The second edition of the Rolex Volcano Race concluded in true Caprese style as fifteen international crews toasted a week’s enthralling sailing during the Rolex party and prizegiving at La Canzone del Mare on Friday 25 May. A combination of envious views of Capri’s Faraglioni rock formations and a famous venue once owned by Anglo-Italian singer Gracie Fields, and treasured over the years by glitterati and thespians alike, provided a fitting finale to a magnificent week.
During the ceremony, the crew of Sir Peter Ogden’s Mini Maxi Jethou (GBR) received the week’s most coveted prize – the Rolex Trophy and timepiece – awarded to the overall winner of Leg Two of the 400-nautical mile offshore race which started and finished in Capri and comprised a pulsating journey through the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea. The fastest boat on the water over Leg Two – Filip Balcaen’s 112-foot Supermaxi Nilaya – was awarded a Rolex timepiece after claiming line honours in a time of one day, two hours and five minutes.
The two celebrating crews have much in common: both are formed by an enthusiastic owner and a group of friends who have sailed together for a number of years, comprising mainly amateurs in addition to handpicked and highly-skilled professional sailors. Their respective paths to victory are the result of hard work and perseverance.
Ogden’s 60-ft Jethou has frequently been the bridesmaid at Rolex yachting events, missing out on the prizes with luck deserting her at key junctures, from crew members falling overboard to split-second defeats. It seems this team of predominantly Corinthian sailors may have finally found the winning formula. Ogden commissioned an upgrade to his Mini Maxi over the winter, drawing on the advice of professional tactician Brad Butterworth. Jethou is now more powerful following a slight lengthening and the development of a new mast and sail plan. While the yacht’s enhanced prowess has rendered her faster and more responsive in light airs, the crew’s obvious bond and unity is an equally key component in this long overdue success.
The bulk of the Jethou crew is made up of Ogden’s friends and family, the professionals onboard playing a key role in helping develop the team’s confidence and skills. America’s Cup legend Butterworth brings a wealth of experience. “I’ve sailed with other famous sailors and he is one of the guys,” reveals Ogden. “He encourages the crew, shouts at them, but they love him. It is great to have someone who really knows what he is doing. He sees things in 3D that nobody else sees.” Ogden also pointed to the contribution of professional navigator Mike Broughton; “he got us round very safely and was excellent on weather predictions.”
The sailing was a riveting affair. Jethou reached consistent speeds of 26 knots around the Aeolian Islands, the crew knee deep in water as the Mini Maxi flew past these ancient geological wonders almost like an aeroplane. At one stage, incredibly, she was ahead of two titans in Nilaya and Claus-Peter Offen’s 100-ft Wally Y3K (GER). Eventually, on the home stretch and as the wind speed picked up, these two larger yachts gained a narrow advantage over Jethou by virtue of their superior waterline length. However, Ogden’s Mini Maxi finished an impressive 41 minutes behind the first boat home, enough to help her triumph on handicap, marking an impressive week which saw the crew claim the windward/leeward race in Gaeta and second place overall in Leg One of the offshore race, which ran 100-nm from Gaeta to Capri. In the combined scoring for the three events of the week, Jethou also came out on top. An emphatic winner.
For Ogden victory crowned a memorable week, which he concluded by celebrating his 65th birthday: “It is not a professional crew. I sail for sixty days a year, and they can’t all commit to this, so we have a roster and rotate, although they’ve all been with me a long time.” According to Broughton, who steps down as navigator for the forthcoming Giraglia Rolex Cup: “They are a great bunch to sail with, there’s lots of banter and they’re very happy as we’ve now won our last two races.” With her recent success, Jethou has thrown down the gauntlet to her Maxi rivals ahead of a competitive summer.
Sir Peter Ogden, owner Jethou
Terrific team spirit
Onboard the largest, heaviest and arguably most complicated yacht – the 112-ft Nilaya – the workings of the 16-man team are down to a tee. Cajoled by Volvo Ocean Race veteran Bouwe Bekking, who calls the shots and acts as the team’s commander-in-chief, the crew of predominantly Belgian and Dutch sailors are on an upward learning curve.
Owner Filip Balcaen is proud of the progress his largely amateur crew of friends have made over the past 15 years, having started out with little or no sailing experience. “Everything we have learnt and do today comes from the professional sailors,” admits Balcaen. The crew now almost function on autopilot. “A good crew should not talk a lot when something is happening as it is used to working together and in the case of an unexpected event should know what to do. This is the advantage we have of sailing a long time.”
Balcaen and Bekking’s relationship began back in 2003 during a successful Swan European regatta in Cowes. Ever since, Bekking has been the sounding board and inspiration for the crew, which includes four other professional sailors, all Volvo Ocean Race veterans. “The crew has progressed from a 56-ft yacht to an 80-ft yacht, and now this 112-ft yacht, and we know how to communicate,” adds Bekking. “Furthermore, it is a different relationship than that often found on other boats; we call each other up in between races and talk about a lot of things aside from sailing. We have a lot of respect for each other. If people make a mistake, we speak about it calmly and nine out of ten times it doesn’t happen again. It is about giving everyone self-confidence.”
The crew’s approach to sailing Nilaya has been marked by a gradual evolution and a lack of fear at sailing such a large yacht. Bekking concludes: “A lot of people are impressed by size but the good thing about these guys is that they still approach their sailing as if on a small boat – that way they get the most fun out of it.” In a thrilling tussle during Leg Two of the offshore race, Nilaya pulled clear of Y3K and Jethou to claim a hard-fought and deserved line honours title. The entire crew stayed awake for the 26-hour journey, tired eyes and warm smiles greeted the sunset finish in Capri. Enjoyment clearly breeds success. And vice versa.
* A dedicated feature story provides further details about how the team onboard Nilaya operates.
Boat Sail No.
Sir Peter Ogden GBR 74 1
Claus-Peter Offen GER 6060 3 3.00 4 6.00 3 6.00 15.00 2
Marco Rodolfi ITA 18989 4
Filip Balcaen GBR 112 8
Alex Shaerer USA 60666 9
Vladimir Liubonirov RUS 2460 2
TWIN SOUL 6
Luciano Gandini ITA 19951 6
Escuela Mediterranea de Vela ESP 9933
Giuseppe Puttini ITA 13993 12
Michele Galli ITA 88888 10
Glamorous La Canzone del Mare is considered as one of Capri’s most famous establishments. The picturesque lido typifies the heart and soul of Capri. Located in the sunny Bay of Marina Piccola with stunning vistas of the Faraglioni and the turquoise waters of the Tyrranean Sea, La Canzone del Mare has been the realm of celebrities for decades and continues to attract an international clientele.
Last night, guests of Rolex Capri Sailing Week reveled in the hedonistic atmosphere, enjoying a gourmet buffet in the comfort of magnificent terraces at the water’s edge. After enjoying a fine dinner, the party was treated to a special video presentation of Rolex Capri Sailing Week, including the stunning scenery of the Rolex Volcano Race. The ensemble danced the night away to live music from famous Caprese band, Anema e Core.
Today, there was some spectacular racing in the Bay of Naples for the final day of Rolex Capri Sailing Week. A light blanket of cloud high above the magnificent island of Capri signified a steady gradient breeze. Out on the six-mile windward leeward course, twelve knots of wind and glorious sunshine provided ideal conditions to bring the inshore regatta to conclusion.
In the Comet Class, Marco Paolucci’s Libertine won the first race of the day putting pressure on the class leader, but Alberto Franchella’s Farewell 3 won the last two races of the regatta to take the title. The Swan 45 Class has enjoyed some scintillating racing. Henrik Brandis’ German entry Earlybird won the first two races of the day, stamping their authority on the event to take the class victory. Andrea Masi’s Ulika has sailed with precision all week and finished the regatta in style, winning the last race and securing second place for the class.
The ORC division produced a convincing winner: Vincenzo De Blasio’s Scugnizza won all but one of the seven races. Olympic medalist, America’s Cup and World Match Racing exponent, Paolo Cian was calling tactics on Scugnizza. He comments:
“Today was a good example of the fantastic conditions in Capri, I have been sailing here for a very long time and Capri brings back very happy memories for me, especially winning the J24 World Championship. Scugnizza is a small boat in this fleet and we were always conscious of trying to stay in clear air. I am very happy for Vincenzo and all of the crew who have sailed so well all week. Capri is my favourite place to come to, especially for sailing.”
The Prize Giving was held at the Yacht Club Capri in the safe confines of the beautiful Marina Grande. Massimo Massacesi, President of Yacht Club Capri, presided over the ceremony.
Gian Riccardo Marini, CEO of Rolex SA, was on hand to officially present a Rolex Submariner timepiece to Andres Soriano, Alegre, for Line Honours and Overall Winner of the Rolex Volcano Race and to Giancarlo Simeoli, helmsman of Comet 45, Farewell 3.
ROLEX VOLCANO RACE
1. ALEGRE Andres Soriano GBR
2. GRANDE ORAZIO Massimiliano Florio ITA
3. EDIMETRA VI Ernesto Gismondi ITA
1. FAREWELL 3 Alberto Franchella ITA, 3-1-1-1-2-1-1-10.00
2. LIBERTINE Marco Paolucci ITA, 1-2-2-5-1-2-3-16.00
3. ATHANOR Y.C.Capri / A.S.D. 23 NODI ITA, 2-3-3-2-3-3-2-18.00
1. EARLYBIRD Henrik Brandis ITA, 1-3-1-3-1-1-2-12.00
2. ULIKA Andrea Masi ITA, 2-1-2-2-4-3-1-15.00
3. TALJ Giovanni Arturo di Lorenzo ITA, 3-2-3-1-2-2-4-17.00
1. SCUGNIZZA Vincenzo De Blasio ITA, 1-1-1-1-1-2-1- 8.00
2. TWIN SOUL 5, Luciano Gandini ITA, 2-2-3-2-2-1-2-14.00
3. VLAG Salvatore Casolaro ITA, 3-3-2-3-3-3-3-20.00
Clear blue skies and crystal clear water typify the sailing grounds around Capri.
The first day of the Rolex Capri Sailing Week was blessed with sublime conditions. A warm breeze of eight to twelve knots from the south to southeast was a little more than forecast.
There was spectacular racing today for all classes on windward leeward courses in the strait between Capri and Punta Campanella. The majestic island of Capri acted as a perfect back drop but also created some tactical nuances requiring forward thinking and high precision sailing.
“The great thing about the Bay of Naples is that you can sail here all year, it is never cold,” explained one of Napoli’s most famous sons, Francesco de Angeles, tactician on Andres Soliano’s Mini-Maxi Alegre. “Capri is 18 miles offshore and has more current than Naples, also the wind can be more tricky. For me it is a wonderful place to sail. I grew up here sailing dinghies in the Bay of Naples. There is a lot of history in and around Capri, each cape has its own story, the volcano Vesuvio, Pompeji… there are many more. It is a multi-cultural place, the Greeks, the Normans, the Spanish have all been here…
I hope that all of the sailors who have come to Capri enjoy some great sailing.”
It was all smiles on the Mini-Maxi yachts, fully powered up in little breeze, sailing as fast as the wind. The powerful boats seem to glide effortlessly through the water. Andres Soriano’s Mills 68, Alegre sailed with precision and guile to win both of today’s races. Alegre were a class act but they had to be at their best.
“The pressure is always on,” explained Alegre’s navigator, Will Best. “One mistake in this class and you are unlikely to recover. Capri is a complex place to sail and it is easy to get caught in a spot without breeze and in this fleet; they will take full advantage. Leading from the front, you are always looking over your shoulder, you always have to be on your toes.”
Peter Ogden’s Jethou was extremely well sailed today, crew work and boat handling were both impeccable. Jethou had a great tussle with Benjamin Brian’s Maxi Dolphin 65, Aegir. Although the two yachts were far apart on the water, on corrected time there were two very tight finishes, Aegir beating Jethou in both races by just seven seconds.
This is the first regatta for Alex Schärer’s Marten 67, Caol Ila, but Alex has sailed in Italian waters many times before in previous boats, including the Giraglia Rolex Cup. Calling tactics on Caol Ila is one of Ireland’s finest sailors, Gordon Maguire, who has been involved in some of the most prestigious sailing campaigns worldwide. Most recently as helmsman on Mike Slade’s Maxi, ICAP Leopard.
“We have come to Rolex Capri Sailing Week to launch a new boat,” explained Maguire. “ And what a great place to start a campaign. Alex and his crew are new to this level of sailing and it is really important that he gets the right guidance. That way they will truly enjoy the experience, even if at first they are not winning every race. It gives me as much satisfaction to see the smiles on board Caol Ila, as it does winning a grand prix event. Our priority this week is to enjoy sailing the boat but to do so to the best of our ability.”
The X-41 Class provided the closest racing of the day. The one design class produced some adrenalin pumping action, especially at mark roundings where close encounters were a regular occurrence. Starts are always important and especially so in light air. A clean get away puts the leader in undisturbed wind whilst the competition is literally struggling for air behind.
X-41, Raffica is owned by Orofino Pasquale’s. He hails from Ischia and knows these waters well. Raffica had an excellent day winning two races and lead the class. The boat has an excellent crew including Andrea Trani, who represented Italy at the Athens and Beijing Olympics in 470, and veteran yachtsman, Paolo Semeraro who is calling tactics. Paulo also represented Italy at two Olympic Games and has won countless World and National titles.
‘We had a bad start in the first race and it was a real struggle to fight our way back to third but the boat speed and crew work were good, we felt we could come back. I have been coming to Capri since 1985 and it is a great place to visit. I think that the racing will be very close all week, especially with WB Five.”
The most exciting finish of the day came from the Comet Class. In the first race of two of the pre-race favourites crossed the finish line within a boat length of each other. Reigning class champion, Alessandro Nespega’s Fral 2 taking the gun from Marco Franco’s Libertine by the narrowest of margins. After three races, Fral 2 is in first place with Libertine second. Massimo Guardigli is one point behind in third.
Addessi Vincenzo’s Fra Diavolo is the over night leader of the Mylius Class, winning two of today’s races. Vittorio Landolfi’s Pithecusa is currently second overall with Luciano Gandini’s Twin Soul Five in third place.
After returning to the Grande Marina, the Yacht Club Capri provided refreshments for all of the competitors. Racing at Rolex Capri Sailing Week continues tomorrow and local weather expert, Filippo Petrucci is confident that the competitors can expect even more wind than today, which should provide more exciting action from Capri.
Provisional Standings after 3 Races
Place, Boat Name, Owner, Nation, R’s-Points
1. ALEGRE Andres Soriano GBR, 1-1-1-3.00
2. JETHOU Sir Peter Ogden GBR, 3-2-2-7.00?2. AEGIR Brian Benjamin GBR, 2-3-3-8.00
1. FRAL 2 Alessandro Nespega ITA, 1-2-1-4.00
2. LIBERTINE Marco Franco ITA, 2-4-2-8.00
3. ALLURE Massimo Guardigli ITA, 3-3-3-9.00
1. RAFFICA Pasquale Orofino ITA, 3-1-1-5.00
2. WB FIVE Gianclaudio Bassetti ITA, 1-2-3-6.00?
3. MALAFEMMENA Giovanni Arturo di Lorenzo ITA, 2-3-2-7.00??
1. FRA DIAVOLO Vincenzo Addessi ITA, 1-2-1-4.00
2. PITHECUSA Vittorio Landolfi ITA, 3-1-3-7.00?
3. TWIN SOUL 5, Luciano Gandini ITA, 4-3-2-9.00
Following a successful introduction in 2005, the sixth edition of Rolex Capri Sailing Week returnst to the turquoise waters of Capri from the 26 to 29 May 2010, offering an opportunity for some spirited competition early in the Mediterranean racing season. The strikingly picturesque island
located in the Bay of Naples provides a stunning backdrop to the on-the-water action and a perfect setting for the off-the-water social activity.
Hosted by the Yacht Club Capri, the regatta comprises four days of highly competitive racing for a range of classes including Mini Maxi, Farr 40, Comet 45, Comet 41, X-41 and Mylius 14E55 yachts. Rolex Capri Sailing Week is hosted and organised by the Yacht Club Capri (YCC) with
the support of the Italian Sailing Federation (FIV), the Unione Vela Altura Italiana (UVAI) and the international Maxi Association (IMA). The Title Sponsor of the regatta is Rolex.
The regatta headquarters, including the Race Office and Media Centre, will be at the Marina Grande in the main port of Capri. This fully equipped, modern harbour also provides perfect berthing for the fleet. The racing area will be on the waters around the island.
All classes will sail a maximum of nine races. The Farr 40s and X-41s will sail only windwardleeward
(W-L) courses; whilst the mini maxis, Comet 45s, Comet 41s and Mylius 14E55s will sail
W-L courses and one coastal race.
The current entry list is made up of 34 entries from six different classes, two of which are one-design models, including the respected Farr 40s that will see Massimo Mezzaroma’s (ITA) Nerone, fresh from their win at the 2010 Rolex Farr 40 Worlds, competing on the water. With the mercurial Vasco Vascotto in the hot seat, Nerone has a reputation to uphold and will certainly capture a fair amount of attention as the current class favourite.
The Farr 40 Class also welcomes other international “top guns” such as the German-American architect Helmut Jahn, who will be racing on Flash Gordon and American Jim Richardson on Barking Mad, joining the rest of this international fleet that also features teams heading to Capri from Germany, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.
The other one-design class participating in the 2010 Rolex Capri Sailing Week is the X-41. Launched by X-Yachts, this class consists primarily of Italian competitors and sees the 2009 World Champion Pier Vector Grimani as one of the strongest in the fleet. The focus will also be on Alberto Signorini, co-helm of Nerone at the Rolex Farr 40 Worlds, who will be at the helm of Gianclaudio Bassetti’s WB Five, and Maurizio Pavesi at the helm of Coq Hardy, both contenders for victory in this class.
The Mylius 14E55 and the Comet 41S and 45S will race under the ORC International Rule, a system of measurement for “handicap racing,” designed to allow different sized boats to compete against one another. Handicap racing proves time and time again that a well-honed amateur crew with a competitive and well-maintained boat can upset the expected results. More information about the ORC handicap rule can be found in the Rolex Capri Sailing Week 2010 Press Pack on the regattanews.com event page.
For the Comets all eyes will be on Athanor, winner of its class in the 2009 edition of this event, and Libertine, frequent winner in Capri and overall winner of the 2007 Giraglia Rolex Cup. This year, Libertine’s Italian owner Marco Franco, member of the Yacht Club Capri, and Conny Vuotto, head of the YCC Sailing School, will be sailing onboard to defend the Comet 45S title.
The event this year also welcomes the participation of the Mini Maxi fleet for the first time. This class will include entries such as Andy Soriano’s (GBR) impressive 68-footer Alegre, overall winner at the 2009 Rolex Middle Sea Race, Peter Ogden’s (GBR) Jethou, Brian Benjamin’s (GBR) Aegir and Robertjan Zonneveld’s (ITA) Swan 601 Cuordisole among other massive beauties that complete the entry list.