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Régates Royales 2015 highlights

Régates Royales 2015 highlights

Regates Royales 2015The 37th Régates Royales opened in Cannes on 22nd September - 5 days of beautiful classic & vintage yachts racing in the stupendous setting of the Bay of Cannes, top names of the sailing world renewing camaraderie on shore in the Vieux Port and razor-edged competition on the water, huge crowds on the beach and along Quai Leboeuf - an event that can lay a just claim to be the most colorful and elegant in the rich Cannes calendar.

It is the final stop on the annual PANERAI CLASSIC YACHT CHALLENGE CIRCUIT starting in Antigua in April and calling in at seven renowned sailing harbors across Europe and the USA: Cowes, Nantucket,  Marblehead... before reaching Cannes.


Seventy-nine  Classic & Vintage yachts competing in 7 classes:





The 38-boat Dragon Class with virtually all the grand champions, including Russia's Anatoly Loganov, Finland's Christian Borenius, Michael Schmidt from Germany, Marc Bouet heading up the 10-strong "French Armada"...


10 centagenarians, among them Marigold (1892), eventual winner of the Gaffer class and Moonbeam IV (1914), acquired in 1950 by Prince Rainier and used for his honeymoon with Grace Kelly), overall winner of the 15MI Class just ahead of Moonbeam Of Fife, her elder sister by 11 years.


Helisara, a boat once owned by orchestral maestro Herbert von Karajan.


Legendary America's Cup challengers, the Australian 12 MI, Kookaburra III and the Italian AC Class III, Moro di Venezia.


A "Marseille Sandbagger", a class built around Marseille from 1850 to 1890, represented by Houan, commissioned in 2012 as an exact replica of Alcyon (1871).
The boat carries 150 sq m of sail area, boasts a 10m boom, 500kg of moving ballast, 700kg of    fixed ballast... at home in 30-knot winds. Guy Maupassant, the renowned French novelist was a proud owner of a Sandbagger called Zingar.



The weather showed its ability to surprise.



For Opening Day, a 15-20 knot south-westerly was blowing with a tricky chop, contributing to a spectacular accident on the starting line for the first race.


Mariska (15MI) tangled with Elena (schooner built in 1910 and the biggest boat in the fleet). The worst was narrowly avoided when the former broke free from the latter's huge bowsprit. Back to Vieux Port for full check-ups!



A westerly Mistral gusting to 35 knots forced the committee to abandon racing for the Second Day.


Day 3 presented fresh 20-knot-and-rising winds with a healthy chop - one of the Gaffers broke her mast. Moonbeam IV squeezed out Elena to record a second win.


Flat seas, blue skies and a 15-knot breeze greeted the fleet on Day 4, the last day of racing for the Dragons - Michael Schmidt clinched the overall gold. Meanwhile, the classics had a long double along the coast across the Bay to Golfe Juan.


Saturday, the final day, saw a light easterly blowing at 4 - 8 knots. Hard work for the crews in conditions requiring the winner to minimize tacks & gibes. Mariska took the honors on the day, but it was not enough to edge out Moonbeam IV overall.





A sailing world's farewell to the legendary Florence Arthaud.



Day 3 was a very special day.


At the age of 19, after two years of rehabilitation following a serious car accident, Florence embarked on a glittering career with the world's oceans as playground.


11th in the first Route de Rhum in 1978, 2nd in 1982 and winner of her 4th "Rhum" in 1990, she became a huge popular idol. Her sailing record was magnificent, as was her work as an outspoken supporter of the women's movement.


Tributes took place in presence of Princes Henrik of Denmark and Albert of Monaco, the former counting among his forebears King Christian X of Denmark who first launched the Régates Royales in 1929.


As Coeur Valant, Philippe Monnet's 8MI, docked out under mainsail only, amid a tumult of horns, bells and sirens, massed sailors on the bows of their boats and spectators on the quayside said an emotional goodbye to Florence.


Yes, it was a great 5 days!

If you missed it, make sure of a sea-front view in 2016!