One of the largest fleets in the history of the event is lined up at YCCS Marina for the 2016 edition of the Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous.
Launched in 2012 by organizers the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) and Boat International Media (BIM), the regatta will host 21 sailing yachts with eight yachts taking part in the Rendezvous. Sailing takes place from 9th to 12th March in the waters off Virgin Gorda, the Caribbean home of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda.
The sailing superyachts have been divided into four categories to permit each boat in the diverse fleet to compete on a level playing field. Technicians from the Offshore Racing Congress are also on site to assign handicap ratings to competitors for implementation of the ORCsy rrule which was successfully rolled out at this regatta last year, and has since been adopted by top events on the superyacht racing circuit.
Ranging in length from 23 to 60 metres, the fleet represents the cream of international naval architecture. Shipyards like Perini Navi, Vitters, Baltic and Oyster have several models competing while the list of designers reads like a who's-who of the world's top talent and includes names such as Dubois, Briand, Frers, Reichel Pugh, Hoek, Humphreys and Holland.
"We are delighted to welcome such a first-rate fleet for this regatta," commented YCCS Commodore Riccardo Bonadeo. "As usual conditions here in Virgin Gorda promise to be ideal for getting these sailing giants racing and we have an exciting programme both on the water and shoreside. We have all the right ingredients for a spectacular event and we can't wait to get started."
The YCCS docks are also brimming with sailing talent including Tony Rey calling tactics on the Perini Navi sloop P2, Bouwe Bekking on the 34m Nilaya and Ken Read - who is coaching the team on Samurai (ex- Mari Cha IV) - to mention but a few.
The forecast is looking near-perfect with winds ranging from 16 to 22 knots expected over the next three days. The first signal on the water is scheduled for 11 am on Thursday 10th March.
For the motor yacht fleet and those sailing yachts that prefer to follow the on-the-water action as spectators, the Rendezvous sponsored by Westport will follow racing as well as taking participants to some of the BVI's best anchorages.
All participating owners and guests will take part in a packed social programme which kicks off with a Welcome Cocktail at the YCCS Clubhouse tonight followed by the exclusive Loro Piana Owners' Dinner, a crew party, a beach party at the nearby Oil Nut Bay resort and the final prize giving.
The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda was founded in Porto Cervo, Sardinia in 1967 by current president H.H. the Aga Khan and a group of founder-members as a non-profit sporting association for fellow sailing enthusiasts. The YCCS is renowned for organizing international sailing events such as the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, the Audi Sardinia Cup and the Rolex Swan Cup as well as World and European championships for top one-design fleets. In recent years the Club has focused on promoting new superyacht events such as the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, the Dubois Cup and the Perini Navi Cup.
The Club has also promoted international challenges such as Azzurra - the first Italian challenger for the America's Cup in 1983 which became a legendary Italian brand and was relaunched by the YCCS in 2009 with a victorious participation in the Louis Vuitton Trophy in Nice, the participation in the Volvo Ocean Race with a two boat campaign one of which had an all-female crew, and the motor yacht Destriero which to this day holds the transatlantic crossing record set in 1992. The YCCS continues to expand its activities and in 2012 inaugurated its winter base in Virgin Gorda overlooking the island's new YCCS Marina.