With only four weeks to go before the 18th edition of Argentario Sailing Week kicks off and with over 40 Grandes Dames already registered, Porto Santo Stefano is ready to host the international Classic Yacht regatta.
The event is organized by the Yacht Club Santo Stefano in partnership with the Florentine haute horologerie brand Officine Panerai. In 2017, yachts will be racing for one day more than compared to past editions, for a total of four days. A novelty that will allow crews to enjoy the hospitality of the Argentario and Porto Santo Stefano to the fullest and offer sailing enthusiasts the opportunity of retracing 115 years of sailing history while strolling down the docks.
The Majestic Beauties will be racing on marks with the islands of Giglio, Giannutri, Montecristo and Elba providing a stunning backdrop from 14 to 18 June in what constitutes the second leg of the Mediterranean Circuit of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge.
The Grandes Dames of the Sea
Cambria (1928) and Moonbeam of Fife (1903) return to Argentario’s waters in the Big Boats class to face off against Hallowe’en (1926) and secure the first prize in their category. William Fife III (1857-1944), the Scottish designer whose name is indissolubly linked to the Dragon (1888) and to the America’s Cup, designed all three yachts. William Fife III designed and built the first Shamrock (1899) and the third one in 1903 for Sir Thomas Lipton. Currently, about 100 yachts designed by Fife still exist of which fifty are still sailing, including Eilean (1937) owned by Officine Panerai, the set of Duran Duran’s ‘Rio’ music video.
With one month to the start of the regatta, sixteen boats have registered in the Vintage class, four of whom were designed by young and brilliant US naval designer Nathanael Greene Herreshoff I (1848-1938). As in the past editions, Rowdy (1916) will be battling it out on the race course with her sister Chinook, the latter with Italian Rugby star and sailing enthusiast Andrea Lo Cicero once again crewing on board. Also on the starting line and by the same designer, Linnet (1905) – the tenth of 18 yachts of the New York Yacht Club 30 class owned by Patrizio Bertelli and, making her debut at Argentario Sailing Week, , Herreshoff’s Spartan (1913), the last remaining specimen of the New York Yacht Club 50 Class.
Lovers of Sea and Beauty will also be able to admire Alzavola (1924), White Wings the beautiful yacht designed by John Alden in 1938, Morwenna (1914) who took part in the 1932 Fastnet but was forced to retire, and Circe designed by Sparkman and Stephens and 1951 Fastnet winner.
So far, four yachts in the Classic Yachts category are making their debut at the 18th edition of Argentario Sailing Week. One-Tonner Ganbare, which in Japanese means courage and strength, was designed by a very young Doug Peterson, built in the record time of six weeks and launched on 19 May 1973; Forban V (1955) designed by the French naval architect Eugene Cornu; Famalù (1957) designed by Laurent Giles and St. Christopher, designed by a young German Frers when he was an apprentice at the Sparkman and Stephens studio in New York.
Other boats that have made the history of sailing and are racing in this class include Naif captained by Ivan Gardini and Il Moro di Venezia I owned by Massimiliano Ferruzzi The sloop Naif was commissioned by Raul Gardini, designed by Dick Carter and took part in the 1973 Admiral’s Cup and Fastnet with Cino Ricci at the helm. Il Moro di Venezia I was commissioned by Serafino Ferruzzi and Raul Gardini and designed by German Frers in 1976. She is the first yacht to bear on her stern the name of one of the sailboat dynasties and of the America’s Cup.
Spirit of Tradition
The fleet of Wiannos designed by Manley Crosby in 1914 will be well represented at Argentario Sailing Week with four boats: Pyxis, Raindrop, Wianno and Wind & Wine. Making their debut in Porto Santo Stefano, Savannah designed by Pedrick and launched in 1997 but inspired by 1930s yachts and Fairlie (2011).
As in past editions, the Argentario Sailing Week – Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge will be divided into five categories: Classic Yachts, Vintage Yachts, Big Boats, Spirit of Tradition, Metric classes and one-design. The Overall winners of the Regatta in the Classic, Vintage, Big Boat and Spirit of Tradition classes shall receive an Officine Panerai timepiece.
by Tessa Wiechmann