Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup's picture perfect mistral

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2011
The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is just this side of a picture-perfect second day of racing and the provisional overall classification sees Niklas Zennstrom's Ràn 2 (GBR) in the lead in the Mini Maxi class, Claus Peter Offen's Y3K (GER) in the Wally division and Danilo Salsi's DSK Pioneer Investments (ITA) in the Maxi Racing/Cruising fleet.

Esimit Europa 2 (SLO), owned by Igor Simcic, moves into the lead in the Maxi Racing division while Nilaya (GBR) remains at the top of the Supermaxi division. The event is organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in collaboration with the International Maxi Association and racing will continue through Saturday, 10th September.

The 18 to 20 knot Mistral breeze blowing off Porto Cervo this morning, teamed with blazing sunshine and blue skies, provided perfect conditions for the first of today's three windward-leeward completed by the Mini Maxi class. Ràn 2, with Adrian Stead calling tactics, led the fleet for the duration of both the first and second race of the day and looked ready to dominate the third race as well.

Thanks to some excellent tactical decisions, however, Shockwave (USA), owned by George Sakellaris, was able to move into pole position by the second windward leg and went on to take victory. The provisional overall leaderboard remains unchanged from yesterday with Sir Peter Ogden's Jethou (GBR) in second place behind Ràn and Alegre (GBR), with tactician Francesco De Angelis, in third.

The remaining divisions were set a 36 mile coastal course which took them along the Sardinian coast and north past the La Maddalena island to the isle of Barrettinelli di Fuori before embarking on a long downwind leg to the finish off Porto Cervo.

With only two boats included in the Maxi Racing division, rivalry between Esimit Europa 2 and Sir Irvine Laidlaw's Highland Fling (GBR) is fierce. The Slovenian boat completed the coastal course almost 15 minutes ahead of Highland Fling in elapsed time and just managed to hold onto victory on corrected time. Both boats now sit on three points in the overall classification with Esimit in lead thanks to today's victory.

Igor Simcic, owner of Esimit Europa 2 was understandably pleased with the day's performance: 'Today's race was one of the best sailing days of my life. The crew worked in a perfect synergy and all their efforts and the technological improvements to the boat really paid off. We haven't made a single mistake, with a brand new spinnaker we were picking up speed at the crucial moments. Big respect to the team, I am really proud of them for what they showed today.'

In the Wally division Y3K claimed their second bullet ahead of Dark Shadow and Magic Carpet2. The overall classification shows Y3K leading ahead of Magic Carpet2 and Dark Shadow.

Aegir (GBR) was the fastest around the course in the Racing Cruising division and retained the lead on corrected time ahead of DSK and Berenice Bis (ITA), owned by Marco Rodolfi. DSK continues to head the overall classification ahead of Aegir and Paolo Scerni's Kora 5 (ITA).

Hasso Plattner's 44.9 metre Visione was the fastest boat of the Supermaxi division, which comprises the largest yachts in the fleet, but it was the Bermudian ketch Hetairos that came out on top today with the combined IRC and ORC scoring system. The 34-metre Nilaya continues to lead in the overall classification followed by Hetairos and Visione respectively.

Racing is scheduled to continue tomorrow, Friday 9th September, at 10.30 with windward-leeward races in programme for the Mini Maxi and Wally fleets and a coastal course for all other divisions. Westerly winds of approximately 12 knots are predicted.

Yacht Club Costa Smeralda website