Porto Cervo, Italy - 52 boats made the record-sized fleet of the world’s largest performance yachts gathered in Porto Cervo, Italy from 4th to 10th September, for the 27th Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, impeccably organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda with the International Maxi Association (IMA), and sponsored in great style by Rolex.
The biggest division was once again the Wally Class, aligning 13 yachts on the starting line including the latest wallycento Galateia, at her Mediterranean racing debut. The rest of the fleet was made up of the defending champion Open Season, the other wallycento Magic Carpet Cubed, the experienced and trophy serial winner Y3K, the truly Corinthian Kenora, the two 94-footers Galma and Sensei -featuring a new sail plan with square-head main, and the six highly competitive 80-footers J One, Lyra, Nahita, Ryokan 2, Tango G, and Tilakkhana.
The difficult weather conditions throughout the week challenged the organisers who anyhow managed to complete the seven scheduled races for the Wally Class.
Big conditions in the first day proved too big: the 30-35 knots of mistral wind forced the organisers to abandon racing on the opening day of competition.
Luca Bassani, President of the Wally Class, supported this choice: “If you sail in up to 25 knots, that is reasonable. If you had the right sails to sail in 35-40 knots you could do it, but if you don’t have those sails, then there is no point…”.
The next day got underway successfully, albeit in left-over waves of alpine proportions, kicked up overnight. The Wallys sailed two windward-leewards in lumpy conditions off Porto Cervo. At the start time the wind was down to 20 knots and continually dropped from then on.
The Wally 107 Open Season had a great event overture winning both races: two excellent starts helped them to take the lead, while a flawless crew work did the rest. Lyra and J One came in second and third respectively in the first race, Tango G and Magic Carped Cubed second and third in the second WL.
Sadly for a second day, conditions proved too brisk for racing in 30-35 knots of the much feared Grecale NE wind that in Costa Smeralda raises a huge dangerous sea: truly storm conditions!
The competition resumed on day 4, with two short coastal courses scheduled for the Wally Class, but the breeze diminished and only one could be sailed.
Open Season impressively scored a three out of three winning also the third race and confirmed her lead in the overall standings. Y3K came in second and Galma third Unfortunately a start line collision between the two Wallycentos, resulted in a damage to Galateia forcing her to withdraw from the regatta.
The next day racing kicked off in a welcome 15 knot northerly, which subsequently dropped and became shifty putting the tacticians under pressure. The Wally Class completed two short coastal courses of 18-nm each, that were won by Y3K and Tango G. In the first race Open Season fiercely battled stern to bow with Magic Carpet Cubed, and they finished second and third respectively. In the second coastal J One took the second place, and Lyra the third, while Open Season collected the eight place that became their discard to keep the overall lead.
In the last day, in 9-11 knots of northerly breeze the Wallys sailed two windward-leewards, decisive for the final standings because none of the positions were secured yet. The first one was Open Season triumph: the Wally 107 did the perfect race and took both the race and the Trophy. Lyra was second and Magic Carpet Cubed third.
The final race determined an upturning in the final podium: J One won and climbed up from fourth to second, while Tango G slipped to third, and Lyra was left empty-handed.
Congratulations to the winning team and to all the participants for a memorable event.
The Wally Class largest fleet ever meet up in two weeks at the beautiful Les Voiles de Saint Tropez (September 26-October 2), where 16 yachts are expected: follow the live racing in this web site and with the Wally Class app available in both the Apple and Play stores!
General Results Wally Division:
1. Open Season 13 p.
2. J One (winner Group 80) 23 p.
3. Tango G (80) 24 p.
4. Y3K 26 p.
5. Lyra 26 p.
6. Nahita 30 p.
7. Ryokan 2 (winner group 2) 36 p.
8. Magic Carpet Cubed 39 p.
9. Galma 41 p.
10. Sensei 45 p.
11. Tilakkhana (80) 52,5 p.
12. Kenora (2) 67,5 p.
13. Galateia 84 p.
Photo Martinez Studio