First held in 1994, Monaco Classic Week took shape from an idea of the Yacht Club de Monaco to mark the first motor-boat meetings of 1904 to celebrate ten years at the helm of Club President Prince Albert II. From the outset, this biennial event has made its mark as a major and unique occasion: nowhere else do we see those symbols of a certain art de vivre that yesteryear’s motor-yachts represent, alongside motor-boats whose steam-powered whistles resound around the port in concert with the back-firing of super-charged runabouts – all amidst a serene fleet of classic yachts led by the Club’s flagship Tuiga. This being the YCM’s 60th anniversary, it is only fitting that the public should be invited to discover new aspects of yachting as they stroll along the quays, enjoying the ambiance of those early 20th century meetings.
One of the big attractions of Monaco Classic Week is that the harbour does not empty with the departure of the classic yachts each day. Quite the opposite, as the manoeuvrability challenges for the motor-boats get underway, and the Dinghy 12’s tack back and forth showing off their amazing agility. Meanwhile nearer shore, chefs will be busy in galleys resembling Michelin-star restaurants as Alain Ducasse briefs his jury of chefs including Christian Garcia (Prince’s Palace), Pascal Tingaud, (Maison Moët & Chandon) and Sébastien Ossetti (Yacht Club de Monaco) for their competition. Monaco Classic Week is a festival at sea and ashore that stretches all along Quai Antoine 1er. For the Marlborough Gallery is hosting a Titouan Lamazou exhibition from 10 to 28 September, while the Hôtel des Ventes de Monte-Carlo is organising an auction of old boats, paintings and nautical objects.
France’s last surviving three-mast merchant ship never fails to attract visitors. Young or old, who does not dream of mounting the gangway into the great black and white hull of this magnificent vessel to embark on a long voyage?
Steel hull and masts, 48m waterline and 8.8m beam, Belem was launched in June 1896 and was awarded historic monument status in 1984. A jewel in the French maritime heritage crown, she became a training ship which is now part of the landscape at historic gatherings, armadas and other prestigious events. She will be open to the public on Thursday 12, Friday 13 and Saturday 14 from 10.00am to 6:00pm (last boarding at 5.30pm).
In 2011, Monaco hit yachting headlines when it united the last four surviving 15M IR yachts out of the 20 built between 1907 and 1917, for the first time since 1913, year of their last confrontation! HM Juan Carlos, King of Spain, had wanted to make the trip in person for this historic reunion. Tuiga (1909), Mariska (1908), Hispania (1909) and The Lady Anne (1912) founded the ‘15 Meter Class Association’, surely the world’s most elite club with just four members who enjoy a common training programme, races run in real time without the constraints of a rating, and their own course.
After Monaco, the four gaff cutters will be competing at the Portofino Rolex Trophy, final stage of the ‘15 Meter Class Association Annual Trophy`, the modern incarnation of the 1884 Royal Clyde Yacht Club Trophy. This year there are four stages: the Copa del Rey Vela Clasica Menorca (28-31 August), MP2013 (Marseille-Provence, European Capital of Culture (4-7 Sept), Monaco Classic Week (11-15 Sept) and the Portofino Rolex Trophy (19-21 Sept).
For Monaco Classic Week, Dick van Lent, CEO of Royal van Lent, the Dutch shipyard specialised in the design and build of prestige custom-yachts under the Feadship brand, will officially launch the Feadship Heritage Fleet. The goal is to promote the unrivalled maritime heritage of a shipyard that goes back to 1877, when the Akerboom family bought a small boat building and repair yard on the Dutch coast. Today Feadship is a cooperative of the family business Koninklijke De Vries Scheepsbouw and Royal Van Lent, which has belonged to luxury group LVMH since 2008. Four of their flagship yachts will be taking part in Monaco Classic Week: Santa Maria (1963, 32.9m), Serena (1965, 22.5m), Sultana (1969, 25.8m) and Heavenly Daze (32.6m), launched in 1972 as Aldebarran, which will be the committee boat. “We are not owners, but custodians of these masterpieces”
Classic yacht owners, united under the label La Belle Classe Tradition, a YCM initiative, and who have signed a charter, often say they are not their yacht’s owner but a custodian, as for any work of art. Except that instead of hanging the masterpiece on a wall, they demand more of it: they sail, live aboard and especially in the case of sailing yachts they still want to win races! Here again, the Yacht Club fulfils its mission according to its statutes as a “union of people who love the sea” and perpetuate the spirit of yachting.
For a photo gallery of the Classic Week, make sure to have a look at the new iPad magazine Superyacht Experience!
Yacht Club Monaco
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