richard mille cup regatta race

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10 classic yachts competing at the Richard Mille Cup

21 June 2023 • Written by Dea Jusufi

The Richard Mille Cup is the newest regatta on the racing calendar that celebrates the pageantry and classic beauty of hand-crafted sailing yachts built before 1939 (or faithful replicas). Beginning in Falmouth earlier this month, the fleet of classics have worked their way across the Solent competing in a series of inshore and offshore races. As the inaugural regatta nears its final leg from Cowes to Le Havre, we take a look at the line-up of schooners and cutters vying for first place...

Atlantic

Length: 69.3m
Builder: Van der Graaf
Built: 1903

Commissioned by New York Yacht Club member Wilson Marshall, this three-masted schooner hit the headlines by winning the transatlantic Kaiser’s Cup in 1905. Atlantic covered a staggering 341 miles in 24 hours with an average speed of 14.1 knots. This world record would remain undefeated until 1998, making it the longest-standing speed record in the history of yachting. Atlantic was saved from the scrap yard on three separate occasions but unfortunately was broken up at the Newport News Harbor in 1982. Using copies of William Gardner’s original drawings, serial classic yacht restorer Ed Kastelein embarked on an extensive reconstruction project, and triumphantly relaunched Atlantic in 2010 with an identical sail plan and original lines.

Adix

Length: 65m
Builder: Astilleros de Mallorca
Built: 1984

Originally named Jessica, Adix remains one of the largest sailing yachts built since the 1930s. In the mid-late 1980’s she was bought and used as a promotional tool by Alan Bond, who named the yacht after his controversial beer XXXX. Interestingly, she was significantly shorter in the 80s than she is now. She underwent a massive cosmetic restoration in 1989 courtesy of Captain Paul Goss and naval architect Gerard Dijkstra. The subsequent refit included cutting the hull in half and adding a section, which brought her to her current length.

Mariette

Length: 42m
Builder: Herreshoff
Built: 1915

This classic twin-masted schooner was built for Harold S. Vanderbilt, the naval architect who produced a succession of undefeated America’s Cup defenders between 1893 and 1920. Other notable owners include Canadian composer Walter Boudreau (who renamed her Janeen) and Italian film producer and publisher Andrea Rizzoli, who had her restored at the Beconcini shipyard in La Spezia, Italy. Mariette and her sistership Vagrant are the last of the series still in service.

Mariquita

Length: 38.2m
Builder: William Fife
Built: 1911

As a descendant of Big Class racing and a precursor to the J-Class, Mariquita is the missing link in racing’s evolution. Once World War I broke out, she was sold and renamed Maud IV, where she spent five years safe in Scandinavian waters. She returned to Britain and resumed racing in 1924 until the outbreak of World War II when her luck run out. Sold and stripped of her rigging, sails, mast, and keel, Mariquita was moved to a mud berth where she spent 40 years as a houseboat. Restored by Fairlie in 1991, she set sail once more and has continued to take part in regattas, taking home the Big Boat Panerai Trophy in 2014.

Moonbeam IV

Length: 35m
Builder: William Fife
Built: 1920

Moonbeam IV is the last and largest of the four Moonbeams commissioned by eminent London lawyer Charles Plumtree Johnson. Construction started in 1914 but was not completed until 1920 due to the outbreak of World War I. Winning the Kings’ Cup in 1920 and 1923, a successful decade of racing followed until she was run out by the incoming J Class in the 1930s and the onset of World War II. In 1950 she was bought by Prince Rainier of Monaco and, for a time, settled into the quiet life. Renamed Deo Juvante (the Grimaldi family motto), Moonbeam IV took the newlyweds, the Prince and Grace Kelly, on their honeymoon.

Tuiga

Length: 28.7m
Builder: William Fife
Built: 1909

Built for the Duke of Medinacelli, friend to the King of Spain, Tuiga was designed identically to the King’s yacht Hispania so that they could race on equal terms. After collecting a string of second places, rumours spread that the Duke was holding back so as not to embarrass the King. The first 15-Metre to be restored at Fairlie, Tuiga has been owned by the Monaco Yacht Club since 1993 and is often skippered by Pierre Casiraghi, son of Princess Caroline of Hanover.

The Lady Anne

Credit: Jamie Medlin

Length: 24.38m
Builder: William Fife
Built: 1912

The Lady Anne was built for Baron George Coats of Glasgow, who at the time of his death was one of the wealthiest men in Scotland. Commissioned in a bid to recover the coveted 15-Metre Cup from the Germans, Coats’ dreams were dashed by Charles Nicholson, who was drafting his revolutionary Marconi gaff-rig at the same time The Lady Anne was being built. She would end up adopting Nicholson’s rig only two years later. She is the sistership of fellow Richard Mille Cup competitorTuiga.

Kelpie

Length: 19.2m
Builder: J.G. Fay & Co (later Camper & Nicholson)
Built: 1903

Designed by Alfred Mylne, Kelpie is one of eight South Coast One Designs still in existence today and has lived through quite the underdog story. In 1914, she was accused of carrying artillery to be used against the Irish Free State government and in the 1960s, she was sold to Newton Ferrers Sailing School and suffered an interior fire that destroyed most of her interior. After a thorough restoration by Fairlie in 2014 (including a new rudder, stem, and sternpost), Kelpie went on to win her class in several regattas, including the Channel regatta, Mahon, and St. Tropez.

Ayesha

Credit: Jamie Medlin

Length: 14m
Builder: Aldous Ltd.
Built: 1922

Designed for sailing in shoal waters, gaff cutter Ayesha is thought to be the only yacht ever designed by Arthur Boyes of Aldous Ltd. In 2001 she won her class in the Prada classic series in the Med, after sailing across the menacing Bay of Biscay to compete. She was bought in 2015 by serial classic yacht owner and restorer Richard Bond.

Cynthia

Credit: Jamie Medlin

Length: 12.7m
Builder: WT Jacket
Built: 1910

This gaff cutter was commissioned by serial boat owner Henry S Norton, who entered Cynthia into various races in the Falmouth area. This included the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club’s Corinthian race in which Norton won the grand first prize of £3. Cynthia has been in Devon undergoing a meticulous, five-year restoration by retired rigger Peter Lucas, who first saw Cynthia decades prior while on holiday with his parents on the Isle of Wight.

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More about this yacht

William Fife & Son   35 m •  1920
Herreshoff   42.06 m •  1915

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