THE PANERAI CLASSIC YACHTS CHALLENGE GETS UNDERWAY ONCE AGAIN ON THE COTE D’AZUR WITH LES VOILES D’ANTIBES

May 2017

A fleet of stunning vintage and classic sailing yachts will be gathering at the charming French Riviera town of Antibes between June 1 and 4 for the first stage of the 13th edition of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge Mediterranean Circuit, sponsored by Officine Panerai. Les Voiles d’Antibes, which has been running since 1996, will welcome over 80 sailing crafts launched by the world’s leading shipyards in the course of the last hundred years. Their presence in the waters off the old town centre hails the start of a Challenge that will culminate in the awarding of the coveted overall 2017 trophies for the various categories at Cannes, in late September. 

Ranging in size from 7 to over 60 metres, the yachts will be representing a slew of nations from Italy to France, Britain, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the United States. Over 500 crew – all avid yachting history devotees - are also expected in addition to thousands of visitors who will be able to admire the craft berthed at the dockside through the event. Starting on Thursday, June 1, a total of four races will be held – one each day. The prize-giving ceremony takes place after the last race on Sunday, June 4.

The majority of the boats entered on the Panerai circuit have already competed in many of the previous editions, taking either class victories and adding their names to the Roll Call of Honour of the prestige trophy itself. The latter include Moonbeam IV, winner of the overall Big Boat trophy in the 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016 seasons, making her the most successful yacht on the circuit. Stretching 35 metres, Moonbeam IV was built in 1914 by the Fife yard in Scotland and was once owned by Prince Rainier of Monaco. Competing in the same category is the 54-metre schooner Shenandoah of Sark, launched in the US in 1902 to a design inspired by Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany’s yacht.

The very large Vintage Marconi class will span craft such as the historic 1930 International 12-Metre Class Emilia, the multi-Panerai Trophy winner Rowdy (1916), Serenade (1938) and, of course, the 22-metre ketch Eilean acquired and restored by Officine Panerai in 2006 as an ambassador both for the brand and the classic yachting culture.

There will also be three 19th century vessels competing at Antibes, each one living testimony to a bygone era of yachting. Launched in 1897, the pleasure yacht Lulu has been awarded national historic treasure status in France, while Tigris (1899) returns to competing in the same town where she was restored a decade ago. Lastly, the 18-metre Marigold, built by Camper & Nicholson in 1892, still retains her original lines, interiors and peerless Victorian charm.  

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