Hard-fought battle between Highland Fling XVII and Allegra, Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 2021. Photo credit: YCCS/Studio Borlenghi Foto credit: YCCS/Studio Borlenghi
Missy and the catamaran Highland Fling XVII maintain the lead
Porto Cervo, 4 June 2021. Competitors in the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta were graced with a third day of ideal wind and sea conditions that saw yesterday's victors - Missy in the Superyacht division and Highland Fling XVII among the Multihulls - confirm their winning form. Tomorrow, 5 June, the overall winners of the 2021 edition of the regatta, organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda with the support of title sponsor Loro Piana, will be decreed.
Right on schedule at 12.35 p.m. and with 15 knots of wind from east-southeast, the Multihull fleet set off on a reaching leg to the Bisce pass, the first natural mark on a spectacular course set by the Race Committee, led by Principal Race Officer Peter Craig. After leaving the Secca di Tre Monti shallows to starboard, the yachts turned downwind to the Monaci islet, leaving it to port, before embarking on a reaching anti-clockwise circumnavigation of the islands of Caprera and La Maddalena and a final downwind run through the Bisce pass again and the finish line off Porto Cervo, for a total of a little over 30 miles.
The two fastest yachts in real time, Allegra and Highland Fling XVII, with Paul Larsen and Cameron Appleton respectively calling tactics, immediately engaged in a thrilling duel that reached speeds of around 20 knots in the Golfo delle Saline. The final victory went to Highland Fling XVII, now the clear favourite for the overall win in the Multihull category, followed by R-Six and Allegra in the provisional overall.
The Superyacht division raced on the same course but with the addition of a rounding of the island of Spargi, before returning via the famed Bomb Alley. Once again the 33-metre Vitters superyacht Missy, the first boat off the line in the division's staggered start, proved victorious in compensated time. She was followed by the Swan 115 Shamanna, who also sits in second place in the provisional overall standings, and by the Wally Y3K who moves up to third place overall. With the breeze growing to around 18-20 knots through the Bisce pass, these imposing vessels were a sight to behold as they battled through spectacular tacking duels against a unique natural backdrop.
The Southern Wind Trophy and Rendezvous programme, meanwhile, saw the fleet from the South African shipyard sail to the island of Razzoli, where the fleet anchored before making their way back to Porto Cervo later in the day.
Back on the docks, the beaming grins on the faces of owners and crews across all divisions paid testament to the beauty of another instalment of the type of sailing that only the Costa Smeralda and the archipelago of La Maddalena can deliver. "Today I had the best sailing day ever!" declared the delighted owner of Allegra, a 25-metre catamaran designed by Nigel Irens and Nauta Yachts.
Paul Larsen, tactician on Allegra: “The conditions today were just sensational. This is the second time the owner has driven around the course and said he has had the best day sailing of his life so that’s how good it was. The boat was fully lit, we probably pushed it harder than we have ever pushed it before and we brought it back unscathed. It was just fun and that’s what we all sign onto these boats for. It’s perfect! It’s flat water, it’s warm, it’s great competition, it was a perfect day on the water.
Unfortunately, we are still carrying the disqualification from the first day but we are still going to push tomorrow. There is a slim possibility to take this out but the other team are sailing extremely well, each time we line up we keep turning the pressure up. We will just sail our best and see how it pans out.”
Mitch Booth, tactician on Leopard 3: "The conditions were absolutely perfect today, it doesn’t get any better! We saw 25 knots at the top of the mast and about 18 round the back of the island. Superb sailing, the best conditions I can ever remember here. Always happy to be here, this is one of my favourite spots for sailing. It’s so reliable for wind and at this time of year it’s just a pleasure. It’s one of the first events in the circuit so we’re very very happy to be back here. We have a new owner and he is loving every minute of it and what a place to bring him to show him what superyacht sailing is all about. The adoption of a multihull class in this regatta was inevitable, it’s the future. They are more efficient, they don’t use as much fuel to run, the comfort and stability, all the factors requested in the mid-size cruising market which is slowly getting bigger and bigger and I’m very confident that there is a huge future for multihulls in superyacht sailing."
Tomorrow's final day of racing is scheduled to start at 12.35 p.m. with the Multihull division setting off first, followed by the Superyachts. The forecast is for breeze from the east of 6 to 9 knots.