I’ve just returned from racing in four events in Europe. First up was the Dubois Cup at the beginning of June in Porto Cervo, Sardinia. This event is notable for the size of the yachts, more so than their performance. I was driving the 150 foot Prana, the biggest I’ve ever driven, with a crew of about 25. Although it may not be high performance, it is definitely some of the most challenging racing I have done. It is a big task trying to make these huge yachts perform, and doing so safely with the huge loads, lack of maneuverability, and the power in yachts of this size. We had a great week, with good crew work and very few mistakes, and i enjoyed meeting and working with a new team.
Next up was the Loro Piana Super Yacht Regatta, also in Porto Cervo. I raced P2 in this event, a Briand 125, with a crew of about 20. I have been with this yacht now for almost five years and we have grown into a great team. We have improved the performance tremendously from day one, sailing the boat better each time. The owner has also continuously upgraded the boat and sails every year. Because of all this, we have made it on to the podium at almost every event. Except this one. The organizers chose a different application of the handicapping system, and for some reason, it hammered us, and no matter how well we sailed each day, we could never get a top 3 result. Not good, and not a happy owner or team.
My next event was the Giraglia Rolex Cup in St. Tropez, France. This event is in three stages- a distance race from Sanremo Italy to St. Tropez, a three day in-shore regatta around St. Tropez, and then a distance race to Genoa, Italy that rounds the Giraglia Rock off Corsica on the way. Luckily for me, our owner only wanted to do the inshore portion! We were racing a new Ker 46, a fast grand-prix IRC boat with a crew of 13. We had a great class with over 70 boats, from 30 footers up to TP52’s. The starts were scary as, and a great challenge to get off the line clear (and alive) and then fight for clear lanes going the route you preferred. We managed a 10th on day one, then a 4th, and then on day three the wind completely died one hour into the race. We were in great position, but after drifting for over an hour, we decided that any result would be meaningless after this reshuffle, so we opted to motor in and start packing the boat away. But great event, good hard racing, and a fun boat that gets up and goes with any wind at all.
The final event on my euro tour was the Super Yacht Cup Palma, again on P2. The handicappers got the (heated) message in Sardinia, so they changed their system. For this event, rather than pre-race guessing of the conditions and handicap to apply, they would take data from several yachts to get an accurate read on the conditions, and then calculate the results after the race. A little delay of a couple of hours to get your result, but we were all willing to wait if it meant getting fair results. Bottom line it worked better, but it still needs serious work to make it right. In the end we sailed a really good regatta and finished second, so a podium finish, a great party in a castle with the full moon, and good final event to my tour.
A long trip, but a great time, and now happy to be home for a couple weeks before my next event back in Europe.