Wed, Jun 28, 2017

Argentario race winners named

Moonbeam (1903, Big Boats), Linnet (1905, Vintage Yachts), Ganbare (1973, Classic Yachts) and Raindrop (2014, Spirit of Tradition) emerged as winners at the 18th Argentario Sailing Week which was held at Porto Santo Stefano in Tuscany, Italy, earlier this month.

In all, 47 boats from 10 different nations competed in the second Mediterranean stage of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, which was sponsored for the 13th consecutive year by the luxury sports watch-maker Officine Panerai.

For the first time in the event’s history, however, the fleet competed in four rather than the usual three races. The formidable racing arena in the Golfo di Talamone featured courses of between 15 and 20 miles in length. All of the races were successfully run thanks to good weather and sea conditions. 

Moonbeam, built by the legendary Fife yard of Scotland, won the Big Boats category in all four races, outdoing her Fife siblings, Hallowe’en (1926) and Cambria (1928), in the standings. The 25-m gaff cutter, also known as Moonbeam III, has competed in all the leading classic sailing events of the last 20 years since undergoing major restoration work in England in 1998. 

Linnet swept the boards in the Vintage Yachts at Porto Santo Stefano. Luna Rossa boss and former America’s Cup challenger Patrizio Bertelli’s 13.2-m gaff sloop is a New York Yacht Club 30, a one-design of which just 18 examples were ever built. Linnet beat all comers in her category, including illustrious racers of the likes of Spartan (1913) and Chinook (1916). All three yachts were launched by the Herreshoff yard of Bristol, which produced hundreds of boat designs that contributed to some of the most glorious pages in racing history.  

With three victories and a second position in her class, Ganbare, the 1973 One Tonner that secured Doug Peterson a place amongst the great designers, dominated the Classic Yachts standings. The 10.49-m will, of course, be attempting to repeat the season victory she delivered in her class on the 2016 Panerai circuit. Her closest rival at Argentario was Ardi (1968) aboard which Italian sailing hero, Admiral Agostino Straulino, used to compete.

As happened in 2016, the little gaff sloop Raindrop won the Spirit of Tradition class, ahead of another Wianno, Wind & Wine, and Tabasco 5 (1981).

Other notable victors in the sub-categories into which the Argentario Sailing Week fleet was divided included Rowdy (1916) in the Vintage Marconi A, the same category in which Panerai’s 1936 ketch, Eilean, was competing, Skylark of 1937 in the Vintage Marconi B and Naïf (1973) in the Classic A. 

That fact that the placings were spread so widely between the various boats in the first round at Antibes in France and Porto Santo Stefano in Tuscany leaves the battle for end-of-season honours wide open in all the various categories of the 2017 challenge. 

In the run-up to the next round on the Mediterranean Circuit, at Mahon in Spain between August 29 and September 2, the next Panerai-sponsored event will take place at Cowes on the Isle of Wight in England. Running from July 8 to 15, the Cowes Panerai British Classic Week is a stand-alone regatta staged in one of the most iconic venues in international sailing history.

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