- May 1st, 2016
- in Yachting
Photography by YCCS/BIM/Borlenghi
There may not be a yacht in the world that is better described by the word elegance than Wild Horses: she is the epitome of grace and beauty. At the recent 2016 Loro Piana super yacht regatta based at Virgin Gorda’s Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS), I had a chance to chat with owner Donald Tofias. His love of beautiful yachts combined with what makes a fine yacht really work is palpable.
From the waterline up she has classic lines with a graceful sheer, spoon bow, long overhanging stern with a gentle wine glass transom – in fact what might be called a champagne saucer transom. Under the water is a different matter; she has a deep draft fin with bulb and a spade rudder; in other words, a classic yacht with a fast underbody. The 76-ft yacht is built to a light displacement by cold moulded construction and the fractional rig is modern too with carbon fibre spars and sails of light weight Aramid fibre.
Wild Horses was built in Maine in 1998 at the Brooklin Boat Yard. She was designed by Joel White in what has become known as ‘The Spirit of Tradition’ class – a fleet of beautiful yachts. The yacht continually competes in regattas and classic shows like the St Barths Bucket and the Antigua Classics; Donald is not afraid to admit that she has won more than her fair share of events.
Soon after her completion, she spent several months at the Bitter End Yacht Club offering enthusiasts and visitors sailing excursions with a surprising turn of speed in the spirit of tradition. Wild Horses was joined by sister-ship White Wings, launched just three months after her famous progenitor.
The Bitter End’s famous water front had never had a more stylish pair of ladies showing off their pretty transoms.
It would be remiss of me not to mention that the love of traditional boats came to Tofias with his friendship of the White family and their connection to classic yachts and boats. Donald calls himself a yacht developer and together they build and promote boats in a unique class, the W-Class. There are vessels from the tiny peapod row boat to the 136-ft classic yacht. Sometimes there are different builders and designers but the common thread is that they are all classics. It is refreshing indeed to see someone today dedicated to class and quality in the yachting field.
Wild Horses races with a crew of about 12 and sometimes with as many as 20. The format for the Loro Piana is that of a pursuit race with competitors divided into classes with the smallest yachts starting first. This prevents crowded start lines avoiding the possibilities of expensive/dangerous accidents. The finish line is a different story. The courses are set the day before the race to consider winds and sea conditions. Wild Horses was one of the first to start as she was the smallest boat in a fleet of 21 competitors. Her class in category D consisted of five yachts.
The first day of racing started in boisterous conditions with 20 to 25-kt winds and 6 to 8 ft seas. Organisers set the course for day one to sail around Virgin Gorda in a clockwise rotation so that the first leg would be in the lee of the island. Wild Horses eventually beat out the classic Oyster Pandemonium and took 4th place in Class D. On the second day, conditions were similar but a misjudgement of the location of a mark ended up giving them a DNF, the acronym for Did Not Finish. Undeterred by the still unruly weather, the last day saw Wild Horses come in 5th in her class. The huge rigs on the larger yachts had a definite advantage, but as one of the officials said, sailboat racing is not only about winning, it’s about competing – undoubtedly, the lavish regatta after-parties were enjoyed by all.