Hap Fauth and Team Bella Mente Do It Again!!
Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente retains her Rolex Maxi 72 World Champion’s crown at the conclusion of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, organised in Porto Cervo by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and the International Maxi Association.
On the final day of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship the Wally and Maxi 72 divisions completed two windward-leeward races and all other divisions sailed a coastal course. A steadier than predicted 10-12 knots breeze held for the duration of today's competitions and the added sunshine and blue skies made this a picture-perfect Porto Cervo race day.
Hap Fauth's Bella Mente added another solid performance and with a win and a third place took the Rolex watch, the event trophy and the Maxi72 Class perpetual trophy for the second year running. A final sprint from Proteus, with her owner George Sakellaris at the helm, brought her from fourth to second place overall. Dieter Schön's Momo took third place.
The defending champion led from the outset of the regatta, although at one stage on Friday her advantage dropped to less than a point.
“It feels just fantastic,” said a beaming Fauth. This is Bella Mente’s third Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship title win, and her second consecutive. This was the hardest yet, the US team targeted by the five other Maxi 72s. “Everybody was aware of our strengths and there was always a blocking attempt in the starting sequences. We know what we like to do and they would go out of their way to move us around.”
Tactician Terry Hutchinson praised the team: “A solid effort all round. Copa del Rey was a good toughening event for us. Proteus sailed very well there and it raised the bar in the fleet. We knew for sure that this one wasn’t going to be a cakewalk. We work the law of averages and when the regatta got shortened because of the weather, I had a lot of anxiety, because you rely on a longer race series to just chip along. But the guys – from bow to stern - did great work. It is absolutely a pleasure and privilege to work for Hap. He provides us with everything we need to win. And we execute.”
Looking at this year’s Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, President of the International Maxi Association, Thomas Bscher said: “I think we’ve had one of the best events I can remember because finally the big boats came back so there will be good growth in that fleet over the next couple of years. Today you can have a 120 footer, which is as nimble as a 100 footer ten years ago. And there are more of them and they are wonderful boats.” He expects 10 more boats to be here next year.
At Wednesday night’s International Maxi Association Owners’ Dinner Dieter Schön’s Maxi 72 MOMO was announced as the 2015 IMA Boat of the Year.
Team Proteus is best Maxi 72 of the year 2016 and was awarded the 2016 Maxi72 Overall Trophy, a one off wood sculptured trophy by UK artist and World Sailing International Umpire Sally Burnett.