The 33rd Règates Royales in Cannes, Sunday 25 September 2011 wound up the seventh Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, the international regatta circuit reserved for vintage and classic yachts, with the presentation of the overall prizes for the Mediterranean Circuit. The Vintage category was won by the 1916 Rowdy, winner of the PCYC in 2008 and 2010, while victory in the Classic category went to the 1965 Stella Polare, one of the Italian Navy training vessels. Moonbeam IV of 1914 topped the Big Boats category. Here is a profile of each of the winners:
Rowdy, a Bermudan cutter built in pine planking on an oak frame by the American shipyard Herreshoff in Bristol in 1916, is one of the four NY-40s still sailing out of the 14 built between 1916 and 1926 for a group of New York Yacht Club members. 19.8 metres long including the bowsprit (with a 17.92-metre hull), it was originally an auric cutter. This vessel had had over twenty owners over the years until 2006 when it was bought in California by Graham Walker, an Englishman from Liverpool, who brought it to Europe. Since then, it has taken part in almost all the Panerai circuit regattas. Despite weighing over 4 tons more than when it was launched, it has always boasted great speed, thanks also to the skill of its international crew composed of sailors from Switzerland, England, Ireland, France and Belgium.
Stella Polare, a 21.47-metre-long Bermudan yawl, was built in 1965 by the Ligurian shipyard Sangermani in Lavagna according to a design by the American naval architects Sparkman & Stephens. Past victories include that at the 1966 Giraglia, where its record remained unbeaten for almost two decades, the trans- Atlantic regatta Hamilton (Bermuda Islands) – Travemunde (Germany) in 1968 and the Palma di Majorca – Cabrera – Palma di Majorca in 1970. This two-mast, built in mahogany, iroko, oak and teak, is at the service of the Italian Navy Sailing sport, which uses it to train aspiring officials at the Naval Academy in Livorno. In 2011, Stella Polare has taken part in all stages of the Panerai circuit with its 16-man crew.
Moonbeam IV, built in 1914 by the Scottish shipyards Fife, but officially registered in 1920 due to the war, it has always been a regular competitor at vintage yacht meetings. 35 metres long including the bowsprit, it is a typical vintage construction with teak planking on a steel frame. This auric cutter is often remembered for having been the honeymoon yacht for Prince Ranieri of Monaco (its owner from 1950 to 1959) and the American actress Grace Kelly. The over twenty crewmembers always look impeccable in their uniform during regattas, with the boat’s sail number 8 on their jacket. In 2009, in Paris, Moonbeam IV received the prestigious title of “Yacht of the Tradition of the Year.”
The wonderful spectacle offered by the 70 participating boats in the Régates Royales was a befitting finale to this classic yachting season of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, which once again this year brought together many of the most famous vintage and classic yachts still sailing in the waters of the Mediterranean, the Solent, the Caribbean and New England. With ten regattas scheduled in six different nations, approximately three hundred boats, thousands of sailors and sailing enthusiasts and almost 250 journalists, the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge has proved itself a world-leading event in classic yachting, a veritable living museum of the history of sailing.
For each year of the circuit, Officine Panerai produces a special limited edition watch. For the 2011 event, it’s the Luminor Submersible 1950 Regatta 3 Days GMT Automatic Titanio – 47mm: a professional underwater watch, water resistant up to 30 atmospheres (approximately 300 metres), fitted with a rotating bezel with graduated scale to calculate dive duration and a hand indicating the second time zone.
During the four races held in Cannes, the boats present were divided into six groups, joined by the fleet of 58 Dragons, the legendary, elegant 9-metre monotype designed in Norway in 1929. These included the White Lady belonging to Prince Henrik of Denmark, husband of Queen Margaret. The final victory went to Cloud, which raced under the club burgee of the Compagnia della Vela di Venezia, having beaten internationally famous and multi-titled helmsmen.
The oldest competing vessel in Cannes was Victory of 1884, a Traditional Oyster Fishing Boat rigged as an auric cutter, built in Cornwall and in the same family for three generations. A fleet of these boats, still used for fishing today and exclusively sail driven, frequently races in the area of Falmouth between April and October every year. Victory was easy to spot for its yellow and blue hull and sails.
Top of the Big Boats in Cannes was the 43-metre Lionheart, a replica vintage J-Class built in the Netherlands in 2010. This sailing giant, built in Alustar according to a design by Dutch Naval architects Hoek Design, has a carbon mast almost 50 metres high and can reach speeds of up to 14 knots.
Recently docked in the Mediterranean seas all the way from the USA is Manitou, the 1937 Marconi yawl which during John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s presidential office was known as TFWH (The Floating White House). It was from here that President Kennedy, besides sailing with his family, kept in constant contact with the Pentagon and his staff.
Here are all the winners of each category of the Règates Royales in Cannes 2011:
- Moonbeam IV
- Moonbeam of Fife III
- Nan of Fife
- Bona Fide
Marconi Vintage < 15 m:
- Anne Sophie
Marconi Vintage > 15 m:
- The Blue Peter
- Oiseau de Feu
- White Dolphin
Spirit of Tradition:
- Shamrock V
The overall winners were Rowdy in the Vintage Yachts, Arcadia in the Classic yachts, Moonbeam IV in the Big Boats and Shamrock V in the Big Boats. The three owners received a prize of a special edition Officine Panerai watch. Winners of special prizes were: Stella Polare (five-a-side football), Shamrock V (painting competition), Elena (tug-of- war), Marigold (fair-play prize) and Cambria (Cannes city special prize).