Following Day One of the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta full of thrills and spills, Day Two – Embraer Race Day – provided the fleet of 19 sailing superyachts with challenging conditions and even more amazing action on the water. Two weather systems threatened to battle for supremacy, and as a result, the race committee chose a custom course, which took in Monaci, before sending the fleet upwind between the islands through bomb alley to a laid mark, then back downwind in a reverse track.
It was evident that yesterday’s close results had fired up both passion and competitive spirit in all classes. ‘Yesterday was a fantastic day on the water – it was almost one of those classic Porto Cervo racing days,’ said Campbell Field, navigator on the 34m Royal Huisman superyacht Unfurled, before the yacht headed out to the start line. ‘It was a little bit shifty around the top of La Maddalena which made it very exciting, and we had to reel ourselves in a bit and remind ourselves that we are racing around in rather large yachts! We had Moonbird in our sights for most of the race – it was a great tussle. Hopefully today will be exactly the same as yesterday.’ Coming second by just 12 seconds in Class B had certainly focused the owner and crew, who hoped that today they could reverse that result.
The breeze stayed steady at approaching 20 knots from the northwest as the fleet made its way up the first beat, and by the time the yachts reached the first corner at the Monaci lighthouse, there was a clear break as the 37m Dubois-designed charter yacht Moonbird, 24m sailing yacht Drumfire, 27m Oyster luxury yacht Karibu and the Spirit Yachts superyacht Gaia slid away from the chasing pack. Rounding nearly line abreast, Moonbird quickly took advantage of her size and speed and pulled into what would prove to be an unassailable lead on the water.
By the time the fleet had reached the top mark at the northwest end of bomb alley, Moonbird had notched up a delta of 3m 22s over Gaia, with yesterday’s Class C winner superyacht Grande Orazio rounding third. The 34m Unfurled – chasing Moonbird hard after Day One’s close finish – hit the top mark some 8m 23s adrift of the leader, and struggled to pull back the deficit as the wind began to drop on the downwind leg.
The race committee decided to shorten the course as the new breeze from the south fought with the old gradient, and when the results were in it was obvious that Moonbird had blasted to an emphatic win in Class B as well as taking overall line honours. The Southern Wind luxury yacht Cape Arrow – chartered for the event by Lord Irvine Laidlaw and crewed by his team from Highland Fling yacht – scored a second, with Unfurled coming home third on corrected.
In Class A, the Claasen Shipyards-built luxury yacht Firefly took her second bullet to put her in a commanding position after two races, while superyacht Magic Carpet 3 blasted through the fleet to take second ahead of the Vitters 33m superyacht Inoui. The Southern Wind Grande Orazio followed her win in the first race with another victory, ahead of the 24.4m Swan yacht Selene. Karibu came in third, just 31 seconds adrift of Selene on corrected time.
‘We had sensationally good conditions for 9/10ths of the race today,’ beamed Danish match racing champion Jesper Bank, racing aboard Karibu. ‘It seems we beat Selene yesterday by 18 seconds and they beat us today by 30 seconds so something tells me that the International Super Yacht Rule is not too bad – we’ve got a race on! Given the conditions it was good call by the race committee to shorten the course, and it was a good day in the office.’
‘It was tremendous racing,’ enthused Matthias Adamczewski, tactician aboard the Royal Huisman-built Drumfire. ‘We had a marvellous start, and marvellous race conditions as well. Sailing here is marvellous, it’s something very special, and the race committee are doing a very good job, especially today.’
For the crew of Highland Fling racing Cape Arrow, who are pushing hard to take a win off Moonbird in Class B, today was one step closer to the bullet. ‘It was actually a glorious day,’ said crew boss Paul Standbridge, ‘and probably ideal conditions 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. I believe we got a second today which is obviously very nice so we’ve got to behave ourselves – when you’re on the podium you’ve got to stay on the podium and not fall off…’
‘It was a beautiful day, perfect conditions here in Sardinia, in Porto Cervo,’ added Peter Holmberg, who is calling tactics on Cape Arrow. ‘The course going up inside the islands was perfect for bringing all the boats together and having close racing. We’re very happy with our boat, it’s a charter and the first time for our owner on this boat and class and we are enjoying it a lot. We learned the boat a little bit yesterday so we took all our lessons well and sailed better today so we’re happy.’
Perhaps the most delighted person on the dock was YCCS Member Massimiliano Florio, who took another emphatic win in Class C just a few months after taking delivery of Grande Orazio. ‘Today was a fantastic day,’ he smiled, ‘because the condition of the wind was very good for this boat. Yesterday was fantastic as it was the first day and we could see we were the winner which was beautiful. Today is the same, and tomorrow perhaps we can stay in the same position.’
Yesterday night saw owners and their guests head to the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda for the Embraer Executive Jets Owners’ Champagne Reception while crews enjoyed the Pantaenius after-race drinks, before everyone congregated for a pizza party in the Piazza Azzurra hosted by Sardinia Yacht Services and DHL Express Italy.
Racing resumes on Friday at 1200, and with all to play for at the half way stage of the regatta, anticipation is building for another magical day of friendly competition on the Costa Smeralda.