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Panerai - Panerai Classic Yacht Challenge

Panerai Panerai Classic Yacht Challenge

The vintage fleet gathers at Cannes for the final round of the 2018 challenge.

Between September 24 and 29, the French city of Cannes will be welcoming the imposing fleet of classic and vintage sailing vessels for the 40th edition of Les Régates Royales. Organised by the Yacht Club de Cannes, the event is also the fourth and final stage of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge Mediterranean circuit which is sponsored by the Florentine luxury sports watch maker. 

After the Antibes, Argentario and Imperia stages, the Cote d’Azur event will decide the winners of the Panerai Trophies for the 2018 season in the Big Boats, Vintage Yachts and Classic Yachts categories. Their names will then be entered in the roll call of honour of the circuit. 

More than 80 yachts from at least 10 nations and ranging in length from 8 to 60 metres are expected to make the trip to Cannes. Built from wood and metal between the end of the 19th century and the early 20th century, they will be manned by around 1,000 crew. The fleet will be divided into Big Boats, Schooner, Vintage Gaff, Vintage Marconi, Classic Marconi and Spirit of Tradition categories. They will be joined also by 50 Dragons, the elegant and most popular one-design keel boats in the world which were designed in 1929 by Norwegian architect Johan Anker and have been coming to the French regattas for over 30 years. 

Panerai Classic Yacht Challenge

© Panerai

The quality of the yachts taking part in Les Régates Royales is exceptionally high this year and includes big schooners of the likes of Elena of London, a replica of a 1911 American schooner, Mariette (1915), Germania Nova (2011) and Puritan (1930). Mariska (1908) and Tuiga (1909) will be representing the exclusive International 15-Metre Class of which just four examples are still sailing. 

The largest class is the Vintage Gaff with 19 entries, including four yachts launched over a 120 years ago: Dorothy (1894), Kismet (1898), Lulu (1897) and Marigold (1892). Also, there will be the two P-Classes Chips and Olympian, both splashed in 1913, which made the journey from the US especially to compete in the Mediterranean regattas. The Sonder Class Tilly XV, built in Germany in 1912 for Prince Heinrich Von Preussen, brother of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Prussia, has competed in almost all the Panerai events worldwide, including on the North American circuit. 

Previous winners of the Panerai Trophies will also be there, of course, not least the hugely victorious Moonbeam IV (1914) and Hallowe’en (1926), the two New York Yacht Club 40 footers, Chinook and Rowdy, both launched in 1916, as well as world sailing legends such as Ganbare (1973), a revolutionary design by Californian Doug Peterson. 

The presence at Cannes of the Sparkman & Stephens-designed Santana will also revive memories of the glory days of Hollywood. The Bermudan yawl was launched in the US in 1935 but between 1945 and 1957 was owned by the legendary Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. 

Between Tuesday, September 25, and Saturday, September 29, there will be five races in all spread across coastal and triangular courses in the waters of the Gulf de La Napoule and Les Îles de Lérins. The prize-giving ceremony takes place in the Vieux Port area where the fleet is moored, on Saturday afternoon. 

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Representing a blend of Italian design with Swiss watchmaking technology, Officine Panerai follows the inspiration of its home city of Florence, which was the cradle of the Renaissance movement and all the art and science for which it was famous.

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