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It's difficult to do the Perini Navi Cup justice on paper. Simply talking about the competitive side just isn't enough (although it was won for the third consecutive occasion by The Maltese Falcon).
The Perini Navi Cup really is the sum of its many parts. Parts which in this instance share a single common denominator: passion. That's the key, in fact, to understanding why this fourth edition enjoyed the same success as the other three.
Owners, skippers, crews, sponsors (particularly Marina Yachting), organisers, those in the business, and, of course, the yard's own staff and management are all driven by the same desire to share this very special time together. Which is why, despite the jury cancelling racing because of a lack on wind on the last day, no less than seven of the 13 yachts felt compelled to finish the regatta at all costs.
Just for an instant, the magical atmosphere of the 1980s lived again, bringing us back to an edition of the Veteran Boat Rally during which Mariette and Agneta engaged in a fiery duel over a case of champagne while the rest of the fleet was confined to port by a violent Mistral of over 30 knots. Seeing how certain owners invited champions and sailing professionals of the calibre of Dawn Riley, Suzy Leech and Philippe Briand, to name but a few, aboard is further testament to just how exhilarating an event this is.
The prize-giving ceremony was a case in point and was a genuinely intense occasion. That much was obvious from the faces and expressions not only of the prize-winners but also the audience, which included the entire Yacht Club Costa Smeralda staff and Commodore Riccardo Bonadeo.
The atmosphere was contagious and the Piazzetta Azzurra was packed. The thrilling sight of Heritage and The Maltese Falcon battling it out at the Monaci was matched by the fleet of boats of all shapes and sizes watching and following the megasailers. Hard-bitten sceptics might have had their doubts about the quality and technical standard of the regatta but once again, the reality of the situation was quite another story. While other editions of the Perini Navi Cup will be remembered for challenging wind and sea conditions that really did test both yachts and crews alike, this fourth edition was equally tough in its own way. Winds were very variable indeed and speeds only hit 15 knots on one occasion. In fact, they didn't get above 9-10 knots for most of the event. That provided another opportunity for the fleet to reveal another shared characteristic. Despite their imposing dimensions, the 13 yachts built by Viareggio's most famous yard proved categorically that even in very light breezes they could showcase their sea-holding and seafaring prowess to huge effect. In fact, the races were all fought until the very last tack - at least to judge from the warm comments we heard later, including one made by Chris Gartner, captain of The Maltese Falcon. At the end of the first race, he declared: "It was a fantastic race and despite the very light breezes, it was a good start too. We finished it in the shortest possible time and the crew sailed the yacht brilliantly, doing a fine job of interpreting the course."
Gartner wasn't the only one delighted with the event either. Suzy Leech, who has two America's Cup campaigns with Bill Koch and who also sailed for the United States in the Athens Olympics in 2004, was aboard the 45-metre Helios with Dawn Riley. She was equally enthusiastic: "Sardinia is a stunning place to sail. At a certain point, we had a very close encounter with Parsifal III. It was hugely exciting even though they came out on top in the end. Everyone aboard threw themselves into it and we got there through absolutely perfect teamwork."
Yes, teamwork. That is what is and will remain the key to the success of the event, the Perini Navi Cup, that's unique of its kind on the yachting scene today.

Awards and awardees

  •  Pommery award - Fair play award: Selene 
  •  Perini Navi Award The Best Cocktail: Parsifal III, Heritage, Heritage M (ex aequo) 
  •  Quadrivio Sgr Trophy
The Very First Perini Navi Captain: Adriano Canova (Principessa Vaivia)
The Best Charity Auction: John e Renee Charterers e l'armatore del The Maltese Falcon
The Yacht That Traveled the Furthest: Perseus
  •  Axa Corporate Solutions Trophy - Race Day 2: Panthalassa (1st); Parsifal III (2nd); The Maltese Falcon (3rd)
  •  Marina Yachting Trophy - Race Day 1: The Maltese Falcon (1st); Parsifal III (2nd); Helios (3rd) 

Matteo Zaccagnino



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