PORTO CERVO, ITALY (11 September 2009). The fourth and penultimate race day of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup brought some surprises as the winning streaks of Roma – Aniene (ITA) and Whisper (IRL), in the Racing/Cruising and Mini Maxi Racing/Cruising divisions, were brought to an end while Niklas Zennstrom’s Ran (GBR) won both of the day’s races in the Mini Maxi Racing 00 division.
In the Mini Maxi Racing/Cruising division Whisper retains her lead, despite finishing mid-fleet today, and is five points ahead of Brian Benjamin’s Aegir (GBR), with Massimo Violati’s Ops 5 (ITA) standing third. On the coastal course Aegir took first place in corrected time, followed by Massimiliano Florio’s Grande Orazio and Ops 5. The Racing/Cruising Division also sees Roma – Aniene, a team organized by the C.C. Aniene Sporting Association of Rome, retain the lead she has held from day one although she is now tied on points with Danilo Salsi’s DSK (ITA) after the latter won today’s race, her first in this series. Nicola Paoleschi’s Sagamore Enigma (ITA) is five points behind the leaders, in third overall, after she placed second today with Varsovie (CAY) crossing the finish in third.
As the fleet heads into tomorrow’s final day of racing all is yet to play for in almost all of the competing divisions. Claus Peter Offen’s Y3K (GER) leads the overall standings for the Wally division five points ahead of Thomas Bscher’s Open Season (GER) which has Jochen Scheumann calling tactics. However, yachts in this division will be able to discard their worst score if a sixth race is completed tomorrow which means that the field is still relatively open. Magic Carpet2 , owned by Lindsay Owen Jones (GBR), won both of the day’s windward leewards for the Wally division and was followed across the line in the first race by Y3K and Genie, owned by Prince Charles de Bourbon. In the final race second place went to Open Season and third to Y3K.
The Mini Maxi Racing 00 division has already benefited from a discard and overall leader Ran now sits three points ahead of Neville Crichton’s Alfa Romeo (NZL) with Patrizio Bertelli’s Luna Rossa (ITA) a further three points behind. Today’s two races were won by Ran, followed firstly by Alfa Romeo and Luna Rossa, and in the second race by Luna Rossa and Container (GER), owned by Udo Schutz.
The J Class yacht Velsheda (GBR), launched in 1933, is not only the oldest yacht competing in the regatta but also the only one to win every race completed thus far. She now holds a nine point lead over second placed Hamilton II in the Spirit of Tradition/Racing Cruising division and cannot be beaten. Hamilton II will therefore be fighting for second overall with Hasso Plattner’s Visione as both currently sit tied at 13 points apiece. In today’s race Velsheda was followed in corrected time by Hamilton II and Visione.
Today’s racing took place in a 12-15 knot breeze with lumpy seas. The Mini Maxi Racing 00 group and the Wally division each completed two windward leeward races while the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s Race Committee set a 30 nautical mile course for the remaining divisions. The coastal course brought the participating yachts from the start off Porto Cervo northeast to Monaci Island and back towards the coast passing the southern tip of Caprera Island and rounding the Secca Tre Monti rock before heading east towards Capo Ferro. Once through the strait between Capo Ferro and the Isole delle Bisce (Island of the Snakes), the Maxi yachts then descended to the island of Mortorio before doubling back to the start off Porto Cervo.
The final day of racing is scheduled to start at 11.30 am tomorrow, Saturday 12 September. The prize giving will be held on the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s Piazza Azzurra at 6.30 pm.