Under the skin of the new Alegre

Jesus Renedo / www.sailingstock.com
We get down to the nuts and bolts of the latest Mini Maxi
In these chaste times, the Mini Maxi fleet continues to hold steady with six boats competing this week at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Porto Cervo. Absent is Sir Peter Ogden’s elongated Judel Vrolijk 60 Jethou (due to the owner having conflicting family commitments), but fighting it out off the Costa Smerelda are the trio of Judel Vrolijk 72s, Niklas Zennstrom’s Rán 2, Italian Alessandro Rombelli’s Stig and defending World Champion Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente, plus Alexander Schaerer’s Mills 68 Caol Ila R and George Sakellaris’s Reichel Pugh 72 Shockwave. Much news is afoot in the class with the Jethou team in the process of acquiring Stig and a new Rán, another design from Judel-Vrolijk, currently in build at Persico in Italy, with a second boat looking set to come off Rán’s moulds for a German owner. However the present new kid on the block at the Mini Maxi Worlds (that forms part of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup) is the latest Alegre, a Mills 72 once again for US/Philippines-based owner, Andrés Soriano. Like Bella Mente, which was launched last year, the new Alegre is a second generation Mini Maxi, the team’s first Mills 68 now sold to Alexander Schaerer, for whom it won this year’s Rolex Volcano Race. For the latest boat Soriano returned to Ireland-based American designer, Mark Mills (right). In fact ‘returned’ is not entirely accurate for they never really parted company – within the Alegre team several key players, including Mills and long term sailmaker, North UK’s Kevin George, have been continually involved with the campaign. In this and several other aspects, the set-up of the Alegre team resembles a Cup campaign. For example the team operates out of the giant Victory Challenge base in Valencia, where they have been rattling around only slightly – with a crew of