Cambria, Leonore and Il Moro di Venezia triumph at Cannes Overall Prizes in Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge 2013 presented

September 2013

SEPTEMBER 2013 – The 35th edition of the  Régates Royales brought the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge 2013, sponsored by Officine Panerai since 2005, to a successful conclusion on the 28th of September at Cannes.  

In the course of the traditional season-closer, almost 90 grand old ladies of the sea from more than 20 nations did battle between the west coast of the Golfe de La Napoule and Îles de Lérins, in variable winds of between 10 and 20 knots and over both coastal and triangle courses. At the end of the five days of racing, the prizes for the event were presented as were, of course, the much-sought after trophies for the overall winners of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge 2013 Mediterranean Circuit which comprised stages at Antibes, Argentario, Naples, Mahon and Cannes.  The winners in the three classes were Cambria (Big Boats), Leonore (Vintage) and Il Moro di Venezia (Classics).

This was the second victory in the Big Boat category for Cambria, built in 1928 and the only International 23-metre Class still afloat: she also won the same trophy in 2010. This wood-built Bermudan cutter stretches 40 meters if her bowsprit is included, and was designed and launched at the famous William Fife yard at Fairlie in Scotland. Cambria, her Australian captain Chris Barkham and her 22-strong crew are assiduous competitors on the Panerai Circuit. In fact, over the last nine years, they have taken part in no less than 42 races and taken line honors in their category an impressive 38 times. A glorious present for a yacht that in the past has sailed from Turkey to the Canaries, from the Caribbean to New Zealand and Australia where she  underwent a massive restoration process that allowed her to return to winning form.   

The season trophy in the Vintage category went for the second consecutive time to the 1925 15-metre  Leonore,  a Marconi sloop belonging to the Q-Class, a sleek, fast, narrow type of yacht designed to the Universal Rule which was developed in 1904 by the great American designer  Nathanael Herreshoff. Leonore was built at the Anker & Jensen yard to a design by Johan Anker and has been crewed by a group of former America's Cup sailors, including the hugely successful helmsman Mauro Pelaschier, for the past number of years. Their recent victory at Cannes brings to four the number of season trophies won in the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge by the crew.    

On her second consecutive year competing on the Panerai Circuit,  Il Moro di Venezia achieved her objective of winning the prestigious season title in the Classic category. The 20-metre Bermudan sloop was penned in 1975 by Argentinean designer German Frers and was the first Italian IOR Maxi Yacht. The yachts that followed in her wake and shared her name also made Italian yachting history competing in the America's Cup. Built from laminated wood, Il Moro di Venezia was commissioned by leading Italian chemical industrialist Raul Gardini. Today she is owned by Massimiliano Ferruzzi, son of Arturo, who came to Cannes to celebrate her victory. The latter also owns the 1931 31-metre Puritan, one of the most beautiful American schooners still afloat. 

Aside from the season trophies, Cannes also saw the presentation of the prizes for the winners of the  Régates Royales and, most particularly, the  Officine Panerai watches for the victors in the Big Boats, Vintage, Classic and  Spirit Of Tradition categories. The winners were the 1903 Moonbeam III in the Big Boats, the 1916 Chinook in the  Vintage, the 1952 Bermudan cutter Ea in the Classic and the 2012 Catleya in the Spirit of Tradition. The latter is a One Design belonging to the new Dilong class and won the same group last year at Cannes also.

Other prizes went to Skylark of 1937 in the Vintage Marconi Over 15 Meters, and to  Sirius, a New York 32, also from 1937, which dominated the Vintage Marconi Under 15 Meters. There was also a very moving moment during the prize-giving ceremony when a tribute was paid to the memory of the former Yacht Club de Cannes President Jean-Claude Montesinos who passed away recently.

In addition to the classic fleet that gathered at Cannes, there were also 36 Dragons, a racing one design first launched in Norway in 1929. After nine races, final victory went to English skipper Gavia Wilkinson Cox and Jerboa. In the Requin class, another one design penned in Finland in 1931, the winner was the French boat Slim, while Marsh Harrier triumphed in the the Broad One Design class of elegant gaff sloops designed in England over a century ago. 

The many world class sailors participating included French champion Florence Arthaud, while English designer Rob Humphreys was aboard the new super classic, Tempus Fugit, and German Frers brought his 1935 boat Sunny all the way from South America to Europe for these races. 

Thanks to the sheer number and quality of the yachts taking part, from Mariquita to Mariska and the majestic gaff schooners  Altair (1931), Elena of London and Eleonora, the annual Cannes event confirmed its status as the leading and best-attended classic yacht regatta in the Mediterranean. In fact, both owners and crews alike already have penciled it in their diaries for 2014, the year the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge celebrates its 10th anniversary. 

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  • Cambria, Leonore and Il Moro di Venezia triumph at Cannes Overall Prizes in Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge 2013 presented

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