'The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is one of the most spectacular sailing events in the world today,' commented Gianfranco ALBERINI, Commodore of the YCCS. 'The combination of these finely honed yachts, the stunning Costa Smeralda coastline and Porto Cervo's unique charm provides for a week of outstanding racing and entertainment for owners, crews and their guests. With a record number of yachts competing, this year's regatta will be a showcase of pure racing machines, breathtaking classic yachts, and state of the art racer cruisers.'
Among the regular competitors returning are: New York, USA real estate mogul Harry MACKLOWE sailing his 112 foot Unfurled; Great Britain's Sir Lindsay OWEN-JONES, CEO of L'Oreal, sailing his Wally Magic Carpet Squared; and self-made billionaire George LINDEMANN (USA) sailing Adela, the largest yacht in the fleet at just over 180 feet.
Competition will be fierce among veterans of the event and first timers, which include Maximus, the new 98 foot, 'supermaxi,' owned by Bill BUCKLEY and Charles St Clair BROWN of New Zealand, and Australian Grant WHARINGTON's 98 foot Skandia.
The fleet will be divided into Racing, Cruising and Wally Divisions, with the classic Spirit of Tradition yachts included in the Cruising Division. A mixture of windward-leewards and coastal races will take competitors on challenging routes through the islands of the La Maddalena archipelago.
Joining Maximus and Skandia in the Racing Division, which groups the most high tech 'speed-machines,' will be Arien VAN VEMDE's Sotto Voce of the Netherlands and Roland PIEPER's Favonius from the British Virgin Islands. With Maximus fresh from victory in the Grand Prix Division in the Rolex Transatlantic Challenge and line honours in the Rolex Fastnet Race, and Skandia newly re-launched following a rebuild, spectators can look forward to a week long battle between these two Titans.
In the Cruising Division, last year's winner, Mister A, owned by Italy's Aldo PAGANI, will face tough competition from second and third place title holders Velsheda of Great Britain and Germany's Inspiration, as well as from Randall PITTMAN's 140 foot Whirlaway from the USA.
In the Wally Division Tiketitan, helmed by Luca BASSANI, founder of Wally Yachts, will be doing battle again with Argentina's Alberto ROEMMERS, whose Alexia won last year. In 2004, Tiketitan placed second with BASSANI at the helm. Magic Carpet Squared, Norway's Nariida and Italy's Kauris III will also be competitors to watch.