Happy New Year to you all. I hope that you found some winter sun and are looking forward to what is going to be an interesting year ahead for the classic yacht community. There is a changing of the guard ….
PANERAI CALL IT A DAY ON CLASSIC YACHT SPONSORSHIP
Panerai, the high-end watchmaking brand from Florence announced at the end of last year that it is culminating the sponsorship of The Classic Yacht Challenge. The company has enjoyed 14 years of fruitful sponsorship. From 2019 the brand will cease association with the classic regatta circuit in The Mediterranean and America. However, British Classic Week 13-20th July hosted by The British Classic Yacht Club in Cowes will be sponsored for a final year by Panerai.
The brand’s classic yacht Eilean, purchased in 2005 by then Panerai CEO Angelo Bonati, will continue to represent the company as a brand ambassador at classic yacht events. Eilean will be participating in the Panerai Transat Classique this month, which will be the 38th transatlantic crossing of her career. The Panerai Transat Classique will not be affected (see below).
Jean-Marc Pontroué, the new CEO of Panerai, commented: “The legitimate relationship between Panerai and the sea world has never been stronger, and we are determined to work towards offering our customers amazing experiences, including onboard our ambassador Eilean. Classic sailing and supporting the PCYC has been an incredible journey and we have enormously enjoyed it. It is now time to look further and embark on a new voyage. We will communicate on this new adventure shortly. “
I am sad but not at all surprised to hear this announcement. With new management often comes new strategy. Event organizers and sponsors have to continually work together on developing and maximizing these relationships to deliver ROI.
We are living in a relentless consumer world, where brands are seeking to set themselves apart by wooing customers and editors alike to super in-person events. Consumers continue to value experiences over products. Luxury brands know that it is no longer possible to compete based on product alone, they need a story. And yachting is the perfect lifestyle story and backdrop for a prestigious brand, one only has to consider the long-term successful regatta campaigns by Rolex, Loro Piana and Louis Vuitton. It was a sophisticated strategy of Panerai’s to align with this elite sector of the maritime world. The combination of discretion, vintage yachts, competition and glamourous locations was a powerful branding message.
We have had a wonderful run and are all immensely grateful to Panerai for taking what Prada once did and embellishing it. The level of participation and enthusiasm for classic yacht racing is tremendous. The classic yacht community have shown some concern for future of some of the events, especially the smaller ones. However most of these regattas have run for many years without a title sponsor and should be able to continue albeit with small adjustments and no complimentary Nespresso. The community is strong and powerful, so I would therefore urge you all to continue to support your local organizers by showing up to participate in their events.
THE PANERAI TRANSAT CLASSIQUE JANUARY 8TH LANZAROTE 2019
The fourth edition of The Panerai Transat Classique departs this month from Lanzarote promising thrilling ocean racing for the 14 participating classic yachts. The largest yacht in the fleet is the three masted schooner 49 metre J. Samuel White & Co designed Xarifa. She was built originally for Franklin Morse Singer the famous American sewing machine magnate and has even made an appearance in a Bond film. Now a regular on the Mediterranean regatta circuit Xarifa will reign over the fleet.
The challenge of sailing 3,000 nautical miles between Lanzarote and St Kitts starts on the 8th January 2019 when the fleet will set sail from The Canaries across the Atlantic Ocean, final destination Christophe Harbour, St Kitts.
SAVE THE DATE 2019
January is the time to drill down on the detail when planning your next race campaign. Registration is not yet open for the Mediterranean classic events, so I find it is a good time to plan the shoreside logistics alongside the winter maintenance of the boat.
Alice C I’ A Widdows is a Regatta Manager on the classic yacht regatta circuit. A keen yachtswomen and self – confessed island hopping addict, preferably by boat. Meet our Classic Yachting Columnist. You can find more at www.alicewiddows.com and on social media @alicewiddows