Brilliant sunshine welcomed the forty yachts competing in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup & Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship 2015 in Porto Cervo on the first of five scheduled race days. Early leaders in their respective categories are: Jethou, owned by Sir Peter Ogden (Maxi 72), Thomas Bscher's Open Season (Wally), Wallyño owned by Benoit De Froidmont (Mini Maxi RC/SOT), Roberto Lacorte's Supernikka (Mini Maxi R), Grande Orazio by Pioneer Investments owned by Massimiliano Florio (Maxi R/C) and Marco Vogele's Inoui (Supermaxi). The event, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in collaboration with the International Maxi Association (IMA) runs through 12th September.
The five competing divisions were set a range of coastal and windward-leeward courses with the largest yachts completing a 29 mile course which took them north to the island of Monaci, around the bottom of Caprera and south to round the islands of Mortorio and Soffi. The smaller Mini Maxis cut inside the Mortoriotto rock to complete a 24 mile course while the Wally and Maxi 72 classes - the latter competing in their World Championship - completed 2 windward-leeward races each.
A heated battle immediately got underway between the Maxi 72 yachts which saw Jethou, with Brad Butterworth on tactics, emerge as overall leader with a third and a second place under her belt. Italy's Robertissima sits in second place on equal points while class newbie Momo is third place overall.
In the Wally class the clear leader with two bullets gained in today's races was Open Season with Germany's Jochen Schuemann calling tactics. In second and third place respectively, each with 5 points, are Lindsay Owen-Jones' Magic Carpet Cubed and J-One, owned by Jean Charles Decaux.
The Mini Maxi RC/SOT saw the 19 metre Wallyño claim victory in corrected time ahead of the Swan 65 Shirlaf, launched in 1976 and with veteran Italian sailor Paolo Cian on board, and the 80-foot H20 in third place. The newly launched Supernikka, guided by tactician Tommaso Chieffi's in-depth knowledge of the regatta course of the La Maddalena archipelago, dominated the Mini Maxi Racing yachts. The 20-metre Caro took second place ahead of Britain's Spectre.
Grande Orazio, VOR sailor Alberto Bolzan on tactics, took the lead in the Maxi class with a win in corrected time. The Southern Wind yacht Windfall secured second place while the Swan 77 Tugela took today's bronze. Jim Clark's 100-foot racing machine Comanche flew around the course, completing almost 30 nautical miles in relatively light air in less than two hours and forty minutes.
Swiss yacht Inoui leads the provisional classification in the Supermaxi division ahead of Italy's Viriella, owned by Vittorio Moretti, while the largest boat in the fleet, the 66-metre Hetairos, sits in third place.
Once back at the docks owners and crews gathered in Piazza Azzurra for post-race refreshments and a rundown of the day's events. Racing is scheduled to continue tomorrow, Tuesday 8th September, at 11.30 a.m. All divisions will be set coastal courses and north-easterly winds of 15-18 knots are predicted.