2014 Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge: Moonbeam IV, Olympian, Huna II and Kis triumph at Imperia

September 2014

Moonbeam IV (Big Boats), Olympian (Vintage), Huna II (Classic) and Kis (Spirit of Tradition) are the four category-winning yachts presented with Officine Panerai watches at the end of the Le Vele d’Epoca di Imperia on September 14th. The event was, of course, the fifth round on the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge Mediterranean circuit which is celebrating its first decade this year. More than 70 beautiful Grandes Dames of the Sea competed in the 18th edition of the biennial Imperia regatta which is also the largest Italian event of its kind. 

Warm, sunny late-summer weather meant that all four scheduled races went ahead as planned on 11 to 17-mile coastal courses between Diano Marina and San Lorenzo al Mare. The wind was in cooperative mood too, filling out from a 7-knot easterly on Day 1 to almost 30 knots on Day 2 before ending with a light breeze for the final race. The last clash was also preceded by a spectacular parade by the entire fleet in the Imperia Oneglia basin where they were judged by a special jury. 

The Big Boat Moonbeam IV, a 35-metre gaff cutter, could not have celebrated her centenary year in finer fashion. She was launched in 1914 at the Fife shipyard in Scotland, which, between the late 19th century and early 20th century, produced dozens of the most beautiful yachts still competing and winning on classic yacht circuits worldwide, including Officine Panerai’s own 22-metre ketch Eilean.

The 16-metre gaff sloop Olympian proved victorious on her debut outing in the Vintage category too. Built in 1913 at the McClure yard in America to a design by William Gardner, she is a P-Class, a late 19th century racing design. Rediscovered in Chicago by legendary French America’s Cup skipper America Bruno Troublè, Olympian was moved to Maine for a yearlong restoration and later cargo-shipped from Newport to the Mediterranean. She also won the Prix d’Elegance at Imperia.

Classic category winner, Huna II, on the other hand, is a well-known member of the historic boat fleet based on the Ligurian coast. At just under 20 metres, the Bermudan sloop was built by Sangermani in Liguria in 1967 and remains the only vessel to have won the Nioularge de Saint Tropez for five consecutive years (1987-1991). She was helmed on each occasional by sail-maker/sailor Beppe Zaoli, long-time skipper of Bona Fide (1899), also present at Imperia.

Less than a year after her launch, the gaff sloop Kis has already proved her mettle in the Spirit of Tradition category (yachts recently built to classic designs). Penned by Dutch designer Theo Danel, she is the second example of what could soon become a whole new one design class, the D&D 43 One Design. Kis has very narrow beam (just 2.2 metres) given that she is 13 metres long and hoists over 100 square metres of sail so she can reach at a very brisk 10 knots. 

The category-winning recipients of the Panerai watches aside, the following boats also dominated their individual classes:  Elena (Super Big Boats), Moonbeam IV (Big Boats), Olympian (Vintage Gaff), Sirius (Vintage Marconi), Namib (Classic 1), Naif (Classic 2), Huna II (Classic 3), Kis (Spirit of Tradition) and Miss K IV (IOR).

The circuit celebrating Officine Panerai’s “Ten Years of Passion” now prepares for its final round of the season at Les Régates Royales di Cannes between September 21st and 29th. This is the last chance for the most successful yachts of the season to vie to have their names inscribed on the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge 2014 roll of honour.

  • 2014 Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge: Moonbeam IV, Olympian, Huna II and Kis triumph at Imperia

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