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The winners of the World Superyacht Awards 2019

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The Legacy Award: His Highness the Aga Khan

Discovering the beauty of the north-eastern coast of Sardinia in the late 1950s, His Highness the Aga Khan had a vision of creating an exclusive destination for elite tourism, while preserving the natural heritage. The Costa Smeralda Consortium was established in 1962 to promote sustainable development of the area and in 1967 His Highness founded the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda together with Andrè Ardoin, Giuseppe Kerry Mentasti and Luigi Vietti as a non-profit-making sporting association for fellow sailing enthusiasts.

From its inception, the Club has aimed to organise international regattas, and in 1980 two important world championships were created: the Maxi Yacht World Championship and the Swan World Cup. In addition to a busy sporting calendar, the YCCS also promotes activities relating to the YCCS Sailing School and the One Ocean Foundation, created in March 2018 from an environmental sustainability project launched in 2017 to mark the Club’s 50th anniversary. In 1981 the YCCS laid down the first Italian challenge for America’s Cup. Just two years later the 12-Metre Azzurra came a triumphant third in the qualifying regattas for the finals in Newport. Thanks to her success, the first 12-metre Class World Championship was held in Porto Cervo in 1984. That same year, the Royal Perth Yacht Club chose the YCCS to act as Challenger of Record for the 1987 edition of the America’s Cup. Motor yachts have also been a longstanding passion for His Highness. In 1992, the 67-metre motor yacht Destriero crossed the Atlantic in 58 hours at an average speed of 98.323km/h. This spectacular adventure won Destriero not only the Columbus Atlantic Trophy, the prize instituted by the New York Yacht Club and the YCCS for the fastest return Atlantic crossing, but also the Virgin Atlantic Challenge for the fastest crossing awarded by former record holder Sir Richard Branson.

In 2014, His Highness took delivery of 50-metre Alamshar, the only all-gas-turbine-powered yacht in the world. As well as his many successes in the yachting world, His Highness has been deeply engaged with the work of the Aga Khan Development Network. As the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, from the age of 20, he has dedicated his efforts to improving living conditions and opportunities for the most vulnerable populations in developing countries.

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