Porto Cervo, Italy – 37 yachts divided into five classes entered the 24th Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup organized from 1st to 7th September by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in conjunction with the International Maxi Association (IMA).
The Costa Smeralda provides a stunning setting and a variety of great, challenging conditions for this event, one of the highlights of the Mediterranean yachting season. As usual, the international fleet comprised 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 perennially strong Wally fleet this year included seven yachts in the Wally Division (Kenora, Hamilton, Y3K, Magic Carpet Cubed, Open Season, Inti, J One).
The regatta was also the long awaited face-off between the first two wallycento units, the 2012 Hamilton and the new Magic Carpet Cubed, two different naval architectural interpretations of the wallycento box-rule. Hamilton was at her seasonal debut while Magic Carpet Cubed at her third regatta (she claimed line honours at the Giraglia Rolex Cup in June).
The battle was fierce and both wallycentos showed impressive performance and potential.
The week was dominated by light winds, and the newest Magic Carpet Cubed prevailed over her direct competitor, in five races out of seven (four Windward Leewards and three costals). The Owner and helmsman Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones is happy with the progress of his new boat, competing at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup for the first time. “Probably the biggest single difference is how much faster this generation of boats is,” explains Owen-Jones. “When you feel it accelerating it really is exciting. It feels like a racing boat and that’s what we wanted.”
Despite the presence of Magic Carpet Cubed 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.”
Far from being the newest boat in the Wally class, J-One was the most impressive sealing a second Class title, a first since 2007. The second place went to Magic Carpet Cubed, a proud record at the competition and the defending champion. Third came Open Season.
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. 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 Cubed the 100-ft box-ruled Wally 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. “She’s much faster. She is much more fun, much more exciting. She feels like a racing boat and that’s what we wanted,” explained Owen-Jones. “Paradoxically, she is a much better cruising boat because of her extra width, which gives people air and space and makes her a very stable cruising platform.”
General Results Wally Division:
1. J One 9 p.
2. Magic Carpet Cubed 17 p.
3. Open Season 19 p.
4. Y3K 20 p.
5. Inti 21 p.
6. Hamilton 28 p.
7. Kenora 41 p.