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Régates Royales - Trophée Panerai : From all over the world

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Régates Royales - Trophée Panerai : From all over the world
Régates Royales - Trophée Panerai : From all over the world

Strong wind and a big swell have halted once more racing at the 40th edition of the Régates Royales – Trophée Panerai. The 200 crews were forced to stay ashore, waiting for the weather to improve. A great opportunity to meet the sailors and get to know the stories of the men and women and of the stunning boats that make the regatta so special.
Over 40 years the regatta that started with only five 8 m I.R. racing in the Bay of Cannes, has become one of the top rendez-vous worldwide for classic yachts thanks to the passion of a group of local sailors.

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They come from Brazil, Australia, the USA, from Russia and almost everywhere in Europe to race on some of the most handsome classic boats. “They" means sailors from all over the world and from the most varied classes and experiences, from offshore to solo sailing, from Olympic to match-racing and the America’s Cup. The crème de la crème of international sailing from more than 20 countries, is reunited in Cannes this week.

Torben Grael, Abby Ehler, Simon Le Bon and many more…

Brazilian Torben Grael, with his five Olympic medals, two participation and one victory in the Volvo Ocean Race and three America’s Cups, plus an incredible number of world titles this year comes back to Cannes to helm Vanessa. The 1974 design by Italian Giulio Cesare Carcano has been restored under the careful eye of her owner Patrizio Bertelli, fashion brand Prada’s CEO, avid sailor and classic yachting enthusiast. Vanessa and her crew are the most accredited team in the Spirit of Tradition division this year. 
She has just finished the Volvo Ocean Race, a nine-months long lap around the world with Dutch-flagged Team Brunel. British sailor Abby Ehler is racing on Blitzen, a 1938 Bermudan sloop, with singer and Duran Duran’s frontman Simon Le Bon, who also took part to the round the world race in 1985 on his 78’ maxi Drum and is a regular presence in Cannes.

The sailor who relaunched the Régates Royales

Philippe Monnet has sailed around the world several times, has set records and has dozens thousand miles under his belt, and in 1978 was a key figure in the small group of enthusiasts who relaunched the Régates Royales. Since then he took part no less than 30 times and this year is back on board his boat Lys, from 1955. “I was 16 and I just moved from the mountains to Cannes with my parents, I was at secondary school. I fell in love of an 8m I.R. and bought it super cheap because it was rotting away due to some customs issues. It was the plastic-fantastic era and nobody wanted it. I didn’t know how to sail and I’ve learned all by myself. Then I met Pierrot Lambert, who also owned an 8 metre and sailed it in any kind of weather. There were three more boats: Folly, Ayana and France that sailed a lot. I was quite unknowledgeable, didn’t even know that 8 metres was not referred to the boat’s length… Pierrot and myself suggested to the yacht club de Cannes to relaunch the Régates Royales. So we were five boats, on a windless September day. The Swiss joined us on the following year and history started…” The full interview to the French sailor at this link.

Fingers crossed for racing tomorrow

The weather forecast is for lighter wind over the coming days, as the strong easterly-north-easterly has left the Cote d’Azur on Wednesday afternoon, leaving behind a light south-easterly breeze but a big swell, with waves exceeding 3 metres. On Thursday morning a south-easterly of around 10 knots should increase to reach some 15 knots, enabling the fleet to finally start racing.

It’s the number of young patients from the local association Sourire et Partage, who had the opportunity to visit some of the boats moored at the quays: Puritan, Il Moro di Venezia, Marigold, Nina Luisita, Elena, Freya welcomed the kids on board for a unique experience.

The smallest boat in the Régates Royales’ fleet is possibly the one with the highest number of fans: 20 sailors are on the waiting list to race with owners Peter Nicholson and Mike Hollies. Dainty has a remarkable history and has been a constant presence at almost all the recent British and Mediterranean regattas. An incredible road-trip that since 14 years has been carrying her to Cannes for the Royales. Dainty is the very first Sunbeam, a one-design keelboat with a significant draft (1,18 metre), built in 1923. “The boat  has remained unchanged and I’ve been sailing he since 50 years in the Solent and in The Med. She went through strong winds and storms and some unforgettable happiness moments!” says Peter. The small cockpit can host three sailors who can easily handle the mainsail, jib and classic spinnaker, but can be wet when the wind increases. Peter Nicholson, Mike Hollies and Ian Stobie, three sailors with the biggest love for the tiniest of boats.

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