In the matchless surroundings of "the best yacht club in the world" the stage is set for a classic superyachting event. The regatta village at Yacht Club Costa Smeralda is buzzing, the yachts have assembled, and registration is under way for the third Dubois Cup.
"We're really looking forward to it," says Amy Galloway, captain of the 40-metre sloop Tenaz - a seasoned campaigner in previous superyacht meetings but making her first appearance at the Dubois Cup.
The intricate coastline around Port Cervo is a favourite among racing skippers, for its dramatic scenery and unpredictable wind shifts. The sound between the Maddalena islands and the Sardinian mainland has a reputation for blowing hard - although the forecast for the weekend is currently for light conditions.
The 30-metre Pendennis-built Nostromo is another Cup debutante. "We've hired Harold Cudmore as tactician," says her owner, Andrew Cook. "After all, you've got to make an effort. I've brought my son along and four of his friends as extra crew. But mainly it's a bit of fun."
With no more than 10 knots of wind currently promised by the met men over the next two days, the racing will be a test of tactics. "These yachts get going in about eight knots of breeze," says Malcolm McKeon of Dubois Naval Architects. "Upwind at that speed they start to generate their own wind."
A total of nine yachts have registered for the racing, with current cup-holder Ganesha expected to defend her title tenaciously. Perhaps the most eagerly-awaited contest will be between the two giant ketches. The 53-metre Drumbeat won the Rolex Transatlantic in 2005, and Twizzle, 57.5 metres overall and launched last year, is just back from competing in the Caribbean Superyacht Regatta and St Barth's Bucket.
Richard Hollis, captain of Inmocean, the classically-styled 41-metre sloop, is taking a more relaxed view: "We haven't brought a spinnaker - we're treating it as a fun family event. We might even put a fishing pole out if there's no wind!"
Three sailing superyachts have joined the event but will not race, including the 53-metre Nirvana, while Turquoise and Ad Lib, two Dubois-designed motor yachts, will also help ensure that the spectator fleet is as impressive as the racing.