Twenty three of the world’s largest, fastest and most luxurious sailing superyachts grace the quays of Porto Cervo Marina today, ready for the start of racing tomorrow in the inaugural edition of the Boat International Superyacht Regatta. The event, which takes place from June 22nd to 26th, is organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in collaboration with Boat International Media and forms part of the celebrations for Boat International’s Silver Jubilee.
Each one of the yachts participating is unique, making the fleet — which ranges from all-out racing machines to opulent cruisers –one that “has to be seen to be believed.” A few facts and figures, however, give an idea of the size, speed and sheer charisma of these sailing giants. Lulworth is the oldest competitor, having originally been launched in the 1920s and completely refitted and relaunched in 2006 after a meticulous five-year restoration. At just over 46 metres long, her sail inventory boasts an MPS (Multi Purpose Sail) of 900 m² (9688 ft²) and a flying top jib of 400 m² (4306 ft²). Heritage, at 45 metres long, is the largest and newest of the three participating Perini Navi yachts, having been consigned in June 2006, and has a total sail area of 1,187m2 (12,518 ft²), while the owner and guest cabin area is as big as a decent sized apartment at 94 m² (1,012 ft² ). Senso One, formerly called Mari Cha IV, currently holds the Transatlantic record for a monohull, crossing from New York to Lizard point in just over six days. Capable of reaching speeds of over 40 knots, the boat was designed and built especially for breaking ocean records and as such will certainly be one to watch, although Neville Crichton will be competing with Alfa Romeo, fresh from breaking his own record in the Giraglia Rolex Cup, completing the 243-mile offshore race in just over 18 hours.
The competitors will be divided into Cruising and Performance divisions before tomorrow’s start. Both divisions will race under IRC handicap with a fleet start for Performance and pursuit-style racing for the cruisers. The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s Race Committee, headed by America’s Cup veteran PRO Peter Reggio, will set coastal courses sending the fleet through the stunning islands of the la Maddalena Archipelago. “I hope the wind delivers like it has done pretty consistently for the last three weeks,” commented Reggio, who has been overseeing racing at the YCCS for the entire month. “This place is amazing when the conditions are right, which they often are. These are huge boats and the pursuit concept will allow them to actually sail pretty close together, something which rarely happens and which will make the racing really exciting for the sailors and for spectators.”
As the sun set over Porto Cervo this evening, the buzz already was rippling along the quayside as owners and crews swapped tales after a day of practicing in perfect conditions with a steady breeze and gloriously clear skies. “The YCCS is delighted to be hosting this inaugural edition of the Boat International Superyacht Regatta,” noted Yacht Club Costa Smeralda Sports Director, Edoardo Recchi, during the welcome cocktail at the Clubhouse. “There is a real feeling of camaraderie between these owners but at the same time they are all anxious to get on the course and measure up against the rest of the fleet ”
The forecast for tomorrow, 23 June, is for 10 to 12 knots of easterly wind. Racing is scheduled to start at 12 midday. Three days of racing are scheduled with a lay-day or re-sail on Wednesday. Participants will be kept entertained by a unique programme of social events including the Boat International Beach Party at the Romazzino hotel on Tuesday June 24th and a gala dinner for owners and their guests at the YCCS Clubhouse the following evening.
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