“Le Vele d’Epoca a Napoli”: classic sailing at its most spectacular in the shadow of Vesuvius

June 2014

The Grandes Dames of the Sea to take centre stage in the third round of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, the leading international circuit for these beautiful craft

For the second time in the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge’s 10-year history, the fleet returns to Campania for Le Vele d’Epoca a Napoli, the third stage of the Trofeo Panerai’s Mediterranean Circuit 2014. Between July 2nd and 6th next, around 35 yachts will be moored at the Reale Yacht Club Canottieri Savoia, which is organising the 11th outing of the Neapolitan celebration of classic sailing in collaboration with the Italian Navy. The Club was founded more than 120 years ago and its current president is Carlo Campobasso, successor to Giuseppe ‘Pippo’ Dalla Vecchia, who held the prestigious office since 1991.

The fleet will be divided into three main groupings: Vintage (yachts built before 1950), Classic (yachts launched between 1950 and 1975) and Dragons. Penned in 1929 by Norwegian designer Johan Anker and still the world’s most popular one-design keelboat, the Dragons will be competing in the fourth edition of the Coppa d’Oro Eduardo Pepe (named in honour of the lawyer and two-time former president of the Circolo Savoia). This particular regatta is open solely to wooden Dragons built before 1972, the last year in which the class was included in the Olympics. Entrants include Ausonia built in 1948 (sail number ITA-1). Owned by the Circolo Savoia itself, she was also the first ever Dragon rated in Italy.

In all, four races will be held between Thursday and Sunday, over a combination of coastal and windward-leeward courses. On Sunday, July 6th, the last competition at sea will be preceded by a parade of all the boats in front of the promenade and the crowds gathered there to watch. Maritime tradition-focused cultural activities will include the “Powder, Wood and “Water” conference on wooden boat building and vintage boat restoration which takes place in the stunning surroundings of the Castel dell’Ovo overlooking the port of Santa Lucia where the fleet will be moored.

One of the most elegant yachts entered for the Neapolitan event is Orianda, a Bermudan sloop built in Denmark in 1937. Fresh from a major restoration, Orianda has previously sailed between Northern Europe, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. A special prize put up by the Circolo Savoia will also be awarded to one of the many yachts present designed by the illustrious Sparkman & Stephens studio in New York. We have design genius Olin Stephens to thank, in fact, for the likes of Tomahawk (1938), Voscià (1959), which once belonged to Italian Navy hero Luigi Durand de la Penne, Argyll (1948), the New York 32 Sirius (1937) and Tintoo VI.

One of the evening celebrations at the Circolo will be dedicated to the 13-metre Manta (1935) and is being organised by her owner, lawyer Ernesto Irace, who has become a symbol of great passion and enthusiasm for vintage yacht racing. Although a more recent build, Draumen was inspired by the late 19th century pilot cutters. Her canoe stern, leisurely gait, crew in vintage uniform and brown sails ensure that she will be one of the most traditional of the yachts present.

That said, there will also be plenty of fast, competitive vessels at Naples including Ivan Gardini’s Naïf and the 1966 Sangermani Namib, specially restored to allow her take part in all of the rounds of the 2014 Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge. The 1972 12.8-metre sloop Jo Ir II (the name on her stern is actually Joir) has also been restored to allow the family she belongs to compete her in the various Mediterranean regattas. Eilean, the 1936 Bermundan ketch restored by the Officine Paneria and now used as a brand ambassador for the Florentine luxury sports watch-maker, will also be on hand. The naval training vessels Caroly and Corsaro II will be standard-bearers for the Italian Navy at the event too, making up for the absence of the multi-winning Stella Polare, which is currently undergoing modernisation work.

Also expected at Naples is the Italian Navy’s Palinuro, a three-masted schooner normally used for training petty officers from the naval training school on La Maddalena island. On this particular occasion, Palinuro is being sailed by cadets from the Francesco Morosini Naval Academy in Venice.

The next three regattas on the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge Mediterranean Circuit take place in Spain, Italy and France: Copa del Rey (Minorca, ES, 26th-30th August), Vele d’Epoca di Imperia (Imperia, IT, 10th-14th September), Régates Royales (Cannes, FR, 23rd-27th September). The other events on the calendar are the Panerai British Classic Week at Cowes (12th-19th July) and the North American Circuit regattas (Marblehead Corinthian Classic Yacht Regatta, 8th-10th August; Nantucket Opera House Cup, 13th-17th August; Newport MOY Classic Yacht Regatta 29th-31st August).

  • “Le Vele d’Epoca a Napoli”: classic sailing at its most spectacular in the shadow of Vesuvius

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