Over 11-19 May, the Maxi fleet will return to a favourite destination for its owners - that azure-watered gem of the Tyrrhenian Sea, Capri.
Organised by the Circolo del Remo e della Vela Italia, Yacht Club Italiano and the Yacht Club Capri, in collaboration with the International Maxi Association, Unione Italiana Vela d’ altura and Federazione Italiana Vela, Rolex Capri Sailing Week has grown to be one of the most major regattas not just in Italy, but the Mediterranean. Rolex has been supporting the event since it was first held as the IMS World Championship in 2002.
Racing on the Gulf of Naples with the Sorrento coast and, in the distance, Mount Vesuvius as a backdrop, boats, owners and crew from all over the world will be participating. With registration still to close on 27 April, so far 90 boats have been entered, including 20 Maxi yachts (ie of 60+ft LOA).
Capri is renowned for its impressive geology such as these 'faraglioni'. Photo: ROLEX / Carlo Borlenghi
This year Rolex Capri Sailing Week will incorporate the historic Regatta dei Tre Golfi. The Circolo del Remo and Vela Italia’s annual coastal race was first held in 1954, thus making it Italy’s oldest sailing event second only to the Giraglia Rolex Cup. With the boats moored in Naples’ Santa Lucia Marina, the Regatta dei Tre Golfi famously starts at midnight, beneath the city’s magnificent Castel dell’Ovo, following dinner at the CRV Italia clubhouse.
This 64th edition of the race, for the first time, will be one of five events comprising the International Maxi Association’s 2017-2018 Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge. Regatta dei Tre Golfi will be its second event, after last autumn’s Rolex Middle Sea Race. It will be followed by the 151 Miglia on 31 May (151 miles - from Livorno to Punta Ala rounding Giraglia, Elba and Sparviero), the Giraglia Rolex Cup starting on 13 June (241 miles - from Saint Tropez to Genoa via Giraglia rock) and finally the 450 mile Palermo to Montecarlo Race, starting on 21 August.
Winner of the Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge is the boat scoring the best combined result from three of these races. Prizes will be awarded at the International Maxi Association’s annual dinner, held during the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Porto Cervo, Sardinia in September.
Midnight start for the Regatta dei Tre Golfi. Photo: Francesco Rastrelli /CRVI
Following a reception on the Friday evening, the Regatta dei Tre Golfi will set sail at midnight on Friday 11 May. It then follows a 170 mile route to Capri, across the Gulfs of Naples, Gaeta and Salerno via the island of Ponza and the Li Galli archipelago. For the first time, the race can be followed online by YB tracking.
For many years the record for the Regatta dei Tre Golfi was held by Pierluigi Loro Piana's My Song with a time of 25 hours 27 minutes. However this was roundly demolished in 2016 by the Cookson 50 Cippalippa 8 in 16 hours 44 minutes and 13 seconds – the present record. Last year’s winner and current holder of the Regatta dei Tre Golfi trophy - an ancient silver cup supported by three dolphins, representing the Gulfs of Campania - was another Cookson 50, Kuka 3, finishing in 21 hours, 34 minutes and 30 seconds.
Once the Regatta dei Tre Golfi offshore race is complete, the focus turns to day racing off Capri. From 12 May, competitors will be based in Capri’s Marina Grande and racing will resume on Wednesday 16 May, concluding on Saturday 19 May with a prize-giving ceremony held in Capri’s town square.
At present 20 of the entries are 60+ft Maxi yachts. Of these 14 are competing in the Maxi class, while most of the remainder are thoroughbred racers competing in the ORC/IRC Group A class. This includes a strong line-up of Maxi 72s such as Alex Schaerer's Caol Ila R, Sir Peter Ogden’s Jethou and Lucky, the former Maxi 72 World Champion, Bella Mente, now owned by American Bryon Ehrhart, who has upgraded from his Reichel-Pugh 63 of the same name. However Italian fans will be rooting for the ‘local’ team - Cannonball of Italian Dario Ferrari.
Cannonball leads the way at the 2017 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. Photo: ROLEX / Carlo Borlenghi
For a second time, Mylius Yachts are using Rolex Capri Race Week to hold the their championship for the Mylius Cup. At present eight of these Alberto Simeone designs are entered, ranging from 15 to 24m in length. Five are competing in the Maxi class, the largest being the Mylius 76s Twin Soul B and E Vai. Aldo Parisotto’s Mylius 65FD Oscar 3 is returning to defend the Mylius Cup title earned last year in Capri but will face stiff competition from the Mylius 60, Fra Diavolo of Vincenzo Addessi, President of the Yacht Club Gaeta. However all eyes will be on the new Mylius 80, launched at the end of April, which will be making her race debut in Capri.
Elsewhere in the Maxi class are familiar International Maxi Association members Carlo Puri Negri and his much campaigned Farr 70 Atalanta II and the Vismara 62 CR SuperNikka of Roberto Lacorte, creator of the 151 Miglia race. Oldest yacht competing in the Maxi class will be the Swan 65 Force 9 of London, the former ADC Accutrac, skippered in the second Whitbread Round the World Race (Volvo Ocean Race) by Clare Francis.
Yachts in the Maxi class are scheduled to compete in a maximum of six races of which up to four can be windward-leewards and up to three coastal courses. The winner will be awarded the Maxi Yacht Capri Trophy.
The Vismara 62 CR SuperNikka of Roberto Lacorte. Photo: ROLEX / Carlo Borlenghi
Andrew McIrvine, Secretary General of the International Maxi Association commented: "Maxi boats have been racing off Capri for more than 10 years.
“We are happy to be involved with the three very famous Italian yacht clubs and we'll do our best to bring our help, where possible, with the objective of making owners happier and – hopefully - be more ‘numerosi’ in the future!
“We are also pleased to have added one more classic offshore race - the well-known Tre Golfi - to our five event Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge. This circuit includes the best offshore races in the Mediterranean and we hope to see higher numbers of maxi participants in these."
2018 Rolex Capri Sailing Week program
• Friday 11 May (Naples)
20.00 lunch at the Circolo Remo and Vela Italia in honour of Regatta dei Tre Golfi participants
• Saturday 12 May
00.00 start of the 64th Regatta dei Tre Golfi
• Tuesday, 15 May (Capri)
17.30 Briefing for the Maxi Yacht Capri Trophy and Mylius Cup skippers
19.30 Greeting of the Mayor of Capri and welcome cocktail party for participants
• Wednesday 16 May
12.00 Warning signal before Maxi Yacht Capri Trophy and Mylius Cup
17.30 Briefing for the CNT skippers at the village regattas
Evening: IMA reception for Maxi owners and IMA members.
• Thursday 17 May
11.25 warning signal MYCT and MC
11.55 warning signal before CNT test
20.30 dinner offered by Mylius Yachts
• Friday 18 May
9.00 skippers’ briefing;
10.55 warning signal all classes
20.30 Rolex Owners Gala Dinner.
• Saturday, May 19th
10.55 am warning signal for all classes
6.30 pm prizegiving in the Piazzetta of Capri
Report by James Boyd sailingintelligence.com
For more information visit internationalmaxiassociation.com