Watch: Highlights from the Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta 2017
by Sean McNeill
Gorgeous and stunning, beautiful and exotic were the near unanimous descriptions of the racing at the seventh annual Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous, presented by Italian fine clothing brand Loro Piana and co-organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and Boat International Media.
“Here in the Caribbean is probably the top spot to go sailing,” said Bouwe Bekking, tactician of overall winner Nilaya. “Especially for these bigger boats; the nice flat water, going around beautiful islands, it’s a lot of nice scenery for the crew who’ve gotten their job done. It’s a good spot to go racing.”
“Why not keep coming back?” asked Tony Rey, tactician on Class B winner P2. “This place is unbelievable and the racecourse is fascinating. I think of the racecourse as a chess board, with the contours of the hills and how the wind bends around in Great Channel. It’s a tricky place and rewards good, smart tactical sailing. Besides that, if you lose the race you forget pretty quickly because it’s an unbelievably beautiful place to come racing. We’re so lucky to be able to do this.”
“What makes it so special is to sail here in the Virgin Islands, at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, with a sponsor like Loro Piana, it’s just a fantastic event,” said Don MacPherson, owner of Class C winner Freya. “It’s wonderful to be here. You’re always assured a good time.”
The 17 boats in the seventh annual regatta totalled 644 metres (2,113 feet) in length overall. Stacked bow to stern, the fleet would stretch more than six-tenths of a kilometre in length.
The three days of racing saw the race committee conduct two coastal races sandwiched around a circumnavigation of Virgin Gorda, which presented certain tactical decisions.
“Near the top of Virgin Gorda, between Necker Island and Pajaros Point, is a rock mass called The Invisibles,” said Peter Grimm, crew boss aboard Class D winner Perseus 3. “It’s about three metres deep. You can go inside or outside, but a straight line from Necker to the point goes straight over them. So you have to make that decision early or it could get ugly quickly.”
Yellow, green, blue and white are among the colours chosen to represent territorial aspects of the Virgin Islands, such as the sun, lush hillsides, beautiful waters and sandy beaches. The colours were in abundance this week on the racecourse and at the shoreside activities hosted by the YCCS.
“This regatta is win-win for all of us,” Dr. D. Orlando Smith, the Premier of the British Virgin Islands, said at the final awards ceremony. “We enjoy having all of you here and we think that you enjoy it as well. Good weather, wind and sunshine are what we promise in the BVI. Regardless of results, once you’ve been to the BVI you’re a winner.”
Of course, there were plenty of thrills to be had off the course as well with owners and their guests treated to a sparkling social programme across the three days. The first evening saw competitors settle in and old friends catch up over drinks and a casual BBQ supper at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda while the next day guests donned their finery for the highly anticipated Loro Piana Owner's Dinner. Fabulous entertainment was provided by musicians Julian Fontalvo and Khaoula Bouchkhi but, of course, all conversation over the sumptuous meal was about the day's brilliant racing.
Throughout the regatta guests looking for a little relaxation away from the racing enjoyed the amenities at the beautiful Oil Nut Bay Beach Club and, on the final evening, the end of a fantastic regatta was celebrated at the Bitter End Yacht Club.
For in depth race reports, the best pictures and more information about the 2017 Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous click here.