Fleet prepares for Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta start

2012-06-03By Tim Thomas

There was something of a fanfare marking the start of the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta in Porto Cervo this evening. As the captains, tacticians and navigators from the race fleet listened to the pre-racing briefing on the upper terrace of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, the rigging of the assembled sailing superyachts whistled to the fierce wind blowing in from the west.

With five days of racing planned, it certainly seems like there will be no shortage of breeze, at least for the first couple of days – and hopefully the clear blue skies and bright sunshine will decide to hang around too. Principle Race Officer Peter Craig was quick to point out that safe racing was the top priority for the event. With a wide spectrum of yachts taking part – from the Southern Wind fleet, competing for their own class trophy, to the modern classic Annagine; from the 24m Ivanka, to the giant 57.5m Huisman ketch Twizzle, the rocket ship Highland Fling and old faces such as Salperton and Scorpione Dei Mari – the 40 metre rule, introduced to allow room for manoeuvring of these large yachts, will be strictly enforced. The weather was also a key point for discussion. ‘Forecasts for the next couple of days vary,’ said Craig, ‘but it might be a little bit on the windy side…’ Observations will be taken from early tomorrow morning, including from a race office boat out on the course, so tomorrow at 0930 will likely be the first indication of whether racing will go ahead as scheduled or if there will be a postponement.

With the fleet competing in two classes – racing, under the full ISAF rules, and cruising, under the amended rules for superyachts – there will be plenty of action on the water, and a fair haul of silverware to chase. But the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta is more than just on-water competition, and the owners, their guests, and the crews, all have an exciting social programme to look forward to. Tonight, the owners and their guests will enjoy a welcome cocktail on the YCCS terrace; later in the week there will be the refined elegance of the owners’ dinner, and the beach party for owners and their guests – this year to be held at Phi Beach – which has assumed near legendary status. On top of that, there will be a pizza party in the Piazza Azzurra on Thursday 7 June for all particpants… ‘Have a great week,’ proffered Boat International Media CEO Tony Harris to the assembled owners and captains. ‘Enjoy your fun on the water – and the evening events too!’

You can follow all the action from the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta on boatinternational.com, as well as our Facebook page, and we will be bringing you live coverage of the racing via Twitter – you can find different commentaries as they happen by following @nautiwords, @boatint, and #superyachtregatta