With over 200 million dollars worth of yacht gathered in Porto Cervo for the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2000

4th September 2000 – Day 1

With over 200 million dollars worth of yacht gathered in Porto Cervo for the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2000, the race committee had little choice but to cancel the first day of racing in the face of Mistral winds gusting up to 40 knots.

For some yachts this will be their first competitive outing, so the danger of breaking gear in such strong winds would be high. Olympic gold medallist Thierry Peponnet is back at the helm of Virtuelle, Carlo Perrone’s spectacular silver yacht designed by Andrea Vallicelli. The boat first raced at the Giraglia Rolex Cup back in June but has not been put through her competitive paces since.

Whilst the calibre of sailor aboard these sleek yachts would have relished the challenge of today’s conditions, the risk of breaking custom-built equipment – which is not easily replaced – was too great.

Instead, the balmy conditions in Porto Cervo, the Aga Khan’s spectacular harbour created some 30 years ago, offered an opportunity for owners and crew to relax or carry out some last-minute preparations for what is one of the most important events of the year in the big boat scene.

Chief executive of Pirelli, Marco Tronchetti Provera spent time aboard his Wally yacht Kauris II with his girlfriend and TV presenter known simply as Afef. Pierre Luigi Loro Piana, the ‘King of Cashmere’, is here with his yacht My Song. And later in the week, chief executive of cosmetics giant L’Oréal Lindsay Owen-Jones will be flying down to join his crew aboard Magic Carpet.

The quality of the sailors gathered here is equally impressive. Tomasso Chieffi, the America’s Cup tactician, is calling the shots for Roy Disney aboard the American yacht Pyewacket. French America’s Cup skipper Bruno Troublé is helming Magic Carpet, whilst Whitbread skipper Ludde Ingvall has brought his hi-tech racing yacht Skandia to Sardinia. He is itching to test his water ballasting system against the yachts that use manpower or canting keels for ballast.

The wind is expected to abate tomorrow, when the fleet of 26 super-yachts can head out of Porto Cervo to compete on the azure seas that surround this beautiful island.