The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup gets underway next month and is set to be one of the biggest gatherings of racing royalty in the Mediterranean this summer. Taking place from 3 to 9 September, the regatta will welcome 50 competitors to Porto Cervo for a week of rail-to-rail racing through the Maddalena Archipelago. Take a look at some of this year's contenders...
Kauris IV is not only the largest contender competing in this year's Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, but also one of the newest. This Wally 145 was built by Persico Marine and delivered in 2020 as a vessel that can be enjoyed as a family boat but also compete around the cans. Kauris IV has a lifting keel with a 67-metre-tall mast and flies an area of 1,968 square metres of sail.
The largest (and newest) member of the J Class fleet, the 44-metre Vitters yacht Svea will be back racing in Sardinia after being crowned overall winner of the J Class last year. The original lines for this Super J were designed by Tore Holm in 1973 and Hoek Design Naval Architects was called on to revive the 75-year-old drawings and bring her up to date, complete with a 53.75-metre carbon fibre main mast. As a result, Svea displaces just 182 tonnes — two tonnes less than her fellow J Hanuman and six tonnes less than Ranger.
After a fourth-place finish in last year's Maxi Rolex Cup, Topaz and crew have some work to do. The Holland Jachtbouw J Class is based on an unbuilt 1938 design and was revisited by Andre Hoek. Topaz’s hull design features a reduced wetted surface and higher keel aspect ratio to her 27-metre waterline length, making her quick.
Velsheda is the only original J Class racing at this year's Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and, after securing third place in 2022, is back to see if she can beat her result. This 38.5-metre yacht is the only original J Class not to have been built for the America's Cup, commissioned in 1933 by the chairman of Woolworths and named after his three daughters: Velma, Sheila and Daphne.
The 36-metre Viriella will be returning to Porto Cervo after a fifth-place finish in the Maxi class last year. She is the flagship of the Maxi Dolphin fleet, designed by German Frers, and features a lifting keel with a Southern Spars carbon fibre mast.
Delivered as Highland Fling 15, this 35-metre Swan 115 was born into a racing dynasty. She changed ownership in 2021 and was renamed Moat and it was under her new name that she and her crew were crowned winners of the inaugural Ibiza JoySail regatta. Moat finished just two points behind second place at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in 2022 and will be eager to climb the finishing order this time around.
Geist is the flagship of British shipyard Spirit Yachts. She is undeniably beautiful but also a powerhouse on the racecourse. In 12 knots of true breeze, she beats upwind at nine knots, and while she’s clearly a very large yacht, she’s also a proper sailing boat with all the feel you’d expect of something a third of her size. After coming second in last year's event, Geist will be eyeing the top spot in the Maxi class.
Inoui is a lean, green, racing machine. A regular on the regatta circuit, she was built by Vitters to a design by Philippe Briand and is built entirely from carbon with a square-top mainsail, shallow sloping reverse-transom and a retractable fin-and-bulb keel. She will be competing off the back of a win at the Giorgio Armani Superyacht Regatta.
Y3K is a competitive racer with a powerful sail plan (she flies 1,162 square metres of sail downwind). She won three consecutive Maxi Yacht Rolex Cups from 2009 to 2011 and will be racing once again in the Maddelena archipelago. She was the third Wally to be ordered by German yachtsman Claus-Peter Offen. He and his racing team have won 11 Wally regattas over the years, both on Y3K and on his previous Wally Galma.
Magic Carpet ³
With wins at the Giorgio Armani Superyacht Regatta, Rolex Giraglia, Maxi Worlds and Les Viles de St Tropez, Magic Carpet 3 is a fierce competitor. She was launched as the second in a series of next-gen performance cruisers by Wally, named the Wallycento and has a displacement of just 50 tonnes (if you remove the keel and the mast, that figure drops to 18 tonnes), which makes her one of the lightest cruising boats ever built. During her construction, every item was weighed, right down to the titanium screws holding it all together. Her Southern Spars rigging flies 640 square metres of sail while a lifting keel reduces her draft by two metres.