Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2010 : Norse gods align for the winners


The final day of the 2010 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup has proved every bit as fascinating as the previous days. But what would one expect with forty-nine of the world’s biggest sailing yachts racing off the stunning Sardinian coast in bright sunshine and on azure blue waters. Today was the day to determine the winners and losers at the year’s premier exposition of inshore maxi yacht racing. For those ending the day on the podium an array of trophies and prizes awaited, including the coveted Rolex Yacht-Master chronometers.

This year’s maxi aces are: Igor Simcic and Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) in Maxi, Claus Peter Offen and Y3K (GER) in Wally; John Williams and Ranger (CAY) in the J-Class; Otto Happel and Hetairos (CAY) in Supermaxi; whilst at the inaugural Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds, Niklas Zennstrom and Rán (GBR) took pole overall, and, Brian Benjamin and Aegir (GBR) struck gold amongst the Racer/Cruisers.

Final day winners were: Rán, twice, in Mini Maxi; Irvine Laidlaw’s Highland Fling (MON) in Maxi; Y3K in Wally; Ranger in J-Class and Marco Vogele’s Gliss (SUI) in Supermaxi.

And so to the real story of the day: the biggest shoot out with the most surprising outcome was in the Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds where the Judel/Vrolijk designed seventy-two footer Rán put her troubles of yesterday to one side to score two bullets to steal the world championship from under the nose of Andres Soriano’s Alegre (GBR), which had led the series from day one.

For Zennstrom the result is a dream come true after a less than simple week, “today I am very, very proud of the team. It has been hard, we had a dreadful start on the very first day, we lost (strategist) Tim Powell through a land-based injury and then hit a rock. It has been a struggle.” But struggles are what make life interesting, sorting the men from the boys, presenting challenges that must be risen to.

Zennstrom described the scenario, “before yesterday, we were behind by only one point. It went pear-shape when we hit the rock and had to pull out. We knew it was still possible to win, but only if we won both races and Alegre had two poor races.” Rán’s physical shape was uncertain. There was no where to lift the yacht last night and properly check the damage, so there was some finger-crossing onboard the largely British crewed boat, “we didn’t know this morning if the keel would stay on and it was quite a lumpy sea. We made the decision that if we heard anything we would bear away quickly. Before the start we sailed upwind, hit a few big waves and thought ‘the keel is still hanging on so lets still go for it’.” Good job too, in the eventual circumstances.

Brian Benjamin was sailing his last races on Aegir today, with a new 82-foot yacht nearing completion in Newport, Rhode Island, so he was thoroughly impressed to have won the battle of the Racer/Cruisers in the Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds fleet, “we had a very good week: the boat sailed well, the crew was fantastic, we had lots of problems all week, but we just overcame them. We’ll be back with the new boat. Our first mission in Europe (next year) will be the Giraglia Rolex Cup, then Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, and finally Rolex Middle Sea Race.”


The maxi division
In the Maxi division, Esimit Europa 2 had done enough not to have to race today. With a discard coming into play if five races were conducted, Esimit was unbeatable and with two big tests still to come this season – La Barcolana and the 606 nm Rolex Middle Sea Race, expediency won the day. Simcic was understandably delighted with the overall result, “our rating is very big, we have to arrive very far ahead of the second boat to win on corrected time. This is not easy in all conditions, but we got three first places and one second place. This means that not just is the boat very fast, but the team is very good.”

The Wallys
The Wallys were led home for the second year in a row by Y3K. Claus Peter Offen’s crew have sailed consistently well this week and whilst the maths suggested they could lose today on count-back if Magic Carpet 2 had won, Y3K would have needed a shocker of a result. As it was, Y3K put the issue beyond doubt winning the race from the front. Offen expressed his huge satisfaction, post racing, “it’s our third win at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the second time in a row. It is really a great feeling, even more since it is with our new boat. So, of course, we are coming again next year to try to make it a triple win! This will not be easy, since the level of the Wally fleet is very strong, especially this year. This makes it even more interesting and so the win counts for even more.”

Hetairos took the Supermaxi class after a second place today. Apart from a sixth in the first race, which could be dropped with today’s result, Hetairos has been all but unstoppable scoring two firsts and two seconds. Owner, Otto Happel, has participated at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup a number of times before and really enjoyed the contest, “we had a great week with good breeze most days which is extraordinary and much better than previous years. There were forty-nine boats, which we have never had before, so it was a lot of fun to have that kind of competition.”

The J Class
In the J Class battle, Ranger put the issue beyond doubt pretty much from day one. The only blip on the otherwise horizon of perfection was a second in race four, which was discarded. John Williams has been in this position before at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and was no less impressed that the first time he won, “when you have just four-points you cannot do any better than that. The boat was great and we never made a tactical or mechanical mistake. When you sail perfectly and you have a great crew you expect to do well.” Williams plans further campaigns in the J-Class and is looking to the future even whilst the dust settles on his latest victory, “we continue to make little tweaks to the boat, to improve it, to make it a little bit better, which is our goal and something you have to do. We’ve already got lists to work on for the next four or five months!”


Place, Boat, Skipper, Races 1-2-3-4-5, Total Points

Maxi (Racing & Racing/Cruising)
1) Esimit Europa 2, Igor Simcic, 1-2-1-1-(DNC 7), 5.0 points
2) Highland Fling, Irvine Laidlaw, (2)-1-2-2-1, 6.0
3) Singularity, Deniy Yacht Mngmt, (4)-3-3-4-2, 12.0

Supermaxi/J Boats
1) Ranger, R.S.V. Ltd, 1-1-1-(2)-1, 4.0 points
2) Velsheda, Tarbat Investment, 2-3-(7)-1-2, 8.0
3) Hetairos, Rockport Ltd, (8)-2-3-3-4, 12.0

1) Hetairos, Rockport Ltd, (8)-2-3-3-4, 6.0 points
2) Gliss, Marco Vogele, 3-(7)-4-2-1, 10.0
3) Visione, Hasso Plattner, (4)-3-1-3-3, 10.0

Place, Boat, Skipper, Races 1-2-3-4-5-6, Total Points

1) Y3k, Claus Peter Offen, 2-2-2-1-(4)-1, 8.0 points
2) Magic Carpet 2, Lindsay Owen Jones, (5)-1-3-4-2-4, 14.0
3) Indio, Andrea Recordati, (4)-3-4-2-3-3, 15.0

Place, Boat, Country, Skipper, Races 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9, Total Points

Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship
1) Ran, Niklas Zennstrom (GBR), 6-2-1-2-2-2-DNF(25)-1-1, 17.0 points
2) Alegre (GBR), Andy Soriano, 1-1-4-1-1-4-3-4-(5), 19.0
3) Shockwave (NZL), Neville Crichton, 2-3-2-(5)-5-3-4-3-2, 24.0

Mini Maxi Racer-Cruiser
1) Aegir, Brian Benjamin (GBR), 8-8-13-8-(140-9-2-6-9, 63.0 points
2) Stig, Alessandro Rombelli (ITA), (14)-7-8-14-11-13-7-13-6, 79.0
3) Charis, Fabio Mangifesta (ITA), 11-13-(18)-13-9-10-5-7-14, 82.0

Tags on : Rolex CupClasse JWally

Photo Credit: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi /

– PR –

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