Whether in the harbour, ashore or at sea, the 80 boats expected for the 10th Monaco Classic Week-La Belle Classe on 14 to 18 September are living proof that the maritime heritage is alive and well, and bears testimony to the Principality’s commitment to the values surrounding it. This year the Yacht Club de Monaco, a virtuoso when it comes to regattas and parties, has attracted an exceptional group of sailing yachts, vintage motoryachts and steam yachts with, for the first time, a fleet of Chris Craft heritage-inspired motorboats alongside the traditional Rivas.
1994 Was the year when Monaco’s harbour hosted the inaugural motorboat meeting and another “landmark date in the history of yachting” when the Yacht Club de Monaco launched the Monaco Classic Week. This event commemorated the centenary of the first motorboat meeting and paid tribute to HSH Prince Albert II, then heir to the Monegasque throne, and his ten years as President of the Yacht Club. Its aim was also to demonstrate Monaco’s unwavering attachment to the sea. Unique of its kind, even then Monaco Classic Week had one over-riding objective: to unite the survivors of a golden age of yachting, large and small leisure crafts alike: motorboats, vintage steam yachts, motoryachts, and classic sailing yachts for at least a week in one harbour.
In total 80 vessels will be attending; a melange of motorboats, motoryachts and sailing boats, including newcomers from Chris Craft and Hacker Boats. Following the previous edition which celebrated one hundred years of the YCM’s flagship, Tuiga, this year will welcome around 50 of the world’s most prestigious boats to the Principality, this time to celebrate the centenary of the magnificent 38m gaff cutter Mariquita (1911).
This year Hispania (1908) will be sailing in Monaco for the first time. Having recently undergone a restoration, this 15 M IR which belonged to King Alphonse XIII of Spain is the sister-ship to Tuiga and recalls how crowned heads used to regularly compete in Monaco and on the Riviera in the golden age of yachting. Having been separated for nearly a century, the surviving four 15 M IR boats still sailing, out of a series of 19 designed by the superb draughtsman William Fife, will be here in Monaco for what promises to be an incredible reunion.
The regularity and manoeuvrability trials as well as the other events will be very similar to those held in 1904; the crew who most elegantly apply and respect the codes of naval etiquette will be judged by a panel including princesses and artists; and the chefs competition will underline the importance of living and eating well on board.
The races which will be timed and winners awarded timepieces by the famous watchmaker Hublot will see gaff cutters, sloops, ketches, yawls and schooners compete off the coast of Monaco. A spectacle is guaranteed as, for the first time, the Race Committee plans to alternate the starts according to rig type, not rating.
With all these activities there will be little respite for the owners, skippers, captains and crews, although it is obvious they come here to enjoy themselves and in doing so offer everyone a unique spectacle. Other highlights include the prestigious “La Belle Classe” evening and the “Nuit du Yachting” hosted at the Oceanographic Museum when the coveted “Personnalité de la Mer” prize is awarded.
A week of both tradition and yachting lifestyle, whilst strolling along the quay on the south side of Port Hercule you will step back in time, and marvel at the achievements of a bygone era which, through the patronage of a select few, have been given a new lease of life. At the foot of their passerelles will be around 15 vintage cars from the first Classic Lancia Torino to Monaco, a nod to this year’s centenary celebrations of the Monte-Carlo Rally.
Yacht Club Monaco