The 71st edition of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race lived up to its name with the most dramatic weather and racing conditions in over a decade. Of the 108 boats, 28 were from international countries, including the first ever Chinese yachts. Sailing their 100 foot Maxi Comanche, Jim and Kristy Clark took home line honours, as well as a Yacht Master II in Everose Rolesor; while Paul Clitheroe and his TP52 Balance won the coveted Tattersall’s Cup, in addition to a Yacht Master I in Rolesium.
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Hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club and sailed on San Francisco Bay, the 51st edition of the Rolex Big Boat Series drew top sailors and yachts from across the United States and abroad for four days of spectacular racing. Since its inauguration in 1964, the Rolex Big Boat Series has been at the pinnacle of regattas, hosting a world-class range of one-design and handicap races. From 17 to 20 September 2015, some 90 boats competed for victory in 11 classes, six of which earn the winners a coveted St. Francis Yacht Club Perpetual Trophy and the most prestigious of awards: specially engraved Rolex timepieces.
The Rolex Middle Sea Race takes place in the heart of the Mediterranean and covers one of the most scenic courses in the world. After leaving Valletta Grand Harbour in Malta, the 111 yachts taking part in the 2015 edition sailed through the Strait of Messina, around the active volcano of Stromboli, and Sicily. They then headed through the Aeolian Islands and on to the Egadi Islands, Pantelleria and Lampedusa before returning to Malta for a dramatic finish to complete the 22-nation fleet’s 608-nautical-mile adventure. The Rolex Middle Sea Race is organized by the Royal Malta Yacht Club and has been sponsored by Rolex since 2002.
The 63rd edition of the Giraglia Rolex Cup ended on 20 June 2015. The 243-nm offshore race from Saint-Tropez, France to Genoa, Italy saw 240 entrants – a new record that was quite a jump up from the previous record of 220 boats in 2010. Yachts from 17 countries competed in the offshore regatta, demonstrating its burgeoning international reputation. The majority of the fleet took between 48 and 60 hours to finish due to light winds, while the front runners arrived after some 30 hours at sea. Line honours went to Esimit Europa 2 — her fifth in six years — and, after 15 years of trying, Owen-Jones’s Magic Carpet Cubed finally managed to claim overall victory.
The Rolex Fastnet Race, organized by the Royal Ocean Racing Club, celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2015, with the 46th edition of this biennial 603-nautical mile offshore classic proving both intriguing and dramatic. A record fleet of 356 yachts from 25 countries competed, a clear demonstration of the event’s enduring appeal. Light conditions characterised the early part of the race, impacting the start from Cowes and the larger yachts chasing record times. Multihull line honours was claimed by the 131-ft Swiss trimaran Spindrift 2 while the 100-ft Maxi Comanche from the United States was the fastest monohull finisher prevailing ahead of fellow American yacht Rambler by a mere 4 minutes. In the latter part of the race the fleet’s smaller, predominantly Corinthian-crewed yachts, benefitted from an upturn in breeze rounding the emblematic Fastnet rock in more classic conditions. Claiming overall victory on IRC handicap was the 35-ft French yacht Courrier du Leon, whose magnificent exploits on the water were rewarded with the Fastnet Challenge Trophy and a Rolex timepiece at the final prizegiving held in Plymouth.