Phew! Another September over and with Cannes and Monaco shows and all the European Classic regattas now out of the way I’ve finally got breathing space to take stock and look ahead to what comes next and help you, my lovely readers, put a few dates for the best superyacht regattas in your diary…
The New Zealand Millennium Cup 23 – 26 January 2018
Held in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf, this is the main regatta for the South Pacific. The event attracts superyachts from around the world to race in a variety of harbour and passage races. An annual fixture, there are a number of social events with superyacht owners, crews and sponsors throughout the four day event.
Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous 8 – 11 March 2018
We don’t know yet if the eighth annual Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous will take place in the waters surrounding Virgin Gorda next spring, although we think it’s much less likely than the St Barth’s Bucket as the BVI was one of the worst hit areas in the whole Caribbean. The marinas there were totally destroyed and superyacht regattas are (quite rightly) unlikely to be much of a priority for the authorities in the reconstruction. When it does return to the Caribbean the regatta, which is spread over three days, will follow a similar format to its sister event, the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, with yacht races followed by motor yacht cruises.
St Barth’s Bucket 15 – 18 March 2018
The original and still most popular event on the superyacht regatta circuit, the St Barth’s Bucket is the least serious of the regattas and therefore also arguably the most fun! Founded on a bet between two superyacht Owners who wanted to see whose yacht was fastest and bet each other a solid silver ice bucket to prove it, the St Barth’s Bucket has kept its Corinthian spirit and is an admirable excuse for three days of good-spirited competition, glorious sailing, cocktails-a-go-go, and is literally, ‘bucket-loads’ of fun (boom-boom – sorry I just couldn’t resist it!).
St Barth’s was recently hit by Hurricane Irma and efforts to restore the island to its former glory are in full force. The Regatta organisers are yet to officially confirm that the 2018 Bucket will take place although we think it’s 90% likely based on what we’ve heard from our friends on the ground in the area.
Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge April – September 2018
Antigua Classic Week is the first in a series of regattas that form the Panerai Classic Yacht Challenge. The regattas, which take place from mid April through to the end of September, take place on both sides of the Atlantic, from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean. The Challenge is the leading international regatta circuit reserved for classic and vintage yachts, and, although the racing is taken pretty seriously, the scene ashore is very flip-flops and t-shirt, not a yacht club blazer in sight.
The Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta 5 – 9 June 2018
Heading into its 11th year, The Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, which is held in the waters off Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda, is the Big Sister to its Caribbean sibling, opens the Mediterranean racing season and is certainly one of the swankier events in the yachting calendar. The event is held over five days, with four days of racing, and a busy social schedule as yacht owners and their crew are treated to a whirlwind of parties sponsored by the highest-end brands around. Not one to turn up to in your swimwear unless you are a supermodel.
The Superyacht Cup 21 – 23 June 2018
The 22nd Superyacht Cup will take place in the Bay of Palma, which offers some of the most idyllic racing conditions in the Mediterranean. A fun and competitive regatta for superyachts, the thrilling four-day event mixes tight racing with a busy social scene and is similar to the Bucket in that it is pretty relaxed.
Why go? Well if you can wangle an invite sailing regattas can be great fun and many are surprisingly relaxed and unintimidating – there’s nothing that lowers barriers more than having a beer shoreside after a hard day’s racing, you’ll see princes and billioniares chatting away animatedly with the junior deckhands which is always great to see. I guess in the end everyone wants to be one of the boys (or girls in my case!).
Photographs by Jeff Brown.