Maxi boat turned cruiser

In St Lucia Kate Laven talks to ARC line honours winner Rinaldo del Bono about how he converted the ex-Morning Glory

Sunday December 10th 2006, Author: Kate Laven, Location: Caribbean
When Rinaldo del Bono, the Italian Admiral's Cup yachtsman bought Hasso Plattner’s Morning Glory in 2005 then immediately set about stripping it bare, everyone thought he had gone stark raving bonkers.

18 months and more than 2 million euros later, one of the world’s leading racing yachts was three tonnes heavier and bearing a new label as one of the fastest cruising vessels on the seas. The 24m Reichel Pugh maxi, now named Capricorno, has lost little in the way of performance and on Thursday del Bono became the proud owner of a brand new transatlantic record from Las Palmas to St Lucia having earned line honours in the 2006
Atlantic Rally for Cruisers.

“Everyone thought I was mad to buy Morning Glory and kept asking me why I didn’t just build a new boat. But I knew the hull was fast and after building a few boats that should have been fast but weren’t, I decided to buy a hull that was already proven and do the conversion myself.

“Racing is in my blood but I wanted to have some fun,” said del Bono, who twice won the Admiral’s Cup for Italy, in 1991 and 1995 but retired from racing in 1996

Plattner, he said, would be surprised if he could see the boat now. It has been transformed inside and out with a new deck layout, new mast and rigging, new fixed keel, new engine, new generator, new everything. There are also ‘proper’ beds, three heads and a large kitchen. There are even paintings on the wall, mostly of Ferraris inevitably.

When he and his 12 strong crew set sail from Las Palmas on 25 November, he had set his sights on a line honours win and a new record. He operated a strict watch system and although he was unable to helm himself due to an injured hand, he called the tactics with the help of specialist router Wouter Verbrek, which saw Capricorno take a circuitous route north, adding some 500 miles to their passage, to stay with the ENE winds that would blast them south and first into St Lucia, beating the 2003 record by more than seven hours with a new time of 11days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 30 seconds.

“We treated it like a serious race but it was a lot of fun - at times we were surfing downwind at 26 knots which was probably similar to the sorts of speeds that Morning Glory used to do, though they would have reached those speeds more often. But they wouldn’t have been able to have a shower every evening like we did.

“When the weather was good, which was about 50 per cent of the time, we even had aperitifs and a few pistacchio nuts. I’m new to cruising but I loved it. Professional racing has become too intense and not so much fun but the ARC is a very good event. It is perfect for competitive people who have a passion for sailing and as boats get bigger, I see the event getting bigger.”

Del Bono has decided to sail round the world, his business comitments with his Italian pharmaceutical company permitting, and will now head off to St Maarten to make repairs and replace the two gennakers that blew during the transatlantic. Then its Antigua for Christmas followed by Rio de Janeiro and a trip 600 miles up the Amazon river. Patagonia is next on his cruising itinerary and some serious exploration of South American waters but for now, Capricorno is moored just outside Rodney Bay marina, basking in its new cruising colours.

Latest Comments

Add a comment - Members log in


Latest news!

Back to top
    Back to top