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Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup – The ultimate testing ground and showcase for Maxi Yachts

July 24, 2014

The ultimate testing ground and showcase for Maxi yachts, their owners, sailors, as well as designers is the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, held annually in the fantastic Sardinia yacht charter destination – Porto Cervo, and open only to yachts over 18,29m (60’) in length. With a fierce level of competition, challenging and complex racecourses, the event represents a stern examination of a Maxi yacht’s capabilities.

Mini Maxi fleet at the start line - Image credit to Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Mini Maxi fleet at the start line - Image credit to Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Owned and helmed by individuals accustomed to success outside of sport, sailed by outstanding professional talent and designed by architectural visionaries, the world’s most impressive monohull yachts – Maxis – are admired for their speed, power and elegance.

The 2014 edition of the competition will take place from 31 August – 6 September. Like spring’s Baselworld for the watch industry, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is an unmissable rendezvous for those captivated by, and at the forefront of, the most cutting-edge developments in their industry.

From aluminium to carbon

Established in 1980, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup was born of a desire to provide the large, powerful yachts with an opportunity to engage in a direct competition, in a suitably challenging environment. Organized by Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, the event has been the jewel of Rolex’s international yachting portfolio since 1985. The near thirty-year partnership between the event, yacht club and Title Sponsor is one of the longest and most significant relationships in the world of sailing. Its enduring nature reflects shared values and the common pursuit of excellence and advancing innovation.

Mini Maxis at the start of day one - Image Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Mini Maxis at the start of day one - Image Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

In the 1980s hulls were made of glass fibre, aluminium, sometimes even wood. Masts and rigging were constructed using metal; lines controlling sails were made of wire. Heavy and not particularly fast, loads were high, manoeuvres ponderous and safety margins slim. A far cry from the sleek, carbon fibre-built designs of today that benefit from aerospace technology, making them fast and agile. In the right hands some appear to be sailed like dinghies.

“Initially, Maxis were heavy displacement, fixed keel boats with a fairly shallow draft,” explains Jim Pugh of the San Diego-based Reichel/Pugh studio, the visionary behind several of the world’s great Maxi yachts from Wild Oats XI yacht to superyacht Esimit Europa 2. The Maxis now racing in Porto Cervo are unrecognisable from their predecessors – rules, materials and knowledge have all changed over the intervening years expanding the opportunities considerably. “Some of the Maxi boats now weigh 26 metric tonnes whereas 30 years ago they weighed 75 tonnes – a huge difference. The rigs are probably twice the size and due to a much longer waterline, they are more powerful, probably going three times the speed they did thirty years ago.”

Rolf Vrolijk of German studio Judel/Vrolijk, inspiration behind all-conquering Mini Maxis such as Niklas Zennström’s sailing yacht Rán 2 (and Zennstrom’s latest Rán launched earlier this year and now poised for its first Porto Cervo appearance) and Hap Fauth’s luxury yacht Bella Mente points to a number of factors affecting why and how design has evolved: “A lot of the changes have been influenced by rating rules which have determined how boats are built.” Other developments have occurred following improvements in a different area, for example “sail development in terms of cloth and design has occurred parallel to improvements in mast design.”

BELLA MENTE (USA) starring at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup - Image by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Sailing yacht BELLA MENTE (USA) starring at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup - Image by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Continued research into the possibilities offered by the latest construction materials has enabled different sizes and types of boat to emerge. The landscape has broadened immensely: from all-out racing Mini Maxis between 60 and 72 feet to imperious Supermaxis measuring in excess of 165 ft (50m); from boats designed to both race and cruise to those with speed as their single purpose. All reflect a continuing desire to break boundaries in terms of power and elegance. The differences between an all out racing Mini Maxi (Bella Mente) and a Supermaxi (defending Class champion superyacht Nilaya), designed primarily to cruise, are outlined in an accompanying infographic.

A collaborative process

With the range of concepts and solutions on display, it is little surprise that many projects are born at or inspired by the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. “Coming to an event like this you see so many different styles of boat,” explains Pugh. “It is definitely very stimulating in terms of creativity.”

Pugh confirms that the design process is categorized by several key steps starting with the owner’s brief: “You will discuss what the owner wants to do, how he wants the boat to perform, gaining an idea about where the boat has to sail, where it has to have its strong points to meet his vision.”

Some briefs can be truly specific, as designer Mark Mills reveals for the recently launched 72-ft Mini Maxi yacht Alegre: “More than a perfect testing ground, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is the boat’s raison d’être. The boat’s design, everything about it, is about coming here and doing our best. It is the template around which Alegre was designed.”

BELLA MENTE and STIG drop their headsails as they fly downwind - Image by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Luxury yachts BELLA MENTE and STIG drop their headsails as they fly downwind - Image by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Once commissioned, an exhaustive research and development (R&D) process begins. “So much of this sort of boat design is driven by R&D,” explains Mills. “The first thing you do is set up a weather model, agree on the right conditions and let 80 or 90 hull shapes run through that model. The hull shape and parameters of the boat come out of R&D work. To that end it is the child of the research process.”

“Sometimes we will tank test, other times we will test computationally,” explains Pugh. “Then we will develop a number of other designs that are slightly different, varying parameters of the baseline such as beam and displacement and different styles of hull shapes so we can run those computationally. It is a fairly long process, taking somewhere between four to seven months.”

Once the design concept and testing is finalised, the complex build process is set in motion, a collaboration involving composite structural engineers, together with sail and mast makers, and specialists in almost every conceivable aspect of a sailing boat.

Once constructed the crew begin a further testing process through extensive sea trials and then sailing the boat at competitive events. It can take a while for a new launch to reach her full potential. “Everyone hopes to be right on target out of the blocks,” explains Mills, “but the size of these boats and level of complexity involved, including a crew of around 22, means it usually takes a year to get a boat fully working.” This is the position Alegre now finds herself in. She is aiming to better last year’s second place and claim her first Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship.

Technology enables crews to crunch an amazing amount of data from cameras recording sail shape to sensors noting backstay and forestay tension. Of course, the data is nothing without skilled human interpretation. The sailors at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup are a who’s who in this regard, nearly all with a skill beyond simply knowing how to sail.

BELLA MENTE leads the Mini Maxi fleet round the windward mark - Image by Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

BELLA MENTE yacht leads the Mini Maxi fleet round the windward mark - Image by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Larger and lighter

Development is not confined to pure race boats. The Wally Cento is one of the latest concepts in dual purpose yachts required to both cruise and perform on the racecourse. Hamilton was the first iteration, launched in 2012, and Reichel/Pugh delivered the second in superyacht Magic Carpet 3 in early 2013. The response to another owner taking advantage of evolution in stronger, lighter materials to improve speed. “It is a very exciting project,” continues Pugh, “It is not an absolute race design and has to reach the class rules of considerable accommodation. This is an even bigger challenge than doing a stripped out racing boat.”

Magic Carpet 3 yacht’s owner, Sir Lindsay Owen Jones, explains his concern throughout the process was whether his new yacht would be fast. The answer he says emphatically is yes: “It’s much faster. It is much more fun, much more exciting. Paradoxically, it is a much better cruising boat because of its extra width, which gives people air and space and makes it a very stable cruising platform. When you feel it accelerating it really is an exciting feeling. It feels like a racing boat and that’s what we wanted.”

MAGIC CARPET 3 chased by HAMILTON during the first day of racing - Image credit to Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Superyacht MAGIC CARPET 3 chased by HAMILTON yacht during the first day of racing - Image credit to Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Evolution not revolution

What can we expect to see over the coming years in terms of Maxi yacht design? “There are parameters that limit you so you are not going to see a revolution in design,” warns Pugh. “But you may see a continuing evolution in hull design in terms of performance, sail plans and in rigs.”

“The possibilities are always there,” adds Vrolijk “and a desire to push the boundaries of speed will always be prevalent. For every generation of boats, the new ones have to be faster.”

Just like the Maxi world with which it has been closely associated with for nearly thirty years, Rolex has championed innovation in its field from the very beginning, adapting to dynamic, changing lifestyles and pioneering the development of the wristwatch as early as 1905. The brand is at the origin of numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926, and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism introduced in 1931. Rolex has registered over 400 patents in the course of its history. The parallels with the continued developments in the Maxi world are clear: the desire to create something which is enduring and aesthetically spectacular; precise and innovative; robust and functional; admired and recognised for its excellence.

The developments witnessed each year at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup are significant for many reasons: they push the design envelope at the pinnacle end of the sport; the demand for, and availability of, high-tech material filters down to all aspects of sailing; Maxi yacht owners make a substantial investment to push the perceived boundaries of speed; and the desire for increased comfort onboard  propels the sport’s continued evolution. Among the innovations anticipated for the future are consequential changes to the underwater profile and foils to increase speed.

As certain as Maxis will continue to break boundaries, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup will forever be the proving ground for the world’s greatest and fastest yachts. 2014 promises to be no exception.

UCINA planning new international event connected with sea and leisure boating

July 24, 2014

UCINA Confindustria Nautica is launching a major international event for Expo 2015. A week devoted to the sea will be organized for the spring of next year to spotlight the synergies between the boating industry, design, art, sport, fashion, and lifestyle, as well as the quality of Italian-made products.


UCINA Confindustria Nautica wishes to turn over a new leaf and is planning a major and novel event connected with the sea and with leisure boating. The demands of the domestic and world markets have changed and are shaping a new exhibition format. For this reason the Advisory Committee yesterday approved the program designed by the President, Massimo Perotti, for the realization of an important week-long event devoted to the sea. This “sea week” will follow the International Boat Show, to be held in October, and will be organized  according to a brand-new format, which will imply using the entire city of Genoa and its three ports.

Massimo Perotti: “We have been asked to accomplish a revolution and this is what we are doing. We wish to regain our role as world leaders, because Genoa is Europe and because it is on the sea and has a unique exhibition tradition. We cannot deny that we have lost this supremacy, but we cannot remain passive. Our objective is to create an event that will draw world-wide interest while enhancing and boosting the domestic market. We will also take advantage of this event to sell used boats; rent out large yachts; and offer new, ready-to-sail boats for the summer.”

While work continues for the renewed October edition of the International Boat Show, the organization of the event to be held next spring is under way. The latter will consist of diverse initiatives. There will be an international sport sail-boat show; a forum devoted to design and Italian-made products; a convention on the sea, ecology, environment, and food; an art exhibition dedicated to the sea; and a concert. These initiatives will also serve the purpose of creating a new awareness of the sea and of boats, these magnificent vacation instruments.

The development of the spring event will also take into account the arrival of the many people who will come to Italy for Expo 2015 and the events devoted to design, such as the Furniture Fair and the Fuori Salone of Milan. Massimo Perotti added: “The vice-Secretary of Economic Development, Carlo Calenda, has promised us concrete help, which means funds to be used to attract foreign professionals and companies.”

It must be said that leisure boating in Italy consists of diverse elements. There are the shipyards, which are undoubtedly world leaders for the design and construction of superbly-made luxury yachts. And, berthed in many of our ports, there are boats that simply wish to be an alternative to a vacation home for those who love the sea and know how to navigate. According to the Vice-President of Ucina, Pietro Vassena, “The yachtsmen category is often criminalized. We will therefore look for passions where we are likely to find them: in sports, in the desire to spend a vacation on a boat, and in fishing. We aim at rebuilding trust in the industry, hopefully with the help of our Government.”

Further details on the event will be communicated in October, during Genoa’s International Boat Show, which remains one of the most important in the world and which Ucina is preparing with the utmost care and with an innovative format.

European Institute of Yacht Design – New partner of IMITFair 2014

July 23, 2014

Set to run from 14 to 16 October, IMITFair 2014, the new trade fair for the interior and design of yachts, superyachts, as well as cruise ships, will be the international meeting point at HanseMesse Rostock in Germany, with the goal of supporting information, exchange and networking between specialists, providers, clients and competitors. This goal is now also supported by the renowned European Institute of Yacht Design, involved in a large number of ground-breaking and R&D projects in the key areas of yacht design, with its valuable knowledge and experience, comprising deep practical insights regarding innovation applied to the field of ship design.

Convention Center in Rostock, Germany

Convention Center Rostock in Germany

Fabian Lorbeer, CEO of IMITFair organizer H2VC GmbH: “We are very pleased about the partnership with the European Institute of Yacht Design for IMITFair 2014, as we have the mutual goal of bringing together the martime industry, education, culture and media. The interdisciplinary projects, but also the networking in adjecent areas of yacht and shipbuilding of the European Institute of Yacht Design guarantee a stimulating conference presentation and interesting discussions at the fair.“ Moreover, states Lorbeer, IMITFair plans to establish an online industry forum with its partners, like the European Institute of Yacht Design, for the time between the upcoming and subsequent fairs that is intended to become an important forum for debates on innovations and best practices of the industry and its players.

Fabian Lorbeer

Fabian Lorbeer

Ernesto Ortiz Rincon, Strategic Planning Director of the European Institute of Yacht Design, welcomes the engagement of IMITFair to set up an annual industry forum: “It is our goal to shape and promote the discipline of yacht design and its strategic value, to provide support and information, as well as to strenghten the network between industry and academia. At IMITFair we meet representatives from many important international companies, as well as new representatives from small and medium-sized innovation leaders and specialists from adjacent disciplines. This concentration of interesting players in the area of yacht design is unique in this form – we are therefore delighted that with our participation we can support an ongoing and lively discussion in the market.“

Ernesto Ortiz Rincon

Ernesto Ortiz Rincon

IMITFair opens its doors to HanseMesse Rostock, Germany on 14th October. Until 16th October approx. 70 exhibitors present their products and services for interiors of sailing and motor yachts up to cruise ships. At the parallel conference the audience will await 13 presentations from internationally renowned speakers from companies, institutes and universities like Meyer Werft, Pierrejean Design, Doelker+Voges, University of Applied Sciences Wismar, Fraunhofer Institute and European Institute of Yacht Design, among others. 50% of the visitors are expected from Germany and 50% from abroad. The target group are specialist visitors like designers, suppliers, ship builders and ship owners.

HanseMesse in Rostock from above

HanseMesse Rostock from above

Interested companies can still book one of the few exhibition packages. Interested parties should please contact Markus Koch at mkoch@h2vc.de! Members of the European Institute of Yacht Design benefit from an exclusive 30% discount on stand fees. For more information on how to benefit from this offer or on how to become member, please contact info@eiyd.org. For ongoing up to date information on IMITFair interested parties can subscribe to the IMITFair newsletter at info@imit-fair.com.

Growing popularity of Singapore as superyacht hub in Asia

July 23, 2014

In a recent interview with superyacht directory Yachting Pages, Y H Fang, managing director of leading yacht services company Yachting Singapore, explained how the glamorous Singapore yacht charter destination, nestled in Southeast Asia, has seen visits from some of the world’s finest superyachts due to its growing popularity.

Luxury motor yacht anchored in the beautiful Singapore yacht holiday location

Luxury motor yacht anchored in the beautiful Singapore yacht holiday location

Singapore is ever expanding in the world of superyachts and can now offer luxury yachts and their crew, a range of facilities, services and other advantages according to Yachting Singapore.

Fang commented, “Business in Singapore has been growing around 20% annually over the last three years. We have worked on many luxury yachts including charter yacht Cloud 9, charter yacht TV and charter yacht Big Fish providing a range of works including anything from engineering works to carpet cleaning.”

Singapore now boasts a range of high quality refit and repair facilities and can accommodate some of the world’s largest superyachts. There are three marinas in Singapore that are suitable for superyachts: Raffles Marina (RM), One15 Marina Club (One15) and Marina at Keppel Bay (MKB). RM was officially opened in 1994 and prior to that, Singapore only had small yacht clubs, sailing clubs and boatels. One15 and MKB both started in 1997. Since then, the marinas and facilities have continued to expand in order to offer superyachts a high standard of facilities.

A lovely Singapore yacht rental location, nestled in Southeast Asia

A lovely Singapore yacht rental location, nestled in Southeast Asia

Fang explained, “Historically, Singapore has been a transhipment centre with one of the busiest ports in the world. There is a huge workforce involved in the marine sector with a well-established ship building and repair industry. There are at least five medium sized shipyards with docking facility for yachts up to 120m and three well managed marinas for berthing and afloat repairs.

“Regional distribution and service centres for major brands have set up shops here. In addition, Singapore is the regional aviation base with a repair and overhaul facility for helicopters. Parts arriving via sea or air are normally cleared within 48hrs because of the efficient logistic support and clear and concise custom procedure (only liquor, tobacco, motor vehicles and petroleum products are dutiable when importing to Singapore).”

As well as the growing industry and repair facilities, Singapore is also an attractive tourist destination for captains and crew.

Fang commented, “Singapore is a modern city offering a clean, safe environment. There is also full transparency when working with government agencies. Air hub connectivity and budget airlines also mean that crews can visit exotic places like Borobudur in Indonesia and Angkor Wat in Cambodia with less than a three hour flight time. That gives crews plenty to do while in Singapore.”

Fang also explained how Singapore still faces challenges from other destinations, which are perceived to be cheaper than Singapore, “We are still facing the stereotype that the cost of works completed in Singapore is more costly than Thailand and Malaysia alternatives. It’s also a challenge in educating new Asian yacht owners on the operation and maintenance of their new found interests.”

Video: 42m motor yacht THE BIG BLUE in New Zealand

July 23, 2014

NZ Marine has released an amazing video, showing the 42-metre Troy motor yacht The Big Blue (ex Imbros), while cruising the azure waters of the breath-taking New Zealand yacht charter destination. Created with the help of the Destination New Zealand initiative, the video provides an inside look at the adventure that awaits superyacht owners and luxury yacht charterers, when they reach New Zealand shores. With a surprise around every headland, this is one for the wanderers, the explorers and for those who demand more from their leisure time. The video has been created with generous input of the Mayer family – the owners of superyacht The Big Blue – in partnership with Tourism New Zealand.

Team Australia withdraws from 35th America’s Cup

July 22, 2014

The principals of Hamilton Island Yacht Club have sent notification to the America’s Cup organizers of their intention to withdraw Team Australia from the 35th America’s Cup.

© ACEA / Gilles Martin-Raget

© ACEA / Gilles Martin-Raget

“We are very disappointed to be receiving this news,” said Russell Coutts, Director of the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA). “We were excited to have Australia as a challenger and we were also looking forward to the prospect of holding America’s Cup World Series events in Australia. But our focus going forward is with the teams that have already submitted challenges and the teams that have told us of their intent to do so before the entry deadline on August 8th.”

In the meantime, ACEA is continuing its work to select a host venue for the America’s Cup in 2017. The selection process is progressing well with an aim to announce the final venue in October.

Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR), which revealed its America’s Cup team in a gala ceremony in London last month, had this comment: “We remain supportive of the Defender’s continued drive towards a more commercial event format, along with a more sustainable future for this historic trophy. BAR will be bidding to host two America’s Cup World Series events in 2015/16 at our new home in Portsmouth; as a key part of the road to the 35th America’s Cup. While the withdrawal of the Challenger of Record is regrettable, it is also not unusual and we will continue our own preparations for the 35th America’s Cup and look forward to an exciting future.”

METS 2014: Monte Carlo Yachts President Carla Demaria announced as keynote speaker at Breakfast Briefing

July 21, 2014

Amsterdam RAI has announced that Carla Demaria, President of Italian luxury yacht brand Monte Carlo Yachts, will be the keynote speaker at the prominent Breakfast Briefing at METS 2014. As the first woman to make this major address to the global maritime community – a popular feature on the calendar for 27 years – Demaria will share her unique insights gained in a distinguished career in the boatbuilding sector. The Breakfast Briefing and the opening ceremony of METS 2014 that follows will take place in Amsterdam RAI on Tuesday, November 18, 2014.

Carla Demaria

Monte Carlo Yachts President Carla Demaria

Driving force behind Italian luxury yacht brand Monte Carlo Yachts since 2008

Carla Demaria has spent most of her career in the Italian boating sector and has been the driving force behind Italian luxury yacht brand Monte Carlo Yachts since 2008. Born in Turin, she started working in her late father’s company which specialised in industrial soundproofing. In 1986 she joined the Azimut Benetti Group and worked her way up the corporate ladder in the same company for more than 20 years, eventually being appointed President and Managing Director of the Atlantis brand.

Distinguished career in the boatbuilding sector

In 2006 Demaria was given a position on the Board of Directors of UCINA, the Italian Marine Industry Association. Two years later she was appointed Vice-Chairman of UCINA and joined the Beneteau Group to found the Monte Carlo Yachts brand – luxury motoryachts of more than 19 metres in length. The first unit  – the MCY 76 – launched in 2010 and became one of the most award-winning yachts of all time in the pleasure cruising sector. In August 2011, Carla was appointed as a member of Beneteau SA’s Management Board and three months later given the title of General Manager for the Beneteau brand.

METS Breakfast Briefing – Tuesday 18 November

The Breakfast Briefing, co-organised by the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA) will take place  on Tuesday 18 November, 7:30 hours in the Forum of Amsterdam RAI, (entrance E), followed by the DAME Awards presentations. METS exhibitors, press and special VIP guests are invited to attend.

The final day of racing at Panerai British Classic Week 2014

July 21, 2014

The last day of racing at this year’s Panerai British Classic Week could not have been more exciting as the winners of all classes were announced.  The Race Committee sent the yachts on an amazing course that zigzagged around the Central Solent in a moderate southwesterly wind. For some, who were in with a chance of victory, it was tense and exciting competing, while others simply enjoyed the fun of one final sail in the company of their fellow classic yacht enthusiasts.

Panerai Classic Yacht Challenge  2014 Day 6 - Photo by Guido Cantini / seasee.com

Panerai British Classic Week 2014 Day 6 - Photo by Guido Cantini / seasee.com

The results went down to count back in two of the five classes.  Sean McMillan’s Flight of Ufford won the last race in Class 1 by a mere nine seconds from Stephen O”Flaherty’s Soufriere with Michael Hough’s Chloe in third.  Once the discard was taken into account Flight and Soufriere both ended the day on nine points.  Soufriere had four wins to her name compared with Flight of Ufford’s two, making Soufriere the overall winner with Flight second and Chloe third.  Despite the disappointment of loosing by such a close margin Flight of Ufford’s Sean McMillan was nonetheless a very happy man saying; “I have been racing yachts for 40 years and I have never had such an enjoyable regatta as this!”

Class 4 also came down to an extremely close finish on the water and a count back overall.  In race seven Jonathan and Scilla Dyke’s Cereste beat Michael Briggs’ Mikado by forty-one seconds with Robert Veale’s Danegeld in third place.  That put both Cereste and Mikado on 10 points overall and this time the count back decision went to Mikado.  Third place overall went to Danegeld.  “We won it by just nine seconds!” exclaimed a thrilled Michael Briggs as he came in to check the results.  “We’ve done it!  Hurrah!  We’ve been sailing our tails off all week and it’s finally been worth it!” added Mikado crewmember Benjamin Pickersgill.

Panerai British Classic Week 2014 Winner - Photo by Guido Cantini / seasee.com

Panerai British Classic Week 2014 Winner - Photo by Guido Cantini / seasee.com

In Class 2 Esben Poulsson and Ed Duboissailing yacht Firebrand took her third race win of the week, beating Jamie Mattheson’s Opposition with David Murrin’s Cetewayo third.  The win cemented Firebrand’s overall victory in Class 2 by a three-point margin from Opposition, with Cetewayo third by just a single point.  British Classic Yacht Club (BCYC) Commodore David Murrin was philosophical about his third place saying;  “It’s been lovely to be out on the water.  The racing outcome hasn’t been brilliant for us, but everything else has been fantastic.”

Going into the final race Christine and Giovanni Belgrano’s Whooper had already secured the top step of the podium in Class 3, but they sailed once again for the sheer joy of it and added an impressive seventh win to their scorecard. Sam Laidlaw and Rob Gray’s Clarionet and Andy King’s Gluckauf had gone into the day tied on points for second so the outcome of race seven and the introduction of the discard was crucial to both boats.  Clarionet gave their all to take second place in the race, but Gluckauf was hard on her heels finishing third, which meant that overall it was Gluckauf second and Clarionet third.

The 8 Metre result also hung in the balance this morning as Rufus Gilday of Saskia acknowledged; “Last year we had it sewn up at this stage, but this year it’s going right down to the wire.”  In race seven victory went to Christopher Courage’s Helen with Murdoch McKillop’s Saskia second and David Myatt’s Erica third.  Overall Saskia won the 8 Metre Class by two points with Helen second and Athena third by a single point.

Whilst racing is an important part of the regatta, it is not the only focus and the event is as much about celebrating these beautiful historic yachts as it is about the competition.  Maintaining the boats in such wonderful condition is a labour of love for the owners and crews and their role in preserving the boats, many of which have fascinating histories, is vital.

The Panerai British Classic Week Prize Giving Dinner is an opportunity to recognize both the racing victors and to present a number of very special awards, with the overall presentations being made by Amandine Rohmer of Panerai UK.

The Je Ne Sais Quoi Trophy, for the boat with that certain something special as voted for by the competitors, was awarded to James Kelman’s 1947 Henry Dervin designed cutter Croix des Gardes.

The Stiff Drink Trophy, a silver hip flask donated by Spirit Yachts, is awarded to the competitor who, in the opinion of the BCYC Committee, got into the most close shaves and therefore needs a stiff drink.  This year’s winner for a number of close shaves was David Murrin’s Cetewayo, a 1955 Laurent Giles 7/8 fractional sloop.

The Lallow Cup is awarded to the best-presented new entrant and this year went to David Messum’s stunning 1939 HG May designed Berthon 8 Ton Gauntlet, Nausicaa.

There was absolutely no argument about who should win this year’s Seamanship Award donated by Classic Boat.  To thunderous applause, the crew of Spirit 52 Chloe, came to the stage to receive the trophy for their outstanding feat of seamanship in recovering man overboard David Pitman in less three minutes, under sail, in very rough conditions off St Catherine’s Point during the Around the Island Race.

Each of the individual Class winners received not only their trophies but also a Panerai Plate.  And finally and most importantly of all the Panerai British Classic Week Overall Trophy for the best performing yacht in the three combined fleet races (races, 2, 4 and 6), was presented to Christine and Giovanni Belgrano’s Whooper, a 1939 Laurent Giles one off sloop.  Giovanni and Christine invited their entire crew to the stage to share in the adulation of their fellow sailors and to receive their prizes, which included not only the trophy but also a Panerai Instrument.

The regatta concluded with the Parade of Sail past the Royal Yacht Squadron and Cowes Green at 11.00.  Panerai British Classic Week 2015 will take place from 18 to 25 July 2015.

Panerai British Classic Week 2014: Day 5

July 18, 2014

Day 5 of the currently running Panerai British Classic Week 2014 was marked by the Long Inshore race, sponsored by Classic Boat, in association with Wight Vodka. The week has been blessed with truly amazing weather, and on Day 5, the fleet was once again caressed with hot sunshine as well as balmy breezes.

Panerai British Classic Week 2014 Day 5 - Photo by Guido Cantini seasee.com

Panerai British Classic Week 2014 Day 5 - Photo by Guido Cantini/seasee.com

“25 Miles of sheer heaven.” Is how David Orton, owner of the 1963 Illingworth and Primrose designed forty footer St David’s Light, described today’s Panerai British Classic Week Long Inshore race.

At the 08.30 daily briefing the Race Committee had announced a postponement until 12 noon to allow the wind to stabilise, and their timing was spot on with the massed fleet getting underway for race six of the series on time with just a few individual recalls. The whole fleet sailed the same course, which took the yachts out into the Eastern Solent for 25 miles of champagne sailing in a lovely 8-12 knot southeasterly breeze.

Results for both the individual classes and the massed fleet are given for today’s race. In the massed fleet the race winner was Stephen O’Flaherty’s Spirit 54 Soufriere, one of the newest yachts in the regatta, which beat Michael Briggs’ 1904 Fife designed Clyde Linear 30 Rater Mikado, one of the oldest boats in the regatta, by 95 seconds. Third place went to Christine and Giovanni Belgrano’s 1939 Laurent Giles Sloop Whooper with Gluckauf, Andy King’s Rasmussen 30 Square Metre of 1937 fourth.

In the individual class results Soufriere was victorious in Class 1 for the Modern Classics, beating Sean McMillan’s Flight of Ufford and Sandy Fielding’s Strega. With one race left to sail Flight of Ufford now leads Class 1 by a single point from Soufriere, who has a safe ten-point cushion on Michael Hough’s Chloe with Sandy Fielding’s Strega one further point adrift in fourth. Clearly all is still wide-open for this class going into tomorrow’s final race.

As well as finishing second in the combined race, Mikado also won Class 4 where she got the upper hand over Jonathan and Scilla Dyke’s Cereste and Bill Hogg’s Zaleda.   Currently Mikado has a fourteen point overall lead on Cereste in the Class 4 standings; however, once the discard comes into play after tomorrow’s race Cereste will be looking to discard a seventeeth, whilst Mikado’s worst result is a fourth. Provided Mikado finishes in first or second she will claim the regatta but clearly Cereste will do everything she can to ensure she finishes first with Mikado no better than third. The fight for the final podium step in this class is also very tight. N Thompson’s Zahir currently holds third place on forty-four point, with Robert Veale’s Danegeld on forty-five points, David Messum’s Nausicca on forty-eight and David Foster and Ben Gillett’s Leopard on forty nine.

Whooper’s win in Class 3 was her sixth of the regatta and she cannot be beaten tomorrow. In today’s race Andy King’s Gluckauf took second place and Sam Laidlaw and Rob Gray’s Clarionet took third, setting them up for a lovely final day showdown for the Class 3 silver and bronze medals. Clarionet currently has the upper hand with a four-point lead over Gluckauf.

In Class 2 Ebsen Poulsson and Ed Duboissailing yacht Firebrand took her second victory of the regatta with David Murrin’s Cetewayo second and Jamie Matheson’s Opposition third. Overall Firebrand now has Class 2 in the bag with eleven points, but Cetewayo and Opposition go into the final day tied on twenty four points so we have another close finish to look forward to here.

The result of the 8 Metre class was not decided until two protest committee hearings had been completed. Both Helen and Saskia were called OCS on the start line and both insisted they had returned across the line correctly. The protest committee found that Saskia had started correctly but Helen had not – a huge disappointment to Helen’s owner Christopher Courage and his crew who would otherwise have won the race. In reality David Myatt’s Erica claimed her first win of the series with Saskia, owned by Murchoch McKillop, second and Athena, owned by Lord Cork and David Glasgow, third. Going into the final day Saskia leads the 8 Metre Class overall with 13 points, two points ahead of Athena and five points clear of Helen, so another exciting show down is in prospect.

Tomorrow race seven will be sponsored by Sandeman Yacht Company and is scheduled to start from the Royal Yacht Squadron line at Noon. After racing the teams will enjoy the Prize Giving Dinner at Cowes Yacht Haven Events Centre where the class prizes will be awarded and the overall winner of Panerai British Classic Week 2014 will be declared. The regatta will conclude on Saturday 19 July with a Parade of Sail past the Royal Yacht Squadron and Cowes Green at 11.00.

The annual British Marine Federation (BMF) Conference

July 18, 2014

This week saw the British Marine Federation (BMF) host its annual Conference. The theme of the two-day event was ‘How to grow your business’. BMF members, spanning leisure, superyacht as well as small commercial marine sectors gathered to network, share best practice and learn from inspiring experts.


Excellence in the industry was also highlighted with the presentation of the BMF Awards to eight member companies, whilst Captain John Percival was honoured posthumously receiving the Peter Millward Memorial Award. The conference was held in Liverpool as part of the International Festival of Business 2014.

Howard Pridding, BMF Chief Executive said: “Two of the most important requests from members, as seen in the recent member survey, are to provide networking opportunities across the country and advice and support on growing your business.  The BMF Conference delivered both of these.  The speakers this year were fascinating and if we all, the federation included, implement much of the advice we will work towards making the marine industry even more successful and profitable.”

Andrew McMillan, former John Lewis Partnership customer service specialist, was a real inspiration as this year’s keynote speaker and captured the attention of the entire audience.  Using examples from Virgin Airlines, John Lewis, easyjet and First Direct, he talked BMF members through the customer service experience and how to get it right.  Providing tips, insights and simple advice his guidance should prove very effective to those delegates who take his practices back into their own businesses.

Amrit Sandhar from Best Companies was more challenging.  His session was very thought-provoking and challenged the members present to really interrogate their management styles and rate their employee engagement.  ’Thirty million employees in the UK; only 1 in 3 is engaged’ is an alarming statistic and Amrit clearly demonstrated that improving this engagement really will deliver commercial results for businesses.

Dr Simon Gerrard from Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI) talked about the importance of taking part in the on-going Supply Chain Study before Stephen Guy gave members an insight into the Merseyside Maritime Museum, the venue for the conference.  Updates on BMF and boat shows activity were also given, before delegates separated into breakout groups to discuss tourism, superyacht and small commercial issues in more detail.

The conference gave BMF members an ideal chance to meet each other and discuss potential business opportunities.  The black-tie dinner the night before at Liverpool Town Hall provided a relaxed networking opportunity which then helped to bring people together at the conference the following day.