Day Two of this year’s Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous, organised by Boat International Media as well as the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, was marked by downpour, bringing an inauspicious start after Thursday night’s Loro Piana Owner’s Dinner, where owners as well as distinguished guests had enjoyed the New York doo-wop group Acapella Soul on the YCCS Virgin Gorda terrace.
But the rainclouds soon gave way to a searing sun and a moderate breeze that would offer the 20 sailing superyachts taking part in the racing a real tactical challenge on the day’s custom course. With the wind hovering around eight to 10 knots, the race committee decided to send the fleet on a near-figure of eight loop, first to a laid windward mark, then out to a laid reacher, then past Seal Island and round the Dog Islands before heading back to the finish line.
Once again the giant Perini charter yacht Parsifal III lead the staggered start, but was obviously going to suffer in the lighter airs and a repeat of Day One’s Division B victory looked unlikely. By the top mark it was the Dykstra-designed charter yacht Carl Linne, the third yacht to cross the line, which had taken the lead rounding some two and a half minutes ahead of the 43m sailing yacht Rebecca. All bar the charter yacht Sejaa had chosen to stay left on the upwind leg – and it was a tactic that appeared to pay.
For the faster Division A boats, heading to a laid mark half a mile further upwind, it was the Southern Wind superyacht Cape Arrow – with Pier-Luigi Loro Piana aboard – which rounded first, followed by the second Southern Wind yacht Blues. Third to the mark was the 34m Royal Huisman-built luxury yacht Unfurled, but as she rounded she snagged the line of the buoy and dragged it 40 metres before it finally came free.
The second mark was another laid buoy, and by the time the Division B yachts reached it Carl Linne had stretched her lead to an impressive four minutes 30 seconds over Rebecca. The 23.5m modern classic Wild Horses rounded a few seconds adrift, followed by Oyster 100 yacht Sarafin. Mega yacht Athos – at 62m the largest yacht in the fleet – was slow to drop her kite at the mark and had to run deep, costing her valuable seconds as she fought to build on a strong Race One performance.
Cape Arrow was the first of the Division A yachts to round the mark holding a good lead over the rest of the fleet, who by this stage were starting to bunch up. By Seal Island, Sarafin and Wild Horses were neck and neck and Athos was keeping herself in the mix, with a white sail reach round to Dog Island allowing the Division A boats to get friendly with the slower Division B yachts.
Dog Island would prove to be a critical point of the course, with the light airs proving flukey the closer in the yachts sailed. Charter yacht Carl Linne took a wider line, but superyacht Sarafin held close in and managed to sneak the inside line. Several yachts all rounded together, with the fleet compression making for some challenging moments with the 40m safety exclusion zone in force. Luxury yacht Cape Arrow was the first of the Division A yachts to round, but last year’s winner – the Wally superyacht Indio – was making good ground.
The Js yacht Hanuman and charter yacht Endeavour were once again locked in a tight battle, with Hanuman leading round Dog – until her tighter line caused the headsail to back and she lost valuable metres to a charging Endeavour. Parsifal III, charter yacht P2, superyacht Freya and charter yacht Salperton all rounded within a couple of minutes of each other, while the 20-year-old charter yacht Baiurdo VI and the 49.7m Zefira yacht brought up the rear.
From Dog it was an upwind blast to the finish with the fleet making a spectacular sight in the crystal waters northwest of Virgin Gorda.
The final results showed how a couple of knots difference in wind speed can completely change the order of the finishers. In Division A, it was the racers who won through, with Hanuman claiming first on corrected just one minute and two seconds ahead of Indio. Cape Arrow took third.
In Division A’s cruising class, Cape Arrow took the victory over second placed charter yacht P2, with the 45m Salperton adding a solid third to yesterday’s win.
In Division B, Carl Linne’s early on-water lead gave her a third place on corrected, with mega yacht Athos putting in a solid performance for second and the classic yacht Bolero taking the Day Two win.
For Carl Linne’s tactician Simon Rogers, the staggered start means the key to success minimising tacking for the 80 ton boat. ‘We had a lovely first beat and were on the right side of a 15-degree wind shift and we came into the first mark right on the lay line,’ Rogers said. ‘The other tactics were to get past Parsifal III’s wind shadow and to avoid being road kill. We’ve sailed well these two days… We led for half the race today before being overhauled by Sarafin.’
It was pretty much smiles all around about the performance of the 10-year-old classic-style yacht, especially for owner Harald Orneberg, who is usually on the wheel. Orneberg only began racing in 2004 in Etchells class keelboats. Carl Linne is his first large yacht and third in Division B today was testament to a pretty steep learning curve.
Owners and their guests will be heading to Oil Nut Bay this evening for the spectacular beach party.
Saturday marks the last day of racing at the regatta, and there is all to play for. Just two points separate the top three yachts in Division A, with Cape Arrow and Salperton holding joint first and P2 just behind. In Division B, it is becoming a battle of David and Goliath, with the mighty schooner Athos holding the overnight lead, closely followed by Bolero and Sarafin. Luxury charter yacht Parsifal III sits in a close fourth.