Class 6.
A Rolex timepiece was awarded on Friday evening to the overall IRC winner in that day’s Around the Island Race.  Accepting the Rolex was Takashi Okura (Tokyo, Japan), owner and skipper of the IRC 52 Sled, which also won its IRC 2 class
Rolex also will award a timepiece to the overall winner (determined by the organizers) of Saturday’s and Sunday’s combined series of races, which officially constitutes the NYYC 158th Annual Regatta presented by Rolex. This special prize, as well as engraved overall trophies in each class and the Great Corinthian Trophy for yacht club teams of three or more boats posting the best class finishes, will be announced and awarded at the November 8 Annual Awards Dinner at the NYYC’s main clubhouse in New York City.

Swan 42 fleet (Photo by Billy Black / Rolex)

Swan 42 fleet (Photo by Billy Black / Rolex)

Known for attracting a diverse range of boats, NYYC’s Annual Regatta presented by Rolex is the first major sailing contest of the season in historic Newport, Rhode Island.  In even-numbered years, the regatta draws a large number of competitors who compete a week later in the Newport Bermuda Race and who use the Annual Regatta to gear up prior to the start of that distance race.  Part of the 2012 US-IRC Gulf Stream Series, NYYC’s Annual Regatta presented by Rolex is the first event in the NYYC Classic Yacht Series.  Additionally, IRC yachts are eligible to enter the Onion Patch Series which consists of the Annual Regatta, the Newport Bermuda Race and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta.  The first race completed on Saturday and Sunday during NYYC’s Annual Regatta counts toward the Onion Patch Series. 
For daily results, releases, photos and video by T2p.tv, please visit the New York Yacht Club’s website at nyyc.org. 


Shockwave, Mini Maxi 72, George Sakellaris (Photo by Billy Black / Rolex)

Shockwave, Mini Maxi 72, George Sakellaris (Photo by Billy Black / Rolex)

Final Results
NYYC 158th Annual Regatta presented by Rolex
June 9-10, 2012
Blue Class 1 – IRC 1 (IRC – 3 Boats)
1. Shockwave, Mini Maxi 72, George Sakellaris , Framingham, MA, USA – 1, 1, ; 2
2. Bella Mente, J-V Mini Maxi 72′, Hap Fauth , Minneapolis, MN, USA – 3, 2, ; 5
3. Rambler, RP 90 W B 90, George David , Hartford, CT, USA – 2, 3, ; 5
Blue Class 2 – IRC 2 (IRC – 5 Boats)
1. Flying Jenny 7, IRC 52 52, David and Sandra Askew , Annapolis, MD, USA – 1, 2, ; 3
2. Vesper, TP 52 52, Jim Swartz , Park City, UT, USA – 3, 1, ; 4
3. Interlodge, IRC 52 52, Austin and Gwen Fragomen , Newport, RI, USA – 2, 4, ; 6
Blue Class 3 – IRC 3 (IRC – 9 Boats)
1. Ptarmigan, Ker 43 43, Lawrence Dickie , Greenwich, CT, USA – 3, 1, ; 4
2. Stark Raving Mad, Swan 601 60, James Madden , Newport Beach, CA, USA – 1, 4, ; 5
3. Defiance, Marten 49 49, Hamnett Hill , Montreal, Que, CAN – 4, 2, ; 6
Blue Class 4 – IRC 4 (IRC – 13 Boats)
1. Africa, Taylor 45 45, Jud Smith , Marblehead, MA, USA – 1, 2.5, ; 3.5
2. Nasty Medicine, Corby 41 41.5, Stephen Sherwin , Hamilton, BER – 2, 2.5/Protest, ; 4.5
3. After Midnight, CTM 41 41, Paul Jeka , Atlantic Highlands, NJ, USA – 4, 1, ; 5
Blue Class 5 – IRC 5 (IRC – 9 Boats)
1. Vamp, J 44 44.9, Leonard Sitar , Holmdel, NJ, USA – 2, 1, ; 3
2. Carina, Custom 48 48′, Rives Potts , Essex, CT, USA – 1, 2, ; 3
3. Cygnette, Swan 441 44.36, William Mayer , Dover, DE, USA – 5, 3, ; 8
White Class 6 – IRC 6 (IRC – 12 Boats)
1. Wings, J 122 40, Mike Bruno & Tom Boyle , Irvington, NY, USA – 2, 1, ; 3
2. Christopher Dragon, J/122 40, Andrew Weiss , Mamaroneck, NY, USA – 1, 5, ; 6
3. Old School, Farr 395 39.5, Ganson Evans , Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, USA – 3, 6, ; 9
White Class 7 – IRC 7 (IRC – 10 Boats)
1. Rush, J 109 35.25, Bill Sweetser , Annapolis, MD, USA – 1, 1, ; 2
2. Dorade, S&S Yawl 52.5, Matt Brooks , Fremont, CA, USA – 5, 2, ; 7
3. Picante, J 109 36, Rober Salk & John Sahagian , Jamestown, RI, USA – 4, 3, ; 7
White Class 8 – Swan 42 (One Design – 10 Boats)
1. Bandit, Swan 42 42, Andrew Fisher , Greenwich, CT, USA – 3, 5, 1, ; 9
2. Daring, Swan 42 42, John Hele , Newport, RI, USA – 1, 3, 9, ; 13
3. Vitesse, Swan 42 42, Jon Halbert , Dallas, TX, USA – 6, 1, 6, ; 13
White Class 9 – Melges 32 (One Design – 9 Boats)
1. Leenabarca, Melges 32 32, Alex Jackson , Riverside, Conn., USA – 5, 1, 1, ; 7
2. Bliksem, Melges 32 32, Pieter Taselaar , Newport, RI, USA – 2, 3, 4, ; 9
3. hedgehog, Melges 32 32, Alec Cutler , Pembroke, BER – 4, 5, 2, ; 11
Green Class 1 – 12 Metres (One Design – 8 Boats)
1. Victory 83, 12 Metre 65, Dennis Williams , Hobe Sound, FL, USA – 1, 1, 1, ; 3
2. Courageous, 12 Meter 68, Ralph Isham / Alexander Auersperg , New York, NY, USA – 2, 4, 2, ; 8
3. USA, 12 Metre 65′, Guy Heckman , Newport, RI, USA – 4, 2, 4/Protest, ; 10
Green Class 4 – Herreshoff S Class (One Design – 9 Boats)
1. Osprey, Herreshoff S Class 27.6, Michael McCaffrey , Newport, RI, USA – 2, 2, 3, ; 7
2. Argument, Herreshoff S Class 27.5, Stephan Sloan , East Greenwich, RI, USA – 1, 1, 7, ; 9
3. Swallow , Herreshoff S Class 27.5, Leeds Mitchell IV , Providence, RI, USA – 3, 4, 2, ; 9
Green Class 2 – CRF 1 Non-Spinnaker (PHRF – 6 Boats)
1. Black Watch, S&S Yawl 67.86, Lars Forsberg , Greenwich, CT, USA – 3, 1/Protest, 1, ; 5
2. Angelita, 8 Metre 50.33′, Samuel Croll , Greenwich, CT, USA – 1, 5/Protest, 2, ; 8
3. Sonny, S&S Custom 53 53, Joseph Dockery , Newport, RI, USA – 2, 2, 4, ; 8
Green Class 3 – CRF 2 Non-Spinnaker (PHRF – 7 Boats)
1. Silent Maid, Catboat 33′, Peter Kellogg , Short Hills, NJ, USA – 1, 4, 1, ; 6
2. Belle, Luders 24 38.25, Jonathan Loughborough , Newport, RI, USA – 2, 2, 2, ; 6
3. SYCE, 6 Metre 34, Bob and Farley Towse , Stamford, CT, USA – 3, 5, 3, ; 11
Green Class 5 – PHRF Navigators Race (PHRF – 14 Boats)
1. Bluto, Evelyn 32-2 32, Benjamin Hall , Tiverton, RI, USA – 2, 2, ; 4
2. Tonto, J 105 34.5, Fred Darlington , Cumberland, RI, USA – 6, 1, ; 7
3. Blockade Runner, Farr 30 30, Bruce Bingman / Taran Teague , Annapolis, MD, USA – 1, 8.5, ; 9.5
Green Class 6 – PHRF NS Navigators Race (PHRF – 8 Boats)
1. Jazz Fish, Freedom 35 35, Paul Koch , East Greenwich, RI, USA – 1, 3, ; 4
2. Duck Soup, C&C 40 39’6, Bill Clavin , Warwick, RI, USA – 2, 2, ; 4
3. True, J 160 52, Howard Hodgson , Ipswich, MA, USA – 5, 1, ; 6

Victory 83, 12 Metre 65, Dennis Williams (Photo by Billy Black / Rolex)

Victory 83, 12 Metre 65, Dennis Williams (Photo by Billy Black / Rolex)


Sled   (Photo by George Bekris)

Sled (Photo by George Bekris)

Sailors on over 100 boats enjoyed classic Newport weather for today’s 19-mile Around the (Conanicut) Island Race, a traditional prelude to the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) Annual Regatta presented by Rolex, which will mark its 158th edition this weekend. The oldest regatta in America is enjoying a record number of 146 entries, with 133 of those signed up for weekend racing. (Today’s Around the Island Race was separately scored and optional.)

“It was southwest 8-12 knots, building to Beavertail,” said Tom Erskine (Marblehead, Mass), main trimmer on Ken Colburn’s Swan 42 class winner Apparition, explaining that with that much horsepower to the wind, the race committee had no problems sticking to a scheduled noon start for a clockwise course that started just south of the iconic Newport (Pell) Bridge. “Then it was 12-15 on the backside of the island and 15-16 on the nose coming home — just great conditions.” It didn’t hurt, either, that the sun shone all day after several days of relentless rain.

“The Race Committee started the smaller boats first,” added Erskine, “which made it fun to see all those classics like Black Watch and Dorade sailing near us, and then at the top of the island Rambler (the largest boat in the fleet at 90 feet) came ripping by us at 17 knots!”

Though Rambler was first to finish in just under two hours, but it was the IRC 52 Sled’s performance that earned owner Takashi Okura (Tokyo, Japan) a class win in IRC 2 and the overall victory in IRC class, which meant he goes home with the coveted Rolex watch as prize for his efforts today. Sled circumnavigated the island in just over two hours.

Spinnakers (Photo by George Bekris)

Spinnakers (Photo by George Bekris)


“I am still jet lagged,” said Okura, who arrived only yesterday to join his mostly-Japanese team on a charter boat that bears the name Interlodge. (Austin and Gwen Fragomen also sailed their newly built IRC 52 named Interlodge and finished third in the class behind Jim Swartz’s IRC 52 Vesper.) “We tried to sail calmly and quietly and just think about the wind and the tide.” Okura added that for ten minutes after the start, Vesper was leading, but the Sled team was able to play the current to its advantage and succeed at a takeover. Okura also won a Rolex watch here in 2006 when he sailed the Farr 40 North Americans as part of the New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex and he has every intention of adding an Annual Regatta victory to his resume after he competes this weekend. (Rolex also will award a timepiece to the overall winner of Saturday’s and Sunday’s combined series of races.)

Fourteen class winners today included Hap Fauth (Minneapolis, Minn./Newport, R.I.) with his newly built Judel-Vrolijk 72’ mini maxi Bella Mente in IRC 1 and Annual Regatta defending champions Rives Potts (Westbrook, Conn.) in IRC 6 aboard his custom 48 Carina; Michael McCaffrey (Newport) in the Herreshoff S class with Osprey; Dennis Williams (Hobe Sound, Fla.) in the 12 Metre class with Victory 83; and Joseph Dockery (Newport) in CRF 1 (classics) with his custom S&S 53 Sonny. (Ken Colburn’s Swan 42 Apparition is also a defending champion.)

Since 1845, the tradition of the Annual Regatta, first hosted at the New York Yacht Club’s original clubhouse in Hoboken, N.J., has been interrupted only by war. The event – in even years — is part of the Onion Patch Series, which also includes the Newport Bermuda Race and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Anniversary Regatta.

Fleet  (Photo by George Bekris)

Fleet (Photo by George Bekris)

Racing for the NYYC Annual Regatta presented by Rolex takes place on Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound for all classes, with a PHRF Navigator Class — for those who prefer a classic government buoy course to the more prevalent short-course racing on Saturday and Sunday — having the option of racing either one or both of the weekend days. Live music, refreshments and daily prizes greet the sailors as they come ashore after racing each day to the rolling lawn at NYYC’s Harbour Court clubhouse.

NYYC Around the Island Race (Photo by George Bekris)

NYYC Around the Island Race (Photo by George Bekris)

For daily results, releases, photos and video, please visit the New York Yacht Club’s website at nyyc.org.

Results New York Yacht Club Around the Island Race

Friday, June 8, 2012

Place, Sail, Yacht Name, Yacht Type, Owner/Skipper, City, State, Country, Finish Date-Time, Elapsed, Corrected, Class Finish/Fleet Finish

Class 1 – IRC 1 (IRC – 4 Boats)
1. USA 45 Bella Mente, Judel-Vrolijk Mini Maxi, Hap Fauth , Minneapolis, MN, USA — 08Jun12-02:56:37PM / 0:01:56:37 / 0:03:06:07 — 1 / 3
2. USA 60272 Shockwave, Mini Maxi, George Sakellaris , Framingham, MA, USA — 08Jun12-02:58:22PM / 0:01:58:22 / 0:03:07:22 — 2 / 6
3. USA 4511 Team Tiburon (Wizard), R/P 74, Mark E. Watson III , Newport, RI, USA — 08Jun12-02:59:16PM / 0:01:59:16 / 0:03:08:47 — 3 / 9

Class 2 – IRC 2 (IRC – 6 Boats)
1. USA 5206 SLED, IRC 52, Takashi Okura , Tokyo, JPN — 08Jun12-03:07:54PM / 0:02:12:54 / 0:03:03:00 — 1 / 1
2. USA 52007 Vesper, TP 52, Jim Swartz , Park City, UT, USA — 08Jun12-03:09:09PM / 0:02:14:09 / 0:03:05:15 — 2 / 2
3. USA 5210 Interlodge, IRC 52, Austin and Gwen Fragomen , Newport, RI, USA — 08Jun12-03:10:45PM / 0:02:15:45 / 0:03:08:41 — 3 / 8

Class 3 – IRC 3 (IRC – 8 Boats)
1. USA 79 Ptarmigan, Ker 43, Lawrence Dickie , Greenwich, CT, USA — 08Jun12-03:19:12PM / 0:02:29:12 / 0:03:07:14 — 1 / 5
2. IVB 4915 Defiance, Marten 49, Hamnett Hill , Montreal, Que, CAN — 08Jun12-03:25:27PM / 0:02:35:27 / 0:03:13:04 — 2 / 21
3. USA 50069 Temptation – Oakcliff, Custom Ker 50, Arthur Santry – Oakcliff Sailing , Arlington, VA, USA — 08Jun12-03:24:52PM / 0:02:34:52 / 0:03:15:17 — 3 / 31

Class 4 – IRC 4 (IRC – 9 Boats)
1. USA 52915 White Witch, King 40, Larry Landry , Newport, RI, USA — 08Jun12-03:32:39PM / 0:02:47:39 / 0:03:08:36 — 1 / 7
2. USA 52830 Barra, Morris 486, Bruce MacNeil , Lincoln, Ma., USA — 08Jun12-03:35:41PM / 0:02:50:41 / 0:03:12:52 — 2 / 17
3. BER 1000 Nasty Medicine, Corby 41, Stephen Sherwin , Hamilton, BER — 08Jun12-03:31:00PM / 0:02:46:00 / 0:03:13:53 — 3 / 25

Class 5 – IRC 5 (IRC – 10 Boats)
1. USA 49 Gold Digger, J 44, James D. Bishop , Jamestown, RI, USA — 08Jun12-03:31:33PM / 0:02:51:33 / 0:03:07:09 — 1 / 4
2. USA 43600 Vamp, J 44, Leonard Sitar , Holmdel, NJ, USA — 08Jun12-03:34:32PM / 0:02:54:32 / 0:03:10:04 — 2 / 14
3. USA 60003 Pugwash, J 122, David Murphy , westport, CT, USA — 08Jun12-03:36:51PM / 0:02:56:51 / 0:03:12:35 — 3 / 16

Class 6 – IRC 6 (IRC – 11 Boats)
1. USA 315 Carina, Custom 48, Rives Potts , Essex, CT, USA — 08Jun12-03:35:16PM / 0:03:00:16 / 0:03:08:55 — 1 / 10
2. USA 16 Dorade, S&S Yawl, Matt Brooks , Fremont, CA, USA — 08Jun12-03:44:10PM / 0:03:09:10 / 0:03:09:09 — 2 / 12
3. USA 1976 Mischief, Lyman-Morse 40, David Schwartz , Smithfield, RI, USA — 08Jun12-03:44:19PM / 0:03:09:19 / 0:03:10:04 — 3 / 13

Class 7 – 12 Metre GP/M (One Design – 5 Boats)
1. K 22 Victory 83, 12 Metre, Dennis Williams , Hobe Sound, FL, USA — 08Jun12-03:02:22PM / 0:02:32:22 / 0:02:32:22 — 1 /
2. USA 61 USA, 12 Metre, Guy Heckman , Newport, RI, USA — 08Jun12-03:08:57PM / 0:02:38:57 / 0:02:38:57 — 2 /
3. KZ5 Laura, 12 Metre, Kip Curren , Warwick, RI, USA — 08Jun12-03:10:30PM / 0:02:40:30 / 0:02:40:30 — 3 /

Class 8 – 12 Metre Traditional (One Design – 3 Boats)
1. USA US 21 American Eagle, 12 Metre, Cynthia Alten-DeLotto , Newport, RI, USA — 08Jun12-03:15:50PM / 0:02:45:50 / 0:02:45:50 — 1 /
2. USA 16 Columbia, 12 Metre, Alain Hanover , Weston, MA, USA — 08Jun12-03:16:10PM / 0:02:46:10 / 0:02:46:10 — 2 /
3. USA 19 Nefertiti, 12 Metre, Jon Wullschleger , Sarasota, FL, USA — 08Jun12-03:16:24PM / 0:02:46:24 / 0:02:46:24 — 3 /

Class 9 – Swan 42 (One Design – 8 Boats)
1. USA 4235 Apparition, Swan 42, Ken Colburn , Dover, MA, USA — 08Jun12-03:07:25PM / 0:02:42:25 / 0:02:42:25 — 1 /
2. USA 4227 Hoss, swan 42, Glenn Darden & Paul Williamson , Fort Worth, Texas, USA — 08Jun12-03:10:46PM / 0:02:45:46 / 0:02:45:46 — 2 /
3. USA 4214 Daring, Swan 42, John Hele , Newport, RI, USA — 08Jun12-03:10:57PM / 0:02:45:57 / 0:02:45:57 — 3 /

Class 10 – CRF 1 Non-Spinnaker (PHRF – 6 Boats)
1. USA 50 Sonny, S&S Custom 53, Joseph Dockery , Newport, RI, USA — 08Jun12-03:32:59PM / 0:03:12:59 / 0:02:38:07 — 1 / 1
2. USA NY 6 Spartan, NY 50, Charlie Ryan , Providence, RI, USA — 08Jun12-03:20:07PM / 0:03:00:07 / 0:02:43:09 — 2 / 2
3. US 71 Black Watch, S&S Yawl, Sam Earle , USA — 08Jun12-03:26:38PM / 0:03:06:38 / 0:02:43:36 — 3 / 3

Class 11 – PHRF 1 spin (PHRF – 9 Boats)
1. USA 34 Blockade Runner, Farr 30, Bruce Bingman / Taran Teague , Annapolis, MD, USA — 08Jun12-03:19:48PM / 0:03:04:48 / 0:02:48:29 — 1 / 7
2. USA 51109 Capella, Sabre 452, David Millet , Needham, MA, USA — 08Jun12-03:24:41PM / 0:03:09:41 / 0:02:53:03 — 2 / 16
3. USA 56 Spirit, J 92S, EC Helme , Newport, RI, USA — 08Jun12-03:40:29PM / 0:03:25:29 / 0:02:54:46 — 3 / 17

Class 12 – PHRF 2 spin (PHRF – 3 Boats)
1. USA 8 Osprey, Herreshoff S Class, Michael McCaffrey , Newport, USA — 08Jun12-04:02:48PM / 0:03:52:48 / 0:02:47:33 — 1 / 6
2. USA 22 Argument, Herreshoff S Class, Stephan Sloan , East Greenwich, RI, USA — 08Jun12-04:04:59PM / 0:03:54:59 / 0:02:49:44 — 2 / 10
3. USA 5 Surprise, Herreshoff S Class, Fred Roy , Newport, RI, USA — 08Jun12-04:08:17PM / 0:03:58:17 / 0:02:53:02 — 3 / 15

Class 13 – CRF 2 Non-Spinnaker (PHRF – 2 Boats)
1. T 82 Silent Maid, Catboat, Peter Kellogg , Short Hills, NJ, USA — 08Jun12-03:54:12PM / 0:03:44:12 / 0:02:52:42 — 1 / 13
2. USA US 53 Cherokee, 6 Metre, Molly Savard , Middletown, CT, USA — 08Jun12-04:07:22PM / 0:03:57:22 / 0:03:08:06 — 2 / 23

Class 14 – PHRF Non-Spinnaker (PHRF – 9 Boats)
1. USA 1968 Hermie, Columbia 50, Gerald Harris , Rowayton, CT, USA — 08Jun12-03:36:02PM / 0:03:26:02 / 0:02:46:03 — 1 / 4
2. USA 414 Coup d’ Etat, McCurdy Rhodes 46, Michael Shea , Farmington, CT, USA — 08Jun12-03:34:26PM / 0:03:24:26 / 0:02:47:19 — 2 / 5
3. USA 42700 Duck Soup, C&C 40, Bill Clavin , Warwick, RI, USA — 08Jun12-03:32:51PM / 0:03:22:51 / 0:02:48:37 — 3 / 8

For More Images Of the NYYC Around- the- Island Race 2012 by George Bekris click HERE


NYYC Round the Island Race 2012 (Photo by George Bekris)

NYYC Round the Island Race 2012 (Photo by George Bekris)

Velsheda Winner of Cruising Spirit of Tradition Class (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Velsheda Winner of Cruising Spirit of Tradition Class (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)


Final day at the 20th Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup dawned with blue sky and a gentle north-easterly breeze between 8 and 10 knots. One more opportunity for those already at the top of the standings to prove themselves worthy of winning. Good news also for those yachts still within touching distance of the top. A race would mean opportunity and in yacht-racing opportunity is everything, but only if you are prepared to take it. Getting your name inscribed on the trophies at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is no easy feat. Only those most deserving achieve the feat. At close of play those truly in clover were: Ronald de Waal and Velsheda (GBR); Claus Peter Offen and Y3K (GER); Mick Cotter and Whisper (IRL); Filippo Faruffini and Roma-Aniene (ITA), and, Neville Crichton and Alfa Romeo (NZL). Flush with victory and the spoils associated – the Maxi Yacht Cup and a Rolex Yacht-master Chronometer.

If only it were so simple. In Cruising/Spirit of Tradition, Velsheda had wrapped up her division a day early by virtue of winning every race to that point. In Wally, Y3K was also impregnable, by virtue of having scored more firsts than her closest rival, Open Season (GER), which could only match Y3Ks score however badly Offen’s crew sailed the last race; a situation where count-back would favour Offen.

In Racing/Cruising, Roma-Aniene never seemed likely to be overtaken by DSK Pioneer Investments, but the door was still open if DSK could repeat yesterday’s result and finish ahead of Roma. The chances of this seemed slim given Roma had not given DSK a sniff all week until her mainsail issues of yesterday. The same scenario existed in Mini Maxi Racing/Cruising, where both Aegir (GBR) and OPS 5 (ITA) had a mathematical chance to overtake Whisper, should she finish seventh or worse, something Whisper had not done all week. She had had problems yesterday, though, finishing fifth. So a glimmer of hope flickered on. In both cases you had to think lightning does not strike twice.

The classification where the duelling would go closest to the wire looked to be Mini Maxi Racing. Tight battles looked likely in both Mini Maxi Racing (Owner/Driver) and the larger overall Mini Maxi Racing 00 group. The Owner/Driver contest was between Neville Crichton’s Alfa Romeo 3 (NZL) and Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente (USA). The stakes were high; the pressure was on. The maths were simple for Bella Mente, she had to come first. Anything less would not be enough. For Alfa, if she could win or prevent the American crew from winning she would prevail.

The 00 group was also a two-way tussle and also involved Alfa Romeo, with the likes of triple Olympic Gold medallist Ben Ainslie in the crew roster, along with Niklas Zennström’s Rán (GBR). With a three-point separation, the onus was on Alfa to win and hope Rán would finish no better than fourth. Heading out to the start there was every possibility that Crichton might be distracted by his battle with Fauth, since that was where the major prize would be awarded. At the beginning of the week, though, Crichton had stated his aim was to win both groups. Given his competitive streak is longer and wider than most, no one would bet against the New Zealander attempting to win outright from the front.

In the end, the excitement came in only one spot.

Y3K Claus Peter Offen, Winner Of The Wally Class (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Y3K Claus Peter Offen, Winner Of The Wally Class (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Velsheda confirmed her supremacy in Cruising/Spirit of Tradition winning the final race. Hasso Plattner’s Visione (GER) did enough to beat Charles Dunstone’s Hamilton II (GBR) in the race today and to take second on the podium. Roma-Aniene confirmed yesterday’s problems were no more than a blip by adding a fourth bullet to her Racing/Cruising scoreline. Danilo Salsi’s DSK’s second place in the race and the overall standing will be some compensation. Whisper, too, asserted herself once more adding a fourth bullet to her Mini Maxi Racing/Cruising record and securing the class by 10-points over Brian Benjamin’s Aegir.

Ronald de Waal skipper and helmsman of Velsheda attributed his victory in Cruising/Spirit of Tradition to his crew, “the team we sail with has been together for a long time, some have been with us for eight years. Of course, we sail with some of the very best in the world and that helps.” This is de Waal’s first overall win at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup; he has sailed several times before and really enjoys the competition and the location, “it’s a combination of nature, the area, we always have beautiful wind, really beautiful surroundings and always a very good fleet.”

Claus Peter Offen sealed his Wally Division victory with another win. Not bad for a yacht launched in July this year. Sailing with designer Mani Frers onboard as a guest, Offen was understandably delighted with his yacht and the win, “we thought we could get in the top three, but to win with a brand-new boat is unexpected. You usually will have some technical problems, but in all six races we were always first over the line and never had any problems.” Offen paid tribute to his crew, particularly acknowledging the work on the first two days when conditions were at their most difficult.

Filippo Faruffini came, saw and conquered for the second time; Roma confirming her superiority over the series in Racing/Cruising. Faruffini was surprised given how they had come into the competition, “this is sport and you can leave nothing to chance. We only decided only one month ago to race and were really under-prepared. Our sails are old and we broke many, many things.” A number of his crew, from the Circolo Canottieri Aniene (a sporting club in Rome), were new to sailing and to turn them into a team capable of holding their own against the likes of DSK is a true achievement, as tactician Vascotto explains, “all the guys made a real effort today. We pushed hard. We had 22 guys that are not professional at all, but at the end of the week we look to be doing the same manoeuvres as we do with professional guys. Everyone has improved and they can see this, which is our aim.”

Alfa Romeo Neville Crichton Winner Of Mini Maxi Racing (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Alfa Romeo Neville Crichton Winner Of Mini Maxi Racing (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Mick Cotter’s emphatic result with Whisper in Mini Maxi Racing/Cruising was a revelation, but had been hinted at last year’s Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup when Cotter’s crew won a sub-division prize, “it’s been a wonderful week, everything went really well. I had a great team and that’s what did it for me. We had few mistakes yesterday, but you can’t expect to go through a week’s regatta and not have a few. The conditions were ideal for us, which helped us considerably in the overall results. The crew know the boat well and the pros have got to know both us and the boat.”

As predicted, the true battle came in Mini Maxi Racing and it was fought tooth and nail between two boats – Bella Mente and Alfa Romeo. Fauth’s crew knew they had to win. Tactician Dee Smith saw to it that Bella Mente won the start at the pin end, whilst Alfa went for the committee boat end. As both yachts sailed their own race for the first leg, the first crossing was a critical moment. It went to Bella Mente and she held off her larger rival until the top of the second beat. At this point the Americans were still within a shout of victory. They were sailing so well that within the Owner/Driver category they were undoubtedly winning. With three more legs it was never going to be easy and, unfortunately for them, Alfa had no thoughts of mercy in mind. She forced her way past and then proceeded to match-race Hap Fauth’s yacht progressively out of the running. Conceding waterline length and therefore speed it was never going to end happily for Fauth. Bella Mente corrected out ahead of Alfa, but critically Andres Soriano’s Alegre (GBR) and Sir Peter Ogden’s Jethou (GBR) corrected out ahead of her. Crichton won by one point.

Crichton knew he had been in a scrap and paid due compliment to the tenacity and sailing skills of Fauth and his crew, as did his tactician, Michael Coxon, and relief helm, Ben Ainslie, who knows plenty about the need for ruthlessness in such circumstances. Crichton was thoroughly pleased with the result “we’re delighted. It was pretty tough out there today. We had to do what we had to do, and we got there in the end. They (Bella Mente) camped on us on the first beat. We finally got them back and then just sat on top of them.”

Meanwhile, Zennström and his Rán crew were able to sail their own race with the fight going on far behind. Once again, Rán took the gun and in doing so walked away with an eight-point victory over Alfa Romeo in the Min Maxi Racing 00 grouping. Zennstrom readily admitted they were flattered by the gap, which had been accentuated by the duel between the Alfa Romeo and Bella Mente.

All in all it has been an enthralling week of competition. The weather has played ball. Each day of racing has produced quality conditions and allowed the crews of the gathered maxis to strut their stuff in style. We’ll allow a newcomer to capture the sensation of racing here. Rachel Howe is the sole female navigator competing this week. Not only that, but she did so on Jethou in the intense environment of the Mini Maxi Racing group. Jethou went out on a high today, finishing the race first in Owner/Driver and second in 00. According to Howe, “this is the most prestigious event that I’ve done, the field that we’re racing in is absolutely spectacular. It’s an inspirational fleet to be part of. To get the opportunity to race against the people we’re racing against is just incredible. It is a real privilege. It’s intimidating at first, but once you are out there getting on with your job you realise everyone is pretty normal.once you see past the (Olympic) gold medals and the America’s Cups!”


Magie Carpet (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi)

Magie Carpet 2 (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi)

The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2009 heads into its final day with the division leaders poised to take their place on the victory podium. Velsheda (GBR) in Cruising/Spirit of Tradition has locked out the opposition and is unbeatable. Whisper (IRL) in Mini Maxi Racing/Cruising put one foot wrong today, but still looks to be secure. Y3K (GER) in Wally is another looking purposefully forward rather than nervously behind, while Alfa Romeo (NZL) and Bella Mente (USA) in Mini Maxi Racing (Owner/Driver) know there is all to play for. Roma (ITA) in Racing/Cruising approached the precipice of despair today and will have to have better luck tomorrow if she is not to topple over.

The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup fleet were divided into two main groups today. One batch undertook a coastal course, whilst the other some short course racing. Most of the overnight leaders put in good or reasonable performances and even those that had difficult days did enough to maintain their positions at the head of their standings. Only in Mini Maxi Racing 00 do we have a new leader in the form of Ràn (GBR).

Cruising/Spirit of Tradition, Racing & Racing Cruising and Mini Maxi Racing/Cruising embarked on a 25-mile lap that took the yachts to a windward mark, before bearing off towards Monaci. A spinnaker run down into the channel and the turn at Secca di tre Monti was followed by a reach through Passo delle Bisce, which widened as the yachts headed on to the bottom mark of the course at Mortoriotto allowing the adventurous to set their spinnakers a second time. The final leg was a fetch back to the finish off Porto Cervo with the usual hitch into Pevero just before the line. Conditions were blissful. Bright sun, reasonable breeze that held through the majority of the course; all sailed on a chop that kept the foredeck crews nimble on their toes.

There were a number of vantage points to catch the fleet engaged on the coastal course. One of the best was certainly the rocky outcrop that is Isola dei Monaci just as the Cruising/Spirit of Tradition Class thundered past trying hard to avoid flattening the Mini Maxi Racing/Cruising, which had the fortune or misfortune, depending upon one’s viewpoint, to arrive at the same time. From a spectator’s standpoint it was just a wonderful spectacle, well worth the hassle of a flying leap from a bucking rib onto the abrasive granite piercing through the waves. Given it was lunchtime too; the timing was perfect for twenty minutes or so of entertainment.

Possibly, though, the next location was the best. At first all you see is the house pennant poking above the rock, moving as if some child is running across the uneven cliff top with a flag in hand. Slowly at first, but with gathering pace an expanse of khaki Kevlar starts to appear. Then you sense the noise, initially just the groaning strain of an easing sheet followed the sound of water being pushed dismissively aside. This is the approach of the J Class Velsheda to Capo Faro, the southern edge of the Passo delle Bisce. The highest point of Capo Ferro is 46 metres; Velsheda’s mast is 56 metres, so no contest on the height front. Except from a rib it takes a while to assimilate the information rushing towards you and to register the size of yacht involved.

Luna Rossa and Bella Mente (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Luna Rossa and Bella Mente (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

In Racing & Racing/Cruising, Karl Kwok’s 80-foot Beau Geste (HKG) was first to round Monaci. She ate the course to day as if it were no more filling than an antipasti. This is a boat that flies, completing the 25 nautical mile course in 10 minutes under the two-hour mark. Beau Geste is an awe-inspiring sight from the water. On the boat it has the feeling of a powerboat, and the sensation of speed is real and enjoyable, as Francesco de Angelis, tactician onboard, explains; “I’ve sailed for many years on different, heavier boats. This is a lot of fun. She is a big boat but you sail like it’s a small one because you need the weight in the proper place and you need to manoeuvre well. But she is user-friendly and speed is your friend with this yacht. She is as surefooted as an all-wheel drive. You permanently feel under control.” Interestingly, de Angelis says the crew are still getting accustomed to her ways and how hard to push her. He does not think we have seen all of Beau Geste’s potential just yet.

Amongst the Racing/Cruising yachts, Roma-Aniene still leads the standings, after a day that saw her lose her mainsail immediately after the start. Sailing the course under storm trysail might be different, but it relegated her to the role of walking wounded and into last place in the day’s race results. DSK Pioneer Investments (ITA) took the bullet and is now level on points with Roma, but with a discard coming into play tomorrow it will take another disastrous day on Roma to deny her the title. Andrea Casale, the tactician on DSK, acknowledges the unlikelihood of securing victory, but is pleased to be putting up a fight, “we’ve had our best, cleanest and steadiest day. We had an easy life because of the problem to Roma’s mainsail just after the starting line. It’s good to go into the last race with a little chance. It is good motivation for the crew to think they could win.” In his closing remarks, Casale revealed the sporting nature of the contest this week commenting that if results do not go their way tomorrow he would be happy to see the crew of Roma win.

Maxi Fleet Rounding Monaci Island (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi)

Maxi Fleet Rounding Monaci Island (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi)

In the Cruising/Spirit of Tradition it was Ronald de Waal and Velsheda’s day yet again. They have wrapped up this division and have no need to sail tomorrow to win. But they will and we will be treated to another enthralling chance to watch a historic yacht charge at full tilt around the Porto Cervo racing grounds. Charles Dunstone’s Hamilton II (GBR) took second on handicap, and lies in second overnight on equal points with Hasso Plattner’s Visione (GER), which finished third. Bouwe Bekking, a six-times round the world racer in the Whitbread and Volvo is onboard Visione for the week and gave a brief insight to the differences racing a boat over twice the length of his usual steed, “first and foremost it’s a beautiful boat below and on-deck, so we have to be very careful with the sail-handling. In general, because it’s bigger we take a lot longer with manoeuvres. The biggest spinnaker is 1500 square metres and takes two-minutes to hoist and then you have to get the sock off. Dropping the spinnaker can take three-minutes. Otherwise, the boat has seven metres draft so with all the rocks it is a little nerve-racking. You do not cut any corners and take a wide berth of every rock around the course.”

Mick Cotter’s Whisper has all but sewn up Mini Maxi Racing/Cruising despite a fifth place today. Her closets rival Aegir (GBR) is five points behind and when the throw out comes into play tomorrow it will take a bigger implosion on the part of Cotter and his crew to lose their hard fought lead. Brian Benjamin, owner of Aegir, is more than satisfied though, “we’ve been coming here for four years and had our first second-place in a race on Tuesday and today bettered that with our first first-place finish. Our best overall result has been fourth, so being in second at this stage is fantastic.” Aegir will have to sail smart tomorrow. She is locked on 13-points with OPS 5 (ITA) going into the last race.

The Mini Maxi Racing Division took on two more windward/leeward courses of 10.8 miles each. The wind was northerly and around 12 knots for the first race, dropping as low as 8 knots for the second. It was a tricky day, complicated by a 1.5 metre choppy sea-state. With the breeze favouring the right side of the course and a significant current influencing the left, the strategic-planning departments at the back of each boat were on a heightened state of alert for opportunities to gain and possibilities to lose. Keeping two steps ahead was a necessary part of the game. Ràn ran away with the ball in the Overall Mini Maxi 00 Division posting two wins to Alfa Romeo’s 2, 6 score line and Niklas Zennstrom holds a three-point advantage, with a discard already in play. Robert Scheidt, Torben Grael and Nacho Postigo on Luna Rossa (ITA) made amends for yesterday’s car-crash, scoring 5, 2 to lock themselves in third place. Hap Fauth and Bella Mente lie in fourth place in 00, but in second in the all-important Owner/Driver Classification, only one-point adrift of Alfa Romeo, which had a run in with Andres Soriano’s Alegre (GBR) during the second of today’s races.

Maxi Fleet (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Maxi Fleet (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

The Wally division twice took on the same windward/leeward course. Lindsay Owen Jones’ Magic Carpet (GBR) with an afterguard triumvirate of Tony Rey, Tom Whidden and Marcel van Triest put in a commanding performance to take two victories. Not enough to put her in contention for the overall prize, where Y3K’s dominance remains. Claus Peter Offen’s latest yacht looks to be as competitive as his previous and holds a five-point lead over Thomas Bscher’s Open Season (GER). Rey admitted they were turning it around a little late, but the crew were pleased with the effort, “today played to our strengths and we had two really nice results. I had a lot of confidence in the crew to get the sails up and down, so we could sail the boat assertively. We’re always looking for podium finish every time we go racing and could make the top three. Magic carpet has always had a bit of magic to it when she comes racing here and guys are all pumped to go racing tomorrow.” So watch out J One.

Whatever the conditions tomorrow and whatever the results, there will definitely be a little bit of magic on the water. Whenever a group of maxis go racing anywhere in the world it is a spectacular sight. There is just something about Porto Cervo and the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup that lifts it into a different league.

The final race takes place tomorrow, Saturday, with the first start scheduled for 11.30 CEST. The prize giving takes place tomorrow evening at 18.30 CEST on the Piazza Azzurra.

IDEA and Good Job Guys (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

IDEA and Good Job Guys (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

CURRENT PROVISIONAL STANDINGS Place, Boat Name, Owner, Nation, R1-R2, R3, R4, (R5, R6)*, Points (w/discard after 5 races)

Mini Maxi Racing (owner/driver)*
1. Alfa Romeo, Neville Crichton, NZL, 2-2-1-1-1-3, 7.0 points
2. Bella Mente, Hap Fauth, USA, 1-1-4-2-2-2, 8.0
3. Jethou, Peter Ogden, GBR, 3-3-2-4-4-1, 13.0

Mini Maxi (00 Class)*
1. Ran, Niklas Zennstrom, GBR, 4-2-3-2-1-1, 9.0 points
2. Alfa Romeo, Neville Crichton, NZL, 3-4-2-1-2-6, 12.0
3. Bella Mente, Hap Fauth, USA, 2- 3-7-4-4-5, 18.0

Mini Maxi Racing/Cruising
1. Whisper, Michael Cotter, IRL, 1-1-1-5, 8.0 points
2. Aegir, Brian Benjamin, GBR, 6-2-4-1, 13.0
3. Ops 5, Massimo Violati, ITA, 3-6-2-3, 14.0

Racing – Racing/Cruising
1. Beau Geste, Karl Kwok, HKG, 1-1-1-1, 4.0 points
2. Roma – Aniene, C.C. Aniene/F. Faruffini, ITA, 2-2-2-5, 11.0
3. DSK Pioneer Investments, Danilo Salsi, ITA, 3-3-3-2, 11.0

1. Roma – Aniene, C.C. Aniene/F. Faruffini, ITA, 1-1-1-4, 7.0 points
2. DSK Pioneer Investments, Danilo Salsi, ITA, 2-2-2-1, 7.0
3. Sagamore Enigma, Nicola Paoleschi, ITA, 3-4-3-2, 12.0

1. Y3K, Claus-Peter Offen, GER, 3-1-1-2-3, 10.0 points
2. Open Season, Thomas Bscher, GER, 2-3-2-6-2, 15.0
3. J One, Jean-Charles Decaux, FRA, 1-2-5-4-5, 17.0

Cruising/Spirit of Tradition
1. Velsheda, Tarbat Investment Ltd, GBR, 1-1-1-1, 4.0 points
2. Hamilton II, Lockstock Ltd, GBR, 2-4-5-2, 13.0
3. Visione, Hasso Plattner, GER, 5-3-2-3, 13.0

Beau Geste Upwind Day Two (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi)

Beau Geste Upwind Day Two (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Day two of the 2009 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup dawned bright and clear. Early reports from the racecourse suggested a small change in conditions from yesterday. The wind had backed a little to the north, and was blowing a fresh 15 knots, but the sea state remained large and lumpy. Happy campers this evening were Luna Rossa (ITA) in Mini Maxi Racing; Y3K (GER) in Wally; Beau Geste (HKG) in Racing & Racing Cruising; Whisper (IRL) in Mini Maxi Racing/Cruising and Velsheda (GBR) in Cruising/Spirit of Tradition.

Peter Craig and the Race Committee had little sympathy for the crew on the Racing Mini Maxis and Wallys who might have sampled too much Sardinian hospitality last night. These two divisions were sent on a 47-nautical mile jaunt up the islet and rock strewn main channel of the Maddalena archipelago to Eceuil de Lavezzi, just off the southern tip of Corsica, followed by the now familiar open-sea reach down the back of the islands, this time extending down the Costa Smeralda to Mortoriotto before heading back up to the finish off Porto Cervo. There was much the same lack of sympathy for the remaining three divisions which raced a 39-nautical mile diet-version of the course which took them up to the vaunted Eceuil before heading home round the outside, albeit without the complication of Mortoriotto.

Mini Maxi Fleet start (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi)

Mini Maxi Fleet start (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi)

The Racing Mini Maxis, once again the first start pathfinders, were shorn of one of their number before the day began. Udo Schutz’s Container (GER) had headed off to Olbia early this morning to be lifted out of the water to properly inspect some damage suffered yesterday. The remaining seven leapt off the start line looking alarmingly similar to a startled group of blue marlin, all threatening bowsprits to the fore. Ràn (GBR), with Tim Powell as its principal helm, shrugged off yesterday’s woe and led from start to finish, delighting owner Niklas Zennström whose only complaint was having had to hike hard for most of the course. Ràn completed the route in just over three and a half hours, but corrected out a troublesome twenty-five seconds behind Luna Rossa. Once again the Brazilian double act of Torben Grael and Robert Scheidt putting one over their immediate opposition. Hap Fauth and Bella Mente (USA) won the battle of Mini Maxi owner/drivers finishing third on the water and handicap, snuffing out a sharp-looking Neville Crichton and Alfa Romeo (NZL), which had trailed Ràn around the course.

Open Season, Y3K and Magic Carpet (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi)

Open Season, Y3K and Magic Carpet (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi)

In the Racing & Racing/Cruising Group, Karl Kwok’s Beau Geste (HKG) with Gavin Brady and Francesco de Angelis masterminding the control centre seared round the shorter of the two tracks in just under three hours, roasting the opposition in the process to correct out ahead of Filippo Faruffini’s Roma-Aniene (ITA) and Danilo Salsi’s Swan 90 DSK Pioneer Investments (ITA). This is only Kwok’s second venture into Sardinian waters and the first on his own boat. He is certainly enjoying the sailing experience, “today’s conditions were similar to yesterday’s, but there were some patches of stronger breeze. Much of the time we were at 16-17 knots which was good. The boat loves long reaching legs and we were given some of these today. We’re happy in big seas and the crew work has been no problem. We’re looking forward to the rest of the week. I’m sure the weather will stay the same, but we’re hoping that so will the wind!”

In the Wallys, Magic Carpet (GBR) strode imperiously up the initial windward leg to lead Y3K and Open Season (GER) into the top mark. At one point, all three were line abreast looking more akin to battle cruisers steaming purposefully towards a fray. Certainly the foredeck crews could be forgiven for assimilating their situation to a war zone, getting a royal hosing as these powerful craft took on the still indecently sized seas just off Porto Cervo. Y3K won through in the end, both on the water and handicap converting a four-minute lead over Magic Carpet to a narrow one-minute victory over the much smaller J One (FRA), which had finished the race some forty minutes astern. Open Season looked to have lost out to Magic Carpet by a mere four seconds for the final podium slot, until a port/starboard protest between these two led to Magic Carpet‘s disqualification rounding off a difficult two days for Lindsay Owen Jones and crew.

Visione In Day 2 Racing Off Porto Cervo, Italy (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi)

Visione In Day 2 Racing Off Porto Cervo, Italy (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi)

In the Mini Maxi Racing/Cruising, Idea might have taken the line honours gun, but it was Mick Cotter who must have kissed the Blarney Stone again this morning. According to Brian Benjamin on Aegir (GBR), the crew of Whisper put on another eloquent display of big-sea sailing through the Straits of Bonifacio where the fleet faced a stiff beat following a significant right-hand swing in the wind direction. Benjamin was home some twenty minutes after his Irish counterpart and just three and bit minutes shy on handicap, apparently Aegir‘s best performance in four years to date. Sailing with Benjamin was Royal Ocean Racing Club Commodore Andrew Mcirvine, a newcomer to yachting’s Xanadu; “I’ve sailed in most bits of the world but never here. It’s absolutely stunning. Absolutely perfect conditions and the hardware out there is incredible. It’s wonderful watching huge boats go past you and, for me, we’re on a pretty huge boat already.”

The last start of the day was by no means the least spectacular, being reserved for yachts over 100-feet. The jousting giants include not just the largest yachts at the event, but some of the prettiest with examples appealing equally to those drawn by classic looks and those by ultra-modern. The purists will be pleased by Velsheda‘s second victory in as many races and, even more so by Hetairos‘ (CAY) second place on handicap despite finishing almost an hour behind first-home Visione (GER).

Velshelda Beating (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi)

Velsheda Beating (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi)

Visione is a gargantuan 45 metres or just a few euros short of 150 feet. By no means the biggest sailing yacht in the world, she still grabs the spotlight here this week. Big does not necessarily mean beautiful, but underway Visione is as graceful as she is potent. From the water she is a commanding presence. From the air she is spectacular. Vast swathes of deck patrolled by ants, handling massive areas of sail. Another eye-catching yacht is the strikingly turquoise-hulled Gliss (SUI), owned by Marco Vögele. Vögele has turned to Ireland for one of his professional talent this week, hoping that Harold Cudmore – a stalwart of the grand-prix America’s and Admiral’s Cup racing scenes for some decades – would add a touch of Irish luck to his campaign. Cudmore has seen it all and more, but still finds the racing here special; “today was a cracking day, just as yesterday. Up amongst the islands with these magnificent yachts in close company; into the Strait, the wind came up a bit, we’re all under a bit of pressure, there are things happening all around and it makes for a wonderful time.”

Racing Continues through September 12

J-Class Velsheda (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi)

J-Class Velsheda (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi)

There was a twinkle in the eye of Poseidon this morning. The current crop of sailing gods may have gathered in Porto Cervo for the 2009 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, but the lord of the sea was about to prove mastery of the waves does not come easily even to the gifted. This was to be a testing day for all competitors. Not everyone was overawed, as ocean ace Torben Grael and Olympic maestro Robert Scheidt conspired to bring Luna Rossa (ITA) home first amongst the Racing Mini Maxis, although not without their moment. Jean-Charles Decaud’s J One (FRA) was the fortunate one in the Wallys, while Velsheda (GBR) and tradition got the better of modernity in Cruising. The luck of the Irish was evidenced in the Racing/Cruising Mini Maxis as Whisper (IRL) quietly went about her business and in the combined Racing/Cruising division, Karl Kwok’s Beau Geste (HKG) wrapped up the race win in indecent haste.

The journey from Porto Cervo harbour to the start line was enough to set the nerves jangling this morning as a 3-metre sea and 20 – 25 knots of northeasterly wind greeted competitors. The conditions were more than manageable for Maxi yachts, but there were traps in the waves and gusts that would catch those unwary, unlucky or unprepared. The Race Committee chose a 35 nautical mile course, that took the fleet on a beat to a windward mark, followed by a fetch to the rocks at Monaci, where the yachts bore off onto a run down into the main channel between the Maddalena Islands and mainland Sardinia. At Secca di Tre Monti the fleet hardened up for some upwind work in flat water to the top mark of the course at Barrettinelli di Fuori. Then it was back out into the lump and bump of the open sea and a fast reach down to the finish off Porto Cervo.

The Racing Mini Maxis got proceedings underway. Neville Crichton all but confirmed his worst fears about preparation with a distinctly second row start that saw Alfa Romeo (NZL) forced to tack off onto port straight after the gun. The division split in two with half favouring the right and half the left. The right paid. By first mark, Crichton’s crew, with Ben Ainslie in the strategist’s role, had regained composure and position to take a slender lead over Niklas Zennstrom’s Ràn (GBR). Luna Rossa was in third and the biggest surprise was the 60-foot Jethou getting the better of the STP65 Container (GER). It was at this point that Poseidon played his first trump card. Andres Soriano and Alegre (GBR) suffered sail damage that was considered enough to warrant the crew taking an early bath. One down.

The next three classes got away without incident making the best of the difficult conditions. The fifth and final start was the most dramatic. Poseidon’s humour was black at this point, perhaps frustrated at the fleet’s apparent nonchalant regard for the conditions. The Polish crew on Intuition were thrown the unhittable curve ball. Two bangs announced the Racing/Cruising Mini Maxi’s entrance into the arena. The one from the Committee boat was expected. The one from the from Intuition was gut wrenching as the top three metres of her mast separated leaving her mortally-wounded on the line, a sorry sight for the fast departing fleet. Two down.

Mini Maxi Winner, Whisper (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi)

Mini Maxi Winner, Whisper (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi)


In The Wallys, Lindsay Owen Jones and Magic Carpet had looked to be settled into the groove early holding a good lead over Open Season and the longer Y3K. It was a lead they would hold all the way to Barrettinelli when the trident of bad fortune chose to strike Owen Jones, not for the first time in the history of this event. Twice in quick succession the head sail appeared to blow out of the foil, leaving the Magic Carpet looking a little thread bare as she was forced to finish race under main alone. Not quite three down, but in the context of this race she would no longer play a serious role.

On Luna Rossa, Robert Scheidt and Torben Grael were understandably happy with the way the day’s events unfolded. “It was a good day for us,” commented Grael, “we had a nice start, read the course well, made some nice moves and even got to the finish line ahead, which is good for a small boat in a class like ours.” Grael admitted that it had not been straightforward describing how shortly after watching Ràn suffer her moment of misfortune when the jib tack broke tearing the sail out of the headfoil, the Luna Rossa crew took the lead and promptly lost control of the inner staysail during the hoist. Fortunately for Luna Rossa they were reaching at this point and the issue was no more than an irritation. Ràn’s problems cost them second if not the race, according to tactician Adrian Stead. The remaining podium positions in Luna Rossa’s class were taken by Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente (USA) and Alfa Romeo.

In the second tier group of Mini Maxis, comprising the less race-oriented boats, the Irish yacht, Whisper, sailed an exemplary race to correct out seven minutes ahead of Massimillano Florio’s Grande Orazio and Massimo Violati’s OPS 5. Mick Cotter, the owner, was a happy man as he climbed ashore, “we had big breeze, which helps a big heavy boat like ours! We had no problems either, which some of the other boats seemed to have.” For Cotter the biggest problem of the day was which sail to put up; a decision-making question-mark echoed by tactician Andy Beadsworth, who described how on the reach back to the finish they were torn between sticking with the sail combination that had almost got them to the top of the course first on the water or changing up a gear. In the end, conservatism won through. “We had a few concerns about hoisting the kite. We’d been going well till that point, though we might have been better off reefed. Putting the spinnaker up might have opened us to more problems and, to be honest, we were in such a good position we didn’t need to gain anything, so we held off,” Beadsworth explained. Wise choice.

Luna Rosa (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi)

Luna Rosa (Photo by Carlo Borlenghi)

For some crews the end of racing today could not come soon enough. The prospect of more of the same tomorrow will probably be unnerving a few. By contrast, for Mick Cotter, tomorrow can’t come soon enough and he is hoping for another dose of the medicine, “I don’t think there is a better place to sail, you are nearly always going to get a breeze and it’s warm so it does not matter if the sea comes over you.” When Irish eyes are smiling.