Panerai`s epic classic yacht race world tour has just completed its Naples leg for the first time in its nine-year history. Following on from Les Voiles d`Antibes on the CÇ¶ïte d`Azur and the Argentario Sailing Week at Porto Santo Stefano (Italy), the third round of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge coincided with the 10th edition of Le Vele d`Epoca a Napoli between June 27th and 30th.
Le Vele d`Epoca a Napoli is organised in Naples by the prestigious Reale Yacht Club Canottieri Savoia, which was founded 120 years ago and is renowned for the many heads of state, prime ministers, ambassadors, stars of stage and screen, and leading cultural figures it has attracted to its ranks in its long history. A fleet of around 40 Vintage (launched before 1950), Classic (launched between 1950 and 1975) and Spirit of Tradition (recently built but inspired by the lines and designs of the past) craft converged on the city`s Santa Lucia quay.
All of the scheduled races were held in the Bay of Naples and were watched from the city waterfront with Mount
Vesuvius providing a magnificent backdrop to the east. The glorious fleet battled for a plethora of trophies and prizes, the most coveted of which are the watches put up by Officine Panerai for the overall winners of the different classes.
With a total of 34 yachts competing in all four races with winds of around 10-12 knots, the two big event winners were Sirius (1937) in the Vintage category (yachts launched pre-1950) and Bufeo Blanco in the Classic (yachts launched between 1950 and 1976). Both took home an Officine Panerai watch as their prize.
Built in the USA to a design by the legendary Sparkman & Stephens, Sirius is a New York 32, a class penned in the 1930s as the official boat of the New York Yacht Club. Bufeo Blanco, on the other hand, is a Bermudan cutter designed and built in Liguria (Italy) in 1963 by Sangermani.
The other winning yachts in the various sub-categories in Le Vele d`Epoca a Napoli were: Manitou, the 1937 yawl on which President J.F. Kennedy did his sailing in the 1950s and 60s, in the Vintage Yacht with Seconds Per Mile over 15; the 1965 Chin Blu III in the Classic Yachts with Spm (Seconds per mile) under 15 and, lastly, Stella Polare, the Italian Navy`s historic yawl, also built in 1965, which took first place in the Classic Yachts with Spm over 15. Victory in Friday`s long race also won Stella Polare the Admiral Angelo Lattarulo Trophy, named in honour of a very active supporter and frequenter of classic sailing regattas.
Eilean, the Officine Panerai`s 1936 two-masted brand ambassador which was flying the burgee of the Reale Yacht Club Canottieri Savoia for the occasion, not only finished second in her class but also took the Naval Parade prize, while the 1911 gaff cutter Mariquita won the prize for the longest yacht entered (31 metres). The 1936 International 12-Metre Class Vanity V was awarded the Marina Yachting Prix d`Elegance.
The third edition of the Coppa d`Oro Eduardo Pepe (named in honour of the former president of the Yacht Club Canottieri Savoia) also took place during the Vele d`Epoca a Napoli.
Reserved for Dragons, a class of elegant nine-metre keelboats designed in Norway in 1929, and held on a separate course, the competition spanned a total of eight races with the 1963 Dragon Buriana easily holding sway over the rest of the fleet to take a very well deserved victory in her 50th year. Burania was followed in the rankings by Tergeste (1950) and Ausonia (1948), the first Dragon to be built in Italy and recently sent for restoration by Pippo Dalla Vecchia, current president of the Reale Yacht Club Canottieri Savoia.
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