Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta Day 1: Ganesha and Highland Fling enjoy big breeze in 'Bomb Alley'
Porto Cervo, Italy - 9 June 2010
Strong winds and Sardinian sunshine made for an exhilarating start to the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta in Porto Cervo today.
The race committee set a 30 nautical mile course in the south-easterly breeze, which was blowing 18-20 knots at the start. The wind gusted up to 35 knots later in the race as it funnelled through the straits which divide the rugged islands of Caprera and La Maddalena from the Sardinian mainland. Today, no one needed to ask why sailors call these straits ‘Bomb Alley’.
While some boats were operating at their limits, others were lapping up the challenging conditions. In the Cruising Division, Ganesha, a 39-metre Dubois-designed Fitzroy Yacht, powered home to victory by 18 minutes on corrected time. In the Racing Division, Irvine Laidlaw’s 25-metre Wally racer/cruiser, Highland Fling, was similarly dominant as she surfed home almost 14 minutes ahead on corrected time.
Luca Bassani, who was steering Highland Fling, commented: “Today was a perfect race in terms of conditions, between 18 and 20 knots most of the time, and we had a very long run to the Isle of Barretinelli where we gained a lot of speed.” Volvo Ocean Race skipper Neal MacDonald was calling tactics alongside Bassani. “The race went well, and the boat went incredibly well - up to 22 knots of boatspeed in 22 knots of wind. I underestimated how much wind there was round the back of La Maddalena and we had to do a tough sail change, but the crew were superb.”
For the Cruising Division, which started a few minutes later, the breeze picked up considerably and made the upwind beat back to Porto Cervo very challenging. The 45-metre Dubois-design Salperton IV was forced to retire after a gear breakage led to one of the crew being injured.
With such high loads on these big and complex yachts, it’s easy to see why some of the world’s best professionals are invited to sail these boats. Among the fleet of 28 yachts, ranging in length from 25 to 45 metres, there are nine Southern Wind yachts, blue-water cruisers designed for crossing oceans. One of those is the 30.2-metre Farr-designed Nauta, Zefiro, whose owner commented: “Yesterday evening we were given a very professional briefing. These guys are experts and today the organisation on the water was of the same quality, smooth and solid. I am extremely pleased with today’s racing, especially with regards to the performance of our newly formed crew. It was the first race for the boat, which I have sailed from the yard in Cape Town to the Med. I am very happy and looking forward to the next race tomorrow.”
Photos and video of day 1 are available on the Regatta website: Click here to view video highlights of today's racing
Tomorrow’s forecast of up to 28 knots from the south-east will make for another challenging and exciting race around the islands of the Costa Smeralda. This evening, the all the race crews gathered round the Piazza Azzurra outside the host Yacht Club Costa Smeralda to share their epic stories over some cocktails.
Organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and Boat International Media, the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta is in its third edition and concludes this Saturday, 12th June.
For further information on the regatta please visit www.loropianasuperyachtregatta.com or contact:
YCCS Press Office
Tel: + 39 0789 902 200
Fax: +39 0789 91213
Alice C. I'Anson Widdows
Boat International Media
Tel: +44 (0) 7591 006 250
Boat International Media
Tel: +44 (0) 7971 438 671