Max conditions at Maxi Cup
Published on September 7th, 2017
Porto Cervo, Italy (September 7, 2017) – A single windward-leeward race for the Maxi 72s and Wallys was held on what for all the other classes was a layday at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. Two races were scheduled to make up for those lost earlier in the week, but, after the first was completed, the wind suddenly piped up to 28 knots causing PRO Peter Craig to suspend racing for the day.
Today’s one race was a trailblazer, showing off the strong wind and blazing sunshine for which the Costa Smeralda is famous.
Following her victory in yesterday’s second race, the new Wallycento Galateia blasted around the race track once again claiming both line honours and the win under IRC corrected time. She now leads the Wally class, 8 points ahead of the Wally 80 Nahita, with the Wally 77 Lyra a further point behind.
“It is surprising to us!” said David M. Leuschen, Galateia’s owner. “The boat is new. We raced half the season last year when the crew was new. We have improved because the crew co-ordination is better. We did a lot of work on the boat over the winter and we bought a new suit of North Sails, which we like a lot more.”
They have also been luckier. Last year, in their first outing at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Leuschen remembers they suffered a collision and a spinnaker forestay wrap. “We haven’t had anything like that happen this time, but we are probably due for it…”
Today’s race Leuschen said was “phenomenal”. They sailed the final downwind particularly well to add distance on the water between them and the Wally 107 Open Season of International Maxi Association President, Thomas Bscher. “We saw 23 knots a couple of times and over 20 pretty consistently.”
Second today, moving her up to third behind Nikata overall in the Wally class, was the Wally 77, Lyra. Navigator Will Best said of their race: “We have a good J3, so the boat is well balanced and we are quite confident upwind. But we are really quick downwind.” On the final downwind Lyra achieved a new top speed of 16 knots. “It was good fun. At start time the wind was 14 knots and we were nervous we were under the wrong jib. But when we finished we had 24-25.”
International Maxi Association member, Dieter Schön on Momo made it three wins in a row. The German team now leads the Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship by 4.75 points.
For the 72s, the wind was typically 17-22 knots from 270-290°. “It was much more complicated than yesterday,” advised Momo’s tactician Markus Wieser. “Out of the start suddenly there was less pressure on the left and the right began paying half way up, so the boat on the windward side could hold the whole fleet out.”
Momo pulled into the lead on the first downwind, but was rolled coming into the leeward gate by Dario Ferrari’s new Cannonball. Both boats rounded the port gate mark but Momo tacked and had pulled out a significant lead at the second top mark.
Weiser believed it was the right call to cancel today’s second race. “We had puffs of up to 28 knots – it was on the edge. It would have been fun, if you’d have survived!”
A boat to benefit from the usually unfavoured right today was Alex Schaerer’s Caol Ila R. This being her first Maxi 72 inshore event of 2017, the Swiss boat has been lagging at this year’s Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship. The crew was therefore delighted to lead at the top mark.
“It shows that if you sail well the boat is still competitive against the new ones even in strong winds, when we are more optimised for lighter wind,” said Schaerer. Sadly this was not to last. Their A2 the spinnaker promptly blew up upon hoisting.
They were not alone in blowing up sails. Hap Fauth’s normally immaculate Maxi 72 Bella Mente ripped the top off her J3 four minutes into the first beat. Her crew carried out the speediest of jib changes, bareheaded. Despite this incident, they pulled up the fleet and at one point were up to second. “Everyone on the boat did a phenomenal job after the jib breakage to get us back into the race,” observed strategist Adrian Stead.
The Wallys also had their share of damage with the Wally 94 Sensei blowing up her kite as the wind filled in on the final run into the finish.
Tomorrow will be the penultimate day of racing at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Mistral wind is forecast to abate to 7-12 knots.
Held for the world’s largest racing yachts, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is jointly organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, this year celebrating its 50th anniversary, and the International Maxi Association, the body sanctioned by World Sailing to represent the Maxi classes.
Racing at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship takes place from September 4th to the 9th. Fifty yachts are currently entered.
Source: James Boyd / www.sailingintelligence.com
Sailing’s glamor tribe and the downsides of paradise
On the Maxi 72 Bella Mente, owned by Minneapolis businessman John “Hap” Fauth, the permanent crew of four swells to 20 for racing.
Bella Mente is wrapping up our spring and summer season in Palma De Mallorca, Spain! The cradle and containers are all packed and have departed for Porto Cervo. Bella Mente goes back in the water this morning and depending on weather the shore crew will depart for Sardinia this Saturday! The 2017 Maxi 72 Worlds start on September 3rd, 2017 in Porto Cervo, Italy. (Photo Credit: Captain Peter C Henderson)
Inside Look at the Hard-Core Maxi72 Yacht-Racing Series
By Michael Verdon
“Competing in the Maxi72 racing series is anything but a breeze for the yachts’ owners and crews.”
The inaugural Corfu Challenge brought on a demanding five days of competition to the Maxi 72 Class, but it was Bella Mente Racing’s win in the final two races in the seven-race regatta that secured the team’s spot on the podium in third place overall – behind Proteus and Momo, which went on to take first and second overall, respectively. The event, which kicked off Tuesday, July 4 and wrapped up this past Saturday, July 8, marked Bella Mente’s first time racing in the waters off Corfu, Greece.
“It’s always nice to be on the podium after a regatta, especially when it takes place in a new venue,” said Bella Mente Racing Owner/Driver Hap Fauth. “We had a slow start to the regatta and had to make a lot of adjustments, but winning on the last two days was affirmation of our ongoing competitiveness. We have an exciting remainder of the season on the horizon, with the Maxi 72 teams as competitive as ever this year.”
Terry Hutchinson, who joins Fauth in the afterguard added, “It was definitely a solid end to the Corfu Challenge. Early on in the week Bella Mente struggled to find her rhythm, with things not quite going our way, be it self imposed or mother nature, but like most things in sport it takes getting smacked around to have a good look at the adjustments required. Finishing the event with a 3,1,1 in the final three races was a great indication of the fight inside Bella Mente. We cannot help but see the improvements to Cannonball, Momo, and Proteus. They are very fast and polished teams. For the next two events it will be interesting to see what all the teams can develop over a wide range of conditions.”
Bella Mente Racing is looking forward to matching up against its Maxi 72 rivals again later this month in Mallorca, Spain for Copa Del Rey MAPFRE followed by the Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship in Porto Cervo, Italy in September.