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11 September 2005, 10:09 am
The Perfect End To A Spectacular Week
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Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2005
Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy

The 2005 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup ended with a picture perfect day and wonderful sailing conditions - bright sunny sky, flat water and a steady Northwesterly breeze ranging from 15 to 20 knots.
The whole fleet raced on the same course, a 30-mile route leading the competitors upwind through the tricky waters of channel inside the La Maddalena archipelago, all the way around the Isle of Spargi and back on a long downwind run under gennaker, before a final, short upwind sprint to the finish line off Porto Cervo.

All divisions, with the exception of the Racing class who sailed only 4 races, were able to throw a discard having sailed a total of 5 races.

With a brilliant and faultless last race performance, Germany's Claus Peter OFFEN and Y3K won the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in the W division. Although equal on points to Argentinian Alberto ROEMMERS' Alexia, Y3K was able to secure the series on countback. In today's race, the two rivals showed off some real America's Cup style match racing, with a thrilling gybe and luffing duel in what turned out to be the deciding head-to-head. Not only did Y3K win on corrected time, the yacht - with America's Cup skipper Karol JABLONSKI on board -also took overall line honours with a delta of only 20 seconds over Alexia. 'It was a dramatic boat to boat fight from the start line to the finish and we were never more than 50 metres apart, so it was a really close struggle, which we won by just a few metres at the end,' commented Claus Peter OFFEN. And, as for the excitement of the finish, it was really quite simple: 'We were on the better course at the last mark and were able to pass inside Alexia. Then we tacked quickly onto the better tack and on top of them.' As for next year, OFFEN had not doubt, 'We have sailed here before and we will definitely come back.'

In the Racing division, Dutch entry Black Dragon won the series with a narrow 1 point margin over Roel PIEPER's Favonius with an impressive series of consistent results - two firsts and two seconds. Skandia, owned by Australian and accomplished offshore sailor, Grant WHARINGTON, finished third overall unable to discard OCS scored in Race Three. Skandia showed exceptional power and speed, particularly in the challenging conditions that have been a feature of this year's Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. In today's race Skandia took line honours again and although it was Favonius who won on handicap it was not enough. Henk VAN DER VAART, the Dutch skipper on Black Dragon, commented: 'Today was a great day. We had a good breeze, though not as much as anticipated. It was really good to beat Favonius who were pretty close to us in the standings all the time. We weren't sailing boat-for-boat, but we kept a close eye on them all the time. They are a good bunch of sailors and we've been rivals before, so it was good to win today.'

It has been a busy season for Black Dragon and clearly the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup has been a good event for a crew that is reaping some rewards for its efforts. VAN DER VAART viewed the week as a whole as perfect, 'we have sailed good races, finished the week well and kept everything together, which in itself is an achievement. Our crew work has been great, sailing with mostly the same guys that sailed in our last race, the Giraglia Rolex Cup, and this group is always improving.'

With four wins and one major hiccup, a disqualification, US Harry MACKLOWE's Unfurled won overall in the Cruising A, with a 4 point lead over fellow American Arne GLIMCHER and his impressive, brand new, Ghost. Unfurled was able to throw out the DSQ that followed yesterday's pre-race collision. The International Jury had concluded that Unfurled had failed to take timely action to avoid contact when it came clear that the give way boat was not keeping clear. Italian Vittorio MORETTI's Viriella finished third overall. In each day of the series Ghost has taken line honours in class, but once again it was Unfurled who clinched the race victory on handicap. America's Cup veteran Mike TOPPA, tactician on Unfurled, enjoyed today's great sailing: 'Today's race was wonderful, unlike all the other days in this series we had typical Porto Cervo conditions. It was sunny, windy and we sailed up in the straits, one of the prettiest places in the world to sail. It was a fun day and we did a good job. We didn't have any hiccups like yesterday so we're all extremely happy. I love sailing here, it's one of the best venues in the world and of course I'll be back next year, absolutely!'

This was Ghost and Arne GLIMCHER's racing debut: 'We're delighted with the series as it was the very first regatta for Ghost. You never know what you have until you are out there competing with the other boats, so I'm very happy,' commented the American owner. 'We sailed a conservative race, but Ghost is new and you don't want to push it too hard.' Somewhat wryly, GLIMCHER felt the conditions this week had favoured them, 'I actually think we were lucky having such unstable weather. I sail on the New England coast of the United States and this is the type of weather we have - we sail in all conditions, so we really felt at home.' As for his racing debut, 'I'm very, very happy with how we did and we'll be back next year. We really like Porto Cervo.'

Italian entry Roma, also brand new, owned by Filippo FARUFFINI won overall in the Cruising B, with a 2 point lead over Great Britain's Allsmoke. Fabio MANGIFESTA's Charis, who yesterday was forced to retire before the start of the race due to the incident with Unfurled, finished third overall. Roma is a cruising boat camouflaged as a pure racer - the coffee grinders can be dismounted really easily and down below there are six cabins and five separate bathrooms, full air conditioning and all the comforts. During the week she showed impressive speed and consistency, taking line honours in class each day. Today, Roma came second on handicap behind Allsmoke. Vittorio MARIANI, project manager and design co-ordinator of the Farr design Roma, commented: 'We are very happy because we won with a boat that was launched at the end of July. We haven't had much time to set it up for this event and in this series we've had to tackle very challenging conditions. We suffered only minor damage, as is usual in a regatta of this level. I am really happy for the crew, they sailed really well and we have some very talented sailors on board, such as Ken READ and Lorenzo BORTOLOTTI. They deserved to win.'

In the combined Cruising Division series rankings, it was British boat Allsmoke that came out on top.

The Spirit of Tradition fleet, which this year saw a total of 4 entries, saw the American 180-foot schooner Adela and the Italian 90-foot sloop Whitefin fight a close battle for the overall victory on handicap. In the end, it was American, gas and media tycoon, George LINDEMANN who secured the final victory with his Adela with a narrow 1 point lead over its Italian rival. Dutch entry Annagine finished third. Adela, with its massive set of sails and powerful pace, took line honours in each race of the series.

At tonight's final Rolex Prizegiving Ceremony, the overall winners were each awarded with the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner timepiece in steel and gold.

Final Standings
Place Boat Name Owner Nation, R1/R2/R3/R4/R5/Points

R Class
1. BLACK DRAGON Performance Yachting GBR, -/1/2/1/2/6.0
2. FAVONIUS Roel Pieper BVI, -/3/1/2/1/7.0
3. SKANDIA Grant Wharington AUS, -/2/7(OCS)/3/3/15.0

Cruising Division (Provisional Overall)

Class A
1. UNFURLED Harry Macklowe USA, 1/1/1/(7)/1/4.0
2. GHOST Arne Glimcher USA, 2/2/(3)/1/3/8.0
3. VIRIELLA Vittorio Moretti ITA, 3/3/(DNF 7)/2/2/10.0

Class B
1. ROMA Filippo Faruffini ITA, 1/1/2/(4)/2/6.0
2. ALLSMOKE Gunter Hertz GBR, 2/3/(DNF 10)/2/1/8.0
3. CHARIS Fabio Mangifesta ITA, 3/4/1/(DNS 10)/5/13.0

S Class 1. ADELA George Lindemann USA, (3)/1/1/2/1/5.0
2. WHITEFIN Alfredo Canessa ITA, 1/2/2/1/(2)/6.0
3. ANNAGINE C.E. Van Asbeck NED, 2/3/3/3/(DNS 5)/11.0

W Class
1. Y3K Claus Peter Offen GER, 3/1/(5)/1/1/6.0
2. ALEXIA Alberto Roemmers ARG, 1/2/1/2/(3)/6.0

Event Media, Image: Gibian and Unfurled © Rolex
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