Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta
What an entrance in to the world of regatta sailing! The Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, hosted by the Yacht Club Costa Smerelda is by far one of the most prestigious events in the superyacht calendar, and we could not be more excited to be here.
Although we felt prepared after several training sessions, nothing quite conditions you for the tension in a real race scenario, and adding the our first day nerves, race one saw a stiff 25 knot breeze building up the race track from the Northwest. The course led us all the way around Isola Spargi, through arguably some of the most stunning sailing grounds in the Med in a 31 nautical mile course. A tough first day out racing, but with lots learnt in manoeuvres and boat setup.
For Race 2 we were sent up the Monaco Lighthouse, which served as a turning mark, and allowed us to match up to lighter and faster boats, with lessons learnt from day 1, our pace was good and we held our own nicely. Seeing a range of wind strengths, up to 22 knots made trimming and boat setup a full time job for the back of the boat. Coming in across the line in a dying breeze, meant we were able to stay ahead on corrected of the two lower rated boats in the fleet.
With lighter conditions forecast for race 3, there was no doubt it was going to be a more tactical day on the water. With softer winds than the two previous days, we were able to carry our A3 higher than our rivals on Oyster 825 Maegen, putting us comfortably ahead at the second mark. As the day wore on and the winds got lighter and shiftier, some of that margin was reclaimed as we struggled to make the most of our A2 in sub 10 knot winds in a VMG run down to our last turning mark. A very smart last minute gybe drop of the kite put us in good stead though, rounding to head to the finish. The dying breeze made it a painful last leg, but a great day on the water and beautifully sailed by the whole crew.
On the last morning, very little wind stirred the flags in the harbour, and so an AP was in place for most of the morning. Breeze filled in from the south however, and we sent to chase the wind, with a course around the Mortorio and Soffi Islands. After a short beat to a laid windward mark a long fetch which turned into a beat as the wind consistently clocked right put us in exciting close quarter manoeuvres with two boats at the first island, pressure was on with the camera helicopter ominously hovering overhead. A fast reach was soon to turn into an even faster downwind, but we struggled to set our A5 and lost some ground. We were then upwind to another inflatable mark, clawing back ground on the faster boats in the fleet. The last leg was an extremely short downwind to the finish, and exhausting, but satisfying way to end our racing in Porto Cervo.
Tired and happy faces all round, after what has been a tough first regatta, but the building blocks are there, and everyone knows the potential of the boat and the crew now. The Superyacht Cup in Palma now beckons, Firebird is coming.