Saturday, March 22, 2014

Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta - Day 1

The owners, their guests and crews prepared for day 1 of the Caribbean Loro Piana on Thursday morning and with 13 to 17 kts of breeze from the east it was shaping up for some ideal sailing conditions. The race committee led by principal race officer Peter Craig, selected two similar courses for the three cruising divisions, sending the fleet clockwise around Virgin Gorda. Class C rounded the western point at Round Rock, while Classes A and B headed a bit further to round Ginger Island before a straight upwind leg inside the Dog Islands to the finish just to the west of Necker Island.

The superyachts were started under a staggered start with the slowest rated yacht first, it was the 29m Altair that got racing underway. The first beat up to the northeastern corner of Virgin Gorda was straightforward, but there were opportunities for the skilled tacticians to make gains in the wind shifts. For some, particularly the larger superyachts racing including the 60m Perini Navi Seahawk, 57m Royal Huisman built Twizzle and the 55m ketch Marie, a straight tack more or less to the lay line east of Necker Island was the preferred option, while some of the smaller superyachts put in more tacks to make best use of the conditions.

As the fleet headed around the south side of Virgin Gorda,  the kites started to fly and the faster superyachts that started later began to cut through the fleet making for a spectacular sight of colorful kites, superyachts and turquoise waters. Leading the pack was the fully black 37m Fitzroy built yacht Moonbird, with Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson at the helm, followed by the beautiful modern classic Tempus Fugit running close to the shore and the mighty Seahawk out to weather.

As the Class C superyachts hit their turning mark, off Round Rock at the western corner of Virgin Gorda, Moonbird had notched up more than three minutes on second place superyacht Sarafin, the Oyster 100. Tempus Fugit followed just a minute and a half later.

Meanwhile, the Class A and B yachts continued on to round Ginger Island, and as the kites came down it was Marie that rounded first, hotly pursued by a flying Nilaya, the 34m Reichel/Pugh built by Baltic. The two yachts had built up quite a gap over the pursuing pack, which was led by Leopard by Robertissima and Hetairos, with Freya, the Vitters built Inoui, Swans Selene and Alpina, Alia Shipyard’s Aiyana, Wally Yachts Saudade and the Southern Wind Blues holding off the J classic Rainbow with Mr. Loro Piana at the helm.

Moonbird took the line honours for Class C and Hetairos cruised through on the water to take Class A and B line honours, although the corrected times would show the real winners.

When the results were in, Nilaya had taken the bullet in Class A ahead of Leopard by Robertissima and Inoui. Class B victory went to Freya, ahead of Alpina and Selene making a clean sweep for the Swans. In Class C Tempus Fugit took the win, just one minute 41 seconds on corrected ahead of Sarafin, with Moonbird taking third. A great day was had by all as some of the owners commented:

Peter Corr, owner of Aiyana, has only missed one Loro Piana Caribbean Regatta since it started. "It's wonderful, it's great to be back. Nothing's better than sailing in the BVIs, constant winds, great fun, beautiful sun, warm water and great competitors. This is a really great line up of boats and it was great fun today."

"We're over the moon," says a delighted Erbil Arkin, owner of Tempus Fugit. "I'm loving being here. I just crossed the ocean my first crossing, which was a bucket list thing to come and race here so for me it's absolutely great, it's marvelous. The plan for tomorrow is just to keep it going with the enthusiasm we have." 

Keep your eyes here on Megayacht Global for Day 2 and for further information follow the link to Boat International Media.

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