Vintage, Classic and Modern Classic Yacht Races – Alice C I´ A Widdows June 2016

Alice C I’ A Widdows is a Regatta Manager on the classic yacht circuit. A keen yachtswomen and self – confessed island hopping addict, preferably by boat. Meet our Classic Yachting Columnist.


Once again this month we are looking at races in which Vintage, Classic and Modern Classic yachts compete.


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The Caribbean classic yacht regatta season came to a gran finale with the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta sponsored by Panerai. Antigua Classics attracts a huge variety of owners to compete with their yachts, some have been participating for years and for others it is their first time.


The 2016 event had six yachts over 30 metres. The sailing grounds off the south coast of Antigua are a perfect venue for these leviathans of the sea. A total of 37 yachts took part with a diverse and varied fleet ranging from the John Alden designed cutter, Calypso 1978 at 9 metres to the late entry of 64.5 metre Modern Classic Spanish Schooner Adix (1984) by Dijkstra Naval Architects.


Nearly every yacht that competed had sailed to Antigua on its own hull and perhaps that is the true mark of the essence of Antigua Classics and the classic yacht community; these are not museum pieces. For some they are their water-born homes, for others they are an expression of joy but every one has their own intoxicating story and has been lovingly restored, refitted and maintained with love, passion and purpose.


The official day of racing at Antigua Classics started on the Friday 15th but on the day before the 17th edition of the Single Handed Race was held off the south coast of Antigua in a light southwesterly breeze on Thursday 14th April. Starting off Windward Beach, outside Falmouth Harbour, the fleet enjoyed a reach to English Harbour followed by a reciprocal leg down to Rendezvous Beach with a finish back at Windward Beach. In the light breeze, eleven yachts completed the course: Bellona, Cora A, Free Spirit, Frolic, Guiding Light, Jade, Lazy Leg, Lorema, Paloma VI, Seefalke II and Sorca.

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In the Spirit of Tradition Class, the 76ft schooner, Sorca was the winner. Built in 1978 by Murray Stephens, Nova Scotia, Sorca later went on to make her debut at Antigua Classics and will be sailed by the Welford family and friends. In the Large Classic Class Over 45ft, Alistair Jeffery’s Spirit 56, Free Spirit was the winner. Displacing just 12 tonnes, Free Spirit has a deck layout designed for short or single-handed sailing. Free Spirit’s is the second Spirit Yacht to win class for the race. Spirit Yachts designer, Sean McMillan, won class in the race in 2014 with Spirit 52, Flight of Ufford.


Racing took place between Friday and Monday giving four days of racing in idyllic Caribbean breezy conditions as competitors enjoyed the sport both on and off the water.


“Today’s conditions really suited The Blue Peter,” commented owner Mat Barker. “ Flat water and a gentle breeze is exactly what we want. With full main and a big head sail, the boat just loves it. We are normally chasing the big ketches at Classics which fly in lots of wind, but today we had to use a lot of skill. You need decent sails and you need to trim them properly, we have several new sails and people on board who know how to trim them. The crew work was great today; getting the weight distribution right and keeping alert for changes in the wind were very important, as well as keeping a look out for the big yachts, they can throw out a wind shadow the size of Luxembourg.”

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The greatest jostling for the gun was between Mat Barker’s Alfred Mylne, The Blue Peter and Janley in the Vintage Division, Argo and Heron.


And in the Spirit of Tradition Division, two yachts from the drawing board of Joel White remain unbeaten. In Class B, Donald Tofias’ 76ft sloop, Wild Horses remains unbeaten, as does the 74ft ketch, Dragonera. Both yachts were built Brooklin Boatyard, Maine by Steve Smith, son of the designer. “Hundreds of years of tradition and skill inherent in Maine boat builders has gone into both of these yachts and they are both returning to Antigua Classics because it is the place to be. Not only is the racing great but the ability to network with other people who are passionate about boat building and design makes it a regatta that you just have to attend.”


In Classics Class A two of the largest yachts competing were having a terrific battle. Adix was just a point ahead of the 121ft Strawlinski cutter Alexa of London by race three. The final day the fleet had it all to play for.

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Racing eventually concluded with seven yachts winning all four races: Dragonera, Heron, Janley, Mary Rose, Paloma VI, The Blue Peter and Wild Horses. Other class winners were: Adix, Argo, Frolic, Lazy Leg and Zemi.


“It has been a fantastic regatta for us,” commented Skipper Paul Goss. “Even though the wind was very light, the boat went very well. For a regatta like this, we need to get extra people involved as it is very important to get the choreography spot on and not make mistakes, there were a lot of sail changes during the regatta and all in all it went very well. The race committee need to be commended for the way they set up the races, we are very happy, it has been great. Classics attracts a great selection of boats from the small traditional sloops right up to boats like Adix and we will definitely come back for the next regatta if we can.”





Gaastra PalmaVela is the season opener in the Mediterranean primarily for the modern racing yachts. However studded through the larger class fleets was the Dutch flagged J-Class Lionheart, and a smattering of Vintage, Classics, Dragons. 116 yachts ranging from 3 – 43 metres giving the race committee at Real Club Nautico Palma somewhat of a task to overcome. They divided the fleet into 13 classes to include the Vintage and Classic classes.


There were three boats in the Vintage Class, Delfino, Windrift, Sonata and three in the Classic Class Moonbeam IV, Kelpie of Falmouth and Marigan. Lionheart opened the regatta on the Friday with HM Juan Carlos onboard, enjoying a spirited sail alongside Bouewe Bekking with whom he steered Bribon to success over many years.


Breezes proved unseasonably challenging. The weather has been very unsettled for this time of year in The Balearics and the usually reliable sea breezes did not kick in like clockwork.

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Nonetheless Lionheart with Bouwe Bekking calling tactics won every race in the Maxi Class. Moonbeam IV won the Classic Class and Sonata won the Vintage class.


Gaastra PalmaVela is certainly growing in attendance, enthusiasm and international participation.







Carrer Sa Cala 16, 07179 Deia, Mallorca.

Tel 971 639 137


Recently made famous by the British hit TV series filmed in Mallorca, “The Night Manager”. Access by sea, this picturesque rustic restaurant is right on the tiny beach in Deia. Enjoy long lazy lunches of simply served fresh fish, rodaballo and red mullet, lobster, clams, pulpo. Lunch time only but open for dinner during summer months. Heaven.


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Les Voiles d’Antibes 1- 5 June

Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, Sardinia 7-11 June

The Superyacht Cup 22-25 June


A Global Regatta Calendar for Vintage, Classic and Modern Classic yachts is available to download at






Take inspiration from French sisters and design duo Alexandra and Olivia of luxury swimwear brand LISON and ensure that the children are stylish on board and in the Mediterranean Yacht Clubs as their chic French friends. Divine frilly floral swimwear which will take you straight to Le Concours D’Elegance.


Women’s line now available.










Looking for a classic yacht?


Launched in August 2013, 27.43m Arkin Pruva built Tempus Fugit has proved to be every bit the fast ocean cruiser Rob Humphrey and her owner conceived. Her truly stunning modern classic lines never fail to impress.


Tempus Fugit sleeps six/seven guests in three double cabins. The master cabin aft is particularly generous and offers the owner complete privacy by way of a dedicated entrance from the aft cockpit.


As well as the saloon and dining area below deck, the yacht’ centre cockpit is ideal for “al fresco” lunches under the shade of the bimini. Her cold moulded varnished hull makes for a striking feature as she shines from stem to stern.


Race ready she will be participating at The Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta in Sardinia in June.






Sign-Up now to access my free Global Regatta Calendar for Vintage, Classic and Modern Classic Yachts and to receive The Regatta Bulletin: news, views, images and highlights from my journey around The Mediterranean.


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