36th Annual Museum of Yachting Classic Yacht Regatta by Panerai

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IYRS and Museum of Yachting 36th Annual Classic Yacht Regatta, NY 12 “Rowdy” passes behind the Committee boat “Carinia” (Photo by George Bekris)

Panerai North American President Rafael Alvarez and a host of others awarded the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge North American Circuit’s top classic racing prizes this past weekend, as well as naming the Best Overall Winner for the Museum of Yachting (MoY) 36th Annual Classic Yacht Regatta. The two day regatta took place September 5th – 6th in America’s famed racing capitol Newport, RI. Fifty-two classic sailing vessels entered the final segment of the sixth annual Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge (PCYC) North American Circuit; of which nearly 20 were eligible to win the Panerai Circuit Prizes, having competed in their respective classes in two of the three Regattas and participated in a minimum of three of the five Circuit racing days.

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The North American Circuit of the PCYC is comprised of the Corinthian Classic Yacht Regatta (held August 8th – 9th in Marblehead, MA), the Opera House Cup (held August 16th in Nantucket, MA) and culminates with the MoY Classic Yacht Regatta, which is held annually over Labor Day weekend at historic Fort Adams State Park. While the PCYC North American Circuit is celebrating six years of spirited competition under Panerai’s sponsorship, it has been 11 years since Officine Panerai, the Italian high-end watch brand, first launched their global classic yachting regatta series in 2005 and 10 years since they began hosting some of the country’s most prestigious classic yachting events in ports around New England.

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The MoY Classic Yacht Regatta Race

Saturday brought pleasant temperatures, blue skies and plenty of sunshine with early afternoon winds light out of the north at 5 knots, which delayed the race start by over two hours. While the Race Committee determined which wind direction would win out, a situation Newport sailors are accustomed to, the captains and crews patiently waited for the winds to increasingly blow from the south northward. The competitors got their wish when just after 2 p.m. the Race Committee, under the stewardship of Organizing Authority Sail Newport, announced a shortened 5.5 mile course to the north and started the race, allowing the sailors to have an afternoon of competition on Narragansett Bay before they returned to Fort Adams State Park and the Panerai Hospitality Lounge for the annual MoY CYR Cocktail Party.

"When And If" (Photo by George Bekris)

“When And If” (Photo by George Bekris)

Sunday’s more robust winds out of the southwest reached upwards of 18 knots and created perfect conditions for the entire fleet, which chartered an almost 20 mile course from the middle of Narragansett Bay, south to Rhode Island Sound and then north to circumnavigate Conanicut Island and round the island’s northern tip. The fleet finally returned south under the Newport-Pell Bridge toward Newport Harbor, followed by dozens of spectator boats cheering them on.

"The Blue Peter and "Rugosa" (Photo by George Bekris)

“The Blue Peter and “Rugosa” (Photo by George Bekris)

Prior to the race start on Sunday morning, many of the participating yachts took part in the Newport tradition of proudly hoisting their yacht club pennants and PCYC flags to circle Newport’s inner harbour for the Annual Classic Yacht Parade. From land and sea, spectators could appreciate the beauty and spirit of the wide range of classic boats, from grande dame yachts (one of which boasted a crew serenading spectators with a jolly rendition of “You Are My Sunshine”), to classic motor yachts, and a small Bantry Bay gig enthusiastically crewed by 12 uniformed rowers.

"Angelita" passes the New York Yacht Club during the parade prior to race start. (Photo by George Bekris)

“Angelita” passes the New York Yacht Club during the parade prior to race start. (Photo by George Bekris)

The MoY Prize Giving Ceremony and Special Mentions

Ahead of the MoY Regatta Dinner and the evening’s finale presentation of the Panerai North American Circuit Awards, members of the Board of Trustees representing IYRS School of Technology & Trades/Museum of Yachting presented dozens of awards recognizing spirit and classic yachting design. Of special note, MINK, a 32′ Buzzards Bay 1925 (1914), was recognized as the winner of the Tom Benson Award for Restoration, in addition to winning best performance within the Herreshoff-designed fleet and best performance of a gaff-rigged vessel.

The famous Clingstone Cannon – the award for “Best Corinthian Spirit” – was fired off for SUMMER WIND, a 37′ Carriacou Sloop Day Racer and its skipper Dennis Dowling and crew.

PCYC Regatta Committee Chair Bill Doyle took the podium midway through the dinner to pay a tribute to recently passed Newport classic sailing enthusiasts and visionaries Jack Brown and Jim Cassidy and to begin announcing the Panerai Awards.

"Valiant" US 24 (Photo by George Bekris)

“Valiant” US 24 (Photo by George Bekris)

The Official Panerai Prize-Winners

Mr. Doyle explained the distinction between the “starting classes” and the “scoring classes” and proceeded to announce that this year the Panerai 1st Place Class Winners would receive a beautifully engraved Silver Plate, presented by Mr. Alvarez, in addition to the traditional trophy winners for the Best Overall in the Vintage and Grand Prix Divisions.

For Best Overall Performance in the MoY Classic Yacht Regatta, Rafael Alvarez presented a Radiomir 1940 3 Days Acciaio – 47mm (PAM00514) to Newporter George Hill of WEATHERLY. The celebrated 12-Metre was the only boat to have won the America’s Cup on its second attempt, after losing to COLUMBIA in the 1958 Defender trials. Mr. Hill, who rescued and restored the racing yacht, was stunned and delighted to accept the Panerai top prize for his yacht’s performance.

Nashua, Dagger and Galavant (Photo by George Bekris)

Nashua, Dagger and Galavant (Photo by George Bekris)

Walking away with the replica Vintage Class trophy was SIREN and DAGGER took home the Grand Prix Class trophy for the Circuit. The perpetual trophies will be engraved with the winning boats’ names and placed on display at the Museum of Yachting at IYRS until next year’s competition.

PCYC NA Circuit Division Class Winners:

Grand Prix Class
Day Racer – DAGGER – A 35′ Hunt International 225 (1940), skippered by Ted Boynton
Yacht – NASHUA – A 47′ W-46, skippered by Wendy Schmidt

Vintage Class
Day Racer – ADAMANT – A 24′ Adams Interclub (1937) skippered by Mark Pincus
Corinthian Classic – SIREN – A 45′ S&S designed NY-32 skippered by Peter Cassidy
Grand Classic – WEATHERLY – A 1962 America’s Cup defender 12-Metre (1958) that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places; owned and skippered by George Hill

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Among the fleet competing for the Vintage Class prizes were three 1905 Herreshoff NY-30s, as well as their successors, the NY-32 fleet designed by esteemed naval architects Sparkman and Stephens, of which SIREN was a part of this special reunion of New York Yacht Club classic yacht racers.

Among the many noteworthy competitors, a few stand outs which competed in multiple regattas comprising the 2015 PCYC North American Circuit, included WHEN AND IF, THE BLUE PETER, GALAVANT, TICONDEROGA and BLACK WATCH.

"When And If" (Photo by George Bekris)

“When And If” (Photo by George Bekris)

Panerai and Healing Sails

Panerai has dedicated at least one day of classic sailing, before or after each regatta during the PCYC North American Circuit, to sponsoring patient and caregiver sails for the community residents who live in the vicinity of the racing. Again this year, Panerai partnered with Sailing Heals, a Massachusetts-based non-profit sailing organization, along with their dedicated Host Captains to host more than 20 local ‘VIP Guests’ for a beautiful Italian-inspired lunch followed by a rejuvenating sail on five separate classic boating vessels: THE BLUE PETER, WILD HORSES, WINDIGO, GALAVANT and TOBIAS on beautiful Narragansett Bay.

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