MANITOU, SAGITTARIUS AND MIDA WIN TUSCAN STAGE OF THE PANERAI CLASSIC YACHTS CHALLENGE

June 2015

President J.F. Kennedy’s former yacht, Manitou, also enters the Argentario Sailing Week annals and takes home one of the watches put up by Officine Panerai

The 16th Argentario Sailing Week and second stage of the 2015 Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge’s Mediterranean Circuit concluded at Porto Santo Stefano on Sunday, June 21, with victory for Manitou in the Vintage category, Sagittarius in the Classic and Mida in the Spirt of Tradition. All three winning yachts was presented with an Officine Panerai timepiece by the Florentine luxury sports watchmaker which has been sponsoring what is unanimously considered the world’s leading classic sailing circuit for eleven years.

A total of 40 historic yachts gathered for the event in Tuscany which is also Panerai’s home region (it was founded in Florence in 1860). They then successfully completed all three scheduled races in sunny, summery weather with winds of between seven and 12 knots.

Vintage category winner Manitou is a Bermudan yawl built in the US in 1937 to a Sparkman & Stephens design. She has been taking part in the Panerai events since 2011 and was once known as the “the floating White House” because President J.F. Kennedy sailed her on his summer vacations.

The Bermudan sloop Sagittarius, launched in 1971 and designed by Sparkman & Stephens, took home the Panerai watch for winning the Classic category but was the star of the “Challenge of Challenge”, an exciting new competition that pits two yachts from the same category with no penalties, handicaps or protests allowed. The clash in the Argentario was between Sagittarius and Naïf (1973). It yielded a very tight battle that saw the two yachts swap the lead several times with only a few metres between them. In the end, however, Sagittarius preceded Naïf across the finish-line by just a few seconds to take the gold medal put up by Officine Panerai.

Mida is another Bermudan sloop. The 10.38-metre was built near Venice in 1977 to a design by Swede Peter Norlin. Famous as having once belonged to Italian single-handed yachtsman Simone Bianchetti, she took victory in the Spirit of Tradition ahead of the two Wiannos present, Pyxis and Wind & Wine.

There were also two Big Boats at Porto Santo Stefano, the 1926 25-metre Hallowe’en and Xarifa, a three-masted Bermudan schooner built in 1927. The latter provided some stunning sights as she competed under 1,000 square metres-plus of sail.  

The winners of the individual groupings on the basis of SPM (Seconds per Mile: a rating that establishes by how many seconds per mile the real time of each boat has to be reduced to obtain the correct handicapped time to establish the ranking) were Manitou (SPM<150) and Cholita (SPM>150) in the Vintage and Il Moro di Venezia (SPM<145) and Sagittarius (SPM>145) in the Classic.

  • MANITOU, SAGITTARIUS AND MIDA WIN TUSCAN STAGE OF THE PANERAI CLASSIC YACHTS CHALLENGE

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