Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2021 | South Africans Back To Defend Title – Sail+Leisure
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Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2021 | South Africans Back To Defend Title

by Ingrid Hale
Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup Highland Fling

The 31st edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup starts on 5 September and runs till 11 September. A large fleet of 44 top, international teams will be racing on some of the most challenging and spectacular racecourses in sailing. And South African crews are in the mix too.

The world’s fastest boats

Open to yachts upwards of 18.29 metres (60 feet) in length, the entry list features a selection of the world’s fastest, most powerful and impressive monohulls. Five days of competition is scheduled, offering a programme of primarily coastal races that allow the fleet to take on some of the world’s most impressive, natural racecourses.

The fleet is divided into classes organised by type, size and potential. This ensures close, engrossing competition. Categories include the Mini Maxi, Maxi and Supermaxis, with the grouping for the largest yachts in excess of 30.48 metres (100 feet).

A fleet of impressive entries

Among the entries for the 2021 edition are yachts with outstanding pedigree. Hap Fauth’s Maxi 72 Bella Mente is a multiple winner of this regatta, Comanche is the race record holder at the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, George David’s Rambler 88 has won line honours at the Rolex Fastnet Race, Rolex Middle Sea Race and Rolex Giraglia, while Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’s Magic Carpet Cubed is a Rolex Giraglia line honours and overall race winner. The largest registered entrant is Topaz, a recent build of a 1935 J-Class design, measuring 42.7m (140 ft)

South Africans back to defend their title

Current Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup champion Highland Fling XI is back to defend her title in amoungst an impressive fleet as the smallest boat. South Africans Hylton Hale and Mike Giles were part of the winning 2019 team, and are in Porto Cervo once more to defend their title, along with newcomers to the Cup Sascha Smith and Daniel Lawrence.

Jan Dekker is sailing on Rambler 88 and SA-based Paul Standbridge and Matt Whitehead are on Leopard 3. The Pammenter brothers are also competing this year, with Michael sailing on the impressive classic boat, Topaz, and Shaun on the mini-maxi, Proteus.

Multiple sailing champ Mark Sadler, and Mark Lagesse are sailing on the impressive Wally 77, Lyra. And fresh off the podium with Phoenix 11 at the 52 SUPER SERIES in Porto Portals is Paul Willcox on Galateia.

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