Friday, September 4, 2009

Perini Navi Cup 2009

Foto: ROLEX/Carlo Borlenghi

September 3, 2009

Some of the world’s largest sailing yachts – with rigs towering upwards of 180’ off the water -- have been streaming into the picturesque harbour of Porto Cervo, in advance of tomorrows start of the Perini Navi Cup. In fact the 2nd largest traditionally-rigged sailing yacht in the world, Felicita West is here, all 210’ of gleaming teak decks.

This annual gathering, the third edition, is being hosted and organized by Perini Navi in conjunction with the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda.

From the (not-so) smallest, the 80-foot Elettra to the 288-foot Maltese Falcon, a technological marvel with it’s three rotating masts, and a boat easily full of superlatives: 26,000 sq ft of sail area, 180’ masts, and a maximum draft of 36 feet.

Racing will take place on Friday and Saturday with one race planned each day; the first warning signal will be at 1200. The thought of all 19 boats on a starting line is enough to give even the most hardened race officer pause, so the fleet will start pursuit-style, with individual boats going off at two-minute intervals. In theory, this allows boats to finish close together.

Principal Race Officer Peter Craig and the YCCS race committee have laid out courses in and around the nearby La Maddalena islands, a scenic yet challenging course, which will allow these behemoth yachts to show their true potential. The weather forecast for tomorrow is calling for westerly winds 18-20 knots.

Bruce Brakenhoff Jr, general manager of Perini Navi USA, said the number of entries has grown since the 2006 event. With 46 sailing yachts built to date, the company currently has eight yachts under construction, ranging from 125’ – 184’, which in the current economic climate is no mean feat.

Brakenhoff explained the genesis of the Perini Navi Cup weekend, saying, “It was more about a rendezvous than the race. We really wanted to get all of our owners together in one place, for one big weekend. The first one in 2004, we were overwhelmed -- it was such a fantastic hit. The owners loved it, the crews loved it, so we decided to do it again. This year is the biggest turnout, especially in this economic climate. The owners clearly wanted to go out and have some fun. Read more...