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After a year’s absence, the 31st edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup has begun in Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda. Organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) in conjunction with the International Maxi Association (IMA), the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is taking place over the 5th to 11th September.
The maxi fleet will showcase state-of-the-art vessels, classics and neo-classics, all varying in length from 18 to 66 metres (60 to 218 feet). To increase competition, the International Maxi Association divides the fleet into Mini Maxi (60 to 80 feet), Maxi (80 to 100 feet) and SuperMaxi for vessels over 100 feet in length.
The rating system to calculate scores will be the IRC, with the exclusion of the SuperMaxi class where the ORCsy system will be used, which is specially designed for the largest racing boats. Among the Mini Maxi classes, the most challenging competition will be between the former Maxi 72s. While Dario Ferrari's Cannonball won in 2019, the newest in this fleet is American three time Maxi 72 World Champion, Hap Fauth's Bella Mente.
Andrew McIrvine, IMA secretary general, said, “After the enforced pause last year in our long series of pinnacle Maxi Championships in Porto Cervo, we are very excited to be returning with an impressively strong fleet. We have good numbers in all three of our main fleets, Super Maxi, Maxi and Mini Maxi. Our intention is to have larger starts with the sub-classes starting together even if later scored separately.”
The first ICAYA World Championship took place in 1980, the year after the International Class A Association (ICAYA) had been founded by Baron Edmond de Rothschild, John Kilroy, Enrico Recchi and William Whitehouse-Vaux. The event then evolved into the Maxi Yacht World Championship and with Rolex as its main sponsor and in 1994 gained its present title, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup.
De Froidmont, president of the IMA, commented, “As a sailor, the Costa Smeralda offers some of the most tactically challenging sailing in the most picturesque of surroundings. In our hosts the YCCS, we could not hope for a better co-organiser of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, maxi yachting's premier event. This year's entry, including a wealth of new yachts across the fleet, shows that the desire of owners to race their maxi yachts has never been greater. I wish everyone good competition.”
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