Germany’s Dieter Schön and the crew of Momo claimed the 2017 Rolex Maxi 72 World Championship held off Porto Cervo. The event, run in conjunction with the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, was the closest yet. Both events were organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, this year celebrating its 50th anniversary, in conjunction with the International Maxi Association and the Maxi 72 Class.
Dieter Schön’s Momo dominated from day 2 of the event, but on the penultimate day others had their turn which made the title race wide open again. In near perfect conditions the 5 Maxi 72 teams sailed an anticlockwise loop of Caprera, La Maddalena and Spargi in northwesterly winds peaking in the mid-teens and it was Alex Schaerer’s Caol Ila who crossed the finish line of the coastal race first. But Cannonball was just 14 seconds behind and her two points lower IRC rating translated into victory by a mere four seconds. Skipper Cameron Dunn explained: “The others have been racing all year. We haven’t, so we should be last, but the last two days we have sailed really well. We are over the moon.” The Swiss Maxi 72 led from start to finish.
Schaerer recounted: “We had quite a good start and went right to get a better layline into the first mark. We were a bit faster than the others reaching, maybe because it was a relatively close reach. Upwind went very well, but downwind we had a few scares because theoretically above 15 knots the other boats are faster. To beat the newest boat on the water was good. I am very happy.”
Winning the coastal prompted whoops of joy from the Cannonball crew. “I am happy because it is important for us and for Dario to show that we can compete at this level,” said an ebullient Vasco Vascotto, Cannonball’s tactician. “We sailed very well to remain as close as possible to Caol Ila.”
Going into the final day, Momo held a 2.75 point lead over Dario Ferrari’s Cannonball and with a discard coming into play no podium place was safe. Ultimately after the final two windward-leeward races, Momo won by a point, the top four Maxi 72s finishing within two points. It was Cannonball (4th) and Proteus (2nd) who swopped places in the incredibly close contention for the podium.
“We feel really good. We are happy and proud to win here finally,” said Schön. “After last season we improved a lot of details in our boat and as a team - very small things multiply to make you quicker.”
Defending champion, Bella Mente of class president and IMA vice president Hap Fauth won the final day’s first race, after one aborted start when the wind went through 180°, filling in from the southeast. George Sakellaris’ Proteus claimed the second race when the wind had picked up to 17 knots. “We sail pretty well in strong winds, but so do the other boats,” said Sakellaris.
Dieter Schön and the crew of Momo also are the winners of the 2017 Maxi 72 Overall Trophy for the best scoring Maxi 72 over the best offshore result of the RORC Caribbean 600, Bermuda Race and Rolex Middle Sea Race plus the best two results of the Palma Vela, Corfu Challenge and Copa del Rey and the result of the Maxi 72 Worlds!!