February 10 2022
10 Feb 2022
From the South of France to St Barths, the superyacht regatta calendar is packed with opportunities for owners to race their boats in stunning settings. Whether you are looking for keen competition or are more interested in the après scene, we are here to help you pick the perfect contest.
St Barths Bucket Regatta
17 March – 20 March
The Bucket is back. The St Barths Bucket Regatta attracts some of the finest sailors and sailing yachts from across the world and is always a highlight on the racing calendar. This invitation-only event welcomes around 40 superyachts (usually upwards of 30 metres in length) to the sandy shores of St Barths each year and is set for a triumphant return after two years off due to the pandemic.
The racing has traditionally been on three courses — around the island, the wiggly course and the other way around — but organisers have said they now have 30 options to choose from.
Off the water, owners have their choice of countless invitations, from private gatherings to the Bucket-affiliated soiree at Tamarin as well as the final awards ceremony party, which is traditionally held at the five-star Eden Rock hotel. At the yacht hop some owners have been known to fly in thousands of oysters and host aerial silk performers, which proves that the old Bucket spirit of winning the party — if not the day on the water — is still prevalent.
The 2022 fleet is already shaping up nicely with regatta regulars such as the 56 metre Wisp, 67 metre Hetairos and 60 metre Perseus 3 making a return, alongside three J Class yachts Hanuman, Ranger and Velsheda.
Giorgio Armani Superyacht Regatta
31 May - 4 June
The Sardinian superyacht regatta is back with a new name as the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda welcomes Giorgio Armani as its new title sponsor.
Where other regattas may have a T-shirts and flip flops feel, Sardinia is about glamour in the playground of the Italian elite. It’s not all focused on the nightlife, though; any serious sailor knows racing here is not for the faint hearted.
“Sardinia is, in my eyes, the most exceptional regatta area in the world,” says the owner of WinWin. And he's not wrong. Competitors can expect stronger winds from the northwest and have to navigate rocks jutting out of the water in Bomb Alley — the passage between Sardinia and La Maddalena archipelago.
The regatta is always capped off with an evening at Phi Beach — WinWin’s owner says it’s the best party of any regatta. It’s a quintessentially Italian summer scene, with guests treated to glorious sunset views and music from top DJs piped through bars and dance floors interspersed among the rocks right on the water.
Entry is open to superyachts with a minimum length of 27.43 metres and the event will also encompass the Southern Wind Rendezvous.
Superyacht Cup Palma
29 June – 2 July
A laid-back southern Mediterranean vibe prevails at the Superyacht Cup in Palma, Europe’s longest-running superyacht regatta. Leave your jackets and ties at home; this is a shorts and T-shirt event. Uniquely, this regatta is contained within a fenced-in event village, proving that relaxed and informal can also mean ultra-exclusive.
While racing in the Bay of Palma does not offer the same dramatic scenery as the Caribbean, it is ideal for newcomers who may find rounding inflatable marks less daunting than a rocky outcrop, and its more sheltered position means there are no boat-breaking big seas. The race committee has the ability to set courses in the bay to suit the fleet and to really give every yacht a better chance to sail to its rating.
Ten superyachts measuring between 27 and 42 metres in length have already expressed an interest in competing in this year's edition of the Superyacht Cup Palma. The fixture will also see a day of J-Class racing before the superyacht fleet takes to the water with a trio of entries, Topaz, Ranger and Velsheda, already confirmed.
Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup
4 – 10 September
The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is the highlight of many a Maxi racing calendar and is back for its 32nd edition in 2022. Staged off Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda - known for its rocky scenery and turquoise waters – it continues to attract dedicated owners, highly skilled crews and exceptional yachts.
Last year the competition was still able to go ahead with 44 boats and now, with travel lifted, we could well be set for one of the biggest Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup since its inception in 1980. Competitors are divided into five classes based on size and racing capabilities: Supermaxi, Maxi, and Mini Maxi 1, 2 and 3.
Lindsay Owen-Jones, owner of Magic Carpet Cubed and a seven-time winner said: “There are always two very strong reasons for being here. It is everybody’s favourite because of the islands and the way the geography creates wonderful racing. Plus, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup has been, for so long, the event we all want to win.”
Registrations for the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2022 are open until July 30.
Rolex Swan Cup 2022
11 – 18 September
The annual gathering of the “great Swan family” will return once again to Porto Cervo for a week of rail-to-rail racing against the dramatic backdrop of the Maddalena Archipelago. As many as 50 members of the Finnish shipyard's finest performance and cruising sailing yachts will flock to the Italian isle and battle it out around the racecourse.
Competing boats are divided into a number of different groups based on the model - where the yachts are identical and the result is a direct reflection of the crew - as well as age, performance and size.
The event is hosted by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in partnership with Nautor's Swan. Both the Rolex Swan Cup and the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup will take place back to back in September 2022.
Les Voiles de St Tropez
24 September – 4 October
The Mediterranean big-boat racing season winds down with Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. But don't be fooled, this is no small soirée. The event is the largest gathering of Maxis Yachts in the world as owners and crew come together and toast to the last of the summer sun with a week of good old-fashioned racing.
In 2020 the regatta was split into two weeks and the same format will continue this year. The first week welcomes modern sailboats up to a certain size with a fleet of around 250 yachts; the second week from October 2-8 will see the larger Maxi yachts battle it out in the Bay of St Tropez. From the multicolour spinnakers of the performance yachts to the shadow-black sails of the J Class, it is a sight to behold.
The event is organised by the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez in partnership with the International Maxi Association.
©️ By Holly Overton and Kate Lardy / Boat International