This weekend, if it concerns yachting, it’s all about the Loro Piana. The Caribbean version of the famous regatta originating on Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda in the Mediterranean is gathering yachts, owners, families, and friends at its winter base at Virgin Gorda, Mar. 10-15. The regatta, paired with a host of rendezvous activities, marks the start of the club’s 50th Anniversary year, christening the refit of the marina and clubhouse at Virgin Gorda.
Representing the most iconic shipyards, the yachts registered for the regatta and the rendezvous come from impressive marine lineage at Alloy, Baltic, Vitters, Nautor’s Swan, Perini Navi, and Royal Huisman, to name a few. It isn’t just about sailing yachts, however. Motor yacht owners are encouraged to register for the rendezvous, bringing along friends and family to watch the races and join the four days of festivities, including welcome parties, captains’ briefings, yacht owner’s dinner, award ceremonies, and an end of regatta beach party.
It all began in 1967, when the Aga Khan collected a clutch of elegant sailing yachts for a regatta on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia. Christened the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, named for the iconic Italian luxury goods race sponsor, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda has many years of successful regattas to its credit. Finding a suitable winter base in 2011 in Virgin Gorda to expand the YCCS race calendar, the events bring sail and power yachts together for a luxurious rendezvous, while putting helmsmen, tacticians, trimmers, pitmen, and bowmen through their paces aboard an extraordinary collection of beautiful and capable sailing yachts in the regatta.
This year, dovetailing with the stunning refit of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda Virgin Gorda, the races will attract sailing yachts ranging from the 23.2-meter W-Class Wild Horses to the 60-meter Perseus3. Preliminary class breaks put Highland Fling, Leopard3, Nilaya, and Shamanna in Class A, Ganesha, Ningaloo, P2, and Rebecca in Class B, Action, Perseus3, Q, and Sunleigh in Class C, with Ammonite, B5, Danneskjold, Freya, Grande Orazio, and Wild Horses in Class D
With considerable concern for sustainability and environmental awareness, the $3 million refit covering expansion and improvement of the North Sound marina facility officially opened just in time to welcome a string of international races, including the Loro Piana. The new Bar Aqua at the marina serves lighter fare and sandwiches throughout the day, including breakfast and health-focused smoothies. For a fine dining menu stocked with fresh seafood, the Azzurra clubhouse restaurant welcomes guests for lunch and dinner, presenting an international menu reflecting the club’s island location flavored by the race’s Italian heritage.
Wellness and circuit training on Technogym equipment assists guests in maintaining top physical condition, with two treadmills, two cross trainers, two exercise bikes, a wall mounted Multigym, and adjustable bench with free weights. Additional wellness activities include stand up paddle board instruction, yoga classes, guided kayaking, and full day surfing with a pro.
While berthed at the YCCS Virgin Gorda, yachtsmen have access to meticulous concierge services for booking on shore excursions, transfers, and logistics. Personnel are also helpful in arranging restaurant bookings, taxis, car rental, shipping, private aviation, hotel/resort accommodations, villa rentals, and crew accommodations.
The marina is laid out with 38 berths for yachts up to 300 ft/80 meters, both alongside and stern to, with a draft up to 30 ft/9 meters. Look to staff to provide dock services, laundry, and provisioning, capable of attending to an individual visiting yacht or a full regatta, on board or on shore. Also skilled with customs clearance, the staff can smooth the way for an enjoyable day on the water or for an exploration of Virgin Gorda’s unique features. It would be a shame to drop onto the island without enjoying a swim at The Baths or snorkeling about the Indians.
The newly christened YCCS clubhouse sit above the marina, offering two luxury suites fitted to five star standards. Guest services is knowledgeable regarding appropriate villa rentals on the island, assisting with suitable accommodations for guests and crew. Offering a safe, deep harbor, the marina is located on the third largest island in the British Virgin Islands, with St. Thomas 30 miles to the northeast and St. Barth 95 miles to the west.
Another opportunity to engage this convivial group for the 50th Anniversary race at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda on Sardinia is scheduled for May 30-June 3, 2017. Many of the same superyachts compete in both races, with the Mediterranean race including a Wally Class division that has proven popular. Saluting this golden anniversary for the YCCS, along with participants and sponsors, we wish fair winds and good racing for all.