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Opening of Monaco Classic Week: The Principality honours its maritime heritage

A spectacle is guaranteed again in the Principality for the 16th Monaco Classic Week-La Belle Classe in gathering of the finest pearls of classic yachting both sailing and motor.  Launched in 1994, this biennial meeting showcases the boats of yesteryear still sailing. 2023 sees the return of some magnificent schooners, the 15M IR yachts, motorboats like the classy Rivas, loyal regulars the clinker-built 12’ Dinghy class, and of course the always elegant motor-yachts of a bygone era.

By invitation only, more than 130 boats will be making their way into the Port Hercule today to moor in the YCM Marina, including some forty classic sailing yachts, a dozen period motor yachts, around sixty vintage motorboats and a 20-strong fleet of the clinker-built Dinghy 12’ class.

To kick things off, Tuiga, the flagship of the Yacht Club de Monaco, will join the other two 15M IR yachts, The Lady Anne and Mariska, for an inaugural regatta, while the Jury, chaired by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, will begin its inspection for the ‘La Belle Classe Restoration’ Prize. Its aim is to ensure that these boats will stand the test of time, faithful to the original design. This evening, the owners and their crews will meet the members of the Y.C.M. for an opening evening to share “The Art de Vivre la Mer”, the philosophy behind the event.

Schooners rewrite history

The world’s most beautiful sailing boats are coming, designed by the early America’s Cup architects like Nathanael G. Herreshoff to whom we owe several legends from the American classic scene like Atlantic (56.43m) and Elena of London (41.60m). Alongside will be the superb Charles Nicholson masterpiece, the three-mast schooner Creole (58.22m), showing off her elegant lines.

There’s a story behind each and every yacht, like the one which built the reputation of O’Remington (23.20m). Launched 1946 under the name Maria del Mar, the schooner was owned by Lord Remington, a wealthy American heir. Illustrious names like Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti and Marcello Mastroianni went on board and four Palmes d’or winners of the Cannes Film Festival stayed on her who would see the boat as a lucky charm for Italian cinema. At Maria Callas’s request, Lord Remington then headed for Athens where he met the famous Greek shipowner, Aristotle Onassis. During her time in Italy, the Diva rehearsed on board, an event engraved in the collective Italian memory reflected in the boat’s nickname “La Divina”.

If the destiny for some is a fairy tale for others it took a less glamorous turn as for Naema (40.59m). This faithful replica of Alfred Mylne’s Panda left the Camper & Nicholson yard in 1938. Offered as a gift to King Bao Da of Anam (Vietnam) by the French government the boat found refuge in Toulon after the French withdrew from Indochina in 1954. Sold to the American Bill Bodle in 1979, Panda then left for the West Indies. In 1983, a fire on board almost destroyed her. She was rebuilt to the original plans in Turkey and is now called Naema.

Prince Rainier III exhibition: review of outstanding yachts

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Prince Rainier III, who founded Yacht Club de Monaco in 1953, an exclusive exhibition during Monaco Classic Week shines a light on some of the beautiful boats owned by a man who loved the sea and boats. Entitled ‘The Prince and the Sea’, the retrospective is open to the public (from Wednesday 13th to Saturday 16th September) looks back at 15 boats in Prince Rainier’s wonderful collection photographs who breathed new life into post-war yachting.

Highly symbolic

Synonymous with refinement and the pleasure of sailing, they were designed at the cutting edge of technology at the time, with meticulous attention to detail. A dozen vintage motor yachts will be cruising in the bay of Monaco, beauties like Thelas built 1936 by De Vries Lentsch from the architect Norman Hart’s drawings. With a length of 18m Thelas won the first edition of the Pavillon d’Or in 1937, the inaugural race for cruisers. Requisitioned in 1944 by the British Admiralty, she took part in the Normandy landings and now belongs to Italian architect Corrado Lopresto, famous for having one of the most important classic car collections in the world. Today, Thelas is the official yacht for the CIM (Comité International de la Méditerranée). Founded in 1926 by a group of yachtsmen, CIM continues to pursue its founders’ objectives: to organise regattas at sea to promote and reinforce the identity of Mediterranean yachting.

The tradition continues with the presence of over 60 vintage motorboats

In the wake of the first motorboat meetings in 1904, some sixty motorboats will be brought together, including three dating from the early 20th century. Alongside them will be an exceptional fleet of around thirty Rivas, mahogany wooden runabouts of the 1950s, Mediterranean emblems, left their mark on a whole generation with their varnish and chrome. Carlo Riva, their brilliant creator, made no mistake when he set up his company’s headquarters in Monaco and obtained from Prince Rainier the right to dig an underground gallery, inside the very tunnel through which their ancestors were transported to the port from the station. He intended it for the maintenance and overwintering of these ‘Stradivarius’ of the sea, which are still a benchmark of beauty and excellence today. 

Monaco Classic Week
@ Yacht Club de Monaco

    PROVISIONAL PROGRAMME (subject to change)

     Village open to the public from Wednesday 13th to Saturday 16th from 10.00am to 8.00pm. Free entry. 

Thursday 14th September

9.00am-6.00pm                  Inspection of yachts by ‘La Belle Classe Restoration’ Prize Jury

9.00am-10.00am                Chefs Competition (distribution of ingredients on the quays)

12 noon                              Start of classic yachts race

5.00pm – 7.00pm               Chefs Competition with Moët Hennessy (presentation of dishes on the quays)

Before the party                 Prize-giving for Chefs Competition

Friday 15th September

9.00am-6.00pm                  Inspection of yachts by ‘La Belle Classe Restoration’ Prize Jury

12 noon                              1st warning signal for 12’ Dinghy class

12 noon                              Start of classic sailing yachts race

2.00pm                               Treasure hunt for motorboats and motor-yachts

2.00pm-4.00pm                 Ropes & Splices workshop – La Belle Classe Academy – on the quay

Saturday 16th September

9.00am-12 noon     Inspection of yachts by ‘La Belle Classe Restoration’ Prize Jury

11.00am                             Elegance Contest – classic yachts, period motor-yachts, vintage motorboats

12 noon                              1st warning signal – 12’ Dinghy class

12 noon                              Start of classic sailing yachts race

2.00pm                               Manoeuvrability Challenge for motorboats

4.00pm – 5.00pm               Monaco Classic Week Grand Parade
7.00pm                               Prize-giving & Closing Cocktail Quai Lucciana (by invitation – dress code: Yachtsman attire)

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