North Sails NEWS

August 30, 2019

2019 MAXI YACHT ROLEX CUP

Final Days of Prep in Porto Cervo

📸 ROLEX / Carlo Borlenghi

Alessio Razeto is the North Sails Italy sales manager, and this week he is pulling double duty as he gears up to sail on SuperNikka in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. In fact, the whole North sales and service team in Italy is working hard to make sure our clients are fully prepared when they hit the start line in Porto Cervo.

We spoke with Alessio in advance of Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and learned that the local team is busy with sail deliveries, inventory checks, and getting their head in the game for what he calls “a world yacht show.”

This is a special race,” he says, “because you have a collection of the biggest, most competitive sailing boats in the world. Onboard and on the docks you’ll see top industry boat designers, yard managers, boat captains, and pro sailors.

“Yacht Club Costa Smeralda provides incredible hospitality and an exceptionally high standard of race management,” Alessio explains. Racing is set against the backdrop of the rocky coast and when the Mistral shows up it’s just the best possible conditions.”

📸 ROLEX / Carlo Borlenghi

Asked for his predictions on results, Alessio shrugs. “There are many classes and it’s really difficult to predict a possible winner, especially racing under IRC where wind conditions are not affecting the handicap; if the wind increases or drops, the final score could be flipped upside down. This is a mixed regatta, both windward-leewards and coastal racing, so all the boats are set up to the lightest displacement and boat handling will be the key.”

Sail selection is vital at Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Alessio adds. “We must have the boat set up for coastal racing and that means being strong all around; up and downwind as well as reaching angles. We will face quite long legs with 90-100 TWA if the Mistral comes, and carrying on the proper A0 or jib top can make a huge difference in speed. All the North Sails representatives are working with their teams, looking at best boat VPP in order to get the boat sailing at 110% of target polars.”

The company invests a lot of time and resources to be at this event, he continues—as do our clients. Minor sail problems will be addressed to make sure customers are competing at full potential. “We’ve got 25 years of providing overnight regatta service in Porto Cervo, and North Sails will have a pop-up loft throughout event. We have a big temporary loft with a van outfitted with a crane to make sure we are able to properly service all the yachts. Maxi racing requires a maxi structure!”

📸 ROLEX / Carlo Borlenghi

The days before the regatta is a madhouse, he says. “The North service team is working at full potential getting sails checked over and delivered. Sardinia is a big island and we’re 100% committed to making sure both new and repaired sails get to Porto Cervo in time so our clients are race ready.” 

With most of the racing starting off Porto Cervo and heading to Bonifacio between Maddalena and Caprera, there are huge variations in wind conditions during each leg. “You’ll see the fleet starting with a medium jib which they’ll stick with as the wind builds throughout the day,” Alessio predicts. “3Di is the perfect fit for this race as it carries through a wide wind range. Most of the North boats will not switch out their jib, and that is the biggest advantage of carrying a North sail because that maneuver and loss of boat speed comes at a huge cost.”

With Helix sails such a hot topic, we asked what part they will play in Porto Cervo.

“There are a lot of discussions about Helix and Load Sharing Technology on the dock,” says Alessio. “There is a clear advantage in terms of performance, weight saving, and the reduced load on tack and head. North 3Di technology gives the best potential benefit to push this concept to the limit and I expect it will be integrated into other sails in the near future.”

Once racing starts, Alessio will be part of team SuperNikka, a Mills 62. “It’s my ‘baby’ as I have been involved since the boat was a drawing on white paper. Our team has been together for a long time. We are constantly looking at ways to improve, and all the small changes have led to a massive performance increase. Sails are one of those improvements, and our North Sails IRC rule inventory includes a 3Di RAW main, jib and A0. We are also planning to test some special features on a reaching sail. We really work together, and our consistent results over the past five years are proof.”

Good luck to Alessio, his team SuperNikka, and all North Sails clients competing at 2019 Rolex Maxi Cup.

📸 SUPERNIKKA / Fabio Taccola