Panerai British Classic Week came to a spectacular conclusion with one final round-the-cans race for all classes in perfect sunshine and a Solent breeze. Royal Yacht Squadron Racing set courses west down Cowes Green and back off Beaulieu for a thrilling finish.
The only winner still to be decided was in Class 4 where John Mulcahy’s 1961 Stella Estrella held a narrow three-point lead over Jonathan and Scilla Dyke’s 1938 Bermudan sloop Cereste. Estrella had the best start, but it was neck and neck on corrected time until the final reach home when Estrella was forced out into the tide by two larger contenders, allowing Cereste to claim victory by 1 minute and 37 seconds. With both boats now on seven points it was only on countback that Cereste was declared the winner with Estrella coming second and Mark & Liz Rushall’s 1965 Honeybee Ragdoll coming third.
After the race, Jonathan Dyke said, “It was so close that we didn’t know we’d won until we got ashore. We’re a crew of old friends from the East Coast who’ve sailed together for years. We’ve taken part in all bar the first of the Panerai British Classic Weeks. It’s fantastically well organised, a first class event, we love the eclectic nature of the boats and their owners, and of course this year the weather has been amazing.”
The regatta attracted entrants from across Europe, Scandinavia and the USA, with two crews from The Classic Yacht Club of Australia and one from The Classic Yacht Club of New Zealand, who raced in three chartered 1959 Morgan Giles 42’ Bermudan Sloops – Gryphis, Leopard and Pegasus.
With sailing complete it was time for crews to don their finery for the Panerai British Classic Week Gala Prize Giving Dinner. Master of Ceremonies was Admiral and founder of the British Classic Yacht Club, Tim Blackman, inviting Philppe de Saint Lager of Panerai to present the main prizes.
Winners received a Panerai Plate and their class trophy:
Lutine Cup for Class 1: Sean McMillan’s Spirit 52 Flight of Ufford
Corinthian Cup for Class 2: Giovanni Belgrano’s Whooper
Commodore’s Cup for Class 3: Michael Brigg’s 1904 Mikado
Cereste Trophy for Class 4: Jonathan and Scilla Dyke's Cereste
Event Trophy, 6 Metre Class: Robin Richardson’s St Kitts
Universal 8 Cup, 8 Metre Class: Murdoch McKillop’s 1931 Saskia
International Metre Trophy, highest placed Metre boat: Murdoch McKillop’s 1931 Saskia
Brian Keelan Memorial Trophy, highest placed Gaffer: Mark Tyndall’s 1904 Mascotte
Classic Sail Match Race Challenge Trophy: 1959 Leopard skippered by Doug Shields
The Cetewayo Trophy for a certain 'Je ne sais pas quoi': Martin Thomas’ Archie designed 8 Metre Cruiser Racer, Charm of Rhu.
The Stiff Drink Trophy (Spirit Yachts): Martin Ryan’s Pegasus for her effort in blowing out a spinnaker, parts of which were retrieved from the Solent by the media boat!
The Seamanship Award (Classic Boat): James Kelman’s 1947 Dervin cutter Croix des Gardes for sailing the Long Inshore Race with her lady helm in a dress!
The Overall Winner
Finally the most prestigious prize for the overall winner, The British Classic Yacht Club Racing Trophy of Panerai British Classic Week 2016 was presented to Giovanni Belgrano of the 1939 Laurent Giles 39’ one-off WHOOPER, who had a clean sweep in Class 2 and was the top scoring yacht in the combined fleet races. Giovanni also receved a Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days Automatic Acciaio 44mm watch.
This is the second time that Giovanni and his team have won overall and he was naturally full of praise for the organisers and his fellow competitors. “The conditions have been outstanding, the organisation has been outstanding and the competition has been outstanding. Outstanding truly is the word for this regatta. From a technical point of view we were very lucky, we had the perfect conditions for the boat to win.
The event offers a unique combination. It’s different to anything else; it’s stylish, it’s attractive. It’s a chain reaction, it keeps attracting better boats because it’s stylish and it looks more stylish because it attracts better boats. The people who own them are lovely people and hopefully the event will just continue on this upwards spiral. There is no other regatta where we can have such an experience.”
Panerai British Classic Week 2017 will take place from 8-15 July 2017. For more information please contact Mary Scott-Jackson.
About the British Classic Yacht Club
The British Classic Yacht Club was formed in 2001 to provide a friendly environment for owners and classic yacht enthusiasts. Affiliated to the RYA, the BCYC strives to represent the interests of classic yacht owners and officers of the BCYC are actively involved in national and international discussions concerning the future development of classic yachting. Membership of the BCYC consists of over than 80 boats. In addition to the annual Cowes regatta in July, the Club also organises a full programme of other racing, cruising and social activities in the Solent and along the east coast, supporting the popular East Coast Classic Regatta in early June. BCYC yachts also participate in high profile sailing events including classic regattas in the Channel, Mediterranean and West Indies.
About the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge
With strong historic links to the sea, Officine Panerai has sponsored the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge for many years. In 2007, the company also acquired and restored the 1936 Fife built Bermudan ketch Eilean, now the brand’s ambassador at vintage and classic rallies and regattas.
*All images courtesy of Guido Cantini/Panerai