A mistral wind blowing at over 20 knots pushed the maxi yachts to give top performances today, offering a unique sailing spectacle set against the beautiful natural scenery of the Costa Smeralda. The 30th edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda with the support of title sponsor Rolex and the International Maxi Association, concludes tomorrow.

The star of the show today was the mistral wind which, gusting at over 25 knots and pushing the maxis to their limits, provided an exceptional spectacle for spectators and plenty of adrenaline for the crews.

A new leader emerged among the Super Maxis, with the J Class Velsheda winning the day ahead of the Maxi Dolphin 118 Viriella, owned by YCCS member Vittorio Moretti. The J Class Topaz did not race today, having already announced yesterday their withdrawal from the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup due to a technical problem.

Campbell Field, navigator, Velsheda commented: "It was fresh too frightening. We had a very good day. We can't remember the last time the J4 was up.


It was a fantastic day's yachting. It was good to go sailing in these boats in these conditions because it reminds us of the respect that we have to have for the beast. It gets loaded up and you get an appreciation of how much time it takes to do things. Having flat water made it that much easer in 25-26 knots, if it was coming in from the southeast it would have been a whole different story with the sea state and the boat would be underwater.

In class events there is an agreement about what constitutes fair and safe racing. The wind speed was up there but with these boats a lot of it is about sea state. The boat has a terminal velocity of hull speed and they don't go faster. We got some puffs when we had the A5 on and we got some puffs into the high 20s and even 30 knots and it wasn't like we popped up and accelerated, just the apparent wind speed went up a lot. It was a good test on the gear.

It was a shame that Topaz wasn't out there to keep the intensity up. But we raced the boat as hard as we would have.

It was quite an intense race course with a lot of corners to turn around. And we were thinking a long way ahead of time about how we were going to pull off certain manouevires for example, the gybe around Monaci to come back into Tango mark, we looked seriously at should we do a chicken gybe (ie a tack) because we were concerned with gybing the mainsail because we needed to finish the race so we didn't want to do any damage. As it was, we got a little bit of a lull and we carried some boat speed and did a slow rate of turn gybe through there which we did really well. We did a lot of work on our straight line reaching which we don't do a huge amount of.

We were focussed on our VMC type sailing and we have got the boss really dialled in and sitting on him to keeping the co-ordination between the trimmers and the helmsman. The feedback from him to the trimmers is down to the load he wants put on the rudder drive in a straight line. It was nice driver-trimmer sync and also in this pressure it isn't a case of just easing the main, the jib has to ease as well because it can bring you up into the wind as much as the mainsail does.

Forecast for tomorrow is for it to be pretty breezey but I think it will taper off a bit. We will deal with it tomorrow as it comes."

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