Starting from Lanzarote in the Canary Islands on January 8, 2019 and finishing 3,000 nautical miles later in Christophe Harbour on the Caribbean isle of Saint Kitts.
A race that will deliver between two and four weeks of non-stop Trade Wind-powered sailing to the 15 or so yachts of between 10 and 50 metres entered and their 150-plus crew.
The fourth edition of the Panerai Transat Classique promises yet another gloriously exhilarating dash across the Atlantic for the classic and vintage sailing fleet. It is, in fact, the most extreme and heroic challenge of its kind for these lovely craft whose crews will have only their own skill and courage and the solidity of wood, to count on as they attempt to emulate the great sailors of the past. But the race is much more than just a competition between rivals – it will pit both men and boats against the power of nature herself.
Once again lending its name to the event is the Florentine luxury sports watch brand which has also been main sponsor of the world-leading Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge since 2005. The Transat Classique is organised by the Atlantic Yacht Club in partnership with Comet Organization.
At the start line will be Eilean, the 22-metre wooden ketch built by the legendary William Fife Shipyard in Scotland in 1936 and meticulously restored by Panerai to honour its deep and abiding connection with the sea. After her voyage of 2012, this will be Eilean’s second Atlantic crossing in recent times and joins the 30-plus she completed earlier in her long career. After the race, Eilean will spend some time in the Caribbean where she will be available for visits by appointment to showcase both the stunning work carried out by the shipwrights aboard this marvellous example of maritime craftsmanship, and to provide a unique glimpse into the Panerai universe.
Also sailing under the Italian flag but defending the colours of the Yacht Club Rimini will be Paolo Zangheri’s Coch Y Bondhu, a 15-metre ketch built in England in 1936. Other entrants include the 1963 14.8-metre Bermudan yawl Stiren designed by the legendary Olin Stephens, winner of the first edition of the race in 2008. The elegant 18 -metre Bermudan cutter Khayyam, launched in Holland in 1939 and now classed as a Boat of Historic Value, is another Stephens design taking part. Making her sixth Atlantic crossing will be Hilaria, the 1966 aluminium Bermudan yawl fielded by French owner Philippe Thurneyssen. The 1992 20-metre schooner Séverine (ex Petite Lande) and the 11-metre sloops Aramis (1964), Bryell (1968) and St. Christopher (1968) will also be lining out. They will be flanked at the start by two craft built by Sangermani of Liguria, the 12-metre Glenn Mael (1973) and the 16-metre Lys (1956), the latter owned by well-known French yachtsman Philippe Monnet.
The largest vessel in the fleet is the 50-metre three-masted schooner Xarifa. She was built from riveted steel on the Isle of Wight in 1927 for the scion of the Singer sewing machine dynasty and has also appeared in a Bond film.
Find out more at www.paneraitransatclassique.com
by Marie Huth