The yachts Mariska (Big Boats), Jour de Fête (Vintage), Sagittarius (Classic) and Freya (Spirit of Tradition) have been presented with Officine Panerai watches as the four winners of Les Voiles d’Antibes, the first Mediterranean round of the 10th Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, the world’s foremost international classic and vintage yacht circuit.
For the first time in the regatta’s 19-year history, 80 classic and vintage yachts gathered at Antibes, setting a new event record. The summery weather – warm and sunny with light breezes – also contributed to the success of this edition of Les Voiles d’Antibes which has been the season-opener for the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge Mediterranean Circuit for the last nine years.
To celebrate the long association between the Florentine luxury sports watch-maker and the classic Côte d’Azur sailing event, on Saturday, June 7th, the Mayor of Antibes Jean Leonetti and the President of Les Voiles d’Antibes Jacques Grima presented a special reproduction of Jaume Plensa’s Nomade sculpture to Officine Panerai Angelo Bonati “for (Panerai’s) commitment and dedication to classic sailing”. The original work stands eight metres high and dominates Antibes’ famous old town walls on which the Panerai Lounge was also located to allow visitors admire the Grandes Dames of the Sea in action.
Mariska, winner of the Big Boats category, is a 23-metre gaff cutter built by Fife of Scotland in 1908. She is one of just four International 15-metre Classes still afloat. Mariska was relaunched in 2009 after being completely restored by Charpentiers Réunis Méditerranée at La Ciotat in France. She topped the Big Boat standings ahead of Moonbeam IV and Moonbeam of Fife.
The winner of the Vintage category, Jour de Fête, is a 15.85-metre Marconi sloop built in Boston in 1930. More specifically, she is a Q-Class, a sleek, narrow-hulled type of yacht designed to a rule developed in 1904. Jour de Fête also provides further proof of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge’s attractiveness to American craft as this was not her first outing at the French event. In fact, she took part in 2012 after being cargo-ed from Newport to the Mediterranean. Jour de Fête also won her own group, the Vintage Marconi C.
Sagittarius too is a regular attendee on the circuit. This 12.41-metre sloop was built in 1971 by the Cantiere Carlini of Rimini and has been owned by the same family for over four decades. Aside from cruising her extensively in Greece and Turkey, they have competed her in many iconic races, such as the Middle Sea Race, and classic sailing regattas, such as Cannes, Imperia and, on several different occasions, Les Voiles d’Antibes. Sagittarius also won her own group, the Classic Marconi Racer.
The Spirit of Tradition winner, the 14.4-metre Freya, however, was built more recently in 2003 by Collingwood Boatbuilders of Liverpool to plans by Dixon Yacht Design. She has a sliding keel and wonderful Edwardian interiors.
After three consecutive wins, Ea emerged victorious in the Classic Marconi B grouping. Built in 1952 by the legendary Baglietto yard of Varazze, she returned to competition in 2008 after a full restoration by Sibma Navale of Imperia. The winners of the other groupings were: Arcadia (1969) in the Classic Marconi C, Chinook (1916) in the Vintage Gaff Rig, Eileen (1938) in the Vintage Marconi A, Tomahawk (1938) in the Vintage Marconi B and, lastly, Pitch (2006) in the Super Tofinou one design.
With Les Voiles d’Antibes wrapped up, part of the fleet will now be sailing on to Porto Santo Stefano in Tuscany for the second round of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge. The calendar for the upcoming events is as follows: Argentario Sailing Week (Porto S. Stefano, IT, 19-22 June), Vele d’Epoca a Napoli (Naples, IT, 2-6 July), Copa del Rey (Minorca, ES, 26-30 August), Vele d’Epoca di Imperia (Imperia, IT, 10-14 September), Régates Royales (Cannes, FR, 23-27 September). Also on the calendar are the Panerai British Classic Week at Cowes (12-19 July) and the North American Circuit regattas (Marblehead Corinthian Classic Yacht Regatta, 8-10 August; Nantucket Opera House Cup, 13-17 August; Newport MOY Classic Yacht Regatta 29-31 August).
Founded in Florence in 1860 as a workshop, shop and school of watch-making, for many decades Officine Panerai supplied the Italian Navy in general, and its specialist diving corps in particular, with precision instruments. The designs developed by Panerai in that time, including the Luminor and Radiomir, were covered by the Military Secrets Act for many years and were launched on the international market only after the brand was acquired by the Richemont Group in 1997. Today Officine Panerai develops and crafts its movements and watches at its Neuchâtel manufacture. The latter are a seamless melding of Italian design flair and history with Swiss horological expertise. Panerai watches are sold across the world through an exclusive network of distributors and Panerai boutiques. www.panerai.com
PANERAI CLASSIC YACHTS CHALLENGE
In honour of its historic links to the sea, Officine Panerai has promoted classic sailing culture for many years through its sponsorship of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, the leading international circuit for these vintage craft. In 2007, the company also acquired and restored the Bermudan ketch Eilean. Built in 1936 by the legendary Fife yard at Fairlie in Scotland, she is now the brand’s ambassador at vintage and classic boat rallies and regattas.