This week Monaco will once again be the venue of a privileged rendezvous for a whole range of beautiful classic boats, from the smallest steam launch once tender to the prince’s yacht to the stunning race yachts and motor-yachts, decked out in exotic wood and collectable items, the epitome of luxurious floating residences.
Launched in 1994 in the YCM’s old clubhouse on Quai Antoine 1er, this year Monaco Classic Week promises an even finer spectacle in its new location. Over a hundred yachts of every hue will be moored in the YCM Marina and along the quays of the Club’s new building. Designed by Lord Norman Foster, the style is one where the classicism befitting a great Yacht Club blends in seamlessly with the clean lines so characteristic of this British architect.
The event’s originality, which is to bring together all types of classic leisure craft on the same body of water, is legitimised by the Principality’s nautical history.
As this year marks the 20th anniversary since the gaff cutter Tuiga arrived to take up her role as the Yacht Club’s flagship, the four International Rule 15M Class yachts, Mariska(1908), Hispania (1909), The Lady Anne (1912) and Tuiga (1909), skippered by Pierre Casiraghi and Bernard d’Alessandri will be the first on the water to race on Wednesday 9thSeptember. They will be greeted by some of the world’s finest yachts, including two three-masters: Creole (1927) and Croce del Sud (1923), the schooner Elena (replica of the 1911 original) and Lulworth(1920), the largest gaff rig cutter still sailing today.
From Thursday 10th to Saturday 12th, the rest of the fleet joins them in Hercules Bay. In total around 50 classic sailing yachts will be racing alongside 30-plus entrants from the 12’ Dinghy Class, while period motor-yachts and vintage powerboats, including at least a dozen Rivas take part in manoeuvrability trials. “It’s important for us to take part in this unique gathering dedicated to the lifestyle, excellence and elegance that so well defines the Riva spirit, perpetuated today by the Ferretti yard,” comments Lia Riva.
Note that fans of Riva and their varnished mahogany hulls can admire two masterpieces by the ‘Ingeniere di Sarnico’ from the quay: Carlo Riva’s personal Aquarama, Lipicar IV (a contraction of his daughters’ names – Lia, Pia and Carla) and Via, the Tritone that belonged to Prince Rainier III.
The rowing club (Société Nautique de Monaco) which shares the Yacht Club’s new building is involved in organising a race for classic rowing skiffs, and the Italian Navy will be there in force with naval school vessel Palinuro (77m) leading a fleet of four (Capricia, Stella Polare& Corsaro II). The public will be able to visit Palinuro throughout the week.
A biennial event where owners and crews compete, then come together for the inimitable Monaco-style social events in the evening, the highlight will be the awarding of the
‘Personnalité de la Mer’ prize. Awarded in 2011 to director Jacques Perrin (Océans), in 2013 this accolade went to Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.
Throughout the week there is always something going on in terms of competitions:
* Technical inspections by the jury (from Wednesday 9th September), who award the ‘La Belle Classe Restoration’ prize to the boat closest to its original state when launched.
* A chefs gastronomy challenge (Thursday 10th September), which puts the spotlight on organic food. Crew members, whether professional chefs or not, have to demonstrate their creative skills in producing dishes. Dishes have to be prepared on board then presented on the quay to a jury of chefs, including Christian Garcia (Prince’s Palace), Franck Cerutti (Hôtel de Paris), Christian Plumail (Yacht Club de Monaco) and Paolo Sari (Monte-Carlo Beach), the only Michelin-star chef in the world to serve 100% organic food.
* Elegance Parades (Saturday 12th September) when all the sailing yachts parade one after the other in front of a jury headed by Princess de Orléans-Borbon. Members include artists and personalities who assess the beauty of a vessel’s lines, the crew’s attire and the respect shown to etiquette.
The public can follow all these events from the quays and discover the Monaco Classic Week Village where a dozen exhibitors, including marine artists, sculptors, photographers, etc. will be on show (Quai Louis II and Quai de l’Hirondelle) open to the public.
Then on Saturday 12th September, Hôtel des Ventes de Monte-Carlo brings the hammer down on an auction of old boats, paintings and marine objects, displayed during the week on Quay Louis II. The main attraction is bound to be the M/Y Over The Rainbow (1930, 33.8m) that once belonged to artist Jean-Michel Folon. Collectors will have a field day!
A week recalling golden yachting eras lies ahead, reviving a passion that gripped yachtsmen over a century ago and continues to motivate those who find, restore and maintain these invaluable testimonies to our maritime heritage.