Bequia - Candy Store Cup 2017 Overall and Class B winner (Photo © George Bekris)

Bequia – Candy Store Cup 2017 Overall and Class B winner (Photo © George Bekris)


 NEWPORT, R.I. (July 31, 2017) – Sailors couldn’t have asked for a sweeter experience at the 2017 Candy Store Cup Superyacht Edition. The event showcased some of the world’s most spectacular and technologically sophisticated luxury sailing yachts racing off Newport, R.I. on Thursday through Saturday (July 27-29) and provided three days of wildly varied conditions, courtesy of Mother Nature, as well as a full slate of colorful social events, courtesy of co-hosts Bannister’s Wharf and Newport Shipyard, the latter of which was headquarters for the event and home to most of the fleet while not racing.


At Saturday night’s prize giving at a Newport estate on Ocean Drive, the 92-foot yawl Bequia was declared overall winner and awarded the silver Candy Store Cup Trophy in addition to its Class B victory prize of a glass vase filled with penny candy. Until then, no one was quite sure who would take the overall honors, due to the close racing that had taken place over three races, held one-per-day and covering from 12 to 26 miles each.



Thursday, in a 23.7-mile race that started off Castle Hill and featured Brenton Point and the Cliff Walk as scenic backdrops, the enormous superyachts struck imposing silhouettes against an overcast sky that every so often allowed the sun to peek through. The mid-range southwesterly winds allowed Bequia to set the pace with a 58-second win over Freya at the finish line, which was set just off Fort Adams as a “first” for the regatta, which debuted last year as a combination of two individual regattas previously known as Newport Bucket Regatta and Candy Store Cup.


Freya (Photo © George Bekris)

Freya (Photo © George Bekris)

When the wind switched to an ever-so-light northerly on Friday, Freya returned the favor by beating Bequia by a mere 43 seconds at the traditional finish line off Castle Hill. With the two boats now tied, it meant that Class B’s winner would be determined with Saturday’s final race. This was the case, also, in Class A, where Action and Sunleigh had three and four overall points, respectively, and Class C, where MeteorWhitehawk and Naema were tied with four points each.

Sunleigh (Photo © George Bekris)

Sunleigh (Photo © George Bekris)


On Saturday, a dogs-off-chains nor’easter demanded that the Candy Store Cup winners be especially deserving…and they were. Bequia handled the 25 knots like it was 15 and won the race after Freya was forced to retire with a split mainsail.



“We had a wonderful week sailing against Freya,” said Bequia‘s tactician Tom Whidden at the awards party. “We’re quite different boats, but obviously the handicap rule is doing a good job, and we had some really close racing. We felt badly they had a breakdown on the last day; we were looking forward to seeing how we’d do, and I think we would have been very close.”

Ranger (Photo © George Bekris)

Ranger (Photo © George Bekris)

Bequia‘s overall victory was contingent first on class victory, next by lowest point score among class victors (Action and Bequia both had four points each), and then by traditional sailing tiebreaker rules, but when the latter failed to clarify the winner, the race committee deferred to the regatta provision of “starting prowess” as the final determinant. That trait, it turns out, the extraordinarily well-sailed Bequia possessed in spades.

Meteor (Photo © George Bekris)

“How spectacular to have a medium-air, a light-air and a heavy-air race,” said Whidden, noting that despite the whipped-up seas on Saturday, the course allowed them to sail in relatively flat water. “They couldn’t have planned it better.”

Dan Meyers, the Newport/Boston resident who won Class C, skippering his 170′ schooner Meteor to finish positions of 1-3-1, agreed: “The first day was a perfectly moderate day, so nobody could complain. Friday, much to our detriment, it was light and a struggle for us but kind of fun to try to keep Meteor going on the track. And Saturday was full-on. A kite up in 30 knots keeps your attention, but it was fun. We had it all!
Wild Horses (Photo © George Bekris )

Wild Horses (Photo © George Bekris )

“This is different than any other superyacht regatta in the world,” added Meyers. “It’s run by a team of people who know how this is supposed to go; the courses were really well conceived, the classes were really well conceived…They made everything better: the social events are better, the racing is better, the new Thursday-through-Saturday format is better. It’s more fun…more friendly, but they don’t sacrifice on the sailing.”

NAEMA G Schooner (Photo © George Bekris)

NAEMA G Schooner (Photo © George Bekris)


Ian Walker, tactician aboard Class A winner Action, a 121′ sloop, said that for a boat that was built for cruising, Action was raced pretty hard. Action had to beat Sunleigh on Saturday to win, but Sunleigh chose not to sail in the conditions. Ranger had a problem with its mast track and had to retire, leaving Action as the default winner.

“I’ve really enjoyed this regatta,” said Walker. “I love that the boats are so close together on the docks here; it’s well supported by sponsors; there is lots of hospitality in a relaxed atmosphere; and obviously Newport is a beautiful place to be this time of year. You couldn’t wish for a better superyacht regatta, and in a way the fact that the Candy Store Cup is smaller and more intimate is its unique selling point.”

Shore-side parties included an owner’s dinner at the famous Clarke Cooke House on Bannister’s Wharf; a “yacht hop” on Friday at the Shipyard where hundreds of sailors milled around the M. GEMI pop-up store selling Italian leather shoes and sharing gelato in addition to a food truck that provided a hearty dinner for the hungry sailors.

Candy Store Cup headquarters ( Photo © Robert W. Kranz )

Candy Store Cup headquarters ( Photo © Robert W. Kranz )



Saturday’s prize giving hosted 400 people who got their last thrills of the regatta dancing to an Eagles cover band that could have easily been mistaken for the real thing.

Royal Huisman, Perini Navi, Vitters and Rybovich, which are major players in the superyacht industry and were all stewards of the Newport Bucket, are presenting partners of the Candy Store Cup. Supporting partners of the event are KVH Industries, North Sails, Sentient Jet, Southern Spars / Future Fibres, Willis Towers Watson, The Marshall Islands Registry, and M. Gemi.

Candy Store Cup Newport Results  
July 27-29, 2017

Class A Winner - Action at start crossing the start line Thursday's race. ( Photo © George Bekris )

Class A Winner – Action at start line Thursday’s race. ( Photo © George Bekris )

Class A
1. ACTION, 121′ (37m) Royal Huisman/Dykstra Sloop, 1-2-1, 4
2. SUNLEIGH, 105′ (32m) Jongert/Tony Castro Sloop, 3-1-4/DNS, 8
3. RANGER, 138′ (42m) Danish Yachts/S&S Dykstra Sloop, 2-3-4/RET, 9
Class B Winner - Bequia at race start on Thursday ( Photo © George Bekris )

Class B Winner – Bequia at race start on Thursday ( Photo © George Bekris )

Class B
1. BEQUIA, 92′ (28m) Brooklin Boat Yard/Stephens Yawl, 1-2-1, 4
2. FREYA, 88′ (27m) Nautor’s Swan/Frers Sloop, 2-1-5/RET, 8
3. WILD HORSES, 75′ (23m) W-Class Yachts/White, 3-3-2, 8
4. AUDREY II, 89′ (27m) Jongert Ketch, 4-4-5/RET, 13
Class C Winner - Meteor at the Breakers ( Photo © George Bekris )

Class C Winner – Meteor at the Breakers ( Photo © George Bekris )

Class C
1. METEOR, 170′ (52m) Royal Huisman/Dykstra Schooner, 1-3-1, 5
2. WHITEHAWK, 104′ (32m) Lie-Nielsen/Bruce King Ketch, 2-2-2, 6
3. NAEMA, 118′ (42m) Graafship/Hodgdon Yachts G Schooner, 3-1-4, 8
4. ZENJI, 184′ (56m) Perini Navi/Ron Holland 4-4-3, 11

More George Bekris Candy Store Cup Photos

More photos will be added to the gallery in coming week.

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George Bekris Photography

Meteor © George Bekris

For the second year running, the Candy Store Cup Superyacht Edition will showcase some of the world’s most spectacular yachts racing in a regatta designed specifically for them. The event, scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, July 27-29, is organized and hosted by Newport Shipyard and Bannister’s Wharf, which partnered last year to consolidate the Newport Bucket and Candy Store Cup regattas.

The largest yacht entered thus far is the 184’ (56m) Perini Navi ketch Zenji, which will join the other entries at Newport Shipyard’s newly expanded docks alongside dozens of other megayachts, both sail and power. The working shipyard has become the epicenter of the megayacht industry in New England and is uniquely positioned on the Newport waterfront to allow the public to view the yachts that are berthed there.


The Candy Store Cup is all about sportsmanship and camaraderie, as the pristine superyachts must race to rules specially formulated to keep them safe distances from each other. The format calls for pursuit-style (staggered start) racing on Rhode Island Sound, with one race planned for each of the three days, leaving plenty of time in the afternoons and evenings for socializing. Racing begins at 1 p.m. off Castle Hill and will provide a stunning visual for those watching from vantage points along the shore of Narragansett Bay’s East Passage, south of the Pell Bridge. The Candy Store Cup Party and Awards are on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Royal HuismanPerini NaviVitters and Rybovich, which are major players in the superyacht industry and were all stewards of the Newport Bucket, are presenting partners of the Candy Store Cup Newport. Supporting partners of the event are KVHNorth SailsSentient JetSouthern Spars / Future FibresWillis Towers WatsonThe Marshall Islands Registry, and M. Gemi.

Newport Shipyard, one of the most popular and recommended shipyards in the U.S., is a full-service marina and shipyard with over 3,500 linear feet of dock space that can accommodate yachts up to 300+ feet. Its amenities include a dockside café, ship store, fitness center, courtesy vehicles and crew housing. Bannister’s Wharf, founder of the original Candy Store Cup in 1977, is situated in downtown Newport and attracts visitors and locals alike with 20 shops and galleries that offer a diverse selection of life’s niceties. The social center of the Wharf is the Clarke Cooke House, home of the original Candy Store Cup.




Action – Sloop – 37m – Royal Huisman – Dykstra
Ranger (J) – Sloop – 42m – Danish Yacht – S&S / Dykstra NA
Sunleigh – Sloop – 32m – Jongert – Tony Castro


Audrey II – Ketch – 27m – Jongert – Jongert
Bequia – Yawl – 28m – Brooklin Boat Yard – Stephens
Freya – Sloop – 27m – Nautor’s Swan – Frers
Wild Horses – Sloop – 23m – W-Class™ Yachts – White


Meteor – Schooner – 52m – Royal Huisman – Dykstra NA
Naema – 42m – G Schooner – Graafship – Hodgdon Yachts
Whitehawk – 32m – Ketch – Lie-Nielsen – Bruce King
Zenji – Ketch – 56m – Perini-Navi – Ron Holland


Newport Shipyard Candy Store Cup aerial view ( Photo © Billy Black )





Despite the physically demanding first few days of race the crews of the Panerai Transat Classique 2015 are continuing to push their “old ladies” as hard as they can. With such a marked contrast in the strategies chosen by the competitors, we can expect changes in the trade winds occurring in the next few days to upset the established order.

A record! Clocking up 273 nautical miles in twenty-four hours (an average of 11.4 knots), Altair has broken her previous best of 260 miles in one day. Not only that, the big schooner has covered 1,000 nautical miles in the first four days of the race (an average of 10.4 knots), thus achieving the goal Captain Stephane Benfield set for his antique vessel in the days leading up to the Panerai Transat Classiqe 2015. Surely William Fife III, the genius Scottish yacht designer, would be delighted to discover that one of his creations has performed so well eighty-four years after her launch. And positively proud after learning that another of his designs, Adventuress, the doyenne of the fleet dating from 1924, is currently leading the pack with a few minutes’ advantage over Altair. Prior to the race, pundits expected a duel between the “dragons” (nickname derived from the motifs carved into the bows of every Fife) and they haven’t been disappointed.

“We won’t give an inch”

Faced with such juggernauts, the other yachts in the race will have to redouble their efforts if they want to be in with a chance of a place on the podium… and that’s exactly what they are doing. The symbolic threshold of 200 miles per day has been exceeded by more than half the fleet, averaging eight knots, sometimes nine, day after day. And to those who thought the crews wouldn’t dare push their “old ladies” to the limit, just take a look at the figures and you’ll be convinced otherwise. Vagabundo II and Desiderata are hanging in there and their perseverance is paying off with a respectable 5th and 7th place in corrected time respectively, and with only a few hours behind the leaders. Argyll, the Stephens design from 1948, has swiped 3rd place from Gweneven with a lead of twenty small minutes, and the elegant Mylne plan from 1930, The Blue Peter, is consistently logging 200 nautical miles per day.

Messages received from the boats attest to the single-minded determination of every watch to push its sailing thoroughbred harder than the next. For example, here’s what Oren Nataf aboard Gweneven, the smallest vessel in the fleet, had to write earlier in the day: “We’ve been sailing side by side with Corto since sun up. She’s slightly faster than us but we’re a determined bunch and won’t give an inch. They’ve just put their big kite back in the locker whereas we’re still flying ours in twenty-six knots of wind. Lucas, Gildas and Clément have been at the helm and took advantage of the darkness to gain a few miles. We’re in the heat of the battle and overtook Desiderata yesterday, calling her up on the VHF as we passed. This isn’t a cruise and Gildas [Ed: sailed in several Figaros, winning some legs] has been baring his teeth…

Corto flashed at 16.6 knots!

They’re just as motivated aboard Faïaoahé, even if they ease off the throttle at night: “We start the night with three reefs in our mainsail and the yankee. Sky’s looking black, wind steady at 25 knots, gusting 30-35 in the squalls. The forecast thinks there might be 40 knots tonight. So we’re being careful. And even with this sail plan we’re clocking up 8 to 10 knots with ease. We’re seeing less of the moon as the days pass. It’s a shame, because the recent moonlit nights were splendid.” Keeping more or less shtum since the start, Corto’s crew has been knuckling down to the job of racing. Bruno Jourdren, Sonar world champion in 2013 and 2014, silver medallist in the Beijing Paralympics and winner of the 1998 Transat Ag2r, is optimistic but remains lucid: “All’s well out here after three days of very lively conditions, as you might have guessed. We decided to take things easy in light of the forecast and the expected sea state. We’ve had a few setbacks but nothing serious. The boat is once again 100 % operational. We’re currently flying the kite in a wind varying between 20 and 27 knots. Perfect conditions! She’s sliding along at 9 to 12 knots, sometimes faster. Corto’s record was beaten two days ago by Malik with a brief 16.6 knots. Everybody on board has found their feet. We are now in full racing mode! By the sounds of it we’re better off at sea at the moment. All the best, the crew of Corto.”

For Amazon the northern route continues to pay dividends and the big Stephens yawl is determined to catch up with Altair, sailing much further to the south, to claim back the lead in real time. With such hugely different routes, every change in the conditions has the potential to cause an upset on the race board. So far the big girls have been benefitting from the strong winds but the latest forecast suggests the trades might have a change of heart and cast a favourable gaze upon the smaller vessels in the race. So what are the trade winds going to do? If they ease off, expect the lighter yachts to play catch-up with their larger and heavier counterparts. This year’s Panerai Transat Classique is full of surprises and there will be more to come. Count on it!



Rk Boat Position Depuis 4 heures Depuis 24 heures DTF
Heure UT Position Cap Vites VMG Cap Vitesse VMG Distane
1 Altair Goélette aurique / gaff schooner 1931 • 40.78m • bois / wood 18:40 UTC-20mi 22°04.89’N34°08.28’W 264 10.9 10.9 270 11.2 10.9 266.75 1611.3 nm0.0 nm
2 Amazon Yawl 1971 • 22.25m • Acier / steel 17:54 UTC-66mi 25°24.64’N33°00.85’W 258 8.8 8.8 258 8.7 8.7 208.93 1722.6 nm111.3 nm
3 Adventuress goélette aurique / gaff schooner 1924 • 31.10m • Bois / wood 18:18 UTC-42 23°33.49’N32°22.08’W 261 9.6 9.6 265 9.5 9.4 226.04 1726.7 nm115.4 nm
4 Faiaoahe Sloop 2006 • 20.14m • Aluminium 19:00 UTC 26°35.10’N32°21.14’W 265 8.2 8.0 261 8.2 8.1 197.69 1778.6 nm167.3 nm
5 Argyll Yawl 1948 • 17.50 • Bois / Wood 18:35 UTC-25min 23°27.22’N30°51.29’W 255 9.0 9.0 258 8.5 8.5 203.45 1806.5 nm195.2 nm
6 The Blue Peter Cotre bermudien / Bermuda cutter 1930 • 19.65m • Bois / Wood 19:04 UTC4min 22°13.80’N30°28.31’W 263 9.0 9.0 262 8.8 8.8 211.73 1813.1 nm201.8 nm
7 Corto Sloop bermudien / Bermuda sloop 1970 • 13.00m • GRP 18:57 UTC-3min 22°59.13’N30°02.16’W 254 8.7 8.7 252 8.2 8.1 195.87 1845.1 nm233.7 nm
8 Gweneven Sloop 1975 • 11.60m • Polyester 19:00 UTC 22°58.07’N30°00.73’W 252 8.1 8.1 252 8.3 8.2 198.05 1846.2 nm234.8 nm
9 Vagabundo II ketch bermudien / Bermuda ketch 1945 • 13.50m • Bois / Wood 17:51 UTC-69min 25°03.33’N29°52.69’W 256 7.4 7.4 259 7.7 7.7 184.33 1880.6 nm269.3 nm
10 Desiderata Ketch 1975 • 20.12m 17:53 UTC-67min 23°07.19’N29°14.06’W 250 7.2 7.1 251 7.6 7.5 180.63 1890.1 nm278.8 nm