The 42-strong 2018 fleet is split into five classes with racing in the stunning blue waters of the Costa Smeralda off Porto Cervo and around the Maddalena archipelago on the northeast coast of Sardinia.
Porto Cervo is a millionaire's playground and yachties' haven, founded by Prince Karim Aga Khan in the 1960s as a luxury resort for the rich and famous. The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS), with its rooftop swimming pool, sits at its heart.
The 140-foot Topaz is one of three elegant J-Class yachts competing at the 29th Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup.
The 100-foot Wallycento Magic Carpet Cubed, owned by British businessman Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, the ex-head of L'Oreal, came second to Topaz in its class.
The Maxi 72 class holds its world championship during the week, with crews of big-name sailors and affluent owners helming their stripped-out rocketships in perfect conditions.
The historic 130-foot J Class yacht Velsheda was launched in 1933, named after commissioning owner W. L. Stephenson's three daughters -- Velma, Sheila and Daphne. It's now owned by Dutch businessman Ronald de Waal.