Around a thousand participants on sailing yachts, motor-yachts, powerboats, Rivas and classic rowing skiffs – 115 vessels in total – left the Yacht Club de Monaco today with magical memories from the 12th Monaco Classic Week, all vowing to return in two years’ time.
All were entranced by the YCM’s new building, inaugurated in June 2014 and designed by Lord Norman Foster to blend the Yacht Club de Monaco’s timeless classicism harmoniously with the clean modern lines so characteristic of this British architect.
Monaco Classic Week itself is unique in that it unites everyone whatever their persuasion – competitive sailors, speed fans, defenders of heritage or owners of elegant motor-yachts, and those who love being out in rough conditions. It was a week dedicated to a certain ‘Art de Vivre la Mer’, alternating nautical events with culinary, artistic and elegance contests.
This meeting is unique as it welcomes classic vessels that have left their mark on the period when they were launched, with this year seeing sailing yachts from 1885 through to 1975. As Eric Tabarly famously said, “To stroll along the quay is like turning the pages of an open book recounting the history of yachting.”
Here to raise awareness among all those present of actions taken for the environment with the “Ocean-climate” flag, Catherine Chabaud was clearly not expecting to be presented with the coveted Personnalité de la Mer 2015 award by Bernard d’Alessandri, General Secretary of the YCM and jury member Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, and in front of a such a large crowd.
First woman to complete the solo non-stop round the world Vendée Globe race, Catherine Chabaud is very involved in this December’s COP21 Climate Conference being organised by the French government: “This is an issue for governments of course but also for all of us. We all have in common the fact that the oceans are our future, and it is imperative the voice of the ocean is heard in Paris 2015,” she said.
Monaco’s reputation for glamorous partying did the rest resulting in a highly successful few days, for example a long table stretching the length of the quay for 450 guests who enjoyed a giant bouillabaisse – a tour de force by the Yacht Club de Monaco’s Chef Christian Plumail. HSH Prince Albert II, President of the Yacht Club de Monaco since 1984, wanted to participate in the celebrations for the oldest yacht present, the 130-year-old Partridge.
It was a superb vintage! It’s not just the vineyards producing excellent ones in 2015.
Rendezvous for the next Monaco Classic Week: 13th to 17th September 2017!
The big winner of this edition was the sailing yacht Morwenna who received the Monaco Classic Week Trophy 2015 from Pierre Casiraghi, Vice-President of the Yacht Club de Monaco, flanked by Allegra Gucci and Jury members.
Morwenna also won one of the most coveted prizes at Monaco Classic Week, the La Belle Classe Restoration prize for all classes, well-deserved recognition for the Guip boatyard. In 2013, the Brest-based yard totally restored this English schooner launched in 1914 by Stowe & Sons of Shoreham in West Sussex from plans by Linton Hope, famous for having designed military boats for the MacDonald Nile expedition to Sudan.
Another prize coveted by owners and crews, the Concours d’élégance, presided by Princess Beatriz de Orleans, was won by Patna. Restored by her owner Greg Powlesland, renowned for his meticulous restoration of the 1892 Nicholson design, Marigold, Patna is another by Nicholson from 1920 who according to her co-owner Katie Fontana was the pride of the East Coast of England. Patna is back to her original design as a gaff yawl and since 2014 is also the proud owner of a clinker-built annexe built by Greg. She has been sailing in the Mediterranean and was participating for the first time in Monaco Classic Week.
The vintage gaff rig class brings together the oldest boats which command respect for their builders and current owners who keep them sailing at the price of meticulous restorations.
In the 15m IR class, Tuiga triumphed in Palma but it was Mariska who dominated in Monaco, winning four of the five races held. Two stages to go in this annual trophy for the 15M IR class set up by the Association of owners – two opportunities left to dethrone Mariska, trophy holder for the last two years so there is everything to play for!
Elena of London, the faithful replica launched in 2009 of American designer Nathanael Herreshoff’s 1916 schooner won the Big Boat category for vessels over 23m, at 55m (LOA) she proved unbeatable.
In the Vintage Gaff category, Olympian (1914) beat Chinook a New York 40 from this one-design class designed by Nathanael Herreshoff, and Eva, a 13.5m Marconi-gaff rig, design n°505 of William Fife III.
In the Vintage Marconi category, victory went to the 1937 Olin Stephens design Manitou, once John F. Kennedy’s presidential yacht. The ketch made life difficult for Rowdy who came second, with third place going to Carron II, a newcomer to the Principality. This lovely 8M IR launched by the Clyde yard in 1935 was restored by Fairlie Restorations in Southampton.
In the “classic” classes we find boats that were at the forefront of modern trends when launched, most of them designed by the great naval architects of the day for owners who were experienced enough to take the helm for races. Winner this week was Stiren, an “admirable yacht” and typical of the boats designed by Olin Stephens for offshore racing. For her first participation in Monaco Classic Week, Stiren won the category ahead of Il Moro di Venezia, a Frers design launched in 1975 for Raul Gardini, and Bufeo Blanco, a Cesare Sangermani design launched in 1963 which after a total restoration in Viareggio in 2006/2007 returned to the race circuit and now monopolizes the podiums.