In less than a month, the highly anticipated 23rd edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, the top competitive event of the Mediterranean sailing season, will take place. The elite competition in which only yachts of sixty feet or more are allowed has already attracted almost 40 sailing crews from around the world. The event will run from September 2 to September 8 in Sardinia’s Porto Servo. Rolex has sponsored the prestigious race since the mid 1980’s.
The participating fleet will be divided into five classes according to size; the groups are Super Maxi, Maxi Racing, Maxi Racing/Cruising, Wally, and Mini Maxi. The sailing conditions are expected to be challenging with difficult winds, rocky shorelines and breathtaking scenery.
In the Mini Maxi category, the two-time world champion, the 72 ft. Rán (GBR), owned by Niklas Zennström, faces some stiff competition from several competitors, which include Sir Peter Ogden’s 62 ft. Jethou (GBR), and Hap Fauth’s newly unveiled 72 ft. Bella Mente (USA).
Two new vessels are making their debut in the Super Maxi class; the 164 ft. Better Place (CAY) and the 216 ft. Heitairos (CAY) will be challenging the title defender, the 112 ft. (GBR) which is owned by Filip Balcaen. Last year’s Maxi Racing class winner Highland Fling (MON) will be competing against the 100 ft. Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) which will be featuring a crew from all over Europe. In Maxi Racing/Cruising, Brian Benjamin is anxiously awaiting to gain the champion title with his 82 ft. Aegir 2 (GBR), which he lost by mere seconds in last year’s competition. In the Wally class, the contest has been thrown wide open; four-time title holder YK3 (GER), belonging to Claus-Peter Offen, will not be registered for this year’s edition. Charles Dunstone’s Hamilton which will be debuting may take the title, or seasoned competitor Magic Carpet 2 (GBR) owned by Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, may make it to the finish line first.