PORTO CERVO, Sardinia Standing on the veranda of the Costa Smeralda Yacht Club, commodore Gianfranco Alberini brushes rogue shards of Mediterranean lobster shell from his blazer and surveys the impressive array of ships that fill the harbor below. “This is spectacular sport with a glamorous lifestyle ashore,” Mr. Alberini says of the yachts in his club’s basin.
But is “sport” in this purpose-built seaside village of opulent shops and boisterous boats on the northeastern tip of Sardinia merely a trade term? In any case, the $100 million worth of sailing ships that fill the harbor here each year for the annual Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup testify to their owners’ very serious and very costly interest in yachting. “The owners of these 25 yachts are a club that move around the Mediterranean,” explains Rolex official Stewart Alexander. “It’s a swish.”
What’s certain is no sport is swisher than racing 85-foot (26 meter) sloops and 185-foot schooners around the rocky islets of Sardinia while cabin girls serve ostrich-meatball sandwiches on linen napkins. For the most part, athletic ability aboard these super yachts is more dependent upon business muscle than it is a result of hours toiling in the gym. And millionaires need not come down to this sea in their ships. Unfurling jibs in the Mistral-driven winds off Porto Cervo and in Europe’s other maxi-yacht competitions is a luxury pastime reserved for billionaires. Check Out the Fun these Billionaires can “Afford” to have!!