Fifty classic yachts out racing, the arrival of Palinuro, Chefs cooking lobsters with organic side dishes, artistic crews busy decorating magnum bottles, powerboats and Rivas gleaming under the sun dazzling onlookers, and exhibitors welcoming them into the Village: the 12th edition of Monaco Classic Week got off to a flying start, a celebration of sport and play, attended in the evening by YCM President HSH Prince Albert II, and Adriana Karembeu, member of the Jury for the Elegance Parade and Chefs’ contest.
Fifteen venerable “old ladies”, prize-winners with a long often similar history, lined up on the start. Many were found abandoned and dismasted having been used for other purposes, and then restored with love and attention by people passionate about heritage and authenticity. Eva, who led the field today, is a small Fife 13 while at the other end of the scale Moonbeam III (50m) built in Scotland in 1906 was found in a pitiful state in 2001 in a Malaga shipyard and underwent an exemplary reconstruction based on a copy of the original plan. Only the oak keel from the original hull remains, but the rest has been faithfully rebuilt. As for Eva, a delightful very quick vessel with an immaculate deck, varnished spars and clean lines so characteristic of the Fifes, she is living proof that master carpenters the world over perpetuate tradition. She is now owned by Pete Townshend, leader of the Who, and is based in Antibes.
In the Big Boat category, six finished the course, the Swiss Masa Yume getting the better of Moonbeam III and Elena of London. Boats designed for racing in the sixties and now considered classics were also on the water, with the redoubtable Bufeo Blanco setting the pace followed by two Stephens’ designs, Palynodie II, commissioned by Gaston Deferre with the aim being to win the Giraglia, which he did not achieve, and Stiren.
Eleven Marconi-rigged vintage yachts which at the time coming in the wake of the gaff rigs were considered modern and innovative, made an attractive fleet. The Herreshoff 40 Rowdy, a regular on the podium, set the pace followed by Manitou, John F. Kennedy’s presidential yacht, ahead of Carron II.
The four 15M IRs fought it out again in Monaco in this the second stage of their four-event Annual Trophy, the first in Palma having been won by Tuiga. They will be competing together again in Portofino then Saint-Tropez.
The race today proved tactically difficult in a light breeze, with Tuiga compromised by a torn sail handing victory to Mariska, followed by The Lady Anne, Tuiga and Hispania.
Launched during the very first Monaco Classic Week, this culinary contest was held today, the chefs on board having to produce a dish even though the sailing yachts were out racing. Having collected their baskets of organic ingredients – including vegetables, cream, butter and eggs as well as the main ingredient which was lobster – the chefs had to work fast and prove their creativity in combining the whole with cognac, appearing a few hours later holding aloft their entry to present to a jury on the quay. A bagpiper from Mariska saluted the jury as a prelude to the evening’s Crew Party.
The presence of Adriana Karembeu sitting alongside the Jury, which included Christian Plumail (Yacht Club de Monaco), Christian Garcia (Prince’s Palace) and Paolo Sari (Monte-Carlo Beach), probably explained the sudden enthusiasm for cuisine! A trio of sailing yachts dominated the podium with the Italian training vessel in third, and South African Simon White-Law on Sultana rescuing the honour of the motor-yachts in fourth.
Results: 1st Rowdy, Jonathan White
2nd – Elena, Bénédicte Cochard
3rd –Corsaro II, Antonio Mandanici
In keeping with the Yacht Club de Monaco’s philosophy which resolves around a certain Art de Vivre la Mer lifestyle, the auction house, Hôtel des Ventes de Monte Carlo, is holding an auction of marine art objects many from important private collections, in a room on the ground floor of the Yacht Club opening onto the quay so the public can see the pre-auction exhibition of works worthy of the greatest museums. They include Raoul Dufy’s ‘Le bassin des yachts à Deauville’ alongside ‘Les voiliers dans le port de Marseille’ and Marquet’s ‘Venise’, and a funeral vessel from a Pharaoh’s tomb dating back 2,500 years, as well as ‘Le fou de mer’ by Robert Combas and Andy Warhol’s fishes. A tea service decorated by Robj would ideal for a classic yacht and there is silverware from First Class on the Normandie and Compagnie Générale Transatlantique. Posters, navigation instruments, watches, jewellery with coral and pearls are all waiting for buyers, with the star of the show being the 35m motor-yacht launched in 1930, Over the Rainbow, which belonged to Jean-Michel Folon, and the Swan 76 Garuda, a racing yacht with a history linked to the YCM as she sported her burgee in many a regatta, and ocean-racer Gonna Gitcha II, ex-UUnet, ex-FleuryMichon X, which recently came fourth in the Palermo-Montecarlo with a team of young sailors from the YCM led by Philippe Monnet and Thierry Leret, head of the YCM’s Sports Section.
As the rowing club (Société Nautique de Monaco) prepares to organise the first rowing world championship in the Principality in 2016, it is actively participating in Monaco Classic Week this year with an exhibition and race organised for classic rowing skiffs. A fine collection of wooden craft which dominated the scene from the fifties to the seventies is on show in front of the SNM which shares the building with YCM.
You can see three clinker-built boats of cedar wood, a big eight-man plus cox yole from 1970 (builder Donoratico), a two-man plus cox boat from the 1940s/50s (also Donoratico), a one-man canoe from the same period and two classic wooden boats from the 1970s built by Salani: a one-man skiff and a two-man pair-oar.
On Saturday the rowing races start with a 150m sprint in front of the YCM pontoon from 2.30pm to 3.30pm. Starts consist of 5/10 very rapid strokes (40/minute) to propel the boat for the first 50 metres. Each boat has a handicap rating, and the teams will be dressed in modern outfits for competition but will be wearing straw boaters.