Presentation of Yacht Club Costa Smeralda 2022 Sporting Season
A busy 2022 sporting season for the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda was presented this morning in Milan. The event returned to an in-person format after 2 years, bringing together members, partners, journalists and friends of the YCCS at the Magna Pars event space.
Princess Zahra Aga Khan, President of the YCCS Board of Directors, opened the presentation of the calendar with a video message. The moderators of the event, TV presenter Eleonora Cottarelli and commentator Giovanni Bruno of Sky Sports, then handed over to YCCS Commodore Michael Illbruck who, after a general greeting, thanked all the partners for their support, in particular the Club's institutional partners: Rolex, Jaguar Land Rover and Allianz. YCCS Secretary General and Sports Director, Edoardo Recchi, then took to the stage to present the regattas scheduled for 2022.
At the end of April, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda will offer its usual support to the Italian Naval Academy and the Yacht Club Livorno as organisers of the RAN 630, an offshore race of over 600 miles scheduled from 24 April to 1 May, which includes a course mark just off Porto Cervo.
The opening regatta of the season will be the Giorgio Armani Superyacht Regatta. The event, organised by the YCCS since 2008, this year welcomes new title sponsor Giorgio Armani, one of the most renowned global symbols of Italian excellence. The regatta, which kicks off the superyacht sailing season in the Mediterranean, will be open to boats of over 90 feet and multihulls of over 50 feet. As in previous editions, the event will also host the Southern Wind Rendezvous and Trophy.
Next up in June is the second edition of the J/70 Sailing Clinic, an event reserved for members. A new shipyard regatta with a friendly atmosphere will take place from 15 to 18 June, with the first edition of the Italia Yachts Sailing Week. The focus then turns to a key international event from 22 to 30 June, as the ORC World Championship (Offshore Racing Congress) lands in Porto Cervo. More than 70 boats have already registered and the fleet will be divided into three classes, based on the size and performance characteristics of the boats, with the winner of each class awarded the title of ORC World Champion.
Sporting events scheduled for July and August are: Coppa Europa Smeralda (8-10 July), YCCS Members' Championship (6-7 August), Trofeo Formenton (20 August) and the Palermo-Porto Cervo-Monte Carlo (19-24 August).
September brings perhaps the most iconic of the YCCS regattas, organised with the support of historic partner Rolex. The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup takes centre stage from 4 to 10 September and, as always, for this 32nd edition of the event an impressive fleet showcasing the cutting edge of yacht design and nautical architecture is expected, alongside internationally acclaimed sailors. September also sees the debut edition of the IMA 24-Hour Challenge Porto Cervo – Monaco, an event born from the collaboration between the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, the Yacht Club de Monaco and the International Maxi Association. Yachts participating in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup can enrol to depart on the route from Porto Cervo to Montecarlo on 11 September.
After a four-year break due to the pandemic, the Rolex Swan Cup returns in 2022, organised in collaboration with the Nautor's Swan shipyard. The biennial event attracts a large fleet of yachts representing the history of the entire Nautor's Swan fleet, and record entries of 110 to 120 boats were recorded in 2016 and 2018. Crewed by internationally renowned sailors, the "swans of the sea" will meet from 11 to 18 September in the unique setting of the La Maddalena archipelago, alternating battles at sea with exclusive social events ashore. The Clubswan 36 one-design will take part in the Rolex Swan Cup for the first time in this 21st edition, forming one of the seven classes into which the fleet is set to be divided.
Closing the YCCS sporting season is the traditional Vela & Golf event, where teams face each other first on the green of the Pevero Golf Club, and then on the waters of Porto Cervo aboard the Club's J/70 fleet.
The Charta Smeralda, the code of ethics of the One Ocean Foundation for the safeguard of the sea, will be promoted throughout 2022, and during the regattas in particular.
The presentation of the YCCS sporting calendar concluded with news of some important anniversaries in 2022. In addition to the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the Costa Smeralda, this year marks the 30th anniversary of Destriero's speed record, and the 40th anniversary of the launch of the 12-metre class yacht Azzurra for the America's Cup challenge in 1983 in Newport R.I. Against a backdrop of historical photos, Destriero's record Atlantic crossing time of 58 hours, 54 minutes and 50 seconds, set in 1992, was recalled. The images of the crowds at the launch of Azzurra, on 19 July 1982 in Pesaro, encapsulated the moment when the sport of sailing made its way into the Italian mainstream. The 40th anniversary of the first Italian challenger's participation in the America's Cup, promoted by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, will take place in 2023.
The sporting heritage of Azzurra has remained an integral part of the DNA of the YCCS, spurring the Club to launch the Young Azzurra programme in 2020, with the aim of forming an Italian team to take part in the Youth America's Cup in Auckland, later cancelled due to the pandemic. Despite this cancellation, the project continued throughout 2021, with participation in the alternative Youth Foiling Gold Cup circuit and the Grand Prix Persico 69F, concluding with the Grand Finale in Cagliari, Sardinia, in November 2021.
During the press conference, the next phase of the Young Azzurra project was presented, no longer exclusively focused on the world of foiling. The scope has been expanded and the Young Azzurra project is now taking a course in which the YCCS undertakes to support up to a maximum of four young sailing talents, for the 2021/2024 Olympic period. There will be a particular focus on Sardinian athletes who aim to participate in national, European and World Championships, and in the Olympic Games.
The selection of the athletes is taking place in collaboration with the Italian Sailing Federation (FIV), and in particular Zone III (Sardinia), together with an internal committee at the YCCS. The first athlete to have been selected is Cesare Barabino, a promising Italian sailor, the youngest to be part of the Olympic ILCA 7 team (former Laser class), who the YCCS had decided to support on his path to the Olympics as an up-and-coming Sardinian talent.
Michael Illbruck, YCCS Commodore: "We're looking at another busy season, filled with challenges and objectives. The international situation is dramatic and worrying, however, in the words of World Sailing, sport can and must be a force for good. Last year the emotion of sailors meeting up and returning to race in Porto Cervo was palpable and compelling, and we are pleased to be able to offer members, partners, sailors, and friends a home to return to every year, in a wonderful destination. We will also face this season with a constructive spirit, remaining constantly attentive towards both the international situation and the evolution of the pandemic. I would like to thank the partners of the YCCS, in particular Rolex, Allianz and Jaguar Land Rover, for their continued support, driven by the common values that have guided the development of the YCCS from the outset. Projects such as Young Azzurra, which invest in young people, allow us to look to the future with hope. Fair winds to everyone."