The first day of racing at the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 2017 saw the fleet of 17 superyachts navigate a picturesque course around the Costa Smeralda. 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.
The owner and crew of Escapade underlined the fact that an army of rock star professionals and the latest superyacht design technology are not necessarily prerequisites for winning at the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 2017. As the slowest rated yacht in the seven-strong Superyacht fleet, the crew of the 37.5 metre Dubois design took full advantage of the steadily strengthening southerly breeze which blessed the first of four planned coastal races.
The crew, led by tactician Dave Ridley, made sure they capitalised by sailing smart downwind angles on the 24 nautical mile course and were rewarded with Escapade’s first ever win on the Costa Smeralda thus denying a maiden race victory to the new McKeon-designed 33 metre Ribelle by a margin of just over one minute on corrected time.
For Escapade’s owner, Christophe Albin, the win was a pleasant surprise and an inspirational first foray on to a racecourse in Europe at the conclusion of three leisurely years of world cruising. “I asked my team twice to check that they were not reading the result in the reverse order,” he joked after the race. “We have an excellent crew all coming from different parts of the world. We have done very few regattas so it was a nice surprise today. Winning is a huge motivation to carry on competing and to try and do it again tomorrow, and after tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, helmsman Francesco de Angelis, double Olympic gold medal-winning tactician Luis Doreste and the crew of Ribelle appeared not to put a foot wrong with the excellent speed and smooth boat handling on Ribelle belying their limited time practicing with the new yacht. They enjoyed a close joust with Pier Luigi Loro Piana’s crew on the new My Song, the scratch boat in the fleet, which took third, 54 seconds behind Ribelle.
Salvatore and Paola Trifirò, Ribelle’s owners, were pleased and excited by their first competitive outing, “We had only two days of training but today the boat was responding beautifully, it was fantastic weather and a fantastic crew, so it is a great start with our new boat.”
The course took the Superyachts and the ten-strong Wally fleet on a beat to a laid mark, continuing upwind as the thermal build of the SSE’ly breeze kicked steadily to round the little rocky islet Mortoriotto before running back downwind past Porto Cervo and turning left into ‘bomb alley’ for a short reach to the Golf turning buoy at Secca di Tre Monte. With the wind peaking at 13-14 knots, the second reach to downwind was north to the Monaci Islets before a beat and short broad reach to the finish.
That the breeze continued to build during the afternoon ensured that the playing field in both classes was levelled between the bigger, faster rated boats and those smaller armed with slower handicaps.
The larger Wally yachts had the chance to extend away early as they worked offshore to the left of the first upwind, getting into the stronger breeze first. Magic Carpet 3 started beautifully and was able to seize first advantage, forming the foundations of its day one win by 1 min 24 secs over Galateia, with the French crew on the Wally 80 Ryokan 2 taking third. Open Season led around the course but retired after finishing due to an error reading the sailing instructions.
Magic Carpet 3’s Volvo Ocean Race-winning tactician Ian Walker commented, “It was a cool race as the big boats did really well early on because we got left (offshore) on the first beat and got more breeze but then the wind filled in which helped everybody towards the back of the fleet. We are very happy. We sailed a good, tidy race.”
After a brilliant first day of racing, owners and guests looked forward to the highly anticipated Loro Piana Owners’ Dinner held at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, which promised a gourmet meal followed by live entertainment.
To see more of the racing action visit the Boat International Media Bank. Keep up with all the action via the Boat International website or follow the event on social media using #loropianasyr on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.