The 2004 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, hosted by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in partnership with Rolex, is set to take place in Sardinia September 5-11.
This year's regatta will once again be the pinnacle of the international Maxi season with a "who's who" of the sailing and business worlds, including Luca BASSANI, of Wally Yachts; Roy DISNEY, vice chairman of the board at Walt Disney Corporation; and Lindsay OWEN-JONES, CEO of L'Oreal. In addition, the preliminary entry list includes New York real estate mogul Harry MACKLOWE sailing his 112-foot yacht, Unfurled, and Hasso PLATTNER, founder of software giant SAP, sailing his winning racer, Morning Glory. Disney and Plattner will go head-to-head in their Reichel/Pugh designed Maxi Z86 yachts Pyewacket and Morning Glory with hydraulic keels that can be canted for better performance and twin rudders fore and aft.
"The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup embodies yacht racing at its best,"
said Yacht Club Costa Smeralda Commodore Gianfranco ALBERINI. "High-powered people, high-powered boats and high-powered racing combine for a week of intense competition. Off the water, Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and Rolex have created a social program that will bring the elegance and the beauty of Porto Cervo to the racers and their guests."
The 2004 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup will be the 14th running of the event and will consist of a series of round-the-buoys and coastal races, taking advantage of the traditionally challenging racing conditions of Sardinia in early September. Three classes will compete. If the seasonal weather holds true to form for early fall in Port Cervo, competitors will experience a variety of sailing conditions ranging from light thermal breezes to full-on Mistral winds that can blow between 20 and 30 knots.
Last year's Admiral's Cup winner Robert OATLEY plans to bring his new Reichel/Pugh Wild Oats from Australia to compete. Launched in July 2004, Wild Oats is 65 feet long, with a canting ballast system similar to that of Pyewacket and Morning Glory.
To win the coveted Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup title in the IMS fleet, this year's racers will have to get by last year's winner, Neville CRICHTON, returning in his 90-foot "sled," Alfa Romeo. Crichton, one of New Zealand's most renowned business leaders, fought hard for the win last year, and after the regatta was quoted as saying, "The demanding conditions lived up to their reputation and we were up against some of the toughest competition in the world."
Wally Yachts, headquartered in Monaco, recently featured in the New York Times for their speed, technology and price tag, will again have their own class. Wally sailboats are luxury racer-cruisers outfitted and built for comfort and speed. Luca BASSANI, head of Wally Yachts, is a perennial competitor in the Wally class, racing the 89-foot Tiketitan. Alberto ROEMMERS of Argentina will also return with a brand new 98-foot Wally, Alexia, to complete what he started last year when a collision on the second day of racing forced him to retire from the regatta, which he had been leading.
The Spirit of Tradition class will once again showcase classic yachts. The American investment mogul George LINDEMANN will bring his 180-foot Adela. His most direct competition will be Italian Francesco MICHELI'S 178-foot, Shenandoah of Sark, and Ferruccio FIORUCCI'S splendid Alejandra.
For Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2004 entry updates, and additional event information visit the website via the link below.