Alice C I’ A Widdows is a Regatta Manager on the international superyacht 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.


hereshoff-schooner-eleonoraAntigua, Austria or Americas Cup? BVI’s, Baqueira or Bermuda? Can we really have it all this winter? Will you be seeking winter sun or snow and how does one possibly choose?

As we cruise into a New Year classic yacht owners are clearly divided. Several of the large schooners are treating this as an opportunity to cross the Atlantic to be in Bermuda in time for The America’s Cup. There are several regattas that will be held especially for these events: The Antigua – Bermuda feeder race starting on 12th May, The America’s Cup Superyacht Regatta in June and some much anticipated high octane J-Class racing. The fleet in Bermuda is set to include the all-new J-Class Svea by Vitters, along with Ranger, Velsheda and Lionheart. Modern classics registered in The America’s Cup Superyacht Regatta are Adela, Meteor, Bequia, Rebecca and Wild Horses. It will be a phenomenal feast of wood and varnish to contrast the carbon engineered catamarans racing for the Auld Mug.

This increasing presence over the other side of the pond will result in a higher than usual participation of large classic yachts in Newport next summer including the 49.50M Herreshoff Schooner Eleonora, now actively for sale through Baum & Konig. Built as the replica to Westward in 2000, she is priced at €7.9m and is for sale following a major refit. Exciting plans are in the making with founding members and yacht owners of The Classic Yacht Owners Association working behind the scenes to build interest in spending a season with like-minded friends in the States for The East Coast Classic Yacht Circuit 2017.

Back in Europe there are a mainstay of classic yachts and owners committed to some serious winter work fine tuning rigs, sails and structures in the hope of an increasingly competitive regatta season. The shipyards in The Mediterranean are a hive of activity as following a hard summer racing some much needed repair and restoration is called for. Cocooned under wraps for the long cool months these vintage vessels will emerge in the spring like butterflies from a chrysalis. They will grace the waters of the Cote d’Azur, Italy and Spain for The Panerai Classic Yacht Challenge next summer.

For sailors seeking pure powder there is Gstaad Yacht Club Ski Yachting 3rd – 5th March 2017 which is held in the world famous mountain resort. Teams representing yacht clubs and sailing teams from all over the world participate in this long weekend event. Past winners include the Royal Yacht Squadron, Société de Genève, Bayerischer Yacht Club and Yacht Club de Monaco.

The by invitation only event, which consist of giant slalom Friday night ski races, followed by match racing with remote control carbon fiber yachts in Gstaad’s semi-Olympic indoor pool, powered by state-of-the-art wind machines on Saturday, welcomes up to 22 teams from all over the world. With her successful win in St Tropez recently at The GYC Centenary Trophy, owners and crew of NY50 Spartan have been invited to form a team to challenge for more silverware.

wild-horses-the-loro-piana-superyacht-regatta-2016-c-mar-javiertoThe Superyacht Design Symposium in Kitzbühel the 5-7 February is another destination for yacht owners seeking to combine their love of yacht design with a passion for skiing. This event, organized by Boat International Media has a rostrum of high profile speakers from the yachting industry for the 2017 event including Luca Bassani of Wally Yacht Design, Adam Lay and Johnny Horsfield.

For the more adventurous Ski To The Sea is a 5 day expedition in Iceland in April. Want some real adventure then join this trip to explore the peaks, valleys and fjords of the Hidden Land. With no roads or way of access in the winter and spring seasons, the sea remains the only way to visit the unspoilt area, offering peaks that rise over 1000 meters and plentiful snowfall. Each day the schooner anchors in a different small bay or cove along the along the north shore of this spectacular mountain range. Days are occupied with skiing fresh tracks tracked by the ever-changing shadow as the arctic sun makes its round in the sky. Evenings onboard are warm and convivial as the Captain and Crew cook for guests. Take yourself off piste and offline.






One of my key purposes in life as a Regatta Manager is to facilitate, support and encourage the participation of new yacht owners in regattas and events worldwide. I frequently introduce owners to the intoxicating world of yacht racing and I find it to be the most thrilling part of my job when an owner is inspired to try something new with their yacht. Confidence grows and what starts as a toe in the water can become a newfound lease of life for both the yacht and owner alike.

Recognizing the need to support owners, the SuperYacht Racing Association (SYRA) membership has developed a new initiative: the Corinthian Spirit Class. A primary goal is to grow participation, providing yacht owners not currently involved with an alternative to what is viewed as increasingly competitive and resource intensive racing.

The new Corinthian Spirit Class is meant to be different with an emphasis on close, fun racing with shorter less challenging races, fewer regatta expenses, streamlined access to a superyacht handicap, and minimal impact on the yacht captain’s resources in the lead up to regattas. This new class is intended to attract both yacht owners who have participated in the past and those who have yet to compete, addressing concerns about all that is required to get their yachts ‘race ready’. An ‘Owner-Driver’ credit will be applied to the yacht’s handicap encouraging the owners to take the helm themselves. This is a trend that has been slowly overshadowed amongst the more competitive members of the superyacht racing fraternity by the indomitable rise of the Rock Star sailors, fresh faced and eager from the fallout of the AC scene.


Class Features

Features that distinguish the Corinthian Spirit Class from conventional superyacht racing include:
• Modified eligibility criteria – no spinnakers and only jibs on furlers or hanks;
• Reduced regatta expenses – with no spinnakers, the need to augment permanent crew is minimized and the handicapping philosophy eliminates the need to optimize one’s yacht for racing.

Handicapping Philosophy – Fun Racing

An important initiative goal is to keep the racing fun and close without owners having to optimise yachts:

  • Simplify the handicapping process – simplified application and reduced fee with ORC and the SYRA 
available to assist the captain as needed;
  • Special Corinthian Spirit handicap certificate (ORCcs) – a one-number handicap that incorporates a 
subjective pre-regatta assessment on the preparation / optimization of the yacht to race (e.g. age of sails, 
condition of bottom, etc.);
  • A handicapping philosophy that will provide close racing with all well sailed entrants capable of a 
podium finish regardless of pre-regatta expenditures and preparation;
  • Handicap adjustments on site to be made by a panel consisting of ORC and SYRA members (not the 
Regatta Organizer);
  • Handicap adjustments may be applied between races based on observed speed and yacht maneuvering 
  • The goal is to provide an enjoyable experience for all yacht owners in class while rewarding those yachts 
that are well sailed.

Safe Racing

yccs-marina-at-night-during-the-loro-piana-caribbean-superyacht-regatta-rendezvousSafe racing has been and will continue to be a top priority of Organizers and the SYRA. There will be no compromise to safe racing with the Corinthian Spirit class.

  • The standard Racing Rules Appendix SY will be invoked (40 metre minimum separation, single file 
starts, VHF safety channel, etc.);
  • As with all superyacht racing, an ‘RRS-Safety Afterguard Member’ will be required. The SYRA will 
assist the entrant in finding an experienced individual;
  • On site briefings will be conducted by experienced captains and afterguard members regarding onboard 
safety and lessons learned.

This Caribbean season will be the first opportunity to participate in this new class at both The Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous and The St Barth’s Bucket. The America’s Cup Superyacht Regatta in Bermuda will also include the Corinthian Class since there are a few large classic schooners that are looking to participate. The Superyacht Cup and The Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, famously competitive events will offer this alternative access to superyacht racing for the first time in the Mediterranean. We watch this space with interest.



Beware – 2017 dates for Les Voiles de St Tropez have been moved, check out the season and Sign-Up now to access my FREE International Regatta Calendar 2017-2018 for Vintage, Classic and Modern Classic Yachts and to receive The Regatta Bulletin: news, views, images and highlights from my journey around the world.


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