Panerai Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge 2017
Hallowe’en, Linnet and Ganbare are the winners of the season trophies.
Hallowe’en (Big Boats) Linnet (Vintage Yachts) and Ganbare (Classic Yachts) emerged as the winners on September 30 of the three season trophies for the 13th Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge at the end of the 39th Régates Royales de Cannes.
The French regatta was the fourth and final stage on the Mediterranean Circuit after stages at Antibes (FR), Porto Santo Stefano (ITA) and Mahon (ESP). Around 90 craft sailed into Cannes for the event. All five scheduled races went ahead on courses that varied in layout and length.
After nine years of competing, the Bermudan cutter Hallowe’en, launched in 1926 by the Fife shipyard of Fairlie in Scotland, finally took the title of season champion in the Big Boats category. Teak-planked over an English oak frame and inspired by the lines of the great International 15-metre Classes, Hallowe’en set the Fastnet record in 1927 and held it until 1939. As Magda XII, she played host to Prince Olaf, the future King of Norway. She later competed in the US where she also underwent extensive renovations at the Classic Boat Museum in Newport. Her rig has changed several times in the course of her career and she has belonged to a syndicate Irish owners since 1999. This year, Hallowe’en competed in all four rounds of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge Mediterranean Circuit and was manned, by a non-professional crew from Europe, New Zealand and Australia. Her closest rivals were Moonbeam of Fife (1903) and Cambria (1928).
The gaff sloop Linnet (1905) also laid claim to her first season victory in the Vintage Yachts category. The 10th of 18 hulls built by the N.G. Herreshoff yard, she is a NYYC 30 (New York Yacht Club 30), the first cabined bluewater one-design in history. The 30 in the moniker refers to the yacht’s minimum waterline length in feet (one foot being 30.48 centimetres). Built from staggered Alaskan yellow cedar and American cypress longitudinal double-planking over oak frames, she is still very much an original of her day. Linnet arrived in Italy at the end of the 1990s and underwent several restorations at the Cantiere Navale dell’Argentario in Porto Santo Stefano, Tuscany, at the behest of her owner, Luna Rossa America’s Cup campaign boss, Patrizio Bertelli. The latter personally helmed Linnet during this year’s Argentario and Mahon regattas, alternating aboard with professional sailors of the likes of Paolo Bassani, Pietro d’Alì, Max Sirena, Giulio Giovanella and multi-Olympic medallist Torben Grael, who did the honours at Cannes. Linnet’s closest competitors were Rowdy (1916), Spartan (1913) and Chinook (1916).
The 10.49-metre Bermudan sloop, Ganbare, built from red cedar at the Carl Eichenlaub in San Diego in 1973, made it two in a row when she repeated her 2016 season victory in the Classic Yachts category. This is the first time since 2007 that a yacht has won the category for two consecutive years, providing further confirmation of the brilliance of the design by Californian Doug Peterson, who passed away last June in San Diego. Ganbare’s English owner since 2013, Don Wood publically dedicated the victory to the yacht designer – Ganbare was Peterson’s first design and catapulted him to fame as one of the world’s most renowned naval architects. This year, Ganbare skipped only the Mahon round and at Cannes fended off some very tough competition until the last from the 20-metre Il Moro di Venezia I (1976) and the 11-metre Ardi (1968). Ganbare was racing under the colours of the Royal Thames Yacht Club and Royal Malta Yacht Club. This impressive result coincides with the 10th anniversary of her last and most extensive renovation at the Pezzini yard in Viareggio in 2007.
The winners of the four main categories in the Régates de Cannes were presented with prestige Panerai watches.
In the Big Boats the standings were topped by gaff cutter Mariska (1908), one of just four International 15-Metre Classes still sailing. The aforementioned Linnet and Ganbare did likewise in the Vintage and Classic Yachts categories respectively. Lastly, Tabasco V, a 1981 12.42-metre IOR 2-Tonner built from triple-cross mahogany planking to an innovate design by Joubert-Nivelt, took victory in the Spirit of Tradition.
In the International 5.5-Metre Class grouping, overall victory went to Merk Holowesko’s Bahamian boat, New Moon, after eight races. Pitch (2006) took 4 wins out of 8 races, earning her the top step of the Tofinou 9.5 podium.
The winners of the individual classes into which the Régates de Cannes fleet was divided were:
- Mariska (Big Boats)
- Maria Giovanna II (Classic Yachts)
- Rowdy (Vintage Marconi > 15 m)
- Carron II (Vintage Marconi < 15 m)
- Linnet (Vintage Gaff)
- Ganbare (Classic Racer)
- Tabasco V (Spirit of Tradition)
- Carron II (Challenge Gaston Schmalz for the first of the International 8-Metre Classes built before 1965).
A 44-strong Dragon fleet also converged on Cannes and, after 9 races, final victory went to British boat, Blue Haze, owned by Ivan Bradbury.
Once again this year, the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge confirmed its status as the leading and most popular sailing event of its kind internationally.
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