I remember the day I first saw a picture of the Wally yacht ‘Open Season‘. It stayed as my desktop wallpaper for months. There is just no comparison between the beautiful boats created by the Monaco based company the the white plastic boats offered to the masses, but the design aesthetic has begun to infiltrate through the market. There has been a Wally class for a while and the boats have competed in a limited amount of high end races, but now, with the help of OC Group, there is a new premier sailing event for the Wally Class in Portofino, backed by Nespresso.
Like the Louis Vuitton Trophy, the event is as much branded entertainment as it is sport and shows the variety of benefits that sailing as a platform for marketing communication can bring. The Swiss company is no stranger to yacht racing. In 2004, Nespresso signed an event supporter agreement with America’s Cup management, making Nespresso the Official Coffee of the 32nd America’s Cup, and also formed an alliance to be the co-sponsor of Alinghi.
The Nespresso Cup will take place in Portofino from the 7th-9th of May and feature top skippers including Loick Peyron, Paul Cayard and Francesco de Angelis.
Richard Girardot, Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé Nespresso S.A. said:
“The Nespresso Cup celebrates the fusion of aesthetics and performance to deliver the most beautiful sailing regatta. Inspired by the same passion, Nespresso and Wally share a common philosophy of creative innovation, highest execution on quality, cutting-edge design and technology, delivering elegant but functional solutions.”
Luca Bassani Antivari, President and Founder of Wally said:
“Beauty, lifestyle, respect for the environment, friendship, quality: these values reflect the soul of Portofino, as well that of Wally. The common vision and pioneering spirit we share with Nespresso convinced us to organise the first ever event exclusively for the Wally Class. Competition and Corinthian spirit will drive the Nespresso Cup that gathers the world’s largest fleet of performance super yachts, sailing together at the highest level of technology and racing skills.”
We can’t help thinking about an espresso cup when we think about the trophy for the series, but according to the launch press release, “the fusion of aesthetics, design and performance which underpins the Nespresso Cup is further enhanced by the design of the Cup’s trophy for which Nespresso partnered with industrial designer Konstantin Grcic. Nespresso and Konstantin Grcic share a passionate drive for continuous innovation and already have a history of collaboration together. Grcic’s design philosophy which revolves around continuously experimenting, reinventing and improving both aesthetics and function, combined with his passion for the sailing world promises to deliver an original take on the regatta’s trophy.”
The brand ambassadors for the event which promotes design, entertainment, gastronomy and sports, will include Loick Peyron who said:
“I’ve always found Wally Yachts very seductive, and am looking forward to finally experiencing them first hand on the race course during the Nespresso Cup. The spectacular venue of Portofino will be the perfect location for such an event.”
Francesco de Angelis, who will also be competing said:
“It will be great to compete in the inaugural Nespresso Cup in Portofino. The venue is unique and it will be fantastic to see the harbour filled by big yachts like the Wallys. The racing there is never easy and all the Class Divisions will be competitive given the high level of the Teams. Racing in Portofino is always a challenge and hopefully this event will become a classic.”
The Nespresso Cup will be hosted by the Yacht Club Italiano, which is also responsible for the race management of the event. The YCI was founded in 1879 and is one of the oldest Yacht Clubs in the Mediterranean. It runs the prestigious annual Giraglia Cup jointly with the Yacht Club de France and Société Nautique de Saint Tropez, and has been home to the Luna Rossa America’s Cup challenge, fronted by Francesco de Angelis.