Saudade, My Song and Grande Orazio win Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta

With several positions undecided throughout the fleet of sailing superyachts taking part in the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 2015, the last day of racing was always going to be tense. Saudade and Ganesha were tied on points at the top of Class A, while the Perini Navi Clan VIII and the 55 metre ketch Marie were tied for third. In Class C, Blues and the Spirit Yachts 100 Gaia were tied for third, with Cape Arrow just one point behind.

Sadly, the tension turned to the weather as the breeze struggled to make an appearance on the waters of Porto Cervo, and after several postponements and a race that was abandoned part way through the first leg, the race committee hoisted flags november over alpha, signalling that racing was being abandoned for the day.

It meant that Saudade held on to win Class A on countback over Ganesha, while Clan VIII took third over Marie, also on countback. “The win means a lot for me because we tried to win so often,” beams the delighted owner of Saudade. “We’ve won one or two races before but not the whole regatta, so this is the first time and we are very, very happy!”

“It was a great week, well organised, with a good race committee,” smiles Clan VIII’s owner. “It was great sailing. We got the second place on the first day and today we were expecting a match race against Marie. Regretfully the last race was cancelled but it was a great week and I am of course happy having got third place with this heavy boat. We had a marvellous team on board – professional and fun – so all in all it was a great week!”

In Class B, an impressive three wins from three races meant that My Song could claim an undisputed victory. “A couple of times we really had to work hard to keep WinWin at bay,” says America’s Cup veteran Tommasso Chieffi, who was calling tactics on My Song, “so we’re all very pleased and the feelings are all very good. It wasn’t a walk in the park, but that makes this victory so much more special.”

Class C was taken by the Southern Wind yacht Grande Orazio after an emphatic performance this week. “This week it was important for me, my family, the crew and also the Southern Wind shipyard,” says her owner, Massimiliano Florio. “It’s important because last year we won, but this year we had three first places. For next year I would like to repeat this performance. I’m very happy!”

Although the regatta featured light winds throughout, the racing was as close as ever and the 40-metre exclusion zone around each yacht proved instrumental in keeping the racing fun but safe. To help gauge distances to competitors, each yacht was equipped with a laser rangefinder supplied by insurance company Pantaenius. “These boats are worth a lot of money and if two boats collide it could be a few thousand or a few million, and people could get hurt," says Clive Walker, captain of WinWin. "The rangefinders are a very useful tool.”

“You definitely use the rangefinder a lot,” agrees Tom Aiken, captain of Gaia. “There are parts of the course where the boats struggle to stay 40 metres apart – for instance, on the first day we had a pile up at a mark when the wind died and everyone came charging up, but I think common sense prevails as everyone is looking out for each other. You also tend to think the boats are closer than they are – when you get the rangefinder out you sometimes find they’re quite a long way away still!”

The event, of course, is about more than just the action on the water, and for owners, their guests and crews it is the social programme that makes the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta so special. “The Loro Piana Owners’ Dinner was exceptional, and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda is the best,” says Massimiliano Florio. “Last night we were at the party at Phi Beach, which was beautiful. I feel very emotional – this week in Porto Cervo is a beautiful week and the atmosphere is exceptional.”

“The social side was perfectly organised,” agrees Clan VIII’s owner. “The car services, the Phi Beach party – basically, there is nothing to complain about.”

“I very much enjoy this regatta because Porto Cervo is a really good location for sailing and racing,” adds the owner of Saudade. “The beauty of the landscape is nice, onshore it’s so nice, the water is nice – we don’t find a better place to sail. We are really happy and we really enjoyed the week.”

“It was thrilling to see how such imposing boats managed to provide exciting racing in fairly light winds,” says Riccardo Bonadeo, commodore of the YCCS. “As always the Loro Piana event brought a varied fleet – some new boats competing for the first time in Porto Cervo and many owners who come back year after year for the special atmosphere of this regatta.”

“A special thanks must go to the Yacht Club,” added Pier Luigi Loro Piana, deputy chairman of Loro Piana. “They put on a wonderful show but I know how much work there is behind the scenes in creating an event like this. As a sponsor I am really proud of supporting an event like this and superyacht racing. The quality of the boats was very high this year and the racing was super. Thanks to all the owners attending and I’ll see you all next year.”

The prizes were awarded as follows:

The Loro Piana Prize, the Silver Jubilee Cup by Boat International Media - Saudade

Class A

1st - Saudade

2nd - Ganesha

3rd - Clan VIII

Class B

1st - My Song

2nd - WinWin

3rd - Inoui

Class C

1st - Grande Orazio

2nd - Nahita

3rd - Blues

The special prizes awarded were as follows:

Embraer Executive Jets Race Day Trophies

Class A: Saudade

Class B: My Song

Class C: Grande Orazio

YCCS Trophy for highest placed YCCS memberMy Song

International Maxi Association member trophyGrande Orazio

For video highlights, image galleries and full race reports from the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 2015, head to the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta event website.

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