Porto Santo Stefano in Tuscany is preparing to play host to the 50 yachts already entered in the 14th edition of the Argentario Sailing Week, the second round on the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge’s Mediterranean Circuit. The event, being staged between June 13th and 16th with technical assistance from the Yacht Club Santo Stefano, spans three races on one of Italy’s best-loved and windiest competition courses between Giannella Beach and the town of Talamone.
The Big Boats competing in this year’s Argentario Sailing Week include Mariette, the majestic 32-metre steel schooner built in 1915 by the legendary Herreshoff yard of America. Making a welcome return to the event, the latter will be doing battle with two other stunning Panerai circuit regulars: the 1911 gaff cutter Mariquita, the sole surviving International 19-Metre Class, and the 1928 Cambria, the only International 23-Metre Class still afloat.
There is a tenuous but very real connection between two other entries: the 1937 18-metre Manitou and the compact 7-metre Wianno. Manitou is also known as the “Floating White House” because 50 years ago, she was used by President John F. Kennedy for family vacations. Wianno, on the other hand, was built to a design dating back to 1914 and is a fibreglass replica of the elegant gaff cutter on which the President learned to sail.
Also returning to compete in Tuscany are Caroly (1948), Corsaro II (1961), Capricia (1963) and Chaplin (1974),the Italian Navy training vessels commencing their training campaigns for Naval Academy cadets around now. Capricia in particular celebrates her 50th birthday this year, while Chaplin has already gone down in Panerai Trophy history, having won the Classic category in 2009.
Also participating in the Argentario Sailing Week is a small fleet of International 5.5-Metre Class yachts, which includes the hugely successful Carabella (1968), the recent winner of the Italian Championship for her class, and Tara (also 1968), fresh from a superb restoration at the Daniele Riva yard on Lake Como.
Once again this year, the fleet, divided into Vintage, Classic and Spirit of Tradition categories, will be moored along the waterfront’s Molo della Pilarella which is always open to the public and located in an area of the town that will allow anyone to admire the yachts.
The upcoming rounds of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge 2013, which count towards overall victory on the Mediterranean Circuit, are as follows:
- Vele d’Epoca in Naples (26th-30th June)
- X Copa del Rey (Minorca, Spain, 27th-31th August)
- Régates Royales (Cannes, France, 24th-28th September).
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
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.