heiken reggata

Sojana - 115 Feet of Powerful Fun

By Lynn Fitzpatrick

March 7, 2010 (Sint Maarten) – Happenstance turned into a lot of fun when I was invited to sail aboard the biggest yacht at the 30th Annual Heineken Regatta. Peter Harrison’s superyacht, Sojana, a 115’ Farr design.

Harrison, Marc Fitzgerald, Sojana’s skipper, and Harrison's friends, put a lot of thought into Sojana’s deck plan. Even with several sails hoisted on the double-masted ketch, there is plenty of room to walk around the grand cockpit and the deck without stepping on lines.

The crew usually numbers 25 to 30 and includes Whitbred, Volvo, Vendee Globe, America’s Cup, Dragon and other keelboat sailors and winners and a cast of friends. Although Sojana is the largest boat in the fleet, it doesn’t stop helmsman Andy Beadsworth and the rest of the crew from fighting for the pin at the start, passing other boats at opportune times on the run or pushing Sojana hard, even in light air. Conversations are in French and English and the common ground, especially on the bow, is humor.

Harrison loves Sojana so much that he spends over half the year on her. He beams with pride about Sojana and his foundation, which generously contributes to disability sports programs in the UK. Dark paneled with “gentleman undertones” as Harrison calls them; Sojana’s salon and dining room are well used. Harrison’s favorite part of his home away from home seems to be the chart table/nave station that reveals the distance that Sojana has wandered around the globe. In less than a decade she has logged nearly 100,000 nautical miles. Always one to test new technology, Harrison is experimenting with a new North Sails cloth and replaced Sojana’s rod rigging with PBO. The rigging change reduced the weight aloft by nearly a ton and reduced Sojana’s pitching.

Harrison’s friends, guests and crew enjoy themselves so much that they keep returning and sharing in Atlantic crossings, bucket races, regattas, parties and tons of fun. Sojana's Heineken Regatta performance peaked with a first place finish in the final race of the series, putting everybody aboard in a great mood for the festivities that followed.