Grand finale for the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge 2012:

Les Régates Royales at Cannes

September 2012

After nine regattas spread across of some of yachting’s most historic venues, the leading international classic and vintage yacht circuit draws to a close for the season in the city of Cannes which plays host to the Régates Royales, the final stage of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge 2012, between September 22nd and 29th next. A huge sense of excitement is building about the event which decides the winners of the highly-prized season trophies for the Vintage, Classic and Big Boats classes. Their presentation, in fact, will mark the conclusion of the circuit sponsored for the eighth year running by Officine Panerai. 

Approximately 120 historic yachts are expected to make the journey to the Cote d’Azur for the Régates Royales. These will include a fleet of 40 Dragons, a former Olympic class designed in Norway over eight decades ago and still attracting a strong following amongst competitive sailing enthusiasts the world over. Five races are scheduled to take place in the Bay of Cannes between Tuesday 25th and Saturday 29th of September, while the race village in the Vieux Port will host cultural activities and entertainment for the hundreds of professionals and enthusiasts attending the regatta.  

The international character of the Régates Royales is underscored by the presence of yachts from more than 15 different nations launched anywhere from the late 19th century to the last decade. All of the epoch-making classes from the history of yachting are represented, including the majestic 30-metre-plus J-Classes (Shamrock V, 1930) and the International 12- and 15-metre Classes that once represented their aristocratic owners in epic America’s Cup clashes and international regattas. The five-strong fleet of Pen Duicks once owned by Eric Tabarly, the French sailing hero lost at sea in 1998, will also be reunited on the Cote d’Azur for the first time in two years. Two participants are marking major milestones in their careers too: the cutter Marigold, built in England in 1892, celebrates the 120th anniversary of her launch, while Kelpie will be doing the same for her 110th.  

The history of these wonderful yachts is also inextricably linked with that of their illustrious owners, past and present. Avel (1896), for example, belongs to the Gucci family, while Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco honeymooned aboard Moonbeam IV.  Manitou, on the other hand, was known as TFWH (The Floating White House) because President J.F. Kennedy kept in constant contact with his staff in Washington as he holidayed aboard her with his family. Another of the classic yachts taking part is Stella Polare, an Italian Navy two-master that made the history at the Cannes event last year by winning the overall prize for her class.

Although Cannes brings the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge to a close for this year, the classic sailing season continues. In fact, several of the yachts present at Cannes, including Moonbeam IV and The Blue Peter (1930), are preparing for the Panerai Transat Classique 2012, which casts off on December 2nd next from Cascais in Portugal and finishes 4,000 miles later at Barbados in the Caribbean. The special limited edition watch created by Panerai in honour of the event will be on display for the first time ever at the Panerai Lounge during the Régates Royales at Cannes.

  • Grand finale for the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge 2012:
  • Grand finale for the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge 2012:

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