The last day of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup was sailed in bright sunshine and 6-8 knots of wind from the North East. The coastal race held on Saturday confirmed all division leaders, with no real changes occurring in the overall positions since.
In the Wally Class Luca BASSANI'S Wallyño made it four out of five wins to take the largest class. Neville CRICHTON'S New Zealand-registered Super Maxi Alfa Romeo won again in the IRC Class and Raffaele RAIOLA'S Idea SAI took top honours in the IMS Class.
Since the collision on Wednesday between Alberto ROEMMERS' IMS Maxi Alexia and Mike Slade's IRC boat Leopard, a series of redress hearings have been going on to try and sort out the lot of the Argentinean Maxi Alexia that was denied the opportunity to continue racing when her topmast was broken. The issue was confused somewhat because the day in question featured two windward leeward courses, the combined results counting for one set of race day points.
Yesterday morning Alexia, with average points from the first three races, was declared the overall leader, in spite of having missed two races. With yesterday's race the issue was confused further still when a discard came into the equation, meaning that for Alexia to win the regatta Idea SAI had to finish worse than second in the final race.
The Race Committee sent the entire fleet on an ambitious 26-mile coastal race, the decision turned out to be a smart one as the day progressed and the wind slowly increased. A short two mile beat to a weather mark in a light 4-knot breeze with plenty of left over sea gave the IMS boats with big overlapping genoas the kind of conditions they needed to overwhelm their sisters with non-overlapping headsails.
The giant Alfa Romeo rounded the first mark first after just 17 minutes but hot on her heels was the pale blue Italian Maxi Idea SAI. A headsail reach to the island of Monacci saw another set of headsail choices appear on the leading two boats, Alfa Romeo with a jib top arrangement, Idea SAI with a high clewed reacher. At Monacci the course took the fleet straight downwind past Caprera Island and deep into the bay to round a leeward mark. With the thermal breeze slowly building the smaller boats were able to sail a more direct route to the bottom mark, something that kept the low rating Wallyño competitive in the Wally Class.
The upwind leg from this leeward mark took the fleet past Isola delle Bisce and then on two long two-sail reaching legs, first to the Mortoriotto Rock and then to the finish, via the rocky outcrop at the Eastern end of Pevero Bay. Crichton's Alfa Romeo collected line honours again just two and a half hours after the start with his extra fast boat managing to win on handicap again and comfortably lift the IRC Class overall from Carlo PERRONE'S Virtuelle, who again finished second in class.
The two German Wallys, Thomas BSCHER'S Tiketitan and Claus-Peter OFFEN'S Y3K spent much of the day duelling with each other, match racing champions Markus WEISSER on the former and Karol JABLONSKI on the latter keeping the racing spiced up in the middle of the fleet. Lindsay OWEN-JONES' Wally 94 Magic Carpet2 cut the last corner of the course a little too close and hit the rocks, decelerating from 10 to 3 knots and throwing the foredeck crew over the side in the process. Little damage was done except to the pride of this crew that have always been at the front of the fleet and even sailed to within less than a minute of the elapsed time of the mighty Alfa Romeo yesterday.
Morten BERGESEN'S giant 105-foot Wally ketch Nariida hit the same rocks as Magic Carpet2 and lost the daggerboard extension of her keel in the process. The best Wally boat of the week has undoubtedly been Luca BASSANI'S Wallyño, at just 60 feet the smallest boat in the fleet, Wallyño has won every race but one on corrected time and has often been sailing in amongst a group of much larger boats.
The Jongert/Spirit of Tradition Class again saw honours split between Alfredo CANESSA'S Whitefin and George LINDEMANN'S Adela. On the final day it was the turn of Canessa's smaller boat and with discards taken into account, Whitefin takes the class overall.
Full results are available on the event website at the address below.