Finding a place to dock at Virgin Gorda’s Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) on March 14th -17th was not easy. That’s because 26 superyachts and megayachts—most of them more than 100ft long—were tied up for the second annual Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta and Rendezvous.
One of the smaller boats, Andrea Recordati’s Indio, took first place with two wins and a second-place finish over the three days of racing around Virgin Gorda. The Wally 101 was also the division winner in the 2011 Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta in Porto Cervo.
“It was a lot of hard work … the competition was very tough,” Recordati said after the award ceremony. “I have a very good crew and I have been sailing with them for a long time. All these guys are very professional. They know how to have fun and this is why they are my crew, but they are all super pros. They all come from the Volvo Ocean Race, America’s Cup and all the major circuits. When they are on the boat, they have to be professional.”
According to the rating system, Indio was considered to be the ‘fastest boat’ and had to start at the back of the fleet, Recordati noted.
Peter Isler, two-time America’s Cup winner, was at the helm of Hanuman. The 138ft yacht was last year’s winner, but had to settle for second place this time.
It was the first time that Isler had raced a ‘huge superyacht’ in the Virgin Islands.
“Apparently the competition has gotten a lot deeper this year, but the boat kept up its tradition of doing very well, he said.”
Three races were held over three days with 13 superyachts competing for this year’s title. Sailors raced around Virgin Gorda on the first two days and on the last day the course included Necker Island and The Dogs.
When the owner of P2, Gerhard Andlinger, dedicated his third place win and trophy to his wife Jeanne, tears welled up in his eyes.
“I thought it was so gallant and so warm. Whenever that sense of gratitude overwhelms him, he gets teary-eyed. I was really touched,” Mrs. Andlinger said. Aside from the win, the Irish descendent was celebrating her birthday, coincidentally on St. Patrick’s Day, on the day of the award ceremony. “I wasn’t expecting it, but as soon as he said St. Patrick’s Day, I knew he was dedicating it to me.”
Peter Holmberg, USVI Olympic silver medalist, was at the helm of P2. He said he was proud to see an event of this caliber being hosted in his ‘home town’. “This is an opportunity for the VI to shine and I think we put on one of our best faces. As far as being on these yachts, it is a real challenge for us because they are huge boats. But we make it competitive and the owners love it.”
Holmberg said he believes a superyacht regatta could have been hosted in the VI prior to YCCS, but the club has helped pave the way and set the standard.
During last year’s event the YCCS clubhouse was still under construction, but this year it was fully operational. “It really made things a lot easier,” said Boat International Media Events Executive Alexis Davis, whose team of about 16 members organized the event.
Off the water, sailors were treated to nightly entertainment at YCCS and a ‘Glow Party’ at Oil Nut Bay Beach Club, which was attended by about 300 people both from the community and sailors.
Todd VanSickle is a journalist living and working in the Virgin Islands.