Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup: rooted in perfection
First class in every sense, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is a byword for excellence in the yachting world. Uniting an awe-inspiring sailing environment, outstanding race management and the vanguard of monohull technology, the event enjoys a towering reputation. Key to its success has been the long-standing partnership between Rolex and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS).
Rolex Testimonee Paul Cayard, a past tactician at the regatta, explains the importance of the collaboration: “For more than 35 years, Rolex and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda have forged a privileged relationship. These two partners stand for the highest quality and excellence in everything they do. Together they offer the ideal platform for sailors to focus on elite competition.”
This year marks the 32nd Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. From its inception, the event has showcased the remarkable potential and transformational evolution of monohull design and technology. The drivers of this innovation are the Maxi yacht owners and design teams who are always striving to push the boundaries, investing considerable time and resources in development.
The 2022 edition will be held from 4–10 September, with five days of racing scheduled. The programme, organized with the collaboration of the International Maxi Association, offers a combination of intense windward/leeward racing and coastal courses in north-east Sardinia’s Maddalena Archipelago. For navigators in particular, the rocky outcrops and islets offer constant and tantalizing challenges.
Cayard confirms the event’s unquestionable appeal: “The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is the very essence of superlative yacht racing - the most impressive yachts sailed by the best sailors in the most perfect sailing environment.”
The fleet is divided into different classes based on yacht size, performance or design. Competition is intense. Every tactical decision and manoeuvre will be contested and crucial. Margins at this level of yacht racing are incredibly fine. The prerogative is not to be the best in any single race but, rather, to achieve a high level of consistency throughout the week to take a much-coveted class victory.Achieving such consistency demands impeccable teamwork. On yachts measuring from 18.29 metres (60 feet) to more than 40 metres (131 feet) in length, communication is crucial and developed through preparation, intense training and, in many cases, years of sailing at the top of the sport. The names of the victorious yachts throughout the event’s history are on display at the entrance to the YCCS’s impressive clubhouse in Porto Cervo. The reward of a class trophy and Rolex timepiece at the final prize-giving is the ultimate validation of success.
This year’s entry list is one of the largest in recent editions, with nearly 50 boats registered. The competition will feature historic yachts, including original and replica J-Class whose designs date back to the 1930s, high-performance entries such as the Wallycentos, and stripped-back carbon racers built purely for power and speed. The largest registered yacht at 43.6 metres (143 feet) is the J-Class Svea, based on a 1937 design. The most innovative entry is undoubtedly the 19m (62ft) FlyingNikka, the first ever foiling Mini Maxi and making her racing debut. Returning victors from 2021 include Cannonball, Capricorno, Velsheda and Magic Carpet Cubed, the line honours winner at June’s Rolex Giraglia.Pioneering from its outset, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup continues to be an event par excellence. Its partners, Rolex and the YCCS, are committed to ensuring the competition evolves in the same careful and considered manner as it has done throughout the past five decades.
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