Mariska (Big Boats), Cippino II (Vintage Yachts) and Il Moro di Venezia I (Classic Yachts) emerged as winners of the season trophies for the 14th Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge Mediterranean Circuit at the end of the 40th Régates Royales de Cannes on September 29. After rounds held at Antibes (France), Porto Santo Stefano and Imperia (Italy), their names have now been added to the roll of honour of the leading international classic and vintage sailing circuit sponsored since 2005 by the Florentine luxury sports watch maker.
Around 90 yachts took part in the Cote d’Azur regatta. Strong winds on the first two days meant that just three of the five scheduled races went ahead in consistently warm, sunny weather with winds varying between 5 and 15 knots. The presence at Cannes of a fleet of over 50 Dragons and other one-design classes, including International 5.5 Metre Classes, Tofinous and Broad One Designs, helped boost the number of boats present on the various race courses to just under 200 with over 1,500 crew manning them. Mariska, a 23.4-metre gaff cutter launched in 1908 by the legendary Fife Shipyards of Scotland to a design by William Fife III, took her very first season trophy in the Big Boats category after battling it out with the hugely successful likes of Cambria (1928), Hallowe’en (1926) and the Moonbeam of Fife (1903) and Moonbeam IV (1914) duo.
It was also Cippino II’s first season victory in the Vintage Yachts category. In the course of 2018, in addition to clocking up a string of podiums in various classic regattas, the 15.08-metre sloop launched by Gomez & Gutierrez of Argentina to a German Frers design in 1949, took part in all the Mediterranean rounds of the Panerai Circuit. In doing so she raced against the likes of the ex-Manitou (1937), once sailed by President J.F. Kennedy, Humphrey Bogart’s beloved Santana (1935), Argyll (1948), Serenade, which belonged to Jacques Cousteau, and Blitzen (1938), the latter making welcome return to competition at Cannes with Duran Duran front man Simon Le Bon aboard.Il Moro di Venezia I, the historic 20.41-metre Italian yacht also designed by German Frers, took the Panerai Trophy in the Classic Yachts category for the third time having previously won it in 2013 and 2015. Built from wood laminate in 1976 by the Carlini shipyard in Rimini as the first example of the Italian IOR Maxi Yacht class, Il Moro di Venezia I competed in all the 2018 regattas, with a non-professional crew of around 20 taking turns aboard.
Les Régates Royales de Cannes also brought the presentation of four prestige Panerai watches to the winners of the main groupings for that particular round. The Big Boats category was topped by the 25-metre gaff cutter Moonbeam of Fife (1903), with Kelpie, a Solent 38 One Design launched the same year doing likewise in the Vintage category. The Classic Yachts winner was the 1964 Bermudan sloop Argos. Victory in the Spirit of Tradition went to the IOR design boat Vanessa owned by Patrizio Bertelli and launched in 1974. The next international event sponsored by Panerai will be the 2019 Panerai Transat Classique, the transatlantic race for classic and vintage sailing yachts which starts on January 8 2019 from the Canary Island of Lanzarote and finishes 3,000 nautical miles later on the Caribbean isle of Saint Kitts.