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Classic News


In early June the classic yacht community descended on a small corner of the French Riviera to celebrate the 23rd edition of Les Voiles d’Antibes  – Trophée Panerai. It marked the official start to The Panerai Classic Yacht Challenge Circuit which in 2018 includes Antibes, Argentario, Imperia and Cannes.

This was the 14th consecutive year that Panerai, the Florentine high-end sports watch brand has sponsored the circuit.  Many of the world’s most prestigious classic yachts race for points and prizes in idyllic locations across The Mediterranean.  A place where luxury, sport and camaraderie collide, this is classic yacht racing at its very best.

Four luxury watches were put up as prizes and won by Mariska in the Big Boats Category, Eva in the Vintage Yacht Category, Resolute Salmon in Classic Yachts and Tabasco 5 in The Spirit of Tradition category.


The gaff cutter Mariska, an International 15-Metre Class built in 1908 by William Fife in Scotland dominated the Big Boat Class, taking first place in all four races. Tuiga, Prince Albert of Monaco’s 15-Metre built by Fife in 1909 and representing the Yacht Club de Monaco came in a close second and Moonbeam of Fife 1903 was third. Cambria launched in 1928, another Fife masterpiece raced in the same class. She is celebrating her 90th anniversary afloat this year.

Fife continued to reign in Vintage Yacht Class. Pete Townsend’s 8-Metre gaff cutter Eva launched by Fife in 1906 took podium in this highly competitive category.  Herreshoff designed NY40 Chinook (1916) took second place and the P-Class Olympian built in 1913 in America took third.  Chinook, skippered by local Captain Jonathan Greenwood and his first mate and partner Sandra Ugolini also took the Hill Robinson Trophy for Teamwork.

In the Classic Yacht Division Resolute Salmon 1976 won three of her four races in the Classic Marconi Racer Grouping beating season favourites and title holders II Moro di Venezia and Sagittarius (1971).  The 10.6 metre Resolute Salmon was designed by American Britton Chance and is considered revolutionary.

It was a spicy three wins and one second place that gave Tabasco 5 her victory in the Spirit of Tradition category for modern classic beauties.  Tabasco 5 is a 12.42 Metre IOR 2 Tonner built in 1981 from triple-cross mahogany planking to a Joubert-Nivelt design, which was, back in the day considered highly innovative.

British owned Rowdy NY40 1916 won three of the four races in the Vintage Marconi A Class giving her a clean winner overall followed by Jour de Fete and Manitou.

A new addition to the Mediterranean circuit this year is the American Sparkman and Stephens designed schooner Santana built 1935, once owned by Hollywood husband and wife stars Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Frank Sinatra, David Niven and Richard Burton were all guests on board in that time. She has been lovingly and painstakingly restored to glory and in 2017 won “The Classic Boat Magazine Restoration of The Year Award.”  Santana placed a first overall in the Vintage Marconi B Class ahead of Comet and Skylark of 1937. A great debut for the American contingent.

Cippino II, the 15-Metre Argentinian German Frers design built in 1949 cleaned up with four wins out of four in the Vintage Marconi C Division.

Lys, a 1956 Sangermani won the Classic Marconi B Class and Maria Giovanna II 1968 an 11 Metre dominated Classic Marconi Class C.

The battle for first place between eight of the modern – classic one design racer class, the Tofinous was punchy and went to Pitch with two of four firsts.

Yann Joannon, Director since its inception, runs Les Voiles d’Antibes with French flair, Latin spirit and German efficiency which is why it attracts regular competitors year after year. For 2018 the agenda included:

Exhibition: The inaugural Antibes Classic Yacht Show run by a separate organisation preceded the racing.  Antibes at the time of the regatta is the place to be to meet and mingle with friends new and old who share a passion for vintage yachts be that restoring, racing, sailing and selling these fine vessels.

Entertainment: Live music at Les Voiles d’Antibes is always colourful and the nightly concerts rocked the dock with everything from Salsa to Soul.   There was a great festive spirit on the dock following a long winter of dust and varnish for these fine vessels.

Environment: In collaboration with Edmiston an environmental movie was screened to the crew to highlight “Keep Your Sea Plastic Free”.  Mike Horsley, Sales Broker of Edmiston, regularly seen racing his classic yacht, Illingworth & Primrose designed 1963 Outlaw handed out a reusable refillable water bottle to the boats. These red bottles proved very handy for re – hydration following long light air days on the water and helping owners implement the trend towards a #plasticfree yacht. Classically conscious indeed!

Mediterranean Classic Yacht Calendar July


Trophée Bailli de Suffren

St Tropez – Malta    23rd June – 4th July – yachtingmalta.org

Regata Puig Vela Clàssica

Barcelona – Spain – 11 – 14th July – puigvelaclassica.com

J-Class Racing

Palma – Mallorca – 20 – 23rd July – thesuperyachtcup.com


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

Photos Credit: @Patrick Hanez