Photo by Carlo Borlenghi

Porto Cervo

The Perini Cup is held once every two years, in Porto Cervo. It is an iconic location of these luxurious sailing yachts. Perini’s are mostly 180-200′ in length.

As in St. Barts in March, I was sailing as tactician onboard Joey Kempfer’s, Rosehearty. The racing format is “pursuit racing” which means the lowest rating and slowest boat starts first and the fast boat starts last. If the rating system works perfectly, all the boats finish at the same time, which, while fun and exciting, could be problematic with boats of this size.

There were seventeen Perini’s in the harbor at Porto Cervo which made quite a spectacle, especially at night with all the spars lit. Seven of the yachts were racing. The largest being the Maltese Falcon at 88 meters (265′) down to Eletra, the first Perini ever built at 30 meters.
Rosehearty is 56 meters (182′), weighing in at 530 tons. Racing yachts like these requires different strategies and a lot of planing. For example, a tack takes 4 minutes to complete.

We had most of the same team from the St. Bart’s Bucket in March which helps as coordinating the maneuvers and communicating on a boat this big is one of the challenges. America’s Cup and Olympic sailor, Chris, Draiper, joined us for the Perini Cup and did an excellent job of steering the boat. Beyond being very talented, Chris is very calm and patient which you need to be in a boat like this where things tend to evolve rather than happen.

The courses were all around rocks and islands in the archipelago of La Maddelena on the northeast coast of Sardinia. The first two races where conducted in very light wind and Rosehearty won both. The yacht Clan VIII finished second in both and so the stage was set for a tight third and final race. The mistral came in at 25-28 knots for the last day and we had our hands full including a torn gennaker that took a while to get under control and back onboard. Despite that problem, we managed to finish 3rd, right behind Clan, in so doing, win the Perini Cup.

Needless to say, we had one happy owner who made a very nice speech at the prize giving. At the Gala dinner that evening at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Andrea Bocelli sang. The Perini family were great hosts of this event in the country that gives these yachts their pedigree.

More information on the Perini Cup can be found at:

The next race for Rosehearty will be in St. Barts next March. The next race for me will be on Lake geneva in two weeks in the 50th anniversary Blue Chip regatta. The Blue Chip is a scow regatta that has had a “mystery guest” skipper in each of the 49 years. Names like Melges, Coutts, Conner, Spithill, Reynolds, Cayard, to name a few. This year for the anniversary, all previous “mystery guests” have been invited. Should be a fun reunion.