Class J at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup – Day 4
by J Class Association Sep 9 19:53 UTC
September 5-10, 2022
Svea on the song for an airy victory
A cool Mistral breeze from the northwest of 20-23 knots accompanied by bright sunshine provided the classic Porto Cervo conditions for the J-Class today, which saw the Swedish-flagged Svea claim its fourth victory in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup.
The 27.2 nautical mile inshore race provided the tightest and most exciting competition of the week.
Svea, who was racing for the first time with the three Swedish co-owners on board and former double Maxi World Champion Niklas Zennström at the helm, broke free after a clever move early in the first time that allowed them to s away from the tenacious Velsheda. The other three Js were never more than two boat lengths apart on a race course that placed equal importance on raw speed and excellent crew work.
The windward leg took the leaders close to the coast of Porto Cervo. Held from the start by Velsheda, Svea turned a tiny advantage into a race victory by holding back his opponents ever so slightly in the bay, forcing them out sharply to round a shoal perch. This small momentary loss was enough to relegate Velsheda to contact with the other two.
“It all came down to the start and the first time,” recalls Steve Hayles, Svea’s winning navigator. “There we could have navigated them a long, very long way, but it worked very well for us and not for them. If it had gone on for another three or four minutes, they would have bypassed us. That was the key , that was the For them they then had to dunk the other boat and then they got into traffic It worked out fine for us because the other three boats then locked in, and on the reach , we were able to do our own thing.
The J’s were at their best when racing against the wind in the strait of the La Maddalena Archipelago. At full power in the stiff breeze, Ranger’s stern and Topaz’s bow were just yards apart, showing incredible precision from respective America’s Cup helmsmen Ed Baird and Peter Holmberg as they pushed the last 180 ton yacht knot split.
While Svea led, Velsheda also eluded fellow pursuers a bit close to the Golf mark at the Secca Tre Monti and on the two-sail four-mile fetch to Monachi there was little change. A long range of 8.5 miles in a rising breeze gave Svea her biggest win by staying low and not having to peel spinnakers.
There was some compression at the leemost bend around the small, low rocky islands of Soffi and Mortorio south of Porto Cervo, but Svea by then could afford to sail safely. Ranger and Topaz caught up with Velsheda here, which meant a thrilling final drag race to the finish line.
As Svea had built a lead of over three minutes Velsheda moved past second but with Ranger close behind they took second for the day on corrected time ahead of Topaz with Velsheda fourth.
Ranger trimmer Simon Fry said: “We had some great races and a great race. It was a very good day. Clean at the start was the key today and being able to break free.”
Fry continued: “Overall we sailed very well. We broke a reinforcement block and the guys did a good job swapping the one on the other side and we probably would have won on Velsheda and Topaz because we Went straight to an A4 and they both had to peel.On the way to the finish line the breeze veered left and the key then weaved its way through the dirt of the other maxis.
And so, Svea goes into Saturday and the final race with a seven point lead, and looks set to claim his second consecutive regatta title. Ranger, with 13 points, is one point ahead of Velsheda, which means there is still plenty to play for in this showpiece racing event of 2022.
Race 5 results:
1 Svéa 2h19m21s
2 Store 2:21:00
3 Topaz 2:22:41
4 Velsheda 2:25:55
General classification after 5 races:
1 Svea 6pts
2 Ranger 13pts
3 Velsheda 14pts
4 Topaz 17pts