Baltic Yachts 50th anniversary rendezvous regatta

A fleet of 29 yachts and more than 400 guests, owners and crew recently enjoyed three days of sailing and celebration in near-perfect conditions in Sardinia as they marked the 50th anniversary of Baltic Yachts, the world’s leading advanced composite sailing yacht builder.

Returning to the popular Yacht Club Porto Rotondo on Sardinia’s iconic Costa Smeralda, the regatta and the wider Baltic Family enjoyed an atmosphere of conviviality and reunion as crews from the smallest yacht, the Baltic 33 Velite II rubbed shoulders with the likes of Baltic 146 Path’s vast army of sailors!

Owners, crew and yachts gathered from around the world with Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders, Americans and many from across Europe mingling on the dock where yachts moored stern-to and close to the yacht club to create a friendly village environment. Old faces and new, ranging in age from just three years old to over 80 celebrated ashore and afloat paying tribute to Baltic Yachts’ five decades in business.

Clever courses and our popular race officer!

And on the race course, clever course setting by the yacht club’s principal race officer GianLuca Brambati, whose near-operatic delivery of starting sequences over the VHF delighted crews, saw yachts converging to provide grandstand views of fellow competitors sailing in ideal conditions.

While friendly competition was encouraged and helped by the straightforward courses set around the islands of Soffi and Mortorio, lying just north of Porto Rotondo, a more competitive spirit was never far away. With few professional sailors in attendance, it was left to owners, core crew and guests to sail their yachts in the ideal light to moderate conditions, which led many to comment ‘why don’t we do this more often…?!’

Baltic Yachts 50th anniversary rendezvous regatta
Baltic Yachts 50th anniversary rendezvous regatta

A beautiful body of Baltics

The Baltic fleet comprised 26 yachts, 12 of which were earlier production yachts ranging from the C&C-designed 1976 Baltic 33 Velite II to the Bruce Farr-designed 1998 Baltic 60 Neverland. All three judel/vrolijk-designed Baltic 67PCs were in attendance, Freedom, Lurigna and Manyeleti, as was the Javier Jaudenes-designed Baltic 68 Café Racer Pink Gin Verde, showing off some of her eco-credentials and super-modern styling.

Significantly, both the Baltic 67 Freedom and the Baltic 68 Pink Gin Verde manoeuvred in and out of Porto Rotondo using only their zero-emissions electric propulsion, delivering a clear message for the future.

Two Baltic 78s, the 2009 judel/vrolijk-designed Laetitia and the 2000 Reichel Pugh-designed Lupa of the Sea, the latter sporting an early canting keel, belied their ages, looking immaculate and still performing with real pace.

In the ‘heavyweight’ division, eight yachts, from the 2018 Bill Dixon-designed, Baltic 85 Mini Y to the Baltic 152 Scorpione of London (formerly Pink Gin), were set staggered start times and given a time correction to determine results. Seeing large yachts like Baltic 112 Shagala Bagala (formerly Nilaya), Baltic 117 Perseverance, Baltic 108 WinWin, Baltic 146 Path and Baltic 87 Shaya (formerly Anny), powering around the course was a sight to behold. Baltic 142 Canova, showing off her DSS sliding foil, was present, but not racing.

Also in attendance were a number of yachts worked on by Baltic Yachts’ Service and Refit operation based in Palma de Mallorca, including Leopard and Marie.

Ashore, a series of dinner parties culminated in a prize-giving event at which blue and copper glass vases, by legendary Finnish designer and architect Alvar Aalto, were presented to winners in three classes. An overall award was made to the crew of the 1981 Baltic 39 Nana III, who had sailed their yacht from the Baltic to take part in the event. All yacht owners received hardwood cabinets, specially built by Baltic Yachts, containing a bottle of Finnish gin.

Race officer GianLuca Brambati during the captain's briefing
Race officer GianLuca Brambati during the captain’s briefing

Supporting our racing and parties!

Racing days were supported by Doyle Sails and North Sails, the latter providing a number of paddle boards for a hotly contested competition off the marina beach in which two-person crews furiously negotiated a punishing course! Urged on by an even more enthusiastic crowd, the eventual winner of an exhausting relay race was Baltic 50 Music.

The final day was supported by Baltic Yachts’ owner Professor Hans Georg Näder who was celebrating 10 years involvement with the company and staying aboard his family-owned 1989, 81ft motor yacht Sunny Day, which Baltic Yachts restored in 2016. Earlier, Professor Näder had presented each yacht with a case of Champagne, local cheese and sausage and a signed note of thanks for attending the Rendezvous. The party continued with the fleet taking part in a ‘quizz race’ in which crews answered questions to determine their course to a farewell beach barbecue.

Henry Hawkins, said: “If I’m honest, it’s hard to say who won, but it was great to see everyone revelling in another sailing day and arrive at the beach to enjoy a delicious barbecue, chill-out music and more great Mediterranean weather!”

Baltic 67PC Freedom (left), Baltic 68 Pink Gin Verde (middle) and Baltic 67PC Lurigna (right) at the starting line.
Baltic 67PC Freedom (left), Baltic 68 Pink Gin Verde (middle) and Baltic 67PC Lurigna (right) at the starting line.

A message from PG

After 50 years and the creation of almost 600 of some of the finest yachts afloat, there were some emotional moments during this special Baltic Yachts’ Rendezvous, none more so than when a recorded video message was played from Per-Göran ‘PG’ Johansson, one of the five founding members of the company back in 1973. PG spoke of his pride in what the Baltic Family had achieved and directed his thanks to the many men and women who worked for the company, to the partnerships the company enjoyed and to the many owners whose belief in what Baltic Yachts stood for made everything possible.

Henry Hawkins and Head of Marketing Elisabet Holm also introduced Lisbeth Staffans who is widely regarded as one of the company’s most successful managing directors. Appointed at a time of severe economic difficulty in the 1990s, Lisbeth ran the company for 18 years, growing and preparing it to exploit the new era of superyachting. Her transparency, honesty and strict financial control set the company on course to what it is today.

From Diva to Diva

As the importance of our environment is brought ever more into focus, Baltic Yachts wanted to emphasise how crucial it is for everyone to play their part in becoming more aware of what can be done to help improve it. Working with Ocean Lovers, which supports marine life causes and is part of Nautical Assistance in Sardinia, Baltic Yachts has adopted a common loggerhead turtle which has been rehabilitated after it had been found suffering from the ingestion of plastic, to the extent that it could no longer dive beneath the surface.

With the plastic removed and the six to eight-year-old turtle brought back to full health (they can live to at least 70) it was ready for reintroduction to its natural habitat. Fitted with a tracker, which will help scientists check on the turtle’s progress and help them better understand the behaviour of the species, the turtle momentarily became the star of the show as the entire Rendezvous watched Diva, as she then became christened, successfully take to the water. Diva was chosen as it was the name of the first yacht the company launched in 1974. Appropriately, the yacht has just been refitted and returned to the water!

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