Forty spectacular sailing yachts are lined up on the quays of Porto Cervo Marina, primed and ready for the start of racing in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship 2015. The fleet, comprising yachts ranging from a minimum of 18 metres in length to over 60 metres, will take to the waters of the Costa Smeralda tomorrow morning for the first of five scheduled race days. This 26th edition of the event, which for over 30 years has been making this corner of Sardinia the centre of the yachting world each September, is organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in collaboration with title sponsor Rolex and the International Maxi Association and runs from 6th through 12th September.
This year the event plays host to the World Championship of the Maxi 72 class which is certain to see exciting action on the water among a group of fiercely competitive owner-drivers. New entry Momo will take on habitués of Costa Smeralda regattas such as Caol Ila R and Robertissima III, with all three boats flying the YCCS burgee.
The remainder of the fleet will race in four categories based on their size and technical characteristics. Defending his title in the Wally division will be Sir Lindsay Owen Jones on Magic Carpet Cubed, overall winner of the Giraglia Rolex Cup, while in the Supermaxi division all eyes will be on Hetairos; at 66 metres the colossus of the fleet. The 14-strong Mini Maxi fleet boasts the newly launched racer-cruiser Supernikka as well as a strong contingent of Nautor's Swan yachts, including the classic Sparkman and Stephens designed Shirlaf - launched in 1976. The record breaking 100-foot all out racer Comanche, which has been claiming victories and setting records since its launch late last year, will compete along with three other yachts in the Maxi division.
While the fleet in itself is breathtaking, the plethora of rock star sailors that accompanies the yachts draws media and spectators from across the world. The week ahead promises hard-fought battles between renowned yachtsmen such as Germany's Jochen Schümann (Open Season), American Terry Hutchinson (Bella Mente), New-Zealanders Brad Butterworth (Jethou), Cameron Appleton (Hetairos) and Ray Davies (Windfall) as well as Italian champions Paolo Cian (Shirlaf), Tommaso Chieffi (Supernikka), Vasco Vascotto (Robertissima) and Mauro Pelaschier (Viriella).
The entry list, event programme and technical documents are available on the YCCS website.
Images Courtesy of Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi