Back here in a rather grey and damp London it is difficult to believe that the 29th Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup was just a few days ago. This continues to be the undisputed flagship event for the International Maxi Association and is where it all started in 1980 (initially known as the Maxi Worlds, it did not take place annually until 1999, hence the discrepancy between years and events).
This year a wonderful and disparate collection of superb yachts assembled in the idyllic sailing conditions of Sardinia, hosted, immaculately as always, by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. There was the contrast of the massive black pin-tops on the Js compared with the bowsprits and gaffs (square-heads) of the modern boats almost harking back to earlier pre-Bermudian rig times…
In Porto Cervo we continued our long tradition of conventional starts for all classes, with the advantage this year of having two separate race areas so that classes doing the windward-leeward and coastal courses did not interfere with one another. Also different this year was the J Class opting to race within the Supermaxi class using the ORCsy rule as well as privately scoring using their own J Class Association rating.
And in among their more modern (looking) rivals these 1930s designs fared rather well. Topaz did not start as favourite but ended up just a point ahead of Velsheda to win her owner the Rolex time piece. The magnificent Reichel/Pugh 130ft My Songwon every race on the water but only managed to displace the Js from the top three places in one race on corrected time – and then by only 11 seconds.