The Mediterranean Porto Cervo, Sardinia, has been renowned as a big-boat sailing destination since the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda began organising international events in this idyllic corner of Sardinia in the 1970s. However, even for this world famous yacht racing mecca, the fleet lined up at the docks of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda is a record breaking one. No less than 29 superyachts ranging from 24 to 50 metres in length are today putting the finishing touches to registrations and finalising preparations, preparing for four days of racing amongst the famous islands of the La Maddalena archipelago.
Crews arrive in Porto Cervo for the start of the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 2016
Proceedings are set to kick off tomorrow, Wednesday 8th June at 11.30 a.m. The event, organised by Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in collaboration with Boat International Media, has been running annually in Porto Cervo since 2008 and is now complemented by the Caribbean edition that takes place at the YCCS clubhouse in the British Virgin Islands every spring.
The competing superyachts have been split into divisions based on their dimensions and speed-producing characteristics. Class A groups together the largest yachts in the fleet and includes the 49.7-metre Ohana, a regular competitor in Loro Piana regattas in both Porto Cervo and Virgin Gorda, as well as the new, 2015-launched Unfurled (46-metres), which recently scooped the Sailing Yacht of the Year title at the World Superyacht Awards. Also amongst the giants of the fleet is last year’s overall winner Saudade, a 45-metre Tripp design.
Class B hosts several yachts new to the event, such as the 26-metre Oyster 885 Firebird, launched this year and making her regatta debut in Porto Cervo, and the Southern Wind 82 Ammonite, owned by an experienced racer who will be looking to make an impression during his inaugural Loro Piana event. The newcomers will be able to benchmark themselves against proven performers such as Grande Orazio, division winner in 2015, and of course Mr Pier Luigi Loro Piana’s own My Song.
The 12-strong Wally fleet is very evenly matched considering the size range spans from the 24.40-metre J One to the 32.55-metre Open Season.
My Song crew making final preparations
As might be expected, top sailing talent is not lacking on the quays of Porto Cervo Marina with a posse of America’s Cup veterans, Olympic champions and round-the-world sailors assisting many highly competitive owners on board. America’s Cup winner and four times Olympic medalist Jochen Schuemann will be calling tactics on the 32.5-metre Wally sloop Open Season and continuing a friendly rivalry with Ian Walker, double Olympic medalist and winner of the last Volvo Ocean Race, who sails as tactician on Sir Lindsay Owen Jones’ Magic Carpet 3.
As always with the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, on-the-water action will be complemented by a social programme including the welcome cocktail, the daily Pantaenius after race drinks, the Loro Piana Owners’ Dinner at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and a beach-side sunset party at the nearby Phi Beach.
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