Superyachts Moonbird, Firefly and Grande Orazio stretch lead in Porto Cervo
2014-06-04By Tim Thomas

Day Two of the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta – Embraer Race Day – once again threw up tactical challenges and spectacular conditions for the fleet of 21 sailing superyachts taking part.

As two weather systems battled for supremacy over Porto Cervo, the race committee decided to make the most of the residual northwesterly and sent the yachts on a custom course round Monaci, up between the islands to a laid mark, then back through bomb alley on a long downwind run.

Yesterday’s Class B winner Moonbird was quick to overhaul the slower yachts that started in front, and soon took the lead which she stretched all the way round the course. As the faster yachts, starting last in the staggered start sequence, gradually hauled in the slower yachts the confines of bomb alley gave tacticians a headache and crews the chance to show how slick their manoeuvres were.

After Day One’s excitingly close results, several yachts were out to gain valuable seconds in order to try to jump their competition. The Royal Huisman yacht Unfurled – who came second to Moonbird yesterday by just 12 seconds – tried hard to reel in her rival, but it was the Southern Wind Cape Arrow – chartered for this event by the owner of Highland Fling – who snuck through the ranks.

As the norwester gradually faded, the race committee decided to shorten the course, and when the results were in it was the Claasen Shipyards-built F Class Firefly that had taken the win in Class A – her second bullet of the regatta. The WallyCento Magic Carpet 3 stormed through the fleet to score a second in Class A, with the 33m Briand-designed Inoui taking third.

Moonbird’s unassaible lead on the water converted to a dominant win in Class B, with Cape Arrow taking second and Unfurled coming home third on corrected. In the larger Class C, the Southern Wind Grande Orazio once again took victory, while the 24.4m Selene and 27m Karibu claimed second and third respectively in a reversal of their positions yesterday. Pier-Luigi Loro Piana’s Cookson-built yacht My Song took fourth just 29 seconds behind Karibu and one minute behind Selene, showing just how close the racing continues to be.

‘It was a glorious day, probably ideal conditions’ said Paul Standbridge, crew boss on Cape Arrow. ‘We had 20 knots of breeze just before the start, then it went down to 17 knots and then 12 knots – it was a glorious day and the race committee made a smart decision by shortening the course, otherwise the wind was going to turn inside out and influence the result.’

‘It was tremendous racing,’ enthused Matthias Adamczewski, tactician aboard Drumfire. ‘We had a marvellous start, and marvellous race conditions as well. It was a little bit bad luck because in the end the wind dropped down and we laid a little bit in the calm zone before the new wind came up – I think that destroyed a lot of hopes in us. But sailing here is marvellous – it’s really something special.’

‘We had sensationally good conditions for 9/10ths of the race today,’ added Danish match racing champion Jesper Bank, racing aboard Karibu. ‘I’d say with the conditions it was a good call by the race committee and a good day in the office.’

‘Today was a fantastic day,’ beamed YCCS Member Massimiliano Florio, the owner of Grande Orazio. ‘The conditions were good for Grande Orazio like yesterday, which was fantastic as it was the first race and after you see you’re the winner – it’s beautiful. Today was the same, and tomorrow perhaps we can stay in the same position…’

Tonight owners and their guests enjoyed the Embraer Executive Jets Owners’ Champagne Reception on the YCCS terrace while the crews supped drinks at the Pantaenius post-race bar. Now the Piazza Azzurra is filling up with both owners and crews as the annual pizza party – hosted by Sardinia Yacht Services and DHL Italy – starts to hit full swing.

Racing resumes at 1200 on Friday, and with the scorelines close across all classes at the halfway point, there is still everything to play for. It’s shaping up to be another classic week in Porto Cervo…