Porto Cervo, Italy, 31 August-6 September 2014 – The 25th Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, organized from August 31 to September 6 by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in conjunction with the International Maxi Association (IMA), goes down in the Wally Class history for the tightest competition ever.
Nine Wallys on starting line, making up the largest division of the event: two wallycentos Magic Carpet Cubed and Open Season; 100-foot Y3K; 107-foot Kenora; 94-foot Sensei; four 80-footers Inti, J One, Ryokan2, and Tango G.
The racing scheduled included three costal races and four Windward-Leewards for a total of seven races with the discard after the fifth one.
The excellent conditions (sunshine and wind between 8 and 20 knots throughout the week) and the flawless Race Committee allowed to sail all the seven races contributing to the successful outcome of the regatta.
Since the first coastal race of the first day, it was evident that neither the defending champion J One nor the fierce Magic Carpet Cubed and the four-time winner Y3K team, would have easily relinquished the Trophy.
The yacht to win line honours was Magic Carpet Cubed that outperformed all the Classes, crossing the finish line ahead of the whole 34-superyacht fleet of the regatta, including the Mini Maxi (that started 10 minutes before!) by 4 minute, covering the 37-mile course among the Maddalena Archipelago in just 3h10min! The race went to J One in corrected time, while Y3K was third.
The second day had two WL courses: Magic Carpet Cubed won the first one both in real and in corrected time, followed by Y3K and J One; Y3K won the second one with J One second and Tango G third, while Magic Carpet Cubed arrived fifth for a gennaker problem.
On Wednesday -the third day of the regatta, the costal race was as engaging as the previous one, with tricky winds that several times produced changes in the leading positions. At the end, Magic Carpet Cubed won once again both in real and corrected time, followed by J One and Y3K.
At this stage it was clear that the battle for the title was restricted to these three Wallys, with the competition getting tighter.
The highlight of the lay-day on Thursday was the stunning Rolex Dinner Party at the Cala di Volpe, with the grand finale of fireworks to celebrate 30 years of partnership with the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda racing programme.
The racing resumed on Friday with another spectacular coastal course: 25 miles to Mortoriotto Island, then Secca di Tremonti, Capo Ferro, and Monaci Island. The “outsider” Ryokan 2 won the race, with Y3K and J One second and third respectively.
Before the start of the last day there was no obvious favourite, any of the three had the possibility to win the Wally Division: the three leading crews were separated by just one point, all had winning Porto Cervo pedigree, all had led at some point during the week. J One began the day level on terms with Y3K, while stalking just one point behind was Magic Carpet Cubed.
A third bullet of the week enabled Magic Carpet Cubed to take the first windward/leeward race; Y3K stumbled early suffering from a poor start; J One could not match wallycento’s mastery of the conditions and had to settle for third. Magic Carpet Cubed supremacy was confirmed in the final race as her rivals fell by the wayside: J One had to retire, and equipment issues led to Y3K failing to start. Third place was enough for Magic Carpet Cubed to claim her first Maxi Yacht Rolex success!
“It was a close week,” reflected Owner and helmsman Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, “J-One sails well, I know it well having been a boat of mine. We’ve been coming here a long time, it is the one we all want to win.”
Congratulations to the winning team and to all the participants for such a memorable event.
The next rendezvous of the Wally Class is the beautiful Voiles de Saint Tropez (September 29-October 5) where 12 Wallys will compete.
General Results Wally Division:
1. Magic Carpet Cubed 13 p.
2. J One 14 p.
3. Y3K 15 p.
4. Ryokan 2 23 p.
5. Sensei 26 p.
6. Tango G 27 p.
7. Inti 35 p.
8. Open Season 46 p.
9. Kenora 49 p.
Photos Carlo Borlenghi / Courtesy of Rolex