Tomorrow’s the day. On the eve of the fourth edition of the Gstaad Yacht Club Centenary Trophy, more boats keep confirming their participation to the event, that stands out as the true rendez-vous for the oldest yachts of the circuit and will once more be the focal point of classic racing at the Voiles the Saint-Tropez, hosting event of the regatta.
For the fourth consecutive year the Centenary Trophy will gather one hundred years and more old yachts that will compete with an especially created handicap system in a pursuit race, a format that has proved very attractive for the crews and the public, as it is easy to understand and follow with the first boat to cross the line off the St Tropez breakwater to be declared the winner.
Bonafide, Folly, Hispania, Jap, Marigold, Mariquita, Moonbeam IV, Morwenna, NIN, Nan of Fife, Olympian, Oriole, Partridge, Phoebus, Silhouette, Veronique, Viola: yachts that have written important chapters in the history of sailing and will be on the starting blocks tomorrow.
As it is the case of Marigold. “She is one of the few, if not the only, boat that still uses canvas sails and the new owner is determined to maintain her original features that make Marigold a charming centenary.” explains project manager Leonardo García de Vincentiis. “Taking part in the Centenary Trophy was imperative for the new owner. Previous owner, Mr Allan described the event in such enthusiastic terms and asked him to defend the title, or at least try to, given the high level of the competitors! Marigold will race with a brand new crew but the skipper Jason Gouldstone knows the boat by heart, having taken care of her for more than 20 years. We are determined, yet respectful of our rivals and keen to share the passion for these beautiful centenarians, that are true masterpieces.”
Among this year’s “rookies” the schooner Viola that was declared National Historical Monument in 1993.“VIOLA was designed and built in 1908 by William Fife III in his shipyard of Fairlie and she has crossed time through the caring hands of 13 “keepers”, the latest for the past 18 years being our dear friend Yvon Rautureau, who has brought her back here in pristine original condition with a faithful crew of friends and is kindly grooming me to become her 14th keeper.” says owner Kostia Belkin. “VIOLA has participated in the 3 last editions of the Fife regatta in Scotland. It is a great joy to be back in the Mediterranean after 10 years. The unique feeling to sail in the company of so many centenary beautiful yachts, is really thrilling to all of us, and we are of course delighted to participate in the 4th ” Centenary Trophy.” .
But there will be veterans as well. Nan of Fife is joining for the fourth consecutive time, and for a reason as explains her owner Philippe Menhinick: “This will be the seventh event of the season for us, after this regatta the boat will be ashore for the winter, so we have to make the most of it! This event is unique and there is no other place where you could gather so many 100 years old yachts. Long live the Centenary trophy and thank you the Gstaad Yacht Club for organizing it.”
Younger or older they might be, there is no doubt that the stunning centenary yachts will stand out among the fleet in the old port of St Tropez and their racing will be followed closely by sailing aficionados as well as the general public.
“I am happy to see the Centenary Trophy more and more appreciated by the friends of classic yachting and the pursuit format a welcomed new way of sailing the Old Ladies of 100 years and older. Several yachts are joining the regatta for the first time and all the crews on the starting line will honour the partnership and the co-operation between the SNST and the GYC. That is why Commodore André Beaufils of SNST and myself just celebrated with a glass of champagne.” declared Peter Erzberger, Commodore of the Gstaad Yacht Club.
Past winners are Italy’s Five tonner Bonafide (launched 1899) that beat the strong competition in 2011, while in 2012 it was Richard Allan’s fore and aft cutter Marigold (1892). Due to adverse weather conditions the 2013 race could not be sailed and the trophy was not awarded.
The event is organized by The Gstaad Yacht Club in co-operation with the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez.