Excellent conditions on the final day of racing saw spectacular action on the water and triumphs for Saudade and _Magic Carpet 3 _at the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 2017. You can catch up on all the action from the event, which is organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) and Boat International Media, with our highlights video below.
A dream was realised a year ago for owner Albert Buell when he and his crew on Saudade won the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta on Sardinia’s glorious Costa Smeralda for the second successive year. The popular owner-helmsman, who, since winning the Admiral’s Cup in 1973 has raced eight subsequent yachts all called Saudade, was ecstatic today as his crew completed a hat trick of regatta wins.
The perfect check out of two back-to-back wins also made sure that Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’ Wallycento Magic Carpet 3 ended a two year winning drought. The emblematic ‘boys in blue’ topped the Wally class, getting their revenge on rivals Open Season who pulled the rug from under the Magic Carpet 3 crew earlier in the regatta, defeating them in the last race to steal the win.
For both Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 2017 winning owners and their crews, Costa Smeralda has long been a particularly happy hunting ground. Owen-Jones and his Magic Carpet 3 team won the Maxi Yacht World Championship here in 2008 and 2014 and Buell’s Saudade team first tasted victory on this beautiful Mediterranean island in 1988 at the Sardinia Cup. It is a testament to Buell’s passion and dedication to the sport that several of his crew have sailed with him for more than 20 years.
“We made the triple. That was the dream and now the dream is a reality,” Buell smiled as he lifted the top award for the regatta, The Loro Piana Prize: The Silver Jubilee Cup by Boat International Media. “We have been coming here since 1975 and the satisfaction is always there – especially if you win. Today is a special day and every year is different. There has been such a nice atmosphere between the boats.”
Both division-winning Wallys made optimising changes throughout last winter that have contributed to an improved speed edge. Magic Carpet 3 is a little lighter than last year and, according to tactician Ian Walker, has been going better this season. So too Saudade has a new keel, rudder, bowsprit and rigging.
The crucial elements for Magic Carpet 3’s victory in the final Wally class race were put in place by Walker, strategist Tom Whidden and navigator Marcel Van Triest before the downwind start. On the figure four-shaped 15 nautical mile course, going first downwind into the Passo del Bisce in the light 6-7 knot SSE’ly breeze, the Magic Carpet 3 crew elected to start off the pin, leeward end of the line. As they entered the narrowing strait they crossed ahead of rival Galateia by just half a boat length.
Their leeward, low line paid an initial dividend as they could do two gybes less than their rivals. Walker guided Magic Carpet 3 into two particularly beneficial puffs of breeze through the little islands there and it was here they stretched away. Open Season, having started on the wrong side of the line, were always on the back foot. However, after three races of near flawless crew work, the Magic Carpet 3 crew nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory when they botched their final hoist and nearly lost out within a few hundred metres of the final finish.
Walker quipped, “We tried to throw it away at the end but we held on! Our last two seasons have been tough. We made some changes to the boat over the winter and we have done a lot more training coming into the season. To be able to beat the other hundred footers here is tough enough but the wind being the way it was we managed to beat the smaller boats too. The teamwork has been spot on all week.”
Galateia, with Jeremy Robinson calling tactics and Simon Fisher as navigator, finished runners up in the Wally class while second place in the Superyacht class was taken by one of this year’s new yachts, Ribelle.
To see more of the racing action visit the Boat International Media Bank. See all the results and highlights from the regatta on the Boat International website and catch up on all the action from the event on social media using #loropianasyr on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.