A total of 130 boats were invited to the 16th Monaco Classic Week-La Belle Classe, a biennial launched in 1994 including around 40 classic sailing yachts, a dozen motor-yachts, 60+ vintage motorboats and 20 of the 12’ Dinghy class. All of them pulled out every stop to seduce the Jury chaired by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and the public who were free to stroll around the village and admire the boats throughout the meeting.
“This event is an integral part of our traditions and values. The boats invited all have their own charm and are already equipped with a certain level of technology from the era when they were built. It is therefore our duty to do everything we can for them so they continue to stand the test of time as befits their original design,” says Yacht Club de Monaco General Secretary, Bernard d’Alessandri.
Tradition in the spotlight
Four days showcasing a certain ‘Art de Vivre la Mer’ alternated nautical challenges, technical inspections for the best restoration, and culinary, artistic and elegance competitions at sea and ashore. The crowds who came to admire the classic boats in the YCM Marina also marvelled at the 1937 BMW 327 coupee on the quay alongside a 1938 R71 BMW, YCM’s official partner, and a fascinating 1947 Riva by Carlo Riva. It all represents a certain lifestyle and glamour that captured the curiosity of visitors and crews alike.
Among highlights of this 16th edition was the presence of the magnificent Elena of London (41.60m), Creole, the 1927 three-mast schooner considered a masterpiece of Charles Nicholson, and Black Swan (33.41m), a 1899 gaff rigged ketch launched 1899, built by Camper & Nicholsons and refitted in 2019. The stunning Atlantic (56.43m) arrived in time to complete this legendary fleet, as this replica of the famous three-mast schooner is celebrating her 120th anniversary.
The Lady Anne garners most votes from the Jury
The big winner of this edition is The Lady Anne (1912), one of the last three 15M IR boats still sailing along with YCM’s flagship Tuiga (1909) and Mariska (1908) who welcomed a delegation from the Manhattan Ycht Club aboard led by its Commodore Michael Fortenbaugh.
Commissioned by George Coats and built in the famous yard of the Fife family in the tiny Scottish village of Fairlie by William Fife III, The Lady Anne sailed with a Bermudan rig until the twenties, then became a ketch used during the Second World War to transport ammunition. After several years in Spain, The Lady Anne was discovered in the Hamble river in England and totally restored by Fairlie Restoration near Southampton. The Monaco Classic Week Trophy not only takes race results into account but the quality of the restoration as assessed by a Jury of experts who are looking at how faithful it is to the original plans, the materials used to build the boat and the knowledge of those who restored them.
“This event is unique in its genre as it brings the most beautiful yachts together in Monaco so the public can see what yachting was like a hundred years ago. If we don’t preserve our history, what do we have left? History can tell us what the future will be like,” says Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, President of the Jury and the first man to sail non-stop solo around the world.
Prince Rainier III exhibition: review of outstanding yachts
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Prince Rainier III who founded Yacht Club de Monaco in 1953, an exclusive exhibition of previously unpublished photos was on display throughout Monaco Classic Week. Entitled ‘The Prince and the Sea’, the retrospective was open to the public and highlighted some of the 15 boats that made up Prince Rainier’s collection that in post-war years gave a new impetus to yachting. YCM President HSH Prince Albert II toured the village on Saturday 16th September, taking time to admire all the boats moored in the YCM Marina and immersing himself in his family’s history going round the exhibition in the YCM’s Meeting Room.
Full speed ahead
The sizeable fleet of around 60 motorboats, their varnish gleaming, set off for a memorable outing at sea, weaving their way through the classic sailing yacht fleet, led by some 30 Rivas with Lia Riva leading the way in the Aquarama Lipicar. “There is an old and strong bond between Riva and Monaco,” commented the daughter of Carlo Riva, the Ingegnere di Sarnico, “since my father arrived here and with Prince Rainier decided to dig a tunnel into the Rocher and build floating pontoons for Port Hercule’s magnificent bay”.
The motorboats also enjoyed an unusual treasure hunt between Roquebrune-Cap-Martin and Cap d’Ail. Armed with a marine chart, they had to position themselves at particular points on the headlands transmitted by the organisation and take a photo to prove they’d found the right spots. A dozen vintage motor-yachts were also invited to take part in this new initiative.
Elegance takes centre stage
Elegance took centre stage on the last day of Monaco Classic Week for the Elegance Contest with a jury chaired by Allegra Gucci. Classic sailing yachts, motorboats and motor-yachts spruced up to be scrutinised by the Jury. “These magnificent boats are the result of their owner’s passion and it’s as if we are perpetuating a heritage,” said Allegra Gucci, who owns Creole. The Jury assessed them for etiquette, style, and a certain respect for living well and conduct at sea. In partnership with BMW, the elegance prizes were awarded to: Sailing yachts – Oriole (1905); Motor-yachts – Italica (1964); Motorboats: Albatross (1955).
Chefs Competition: Sally charms the tastebuds
Many crews and owners entered the Chefs Competition. All were given the same basket of mystery ingredients and had several hours to prepare a starter based on rock lobster and main dish of brill and Riviera vegetables, the whole enlivened by Moët Impérial Brut Champagne. The motor-yacht Sally emerged the winner, followed by vintage yacht Barbara of 1923 then Stalca, a motor-yacht that once belonged to Prince Rainier III and named based on the first two letters of his three children’s first names.
Supervised by Simon Ganache (Events Chef at YCM), this year’s Jury was chaired by Philippe Joannes, Meilleur Ouvrier de France and three Michelin stars alongside Joël Garault, head of the Monaco Goûts et Saveurs association, Christian Garcia, Chef at the Palace and Frédéric Ramos, Executive Chef at the Novotel Monte-Carlo. As the art of presentation and service is also being judged, the contest echoes courses run by YCM’s La Belle Classe training centre. Next year on 4th April 2024 it will be the turn of superyacht chefs to put on a show at the annual Superyacht Chef Competition.
After a week immersed in maritime heritage, Yacht Club de Monaco turns to the future of yachting on 24th and 25th September at the 3rd Monaco Smart & Sustainable Marina Rendezvous organised by Monaco Marina Management with the aim to encourage design and development of virtuous marinas in relation to the whole ecosystem and sustainability.
Prizes and Trophies
Monaco Classic Week Trophy – Rolex: The Lady Anne (1912)
La Belle Classe Restoration Trophy – Monaco Marine:
Motorboats: Scolopendra (1903) and Ida (1913)
Motor-yachts: Thelas (1936)
Coup de Coeur: Black Swan (1899)
Big Boat Group:
1-The Lady Anne (Fife 1912)
2-Mariska (Fife 1908)
3-Tuiga (Fife 1909)
2-Argynnes III (1955)
1-Carron II (1935)
2-Fjord III (1947)
12’ Dinghy Class:
1-Claudia 3 (2020)
2-Blu Amnesia (2006)
Sailing yachts: Oriole (1905)
Motor-yachts: Italica (1964)
Motorboats: Albatross (1955)
(16th Monaco Classic Week-La Belle Classe – Brachemagazine.com – Settembre 2023)