Dramatic finish for first race of 2014 Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta
by Tim Thomas
The fleet of 21 sailing superyachts taking part in the 2014 Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta – organised by Boat International Media and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda – enjoyed a spectacular day on the water on Wednesday as the much anticipated racing finally got underway.
With the fleet ranging from the 24m Drumfire to the 46m Ganesha, and including everything from the F Class Firefly and Spirit Yachts Gaia to the WallyCento flyer Magic Carpet 3, the race committee selected a course that would send the yachts anticlockwise around the islands of Caprera and La Maddalena and then back through bomb alley past Capo Ferro to the finish off Porto Cervo.
Drumfire – the slowest rated yacht under the International Super Yacht Rule used for the regatta – got the racing underway as each yacht followed on a staggered start sequence. The first beat up to the top of La Maddalena gave crews and strategists plenty of scope to flex their tactical prowess, and at the top of the beat it was Moonbird that had come through to hold a slender lead on the water – one that she would maintain almost to the finish.
As the yachts rounded the southwestern tip of La Maddalena, fleet compression meant that the run through bomb alley under kite was close-fought and cat-and-mouse all the way to the finish. The faster yachts that started last began to assert their power, with the Wallys Magic Carpet 3 and Open Season charging through the fleet to battle for line honours.
When the corrected times had been calculated, the Claasen-built Firefly had swept Class A ahead of the 37.2m Ghost, with Magic Carpet 3 coming in third just 25 seconds later. Class B victory went to Moonbird by the slenderest of margins, just 12 seconds separating her and second placed yacht Unfurled. As if to highlight how close the battle in Class B had been, the Southern Wind *Cape Arrow *– chartered for this event by Lord Irvine Laidlaw – came in third just 25 seconds further behind.
Class C went to the Southern Wind Grande Orazio, with Karibu and the Swan Selene taking second and third respectively. ‘We are delighted with this start to the week,’ enthused Grande Orazio’s owner, YCCS Member Massimiliano Florio. ‘The boat is brand new, launched in January and brought here from South Africa in March so this is the first regatta she has participated in. We’re testing the boat – today we were very fast and we had to be careful of keeping our distance from the other boats. We have a strong crew that has sailed together for a long time and so we hope to keep improving.’
‘We had a good run because we sailed well,’ said Cameron Appleton, who is calling tactics on Moonbird this week. ‘We got an early jump and we were able to maintain that by just being ahead in clear air and sailing new breeze lines whenever we wanted to – we weren’t dictated to or governed . It was a great race, and all in all we’re pleased particularly when we found out that we were 12 seconds ahead of Unfurled. That was a real close battle and it’s probably going to stay like that all week.’
For others, just being out on the water was a result in itself. ‘It was a fantastic, wonderful day,’ beamed the owner of the Southern Wind 30.2m superyacht Farewell. ‘The YCCS and Boat International Media have organised an incredible event on this wonderful isle. I think every yacht managed to release the full stable of horses today!’
Tonight, owners and their guests will enjoy both a sumptuous dinner prepared by Michelin 3 Star chef Massimo Bottura and the grace and beauty of prima ballerina Eleonora Abbagnato at the Loro Piana Owners’ Dinner, held on the YCCS terrace. It will be the perfect end to another perfect day at the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta.