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First regatta race to return to Portofino a success
After three days of racing in the Gulf of Tigullio, Capricorno is crowned the winner of the first Regate di Primavera – Splendido Mare Cup as the historic regatta makes a triumphant return to Portofino.
From sleepy fishing village to sailing hotspot, Portofino has welcomed its fair share of the seafaring elite over the years. After a lull in big boat racing, the maxi regattas have returned to the Italian port with the Regate di Primavera – Splendido Mare Cup, held in honour of the re-opening of the Splendido Mare, a Belmond Hotel, Portofino, and as a toast to the legendary yachting destination.
The four-day event saw 15 maxis from world-class shipyards such as Wally, Nautor's Swan, Southern Wind and Mylius, battle it out across the sparkling Gulf of Tigullio. "Portofino is a perfect natural environment for hosting sporting events," said Yacht Club Italiano president Gerolamo Bianchi. With its "unpredictable and very technical racing area" the Italian Riviera hotspot makes for some gripping racing.
The first day of the Splendido Mare Cup welcomed a steady south-easterly breeze of 20 knots, with a 19-mile course set between Portofino and Sestri Levante. Carlo Alberini's Pendragon was the first across the line, with the remaining 14 maxis completing the race in a little over two hours. The final standings, after calculating compensated times, saw the first victory for Rinaldo del Bono's 24-metre McConaghy R/P 78 Capricorno. Luciano Gandini's 25.5-metre Mylius flagship Twin Soul B came a strong second with Andrea Bianchedi's 31-metre Swan 98 Drifter Cube in third.
Day two saw another great day of racing with spectators able to follow the action from land; the last leg of the course saw the yachts passing within metres of the Portofino lighthouse – a true spectacle. The wind was varying but picked up just in time to see the yachts across the finish line under the cliffs of the headland. Capricorno scored a second overall victory with Twin Soul B just a few lengths behind. Moving up in the rankings was ITA102, Adriano Calvini's Felci 61, which, after scoring sixth place on day one, made an excellent recovery to third place in the overall standings on day two.
The penultimate day of the Regate di Primavera – Splendido Mare Cup had a delayed start as officials waited for the wind to fill in. Rinaldo Del Bono's Capricorno led the pack once again and was the first across the finish line for the yacht's third consecutive win – a superb hat trick for Capricorno. Carlo Alberini's Pendragon finished just one minute behind Capricorno with Twin Soul B completing the trio leading the provisional rankings heading into the final day of the regatta.
The sun was shining but a serious dip in breeze forced the last day of racing to be cancelled with a long blast of the committee boat horn signalling the maxis to return to port. With final results tallied, Capricorno was crowned victorious in a champagne-fulled ceremony with bottles of Veuve Clicquot handed to the winning teams. No stranger to an international regatta, Capricorno has scooped the top prize for the Sydney-Hobart and Cape Town-Rio races and was a strong contender from the offset. “I dedicate the victory in these races to Portofino and to my crew,” said Capricorno’s Alessandro Del Bono . "We’ve been sailing together for ages and once again we have shown the value of a yacht that is still very fast.”
Behind Capricorno, the fast Mylius 80 Twin Soul B, the flagship of the Mylius yard, put up an excellent show against pure racing yachts such as Capricorno and Pendragon. In third, Carlo Alberini's Pendragon of the Lightbay Sailing Team, a thoroughbred racing yacht designed by New Zealand's Laurie Davidson.
As the day came to a close, the participating yachts bid farewell to Portofino and marked the end of the Regate di Primavera – Splendido Mare Cup with a blast of their horns as they left port.
The ‘Regate di Primavera – Splendido Mare Cup’ is a joint venture between the Italian Sailing Federation, Yacht Club Italiano, the International Maxi Association and the municipality of Portofino.
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