A staple on the yachting calendar since 1994, Monaco Classic Week is back for a three-day parade of some of the finest classic superyachts. Taking place from 13 to 16 September, the biennial event invites owners and crew of classic yachts or faithful replicas to Port Hercule for three days of celebrating sailing yachts (and motor yachts) of yore, combining racing with a glamorous social programme. BOAT International delves into the heritage behind the largest sailing yachts participating this year...
Superyacht owner Ed Kastelein, who has a longstanding passion for recreating classic racing yachts, triumphantly relaunched Atlantic in 2010 with an identical sail plan to the 1903 vessel and original lines by Van der Graaf. The three-masted schooner was commissioned by New York Yacht Club member Wilson Marshall and initially hit the headlines in 1905 when she was crowned the transatlantic Kaiser’s Cup winner. Here, she set the record for the transatlantic speed record – covering a staggering 341 miles in 24 hours with an average speed of 14.1 knots – a title which she safeguarded until 1998. As a result, she is the object of many sailing enthusiast's affection and is the type of vessel purchased as a scale model. Kastelein, however, went the extra mile and built a full replica of her.
Black Swan started life as Brynhild with a yawl rig, built in 1899 at Camper and Nicholson in England with design by Charles Nicholson. She was the leader of the pack in a number of races at the beginning of the 20th century, including the King's Cup, and has undergone several changes and different rig configurations over the years. At one point, she was renamed Changrilla, but was renamed Black Swan in the 1960s. Today, she carries a gaff rig after an extensive restoration project at the Beconcini yard in La Spezia, Italy.
Built by Camper & Nicholsons and delivered in 1927, Creole is the largest wooden sailing yacht in the world and now sails under the loving stewardship of the Gucci family. The behemoth was launched as Vira by Camper & Nicholsons in 1927 for US carpet manufacturer Alexander Smith Cochran. By the time Maurizio Gucci bought the vessel in 1983, she was badly in need of another passionate and wealthy yachtsman to pamper her – a call to which Gucci answered with his penchant for gilded glamour. Now, the big, stylish boat sails like a dream with Allegra Gucci at the helm. Despite being the scion of a fashion dynasty, she is also a serious sailor and is often spotted aboard the deck during races, or getting involved at the shipyard when on land.Read More/Creole: On board the sailing yacht owned by the Gucci family
Elena of London
The 55-metre sailing yacht Elena is based on original 1910 drawings by designer Nathanael G. Herreshoff. The original Elena was commissioned by Morton Plant, who wanted a schooner “that can win”. She certainly delivered, thanks to her deep keel to improve windward ability, going on to be a major contender amongst the cream of the American schooner fleet and emerging as champion in the 1928 King's Cup Transatlantic Race. The 2009 yacht is a replica of the same name, still boasting several wins under her keel including at the Monaco Classic Week and Les Voiles de St Tropez.
Launched in 1926 and built by Fife, Hallowe'en was set apart from other gaff-rigged racers of her time as a Bermudan cutter. Her owners continued to experiment with her rig and eventually, she was transformed into a yawl, going on to spend many years racing the Mediterranean and the Atlantic before falling off the radar. Walter Wheeler later discovered her and renamed her Cotton Blosson IV, where she continued her history of ocean racing before being donated to the Classic Boat Museum in Rhode Island. Her refit spanned five years and, just before funds dried up, she was rescued from the scrap heap by Elizabeth Meyer, the woman behind the restoration of J Class Endeavour, who helped find a buyer to restore her to her former glory.
Naema is a modern classic, designed by Olivier F. van Meer and based on an Alfred Mylne schooner named Panda that sank following a fire in 1983. The topsail schooner was built at Graafship in Turkey and underwent a significant refit in 2014 which saw her plumbing, engines and technical equipment removed and replaced. She is a regatta regular, having competed at The Superyacht Cup, The Candy Store Cup and the Inaugural Capri Classica. Naema is fitted with Harken electric winches and a comprehensive sail wardrobe that includes a 219-square-metre main sail.
Built by Cantiere di Donna as a wine transport vessel, this two-masted schooner was purchased by Lord Remington in 1958 on the advice of friend and influential filmmaker Federico Fellini. Maria Del Mar became the O’Remington, a legendary hub for artists of the French New Wave artists and the Italian aristocracy. Following the death of Lord Remington, several restorations (carried out by shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis and fashion designer Alberta Ferretti) and a stint as a charter boat in Sudan, O’Remington was forgotten in Genoa Port where it suffered from gradual decline. She was redeemed by new owners in 2017, went through several years of renovation and refitting, and is now back among her peers on the Croisette.
Bridgette Bardot once graced the decks of this Thetis Ware gaff-rigged yawl. Brought back to her former glory after an extensive restoration in Spain (1997-1999), Sky has competed in various regattas across the Mediterranean and boasts a top speed of 14 knots. A further comprehensive refit was carried out from 2008 to 2014 which saw new sails equipped, all systems modernised and 27 of her oak frames replaced.
Built by William Fife 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
Sistership to Tuiga, 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.
Iduna was delivered in 1939 and remained the largest yacht to leave the Dutch shipyard until 1960. Today, she remains a shining Feadship example. Her most notable restoration was led by Dutchman Johan van den Bruele in 1999 and he was determined to preserve as much of the original vessel as possible, including the main mast, skylights, deck saloon, compass, anchor winch and steering wheel. Any other parts were built using traditional boatbuilding methods to align with her authentic look.
Delivered as a Bermudan yawl in 1938, Mariella has a 28-metre mainmast and she flies 279 square metres of sail. Carlo Falcone, proprietor of the Antigua Yacht Club Marina, was the owner for many years and she has participated in many regattas on both sides of the Atlantic. She is regularly spotted at classic races like the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta and Les Voiles de Saint Tropez.
Mariska was delivered in 1908 as a J Class racing yacht – helped by her fine lines, narrow beam, deep keel and sweeping overhangs. She earned her spurs by emerging as champion in a number of races, including the 1911 Cowes Regatta. More recently, in 2007, a new owner began a complete restoration, where she was taken back to bare timbers and carefully rebuilt, spanning two years and 25,000 man-hours. She has gone from strength to strength on the classic regatta circuit, winning the Giraglia, Puerto Sherry, San Remo and St Tropez classic regattas in 2016.