It’s all change for Day Three of the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta in Porto Cervo.
The new weather system has asserted its authority and the skies started overcast although the sun is finally breaking through. The wind is currently settled at seven to 10 knots from the east, presenting new challenges for the 21 sailing superyachts taking part.
The leaders of the three divisions at the regatta’s halfway point look pretty dominant, with the Claasen-built F Class Firefly, Fitzroy 37m Moonbird and Southern Wind Grande Orazio each taking two wins out of two in Classes A to C respectively. The fight for second and third places in each Class is far closer, with yachts chopping and changing positions after each race, and with some spectacularly close results – with the yachts separated by seconds on corrected time – suggesting there is a lot more action to come from Porto Cervo.
The new breeze will also tend to favour different yachts, which means that even those at the head of the scoreboards are not safe yet… The race committee is today planning to send the yachts on a course that will take them southeast to the islets of Mortorio and Soffi, before heading back up to Monaci and in towards Golfo de Arzachena.
The close on-the-water action of the first two days – particularly in what is known as bomb alley between the mainland and the islands – has meant that the tacticians, skippers and onboard safety officers have had their work cut out to keep the racing safe and to respect the 40m exclusion zone around each yacht which is written into the rules.
Key to that safety has been the use of the rangefinders supplied to each yacht by insurance company Pantaenius (who are the insurers of more than half the fleet here in Porto Cervo!). ‘We use the rangefinder in every cross,’ says the owner of the Southern Wind Farewell, ‘and we calculate the distance between us. The first day was blowing 22 knots and these boats are so big when you manoeuvre it’s difficult, but it was done in perfect safety.’
‘We have the 40m security rule,’ adds Matthias Adamczewski, tactician aboard the 24m Drumfire which starts first in the staggered starting sequence, ‘so you have to be really aware of the other boats and sail very carefully. We feel like a rabbit! The hunting starts and we try to protect ourselves. On the upwind legs you have to look if you can tack, or say okay, we go on for another 30 seconds just to let him pass so we can go behind him and he won’t affect us.’