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In Love with the Sea: Yacht Club de Monaco celebrates 70th Anniversary

Monaco’s unequivocal love for the Mediterranean has made it synonymous with yachting. With access to dozens of countries, cultures and histories at its doorstep, the Yacht Club de Monaco is a lasting and proud symbol of adventure, affluence, limitless possibility and the passionate bond forged between a sailer and the glittering depths of the open water. This year, the YCM is celebrating its 70th anniversary with a grand program of events which are within the frame of Monaco, Capital of Advanced Yachting approach, sure to make any wandering yachtsman or woman want to drop anchor in Port Hercules and enjoy the festivities.

Port constructed by ancient mythical hero… Hercules!

Port Hercules is one of the only deep-water ports along the entire French Riviera. Ancient Greeks and Romans used the port in 600BC. At the time, the port was dotted with altars to the mythical hero and demigod, Hercules. Texts by Roman Emperor Julian stated that Hercules himself constructed Monaco’s port and coastal road.

Yacht Club de Monaco celebrates 70th Anniversary
Prince Rainier III on board his yacht Deo Juvante II during the cruise to Corsica and Sardinia in 1955 © Archives du Palais Princier de Monaco – Picedi

Monaco starts to become the epicentre of yachting over 160 years ago… 

Because Prince Charles III wanted Monaco to be renowned for both yachting and innovation, he inspired the Principality’s first regattas in 1862. His son, Prince Albert I, inherited a passion for the sea and became a renowned navigator, explorer and pioneer of oceanography. In 1904, when road races were banned because they were deemed too dangerous, SBM launched the “Exhibition and International Motorboat Meeting”. Leading car manufacturers flocked to Monaco to test their new engines on water. Monaco was starting to become the centre of the boating world. 

In 1953, Prince Rainier III, who was known for his passion for bringing people together, looked beyond the sporting aspect of yachting and established the Yacht Club de Monaco. The Prince saw the Club as a way to create friendships and bonds between people who love the sea through a rich variety of social events. Prince Rainier III immediately agreed to become the YCM’s president and, one year later, the Club began organizing meetings and international events, as well as scuba-diving and fishing adventures. All these events resulted in a 50% increase in boats frequenting Monaco’s harbour. 

The next generations of sailors began getting formal training when the YCM set up its Sailing School inaugurated in 1970. Two years later, the Builder Prince encouraged boat-making genius Carlo Riva (who created the iconic mahogany Monte-Carlo Offshorer yachts) to build the first dry port.

Yacht Club de Monaco celebrates 70th Anniversary
Hereditary Prince Albert during the first Monaco Classic Week in 1994 © Isabelle Rouquette

The Yacht Club’s hi-tech Home

With the goal of sheltering the port from strong easterly winds, Prince Rainier III launched several studies in the 1970s, which culminated in a colossal, semi-floating harbour wall. Completed in 2002, the wall is 350 metres long, weighs 160,000 tonnes and has been praised for its inventive design. The project was completed with a breakwater, which formed the marina in front of Quai Louis II, now home to the Yacht Club de Monaco’s new clubhouse.

Yacht Club de Monaco celebrates 70th Anniversary
Be it on Optimists, Bugs, Toppers, ILCA, kiteboards or J/70s, lessons, coaching and training sessions are organised all year round by 11 state qualified instructors and coaches, whose mission is to teach them all about sailing, discovering the sea, safeguarding the maritime environment, and refining their skills. © mesi

Completed in 2014, the hi-tech building looks like a liner docked on the Quai. The Club boasts 5,000 m2 of interior space and 4,000 m2 of terraces. The emblematic building was sustainably designed with solar panels, a sea water cooling system and uses natural light and ventilation. Domestic materials such as European oak were used for the terraces and recycled materials were used for the foundations. Local companies were employed for its construction. The building demonstrates the YCM’s profound commitment to the planet.

HSH Prince Albert II continued the work begun by his father by spearheading redevelopments which continue to make Port Hercules the most modern and practical marina on the Mediterranean, positioning Monaco as the Capital of Yachting. In 1984, Prince Albert II was appointed as President of the Yacht Club by his father. The first year of his presidency saw the launch of the Primo Cup and the Monaco-New York transatlantic race. The Monaco Classic Week — La Belle Classe was created in 1994.

Yacht Club de Monaco celebrates 70th Anniversary
The first Yacht Club de Monaco in 1959 © Monaco – Principauté Archives

Pierre and Andrea Casiraghi, Vice-Presidents of the YCM 

Princess Caroline’s sons, Pierre and Andrea Casiraghi, have an unbridled passion for sailboat racing and are the Yacht Club de Monaco’s Vice Presidents. Pierre founded Malizia, a professional offshore sailing team that races around the world for one main goal: to create awareness about environmental issues. 

In January 2014, during the Cape2Rio competition, Pierre Casiraghi and his team completed the journey from Cape Town to Rio in a record 10 days, 11 hours, 29 minutes and 57 seconds. He has many regatta wins under his belt, including the Palermo-Monteсarlo Regatta and the Giraglia Rolex Cup. After the success of Boris Herrmann in the first Vendée Globe, Pierre Casiraghi is renewing his support for the German sailor who is preparing for the next solo, non-stop, round the world race via three capes without assistance. Malizia-Seaxplorer will also be present in Monaco on 5th July, during the next Monaco Energy Boat Challenge.

Yacht Club de Monaco celebrates 70th Anniversary
Motor-boat racing in 1960 © mesi

La Belle Classe Academy 

The YCM’s La Belle Classe Academy is dedicated to anyone involved in yachting, from captains and crew members to future owners. Opened in 2015, expert teachers in state-of-the-art facilities teach students about everything from basic safety training and navigation to pleasure boating and sustainability.

Yacht Club de Monaco celebrates 70th Anniversary
Photo provided by the YCM © mesi

How to become a member of the Yacht Club

“To be a member of the Yacht Club de Monaco is above all a commitment. It is a desire to preserve a certain ethic, both on land and on the water, and to foster a respect for naval etiquette and preservation of the environment,” — YCM.

The Yacht Club de Monaco currently has over 2,500 members from 81 nationalities who all share a passion for the sea. To become a member, one needs to be introduced by two sponsors, who are both YCM society members. (Anyone who has been a society member for more than one year may propose one applicant per session.) Twice a year, Prince Albert II convenes a meeting of the Admissions Committee to examine all applications. New members are officially welcomed to the YCM with a cocktail party.

Yacht Club de Monaco celebrates 70th Anniversary
Boris Herrmann (on the right) at the finish of the 2020/2021 Vendée Globe, after sailing around the world solo non-stop. Pierre Casiraghi, vice-president of the YCM is on the left. © Francesco Ferri

Members adhere to ten golden rules, which include: to promote the Yacht Club and the Principality at every occasion, to actively participate in the sporting and social life of the YCM, to respect the YCM dress code at all official events, to fly the YCM flag on one’s yacht and to invite other members who share a passion for yachting.

Yacht Club de Monaco celebrates 70th Anniversary
Bernard d’Alessandri, Secretary General of the YCM © Francesco Ferri

Packed program of events celebrate YCM’s anniversary all year-long

On International Women’s Day, the Yacht Club de Monaco announced the very first women-only regatta in Monaco, called ‘Woman Leading and Sailing’. The Pink Wave team, a large group of YCM sailors of all levels, were responsible for organizing the regatta. A dozen crews each with five-women battled it out aboard their J/70s for the first Woman Leading and Sailing Trophy between 25–26 March 2023.

10th Monaco Energy Boat Challenge and the first YCM E-Boat Rally (3–8 July)

What better way to celebrate the future of yachting than by investigating alternative energy sources? The Monaco Energy Boat Challenge brings young engineers from colleges and universities around the world into contact with yachting industry players. The goal is to get creative by designing alternative propulsion systems, with everyone sharing information on open source. The first ever YCM E-Boat Rally will be held during this year’s event. A record number of electric boats is expected in Monaco’s harbour.

Yacht Club de Monaco celebrates 70th Anniversary
Prince Rainier III with his family attends the inauguration of the YCM Sailing School in 1970 © Robert de Hoé

YCM Marina Concert (9 September)

Lionel Richie, Sting, Elton John and Duran Duran have all performed during this exclusive concert set right on the YCM Marina. The performer for this year’s one-of-a-kind concert is Måneskin rock band from Italy. 

Yacht Club de Monaco celebrates 70th Anniversary
Prince Albert II, Princess Charlène and Princess Caroline attend the inauguration of the new YCM house in 2014 © Carlo Borlenghi

Monaco Classic Week — La Belle Classe (13–16 September)

The charm of traditional yachting comes back to Monaco during Monaco Classic Week — La Belle Classe. This 16th edition will be an opportunity to discover the most prestigious vintage sailboats, classic yachts and motorboats. The 2023 event will also be celebrating the one-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Prince Rainier III, founder of the YCM.

Yacht Club de Monaco celebrates 70th Anniversary
During school holidays, YCM’s Sports Section organises initiation courses for children aged 6 to 15 (spring, summer and autumn camps), combining education and fun activities (in, on or under the water). © mesi

The Principality’s passion for yachting transcends time and is steeped in the structures, people and spirit of the Yacht Club de Monaco. Because at its very core, Monaco is completely in love with the sea.

Yacht Club de Monaco celebrates 70th Anniversary
The YCM building © MC-Clic
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