Yacht Club Costa Smeralda welcomes the 2017 Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta
Wednesday, May 31, 2017 9:10 AM
A high class fleet of seven Superyachts, headed by the 45m two times champion Saudade, the new 40m My Song of sponsor Pier Luigi Loro Piana and including the new, debuting 33m McKeon designed Ribelle, and a highly competitive fleet of ten Wally class yachts will take to the Costa Smeralda start line Today May, 31st for the first races of the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 2017.
The regatta is organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in association with Boat International Media with title sponsors Loro Piana. In welcoming the fleet YCCS Commodore Mr Riccardo Bonadeo said: "This 10th edition is a rounding mark which consolidates this event among our prestigious regattas thanks to the active collaboration of Boat International and the Title Sponsor Loro Piana, with whom we also ran our successful Caribbean event at the Club's winter Clubhouse."
Taking full advantage of the spectacular racing waters of Sardinia's bejewelled Costa Smeralda, considered by many as the most beautiful and some of the most challenging racing waters in the world, the two classes are due to compete over a series of four coastal races between Wednesday and Saturday.
Saudade, the immaculate Tripp designed 45m Wally returns to Porto Cervo fresh from an extensive refit in Palma, bidding to win the regatta for the third time in a row. With the hugely experienced Volvo Ocean Race skipper Bouwe Bekking, who guided Saudade to victory on the Costa Smeralda one year ago, back as tactician, expectations are high even if they are slightly shy of practice time this season. A further worry is their mainsail which suffered some unexplained damage during training one day before racing starts.
Michael Wilson, boat captain of Saudade, said: "It is a bit of a mystery why it happened. We have moved heaven and earth to get here to this event. We were still working just days ago in Palma and here we are in race mode."
Even in its updated, optimised mode Saudade is very much a known quantity for the slick team under Bekking. For the crews which are setting out with new boats the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 2017 is a heady mix of excitement, carefully managed expectations all underpinned by a note of caution.
Pier Luigi Loro Piana is visibly excited to be racing his new Reichel Pugh/Nauta YD designed 40m My Song at the showcase event which bears his family name. After a shakedown regatta in St Tropez last autumn, the My Song crew have trained hard out of La Spezia, but the step up from the previous Nauta 84 My Song III, is a significant one.
"I am very excited as this really is the first proper racing regatta for the boat here in Porto Cervo and it is such a great place to go racing." Owner-helm Pier Luigi Loro Piana explained on the dock at the YCCS after their last training session, " I think we will be lucky with the weather this week and there are such great boats to compete against. "
The Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 2017 sees the debut of Ribelle, the 33m McKeon design which has Italian America's Cup skipper Francesco de Angelis steering and Spain's double Olympic gold medallist Luis Doreste as tactician. They have had only a few days to work up the new boat which has appeared extremely quick according to reports from the water so far.
Ribelle's Captain Federico Biatturi explained: " We just left the yard a month ago. Everything is new. We are going to try to win. Our owner built the boat to win races, going from a 50m to 30m to be more within a class of boats."
The ten strong Wally Class ranges from the big beasts, the seemingly perennial duellists Magic Carpet Cubed, the Wallycento which was updated through the winter and which had the upper hand of the two in Palma earlier in May and the Wally 107 OpenSeason. The ever improving Wallycento Galateia has Jeremy Robinson as tactician and has shown the potential to overturned this duopoly and win races.
But in Palma earlier in May it was the first ever regatta win for Nahita which not only came out top of the tightly matched enclave of Wally 80s - of which there are four racing at this Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 2017 - but topped the strong Wally fleet by two points after five races.
Igor Marenic, the navigator of Nahita, the Wally 80.8 which won the first Wally circuit regatta of the season in Palma said: "Our chances are good. The best is when the wind starts light and builds then it is good for us. Our boat is very much improved on last season."
Racing is due to start Today at 1130hrs CET.