July 2011: The 2011 edition of the Panerai British Classic Week, which took place from July 17 – 23 in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, saw a wide range of weather conditions which tested the skippers and crews of the 71 vintage and classic yachts to the full. During the week of racing competitors faced challenging 20 knot plus breezes as well as contrastingly light and capricious winds. Despite the changeable weather however, the spirit of friendly competition and warm camaraderie which has always typified this annual event was very much in evidence again this year.
In Class 1, with a win on the final fifth race of the series, R A Rankin’s 1985 12 Metre ‘Italia’ finally triumphed in the fierce week long match race battle with Richard Matthew’s 1985 12 Metre ‘Crusader’, to take the overall Class 1 prize. In Class 2 the third of the 12 Metres at the regatta, John Lister’s 1937 ‘Wings’, won Friday’s final race to also close out a class win.
Sir Michael Briggs aboard his 1904 ‘Mikado’ continued his dominance of Class 3, winning the final race to finish the regatta with a perfect unbeaten score, which earned him the overall regatta prize, a Luminor watch from the Italian watch-maker Panerai. David Myatt’s Class 4 performance on his 1948 ‘Marguerite’ had been similarly comprehensive, and he won the final race to secure a comfortable class series victory. The winners were presented with their prizes at the prize giving dinner at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club on Friday evening. The competitive action on the water was equally matched by the pace of the activities ashore the new Panerai lounge for the owners and their crews became the hub of on-shore activity and was full of lively debate in the hours following each days racing.
This year the grace of the regatta’s wonderful fleet of classic yachts were juxtaposed with the style and magnificence of 60 classic cars taking part in the Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation (HERO) Summer Trial. Additionally, on the penultimate day, Rob Thompson and Eileen Skinner, owners of Sir Francis Chichester’s legendary Gipsy Moth IV, announced the launch of their new charity, The Gipsy Moth Trust. Rob and Eileen have generously donated their iconic ‘Gipsy Moth IV’ to charity as a gift to ensure it is safeguarded for the nation.
The next regatta in the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge series is the Corinthian Classic Yacht regatta in Marblehead, USA from August 12th – 14th.
Overall Prize Winners:
Class 1: ‘Italia’ – R A Rankin
Class 2: ‘’Wings’ – John Lister
Class 3: ‘Mikado’ – Sir Michael Briggs
Class 4: ‘Marguerite’ – David Myatt
Overall Regatta Winner: ‘Mikado’ – Sir Michael Briggs
In honour of its historical associations with the sea, Officine Panerai has been committed to the promotion of classic yachting culture for many years. In addition to its sponsorship of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, Officine Panerai has purchased and restored Eilean, the Bermudian ketch built in 1936 in the legendary Fife shipyards in Fairlie, which today acts as the brand’s ambassador for the classic yacht meetings.www.panerai.comwww.paneraclassicyachtschallenge.com
ABOUT THE BRITISH CLASSIC YACHT CLUBThe British Classic Yacht Club was formed in 2001 to provide a congenial environment for owners and other classic yacht enthusiasts to share experiences and enjoy each other’s company. Affiliated to the RYA, the BCYC strives to represent the interests of classic yacht owners and has developed good relationships with many leading yacht clubs in the UK and abroad. The officers of the BCYC are actively involved in both national and international discussions about the future development of classic yachting.The membership of the BCYC now consists of more than eighty boats. In addition to the Club’s flagship annual regatta held in Cowes each July, the Club also organises a full programme of other racing, cruising and social activities in the Solent and on the East Coast, including the popular East Coast Classic Regatta in early June. BCYC yachts also participate in many important sailing events, including classic regattas in the Channel, Mediterranean and West Indies.