Veteran Big Boat Rally 2011, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, is being held in Porto Cervo from 12th to 15th September. The reign of Mariette of 1915 continues on the second day of racing.
The 38 metre schooner leads the overall classification with victories in corrected time in both races held. Second in the overall classification is Moonbeam IV, Xavier Tancogne's 35 metre Fife-built gaff cutter. Moonbeam IV is currently on equal points with third-place Elena; the monumental 55 metre double-masted schooner which claimed line honours in both races of the series so far. The event is due to conclude tomorrow with a third day of racing on coastal courses using the granite islands of the La Maddalena archipelago as natural buoys.
The fleet set out this morning on schedule and lined up just off Porto Cervo against the picture perfect backdrop of Sardinia's 'Emerald Coast' bathed in September sunshine. With a light easterly breeze of approximately seven to eight knots, the classic yachts crossed the start line together headed for the strait between the mainland and the Isole delle Bisce where a fleet of spectator and press vessels observed Elena lead the fleet ahead of the 49.5 metre schooner Eleonora, Mariette and Moonbeam IV respectively. At the Secca Tre Monti rock Mariette managed to get past Eleonora and maintained second place behind Elena for the duration of the 25 mile course which then brought the fleet south to Mortoriotto and to the finish off Porto Cervo. The results of today's race in compensated time reflect the overall leader board with Mariette of 1915 taking victory ahead of Moonbeam IV and Elena.
Moonbeam IV and Eleonora - Veteran Big Boat Rally 2011 - © Alessandro Spiga/YCCS
Mikael Créac'h, Skipper of Moonbeam IV: 'It was more fun than yesterday, it was more windy. It was a good race because we're very close to everybody in the fleet. For us it is special because we are 15 on board and usually we have a crew of 30, so with 15 sailors less it is a challenge. But it was very good day, the racing is close but it is hard to touch Elena. It was a fantastic day though, really fantastic.'
Seven yachts have gathered in Porto Cervo for the Veteran Big Boat Rally and although several, such as the historic Italian sailing yacht Croce del Sud and the gaff yawl Veronique, are not actively competing, they join the fleet on the YCCS regatta course each day.
Following a gala dinner for owners at the YCCS Clubhouse this evening, racing is schedule to conclude tomorrow, 15th September. Approximately eight knots of south-easterly wind are forecast. The final prize giving will take place after racing in the YCCS Piazza Azzurra. YCCS website