What a difference a day makes! After yesterday’s rip-roaring blast around the stunning coastline of the Costa Smeralda, the fleet today at the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta enjoyed altogether more benign conditions. The wind didn’t do quite as it was forecast – in the morning, a steady 10 knots blew in from slightly north of west, and the Performance division were set a course that would take them up and back through ‘bomb alley’, the channels that split Sardinia from the islands of Caprera and La Maddelena.
It was Lord Irvine Laidlaw’s 25.3m Highland Fling that showed the early pace, stretching her lead all the way round the course to finish a comfortable first. The 25.1m Aegir came home second, with the 24.9m Swan Alpina taking third. The 25.4m My Song retired from the racing on the first beat after an incident during a sail change off Capo Orso left one of the team injured. The jib pulled out of the foil and started flogging; the resulting shock loading broke a block which struck the team member just above the knee. On-water paramedics were in attendance within minutes, and My Song returned to Porto Cervo so that the team member could be taken to hospital for checks.
Meanwhile, just before the start sequence for the first yacht in the Cruising division, Ganesha, was due to begin, the wind summarily died. Principle Race Officer Peter Craig chose to move the start line north, but by the time the committee boat had dropped anchor and the fleet arrived, the wind had shifted to an easterly with what looked like a steady 10 knots. ‘The wind has done exactly what we thought it wouldn’t,’ quipped Craig over the VHF. A new course was set, with the cruising division heading south around Mortoriotto, Soffi and back to the finish off Porto Cervo.
It proved to be an inspired choice, with action all over the course. The lighter airs favoured the Southern Wind yachts in particular, with the 28.6m Kiboko storming through to take line honours and the win on corrected time. The Southern Wind Mrs Seven came through to take second, while Scorpione Dei Mari added a solid third to her third place from yesterday.
‘I am very happy,’ beamed Juan Ignacio Entrecanales, owner of Kiboko, after taking the win. ‘This is my first regatta with this boat, and this type of racing is very beautiful.’
For seasoned pro and match racer Cameron Appleton, calling tactics on Salperton, there was also much to smile about. ‘We were really pleased today,’ he said. ‘The guys have done a really good job getting the boat set up and we sailed well today.’
‘Today was chalk and cheese compared to yesterday,’ added Clive Walker, captain of Scorpione Dei Mari, ‘but the race committee did a good job – it was a great race today, a cracking race. Our goal is to sail conservatively and to be consistent, and it looks to be paying off right now!’
As the cruising division heads into a lay day tomorrow, it is Scorpione Dei Mari's consistency that makes her provisional leader, but with Ganesha, Kiboko, Cape Arrow, Salperton, Mrs Seven and Moonbird all within four points there is all to play for – it should make for a thrilling second half of the week.