From September 25th to October 1st 2005, Cannes hosts the Régates Royales, the penultimate stage in the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge.
The Société des Régates de Cannes was founded in 1859 and organised the Mediterranean’s first ever regatta for large sailing boats in 1863. In 1894, the reigning champion, the Prince of Wales’ yacht Britannia, was beaten by Barclay Walker’s Ailsa in front of crowds of spectators lining the bay. This marked the beginning of the legendary reputation of the Cannes regattas, which continued to draw the world’s finest sailing boats. In 1929, the “Régates Royales” were founded in honour of King Christian the 10th of Denmark, adding a week of internationally acclaimed regattas to the official circuit.
The “Régates Royales” were resurrected in 1978 by Jean-Pierre Odéro, an official in charge of yachting at the Cannes city hall. The original rules of the 1930s restricted the event to International Rule yachts only, but in 1994 it was opened to classic yachts, which have attended in ever-greater numbers since then. This year’s Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge began in mid-June and reaches Cannes on September 25th until October 1st. Visitors will enjoy the impressive sight of the fleet moored in the old port and competing in the bay. Representing all the various yachting eras, these legendary sailing boats will race between Cannes, the Lérins Islands and the Esterel coast, offering an unforgettable week for the crowds.
Over 200 sailing boats are expected to compete in this legendary event, including Mariquita (1911), winner of this year’s Monaco Classic Week. This magnificent 19-metre gaff rigged racing yacht is said to be the great William Fife’s finest design ever. After his 15-metre IR Tuiga designed in 1909, William Fife III decided to produce a cruising version in 1928, giving rise to Hallowe’en (a Marconi class now based in Saint Tropez), Lelantina and Moonbeam III.
Before returning to their home ports, all these magnificent sailing yachts will gather in Cannes to fight out the final stage of the Panerai Classic Yacht Challenge.