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Yacht Club Costa Smeralda sporting season set to launch

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YCCS Digital Press Conference.
YCCS Digital Press Conference. From left: Secretary General and YCCS Sports Director Edoardo Recchi, YCCS Commodore Michael Illbruck, Giovanni Bruno moderator and Sky Sports commentator. Photo credit: YCCS/Gianluca Muscas

Porto Cervo, 25 May 2021. The conference to present the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s sporting calendar and the competitive programme of the Young Azzurra team took place this morning. For the first time, the traditional YCCS event was held online, with a live stream from the Azzurra Lounge at the Club's Porto Cervo headquarters which, in addition to members, was open to all journalists, guests and supporters wishing to take part. A recording of the event will remain available on the YCCS YouTube channel.

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The press conference, moderated by Giovanni Bruno of Sky Sports, began with a greeting from Princess Zahra Aga Khan, President of the YCCS Board of Directors, who reflected on the extent to which the pandemic has led us to reconsider our role with respect to nature, and echoed everyone's desire to return to sailing. “There are undoubtedly many lessons that we need to learn from this crisis, including re-evaluate a more sustainable way of living with the sea, and in particular the sea of Sardinia. The resumption of activities at the YCCS will be governed by respect for the environment and, obviously, our passion for sailing.”

This was followed by an address from Commodore Michael Illbruck: "Being here today, taking part in our first digital conference represents a positive response to what we have experienced." commented Commodore Illbruck. "We are opening the doors of the YCCS to everyone for this annual event, even if only digitally, which bears testament to our confidence in the resumption of activities, confirming the Club's commitment and determination. We are motivated and optimistic with regard to the sporting events scheduled, in which we see a return to a new normal.

This is a signal for sailing in the Mediterranean, for Sardinia and for the territory, including the community that we are a part of. The YCCS is a solid reality, largely thanks to the support of the Aga Khan family, but also thanks to the support of all our institutional partners: Rolex, Allianz, the new entry Jaguar Land Rover, to whom we extend a warm welcome, and all those who share our common values and lend their support in the organisation of our regattas.”

In keeping with tradition, the sporting calendar was presented by Captain Edoardo Recchi, who recently took on the post of Secretary General, a role he has also held in the past, in addition to his duties as Sporting Director. "First of all, on behalf of the entire YCCS, I would like to thank the outgoing Secretary General Jan Pachner, who will now be able to dedicate his full attention to the One Ocean Foundation. The results achieved thanks to his skills are visible to all, for my part I assume this role aware of having the support of a highly professional team.” Recchi affirmed.

YCCS Sporting season set to launch, the first regatta scheduled is the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta from 1st to 5th June. Photo credit: Studio Borlen
YCCS Sporting season set to launch, the first regatta scheduled is the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta from 1st to 5th June. Photo credit: Studio Borlenghi

After providing support at the end of April for Livorno’s Regata dell’Accademia Navale, with the fleet transiting a gate in Porto Cervo, the 2021 season of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda will open with the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta from 1 to 5 June. New to the event for this year is a multihulls category, which offers excellent prospects for growth. Among the 14 entries to date, 6 of the yachts hail from the Southern Wind shipyard, and the regatta will in fact mark the 30th anniversary of the Southern Wind Trophy and Rendezvous. The superyacht fleet will once again sail around the islands of the archipelago of La Maddalena, which act as natural course markers, in a truly unique setting.

The Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, like all the races scheduled, will take place in compliance with the Covid-19 safety protocols issued by the Italian government, the Region of Sardinia and the Italian Sailing Federation, in addition to the supplementary procedures that the YCCS has developed.

A new event will also be hosted from 21 to 26 June, in the form of the second leg of the Swan Sardinia Challenge - The Nations League, the circuit that Finnish shipyard Swan dedicates to its one-design classes: the Swan 45, ClubSwan 42, ClubSwan 50 and the latest ClubSwan 36 model. Racing will be on windward-leeward courses to put the competitive capabilities of the boats and their crews to the test.

The first half of July will be dedicated to the Persico 69F Cup, a regatta which will also see Young Azzurra on the starting line. The Grand Prix 2.1 will take place from 5 to 10 July, with the Grand Prix 2.2 following from 12 to 17 July.

Events in July continue with the Coppa Europa Smeralda 888 from 23 to 25, before the Members Championship takes place aboard J/70 craft on 7 and 8 August, with a warm-up practice on the boats scheduled for the previous weekend. At the end of August, the YCCS will support the organisers of the Palermo – Porto Cervo – Montecarlo offshore race, as the fleet transits through a gate in front of the Club's Observatory.

From 5 to 11 September, the YCCS will host one of the events for which it is renowned worldwide - the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, now in its 31st edition, which will see a large and varied fleet of yachts over 60 feet compete on the waters of the Costa Smeralda.

At the end of September, from 24 to 26, the Invitational Smeralda 888 will see the return of the elegant one-design hull conceived by German Frers as a YCCS members' boat. The season concludes with the now traditional Sailing Champions League, which from 7 to 10 October will see the best international club teams doing battle on the YCCS fleet of one-design J/70s to decide the overall European winner of the 2021 season.

In a continuing focus on environmental sustainability, from this year YCCS regattas will join the RECO project, created by sailor Alberto Leghissa and promoted by the One Ocean Foundation. The project requests the voluntary appointment of an Eco Representative on board each participating boat, who will ensure the crew follow a precise series of rules regarding the environment.

Young Azzurra, Youth Foiling Gold Cup. Photo credit: Marta Rovatti Studihrad/69F Media
Young Azzurra, Youth Foiling Gold Cup. Photo credit: Marta Rovatti Studihrad/69F Media

During the press conference the Young Azzurra sporting programme was also presented - an initiative launched in August 2020 to participate in the Youth America's Cup in Auckland which was then cancelled due to the pandemic. The Youth Foiling Gold Cup was then organised as a substitute event on board the Persico 69F, the boat used as a training platform for the Youth America's Cup. The Gold Cup takes place over three legs, with the same regulations applied. The first leg, held in March in Gaeta, saw Young Azzurra claim second place overall. In parallel, the Young Azzurra team is also taking part in the Persico 69F Cup. The crew of Young Azzurra is made up of skipper Ettore Botticini, flight controller Federico Colaninno, and Francesca Bergamo and Erica Ratti, who alternate in the role of mainsail trimmer. Coach Gabriele Bruni, trainer of the Italian mixed catamaran foiling Olympic team, has also been trying out a new formation in training, with the two girls crewing with the skipper.

The Young Azzurra project not only represents the sporting DNA of the YCCS, but reinforces the Club's commitment to marine conservation, with the entire team acting as Ambassadors for the One Ocean Foundation and its initiatives.

The development of new generations of sailors is a priority for the YCCS, and while Young Azzurra represents an opportunity for sporting and professional growth at the highest level, the YCCS sailing school has always been open to all. This year, four new boats are on offer: two replacement Laser Picos and two brand new RS Quests, an ideal training dinghy. 

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