The 2011 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup concluded in style with the completion of the scheduled programme for all classes. The results are in. This year’s class victors are:
- Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship: Niklas Zennström’s Rán 2 (GBR)
- Maxi Racing: Sir Irvine Laidlaw’s Highland Fling (MON)
- Maxi Racing/Cruising division: Danilo Salsi’s DSK Pioneer Investments (ITA)
- Supermaxi: Filip Balcaen’s Nilaya (GBR)
- Wally: Claus-Peter Offen’s Y3K (GER).
Rán 2’s second successive triumph in the Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds was in the bag after a convincing start to the week, when she won three of her four bullets. Quite a month for the fully professional crew who only three weeks ago claimed a second straight overall victory at the Rolex Fastnet Race. Rán 2 are in imperious form. Her three main rivals: Alegre (GBR), Shockwave (USA) and Jethou (GBR) all had moments in the sun but never really got close enough.
“We came here to defend our championship title and pulled off a very good series, sailing very well often under pressure. We came into today with a comfortable lead so we knew we just had to sail well and not make any stupid mistakes. This venue is fantastic, you always have good wind during the week here in Porto Cervo. It was a little challenging with the Mistral before two days of good wind and yesterday’s fickle conditions. The Race Committee did a really good job organising everything.”
The plot in the Maxi Racing division has had one constant theme: speed. Igor Simcic’s 100-ft Esimit Europa 2 (SLO) is bigger and faster than Sir Irvine Laidlaw’s 82-ft Highland Fling, a Wally-hybrid. The question was: could Esimit Europa 2 win by enough of a distance to see off her opponent on handicap as well?
Awaiting the results has been an antagonizing experience for both crews over the course of this week. The first three days saw the speed machines separated by mere seconds on corrected time. Once the maths was done, corrected-time victory, today, was not by seconds but by four minutes.
Laidlaw was ecstatic:
“Esimit Europa 2 is a serious boat, very well crewed and run and for us to beat them is a great thrill after being nowhere near her last year. Overcoming Esimit is very difficult indeed, she is 20-ft longer and has a canting keel: through great crew work and sail choices we managed it.”
Y3K made history, taking the Wally crown for the third straight year and for the fourth time in seven years.
An outstanding achievement for Claus-Peter Offen’s crew who have seen off powerful opponents. After two straight wins going into the final day, it looked plain sailing for the Germans. However, serious spinnaker issues characterised an uncharacteristically difficult day with Y3K having to settled for third and a sixth place over two windward/leeward races as Andrea Recordati’s Indio (ITA) closed in.
Her final victory margin was a mere two points. Offen said:
“It is a good feeling to make it the third time in a row. our victory in 2009 was by a larger distance, last year was a close run thing and this year even closer. Despite our issues today, dropping the spinnaker, we held a certain advantage from the previous days, which was enough. The victory is down to a good boat, crew, experience and once again we had our luck.”
At least four of the yachts which featured at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup are commencing preparations for the Rolex Middle Sea Race.