The final race day of the Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous was a fittingly gripping affair that brought three days of hard-fought and incredibly tight racing to a close and saw overall victory awarded to P2 (Class A) and Marie (Class B). Unofficial accolades also went to the new ORCsy handicap rule, implemented for the first time ever during this event, which assured compact racing and scene-stealing finishes throughout. The event, organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda and Boat International Media, ran from March 11th -14th.
Both classes completed an anti-clockwise round-the-island course on the final day. This took took them from a downwind start on a spectacular run to Round Rock off the south western tip of Virgin Gorda. A long and challenging upwind beat followed as the boats battled ten-foot waves around the back of the island before finishing just off the North Sound.
Only two points separated the top three boats in Class A heading into the final race, so every second and every manoeuvre counted. A battle to the finish ensued between P2, Freya and Cape Arrow with less than 40-seconds separating the top three boats across the line after 29 miles of racing. The Southern Wind yacht Cape Arrow, with Pier Luigi Loro Piana at the helm and Francesco De Angelis calling tactics, stormed down the final stretch to overtake the Swan 90 Freya just metres from the finish line. The 125-foot Perini Navi sloop P2, meanwhile, claimed her second consecutive bullet to assure her overall victory over the Vitters ketch Inoui with Freya just one point behind in third place.
Gerhard Andlinger, of P2, was understandably pleased with his result. “We won by just seconds, the new rating system is really working out. It was pretty relaxing until the last 15 minutes when you see the competition. You see the sails, you see how fast they’re going and you begin to mentally calculate. I have a great crew and this victory is theirs, not mine.”
In Class B, the Perini Navi ketch Seahawk put in another first-rate performance to notch up her second bullet of the event. A DNF in the first race, however, caused by a rigging failure, meant she was able to climb no higher than third place overall. Although the 2014-launched Royal Huisman sloop Wisp gained the upper hand in the race to place second ahead of Marie, it was not sufficient to unseat the 180-foot Hoek-designed ketch from the overall top spot which she had held since day one. Seahawk, at 190 feet in length the giant of the fleet, took third place overall.
Tony Rey, tactician on board Marie was a satisfied sailor. “This kind of racing is spectacular. The ORCsy rating couldn’t ask for a better soft launch. This event at YCCS was absolutely spectacular and the perfect way to introduce it. The fact we had a few different winners, close finishes: that’s what we want and that’s what we got.”
Speaking at the prize giving, YCCS Commodore Riccardo Bonadeo thanked the owners for bringing their beautiful yachts to the event.
“The racing was fantastic this week, very close, and the Race Committee did an excellent job. When the people who didn’t win say that the new rule worked well then you know it really did work well,” he said.
Loro Piana Deputy Chairman Pier Luigi Loro Piana was equally happy. “I want to express my gratitude for everything that was organized this week by the BVI government and by the yacht club. It was a spectacular, beautiful week and I am certain many of these boats will be joining us both for the Porto Cervo event, and the 2016 edition in Virgin Gorda.”
During the prize giving, attended by the BVI Premier Dr. Orlando Smith, P2 also received the Loro Piana Prize – Boat International Media Trophy for the lowest scoring superyacht overall.