Please select your home edition
Edition
Maritimo 2023 M600 LEADERBOARD

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup: Class Performances

by Quinag 9 Sep 2023 11:56 PDT 3-9 September 2023
The Maxi A Class powers through the big sea on the second day of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup © Carlo Borlenghi

Since the early 1980s, maxi yacht owners and sailors have been drawn to the Costa Smeralda and specifically the annual Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. Considered the perfect sailing package the event unites first-class organization, a majestic sailing environment and the world's leading maxi yachts and professional crews.

Rolex and event organizer the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) have enjoyed a close partnership for nearly 40 years. The longevity of this collaboration has been at the heart of the event's continued success and evolution. Support for the organization of the week-long regatta is provided by the International Maxi Association (IMA).

The 2023 edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup will be considered a special vintage. Four days of racing offered the full repertoire of the Costa Smeralda sailing experience, from the strong breeze, big waves and robust sea state of the regatta's initial exchanges to the light, unstable conditions which closed proceedings.

The Maddalena Archipelago's myriad of race courses feature numerous narrow passages and rocky outcrops. On such testing fields of play, sailing powerful yachts at high speeds requires total synergy in teamwork and deft boat handling skills.

Sailors, drawn from the cream of professional sailing talent, were left enthralled by the week's competition. Former Rolex World Sailor of the Year, Mike Sanderson, part of the afterguard on Bella Mente, was one such example:

"The location is so special. Sun, big waves and big breeze. For so many teams this is the pinnacle event of their year. We have worked all year to develop the boat to be ready for this regatta."

For Mitch Booth, two-time Olympic medallist, overall Rolex Middle Sea Race winning skipper in 2021 and tactician on Leopard 3, the event is without equal:

"Coming together in such an iconic place, it is a real season highlight and a clash of the titans, the best against the best in perfect sailing."

Accolades went to the six class winners who showed great consistency and expertise in dealing both with the vagaries of the conditions but equally the formidable nature of the opposition. Proving triumphant were: Galateia (Maxi Class A), Bella Mente (Class B), Spirit of Lorina (Class C), Y3K (Supermaxi), Svea (J Class) and Allegra (Maxi multihull).

Since its foundation, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup has been the showcase for the evolution in maxi yacht design and technology. The 48-strong fleet at this year's 33rd edition was one of the most eclectic to date. From the largest entrant, Svea (43.6m/143-ft) through to the smallest Blue Oyster (18.3m/60-ft), an eye-catching range of yachts were on display.

Innovations for the 2023 edition included the first ever appearance of the maxi multihulls. As YCCS Commodore Michael Illbruck explains this aligns with the event's perennial commitment to be at the forefront of developments:

"Change is a constant in the world of yachting, and continuous evolution has been the key to the success of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, right from the first edition in 1980 up to the present day. The inclusion of multihulls fits perfectly with this perspective, a natural development of an event that has always been characterized by cutting-edge technology. Opening up to other categories allows owners to continue to pursue their passion and may inspire others to do so."

The oldest competing yachts included the J Class Velsheda and the recently restored Baruna, both dating back to the 1930s. Thomas Bscher's Baltic 68 Open Season proved a highlight amongst the newer launches and one which symbolises a movement within sailing design to consider even more closely the environmental impact across all aspects of boat building and performance.

Creating fair and exciting competition across such a diverse fleet requires significant race management organization, one the event has long been renowned for. The rating system and division of classes is constructed with this in mind and to provide owners and sailors with the platform to pursue their passion for the sport.

On the water, one of the closest divisions was the eight strong Maxi B group where American yachts Bella Mente and Proteus broke away to contest the title. Going into what proved to be the regatta's final race, they were tied on points. Bella Mente finished first to cap an impressive week on the water which saw the stellar crew, predominantly together for the past decade, claim two bullets and three second places. Delight for owner Hap Fauth:

"We come every year and it is the pinnacle of our season. This is our fourth victory in eleven years and the hardest fought."

Even closer was the Supermaxi competition. Only three points separated the top three yachts - Moat, Inoui and eventual winner Y3K, the recently launched Wally 101. It marked a return to Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup success for owner Claus-Peter Offen:

"I have been racing here for 25 years. For us it is the highlight of the regatta season. This is where we want to be thanks to the beauty of the area and of the yacht club."

For the class winners, crowned at the final prize-giving, victory at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is reward for overcoming world-class competition, an intense and challenging racing programme and having prepared in peak form for the pinnacle event in the maxi yacht calendar. The overriding sentiment was an appreciation for an event which always delivers on excellence.

Related Articles

Benetti 37M Motopanfilo M/Y Legend now available
Enchanting traditional aesthetic that conjures up the navettas of the 1960s The Shipyard has embellished the spaces on this particular Motopanfilo 37M with new finishes, including Antartide pink marble and embossed leather. Posted today at 9:45 am
How boaters can protect their boats
For the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its official predictions for the 2024 hurricane season with 23 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), 11 predicted to develop into hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher) Posted on 19 Jun
Holterman reveals the striking X-95
A brand new model 60 years in the making Dutch semi-custom yachtbuilder Holterman has offered a tantalising glimpse at a brand new addition to its brilliantly crafted Xtreme range of yachts which began with the concept for the multi-award-winning 33-metre X-105 Lady Fleur, launched in 2022. Posted on 19 Jun
100 Sunreef Power 2.0 launched
Sunreef Super Cats on the rise Sunreef Yachts, the world's leading luxury catamaran shipyard, proudly announces the launch of the 100 Sunreef Power 2.0. This exceptional superyacht marks a significant step forward in the shipyard's ongoing superyacht expansion. Posted on 19 Jun
Dri-Fast Polos, Tees, Explorer Shorts & Trousers
Year round comfort and performance from Henri-Lloyd Having the perfect pair of 'go-to' shorts and choice of technical tops is now even easier, thanks to the new range of Dri-Fast Polos, Tee shirts and Explorer shorts and trousers from British sailing brand Henri-Lloyd. Posted on 19 Jun
Timeless design of the Greenline 48
117 units built to date Evergreen yacht design is a rare touch, but it is one that Greenline Yachts of Slovenia has perfected with its longstanding Greenline 48. Posted on 19 Jun
New Moonen yacht LUMIÈRE delivered
Departing from The Netherlands on her maiden voyage to the Mediterranean Moonen Yachts is delighted to announce the successful delivery of LUMIÈRE, a 37.8m Martinique (124ft). Posted on 19 Jun
Lürssen delivers HAVEN
The dawn of a new era in superyacht design Lürssen is proud to announce the successful delivery of its second new build in as many months. The latest superyacht to leave the shipyard is HAVEN, known during construction as Project CALI. Posted on 19 Jun
The latest kit for summer boating, rain or shine
Our pick of the latest kit Summer's finally here and the season is in full swing. Here's our pick of the latest kit for racing, cruising and enjoying the water, rain or shine. Posted on 19 Jun
2024 Flotilla to Alaska - Day 38
Taku Harbor to Tracy Arm Cove We departed Taku Harbor this morning around 7am and made our way down a nice and calm Stephens Passage into Tracy Arm. Posted on 18 Jun
Maritimo 2023 S600 FOOTER