I CANNES if I want to!


Régates Royales Cannes Panerai Trophée 17 -25th September


Regates Royales 

A week in Cannes this summer was the perfect antidote to autumn not only for my owners and crew but also for their wives and partners who we invited along for the social life and culture during this last week in September.


And what a great sunny city Cannes proved to be for my visiting American and Northern European ladies. By day whilst the men raced the ladies took day trips to the surrounding islands for long Mediterranean lunches, trains to nearby Monaco, enjoyed the local culture at St Paul de Vence and lazed on the golden sands on the beaches surrounding the city. By night we enjoyed convivial crew dinners in the HQ apartment and local restaurants as well as enjoying nights on the tiles at high octane club, Bâoli in Port Canto and some impromptu live piano performances at wine and music bar Salsamenteria di Parmi where red wine and rhythm flowed.


Meanwhile on the race course after a week of contrasting weather conditions there was no wind for the last day of the 38th Régates Royales Cannes, the bay of La Napoule looked almost totally flat, except for the occasional puff of breeze. Nearly 2000 sailors and organizers waited in vain for more than two hours for a decent wind to materialize but finally had to retire. Nothing, just an ephemeral, occasional puff, anything but a breeze strong enough to start a race. The high-pressure system hovering on the Cote d’Azur created an area of no wind in the Bay of Cannes, leaving the crews and the organizers empty handed on the last racing day and they returned to the dock, for rose, oysters and cold beers. Some crews were hoping to race to get the necessary points to be crowned winners of the closing event of the 2016 Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, but they had to do with what they already earned in four races.

Regates Royales

The week-long series ended after four races, almost all raced in southerly breezes varying from light (8 knots) to medium (15 knots). Only Moonbeam IV in the Big Boat division and Freya of Midgard in the Spirit of Tradition class come out on top with a clear score: four wins out of four races. In the other classes, victory was more contested, as happened to British businessman Phil Plumtree’s Arrow that only had one point advantage on Carron II in the Vintage Marconi Arcadia beat British-flagged Ganbare in the Classics division by just one point.


In other classes victory was less contested, with teams missing one or two wins but still getting on the highest step of the podium. Among the twelve metres Sovereign beat France, Italian-flagged Linnet won in the Vintage Gaffers in front of USA’s Spartan; Enterprise got the better of Leonore in the Vintage Marconi Pitch got gold and Team 42 silver.

Regates Royales

There was a huge amount of racing pedigree represented on the start line in Cannes. William Fife III was the naval architect with the highest number of boats racing followed by the “Wizard of Bristol” Nathanaël Herreshoff and Briton Charles Nicholson. These three designers, who were active at the beginning of last century, before the International Rule was adopted (1907), worked exceptionally hard to find the best possible hull shapes, used new materials (metal ribs, hollow masts etc.) to make hulls stiffer and sails more durable.


The Fife dynasty reached its peak with William Jr’s work from 1888 to the Second World War . His designs at this year’s Régates Royales include the 23 Metre Cambria (1928), the 8 Metres Eva (1906) and Carron II (1935), Eilean (1937), the Marconi cutter Hallowe’en (1926), Moonbeam of Fife (1903) and Moonbeam IV (1914), Nan (1896) that inspired Pen Duick, the ketch Sumurun (1914) and the gaff cutter Viola (1908)…

Regates Royales

Nathanaël Herreshoff began his career designing boats to compete in the early editions of the America’s Cup: Vigilant (1893), Defender (1895), Columbia (1899 and 1901), Resolute (1920). The American designer is represented in Cannes by the replica of a gaff schooner dated 1911: Elena, the longest yacht racing at the Régates Royales with her 60 metres of overall length. Herreshoff also designed the New York Yacht Club 50 one design Spartan (1913), the NY40 footers Chinook and Rowdy (1916), the NY30 footers Linnet and Oriole (1905) that show, to this day, his ability to design fast and modern hull lines.


British owned Kelpie (1903) was the only Mylne design in Cannes this year.

It was in the 1940s that a new design concept started to develop thanks to the contribution from New York based office of Sparkman & Stephens. Entreprise, Manitou, Skylark are all from 1937 and all were racing in Cannes, Manitou causing quite a distraction with the amount of lively pretty blonds onboard. Later in the century other designers came into the international yachting spotlight with the IOR rule: Britton Chance, Dick Carter, André Mauric, Doug Peterson, German Frers, Olin Stephens, Ron Holland…

Regates Royales

Different hulls, sail plans, deck layouts… the early 19th century was a real melting pot of brilliant ideas and innovative technologies that the Régates Royales gave us the perfect platform to enjoy and appreciate up close at one of the largest gatherings of Dragons, 12Metres, 5.50Metres and classic yachts in the world.


Overall Results – Régates Royales de Cannes


Big Boats (9 boats)
1- Moonbeam IV (Mikael Créac’h) 3 points
2- Hallowe’en (Mick Cotter) 6 points
3- Moonbeam of Fife (Erwan Noblet) 9 points

12 Metre (3 boats)
1- Sovereign (Michel Nicolas) 5 points
2- France (Thierry Verneuil) 9 points
3- Chancegger (José de la Vega) 15 points


Vintage gaffers (16 boats)
1- Linnet (Patrizio Bertelli) 4 points
2- Spartan (Justin Burman) 7 points
3- Chinook (Jonathan Greenwood) 14 points

Regates Royales

Classics (16 boats)
1- Arcadia (Bruno Ricciardi) 5 points
2- Ganbare (Don Wood) 6 points
3- Maria Giovanna II (Jean-Pierre Sauvan) 13 points


Vintage Marconi >15m (16 boats)
1- Enterprise (Goran Rutgersson) 4 points
2- Leonore (Mauro Piani) 8 pts
3- Skylark of 1937 (Tony Morse) 11 pts


Vintage Marconi 
1- Arrow (Phil Plumtree) 4 points
2- Carron II (Angelo Mazzarella) 7 points
3- Jalina (Carlo-Luciano Frattimi) 8 points


Spirit of Tradition (5 boats)
1- Freya of Midgard (Philippe Fabre) 3 points
2- Fairlie (Thomas Fisher) 7 points
3- Tabasco 5 (Karl Lion) 9 points


Tofinou (6 boats)
1- Pitch (Patrice Riboud) 3 points
2- Team 42 (Bernard Giroux) 5 points
3- Pippa (E. Fort) 7 points

Regates Royales

Dragons (50 boats)
1- Anatoly Loginov – RUS (Annapurna) 55 points
2-Jonathan Brown – GBR (Storm) 70 points
3- Javier Scherk – ESP (Gunter) 74 points
4- Nicola Friesen – GER (Smaug) 83 points
5- Stéphane Baseden – FRA (Outlaw) 87 points


5.5 Metre (18 boats)
1- Arend Jan Pasman – NED (Feng Shui) 12 points
2- Hannes Waimer – GER (Atari) 17 points
3- Max Muller – GER (Prettynama) 21 points


The overall season winner of The Panerai Classic Yacht Challenge 2016 was NY40 Chinook Skippered by Jonathan Greenwood.


Review of Les Voiles de St Tropez in the December issue and preview of the Caribbean season.



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Alice C I’ A Widdows is a Regatta Manager on the classic yacht circuit providing yacht management, logistics and shore support on the classic yacht regatta circuit.  A keen yachtswomen and self – confessed island hopping addict, preferably by boat. Meet our Classic Yachting Columnist. www.alicewiddows.com


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