The Giorgio Armani Superyacht Regatta is gearing up to be one of the most impressive gatherings of racing royalty since before the pandemic. Taking place from May 31 to June 4, the event will welcome a fleet of 14 superyachts to the shores of the Costa Smeralda for four days of racing in the La Maddalena archipelago. Take a look at this year's contenders...
Mariette of 1915
Mariette of 1915 is widely considered one of the most beautiful classic sailing yachts of all time and will be returning to the racecourse to prove that age is only a number. The twin-masted Herreshoff schooner was delivered in 1915 and is one of the oldest yachts still sailing today. She has undertaken countless transatlantic crossings and competed in many a regatta in her century at sea, but has been well maintained by a number of owners with regular refits at Pendennis keeping her racing fit.
WinWin is no stranger to the racecourse and has lifted her fair share of trophies since leaving the Baltic Yachts shipyard in 2015. She can often be spotted leading the fleet around the top mark at the Superyacht Cup Palma before hoisting a racing-green spinnaker and heading downwind at pace. Reaching 12 to 13 knots in true wind, she sits comfortably at 11.2 knots close-hauled; downwind, with the assistance of a smaller top-down furling kite, she can zip along at 18.5 knots.
Geist is the largest single-masted wooden yacht to be built in the UK since Shamrock V in 1930. She was constructed in a wood epoxy composite supported by a stainless steel space frame at British-based shipyard Spirit Yachts and is the largest sailing yacht to leave the yard to date. Don't be fooled by her classic looks as they conceal an advanced technical specification with a carbon mast and high-tech sail-handling systems with an in-boom furling mainsail and a roller furling headsail.
Inoui is a lean, green, racing machine built from a fully carbon composite and designed by naval architect Philippe Briand. The owner's brief called for the yachting equivalent of a sports car and Inoui is just that. Her rigging is a state-of-the-art blend of carbon and Kevlar fibres, while below the surface, a retractable fin-and-bulb keel draws just 3.75 metres when retracted and 5.35 metres down, ensuring optimum sailing performance as well as access to shallower anchorages. She is the fourth carbon superyacht to be built at Vitters.
Ribelle was built for a highly experienced sailing yacht owner who wanted a boat that could cruise worldwide, but could also offer superior sailing performance when flicked into 'race mode'. Vitters was chosen to build the carbon fibre racer-cruiser, with Malcolm McKeon devising the design. Ribelle can sail at 20 knots in moderate conditions, with the assistance of a self-tacking jib and furling downwind sails, and has competed in Les Voiles de St Tropez, Maxi Rolex Cup and the Palma Superyacht Cup.
Egiwave is the fourth hull in the SW102 mini-series and the second to be built with a raised saloon. Delivered in 2015, she raced for many years under her original name, Seawave, before she changed ownership in 2019. Egiwave flies a 292 square metre mainsail with a carbon fibre mast and boom, while recessed twin helm positions free up space on deck for a race crew to move about. Farr Yacht Design handled the naval architecture while the exterior and interior styling is courtesy of Nauta Design.
The 29 metre Sorceress is the first in Southern Wind's SW96 series and one of two racing at the Giorgio Armani Superyacht Regatta. Her deck hardware is optimised for both shorthand performance cruising and offshore racing with a fixed bowsprit (and integrated anchor arm) and a furling code zero to ease sailing manoeuvers. She has twin rudders, a lifting keel and a synthetic teak deck for weight optimisation.
Magic Carpet 3
Former Superyacht Regatta champion Magic Carpet 3 will be returning to the racecourse to defend her crown after winning the performance class in 2019. She was launched as the second in a series of next-gen performance cruisers by Wally, named the Wallycento, in a collaboration between Luca Bassani and Reichel/Pugh Yacht Design. The boat has a displacement of just 50 tonnes (if you remove the keel and the mast, that figure drops to 18 tonnes) which makes her one of the lightest cruising boats ever built. During her construction, every item was weighed, right down to the titanium screws holding it all together. Her Southern Spars rigging flies 640 square metres of sail while a lifting keel reduces her draft by two metres.
The 30.5 metre Southern Wind sailing yacht Morgana is an all-carbon racer-cruiser designed inside and out by Nauta Design with naval architecture by Reichel Pugh Yacht Design. She was custom-built for an experienced yachtsman who set a brief for a competitive bluewater cruiser with a racy profile. Towering above the hull is a high modulus carbon rig and a powerful sail plan that sees Morgana reach 30 knots downwind; below the waterline, she has a single rudder and a deep lifting keel that extends to 6.1 metres. At the helm station, there are gybe and hoist functions. When the gybe button is pressed, 70 per cent of the hydraulic power is allocated to the sheet winches, while the hoist button is used to favour oil flow and pressure to the mast winches.
Cape Arrow was delivered by Southern Wind as the third hull in the SW100 mini-series of sailing yachts and went on to win the St Barths Bucket in 2015. Designed by Nauta with naval architecture by Farr Yacht Design, she will be returning to the racecourse under new ownership after she was sold in 2020, with a new crew to test her mettle.
The 28.54 metre Magic Blue was constructed in carbon fibre by Italian yard Wally to a design by German Frers. She was delivered in 2003 as a Wally 94 model. With a displacement of just over 40 tonnes, a sail area of 405 square metres and a lifting keel, she is a born racer and will no doubt prove her racing DNA on the racecourse.
Originally named Nahita, 28.3 metre Bullitt was launched in 2018 as a custom racer with a displacement of just 35.5 tonnes. She was designed by Luca Bassani and Judel/Vrolijk & Co to perform in light to medium conditions and can start surfing with just 16 knots of wind. Bullitt features an amidships centre of gravity to minimise pitching. For this reason, the saloon is situated forward of the mast. Her North Sails are particularly large for a yacht of this size, while the deck gear is by Harken, Blew Stoub and Winmar. Bullitt looks the part too with her jet black hull and 503 square metres of charcoal sails.
Ammonite is the third hull in Southern Wind’s SW96 miniseries and is the second sailing yacht of Marcus Blackmore from the South African shipyard. She was launched at the peak of Covid-19 so you can be she will be racing with vengeance this year. Key features include a lifting keel, twin rudders and a fixed bowsprit, carbon boom and carbon mast. The corridor between the cockpit and guest area has also been designed to feature “minimal level changes”, resulting in “easy and safe circulation when cruising.” The yacht features exterior lines designed by Farr Yacht Design and a deck and interior design penned by Nauta Design.
Another entry from the Southern Wind Shipyard, Feelin' Good was launched in 2013 as the first hull in the SW82 series. She is fitted with carbon rigging, with a genoa and staysail and fixed hydraulic furlers for safe and shorthanded sailing on the racecourse. Anodized winches and deck hardware match the yacht's teak grey caulking and exterior upholstery, with a tropical blue hull to match the shallows of the Sardinian waters.