Loro Piana Super Yacht Regatta 2011 has strong winds, close encounters and equipment pushing things to their limit which ultimately has made for an interesting first day in Porto Cervo.
The day's overall classification shows that Ganesha (2010 Winner) is at the top of the Cruising category while the Highland Fling XI leads the Performance Category and Claus Peter Offen's Y3K heads up the Wally fleet.
The spectacular setting on the emerald waters off north-east Sardinia and the 30 mile course set by the YCCS race committee through the granite islands and islets of the La Maddalena archipelago made for some breathtaking racing. Both fleets started on schedule in around eight to ten knots of Mistral breeze which built to around 15 knots towards the top of the course, at Barrettinelli di Fuori island, and gusted up to 25 knots on the homeward run through Bomb Alley.
Owner of the Wally Y3K, Claus-Peter Offen, enjoys racing in Porto Cervo for the breeze and for the competition. 'It is good racing here against a good number of competitive boats, and we had tricky winds today which demanded last-minute decisions, and that's what makes the racing here so exciting.'
A little too exciting at times in the Performance Division, as the fleet converged on the first windward mark all together. Four protest flags flew from different yachts and it will be a late evening for the afterguard of some of the Performance boats, and also for the international jury tasked with deciding what, if any, penalties to apply to some near-miss incidents. 'You have to expect this when you have boats of similar speed all racing competitively,' said Offen. 'It's a sign of good close racing.'
Dr Peter Wacker's Fitzroy Yachts 38.8m Ganesha won the Cruising Division on corrected time by more than three minutes from Harry Macklowe's Unfurled, with Hasso Plattner's lightweight Baltic 147 Visione tearing past the rest of the fleet to finish in third. In Performance, Irvine Laidlaw steered his Reichel-Pugh 82-footer Highland Fling XI to victory ahead of Pierluigi Loro Piana's My Song. Y3K lies in third, although this evening's protests could yet alter the standings.
This evening, the superyacht owners in attendance look forward to the Loro Piana Owner's Dinner, hosted at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. A menu devised especially for the occasion will be prepared by the chefs of the 3-Michelin-starred restaurant Da Vittorio. Guests will also enjoy an intimate musical performance by world famous tenor Piero Mazzocchetti and acclaimed flutist Andrea Griminelli.
Racing is scheduled to continue tomorrow, 9th June at 12 midday and the forecast is for 20 to 25 knots of westerly wind.
Loro Piana Super Yacht Regatta website