Yacht Class n°35 (dec 2023/jan-feb 2024)

Yacht Club de Monaco

From September 13th to 16th, around a hundred sailboats, motor yachts and motorboats gathered in the Principality for the 16th Monaco Classic Week.

Written by Aurore Teodoro – Photos : Studio Borlenghi et Mesi / Yacht Club de Monaco

Created in 1994 to mark the 10th anniversary of Prince Albert’s presidency of the Yacht Club de Monaco (YCM), the Monaco Classic Week (MCW) is a tribute to maritime heritage. Every two years since then, the world’s finest sailing and motor yachts are invited to take part in a week-long journey back in time. Here are five things to know.

1. A fine example of the Art de Vivre la Mer

If there is one event that illustrates the motto so dear to the Yacht Club de Monaco, it’s the Classic Week. But what is the Art de Vivre la Mer? First and foremost, it’s a lifestyle, a commitment. “It’s about practising one’s nautical activities in a way that respects both the environment and the playground where one sails, but also the heritage, by maintaining a code of conduct in line with naval etiquette and good seamanship,” explained Fanny Brouchoud, who has been project manager for the MCW for almost three years. Every two years, this Art de Vivre la Mer is honoured, both on the water and on land, by this tribute to the maritime tradition. “The MCW is above all a gathering of enthusiasts. It’s one of the special features of the Monegasque event that welcomes sailboats, traditional ships, motor yachts and motorboats. It brings together, in a festive atmosphere, all those passionate about classic boats and the sea, and also promotes the restoration of vessels and the preservation of our heritage”, explained the project manager.

2. A line-up of exceptional vessels

Each event gathers some of the finest vessels in the maritime heritage. This 16th edition attracted 50 sailing boats, 60 motorboats, 20 dinghy 12′ and 10 motor yachts. Regulars such as the 15 M JI Mariska, The Lady Anne and their sister ship Tuiga, the YCM flagship were present, as well as Créole, winner of the MCW Trophy in 2013. The gaff rigged ketch Black Swan (1899), designed by Charles E. Nicholson and recently restored after being salvaged from a wreck in Italy, and Jap, from the Royal Cork Yacht Club, an institution twinned with the YCM, also attended the event. The MCW also welcomed three boats of the P Class for the first time: Olympian, Chips and Corinthian. “This is an American class that appeals to racers looking for a classic yacht. Sébastien Bazin, Chairman of the Accor Group and also leader of the French challenge for the America’s Cup, was on Corithian”, Fanny Brouchoud explained.
In addition to many interesting motor yachts – the highlights being Stalca that belonged to the princely family and the 1936 Thelas, which won the restoration prize – this 16th edition was marked by a record number of powerboats. Around sixty Riva, Chris Craft and Hacker Craft were anchored at the YCM marina. It was a great tribute to the powerboat races organised in Monaco in the 20th century. There were also some “older boats worth seeing”, such as Scolopendra, a 1903 English boat and sister ship of a winner of the Mediterranean Grand Prix organised in Monaco in 1909. There was also the recently restored Ida (1913) from the Swiss shipyard Mégevet, Wildcat (1929) with its original Rolls Royce engine and Triton, an 1911 steam powerboat. Many Riva were also on display. “We wanted to bring together a large fleet of these boats dear to Prince Rainier III, who had very strong links with Riva,” says Fanny Brouchoud.


3. The quayside and the marina at their best

In the YCM marina, the eyes were inevitably drawn to these magnificent vintage boats. But there was also a village gathering painters, photographers, craftsmen, yacht clubs, shipyards and the Hydravion Club de Monaco. “We had some interesting guests, including Ratsey and Lapthorn that gave a live sailmaking workshop. It’s the oldest sailmaker in the world still in business. It dates back to 1790. Many of the boats in the fleet are equipped with their sails,” Fanny Brouchoud explained. A true ode to the know-how of yesteryear. The MCW also organised a ‘seamanship’ workshop, given by Patrick Moreau, THE specialist in ropes, knots and seamanship. Run by YCM’s La Belle Classe Academy training centre, this special session was open to club’s members and attendees. Heritage was also in the spotlight. This year the YCM – which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year – paid tribute to its founder. On the occasion of the centenary of the birth of Prince Rainier III, it organised an exhibition entitled “The Prince and the Sea”. An exclusive photographic retrospective of some of the beautiful boats owned by a man who loved the sea. Curious visitors were also able to discover the Stalca, a 24-metre motor yacht acquired by the Prince in 1973 and named from the first two letters of each of the Princely couple’s children.

4. A week of competitions at sea and ashore

The MCW is a subtle mix of competitions at sea and on land. If the weather permits, traditional sailing yachts, 15m JI and Dinghy 12′ are scheduled to race every day while the program for the motorboats include a manoeuvrability challenge in Port Hercule. This year, the club also innovated with a treasure hunt between Roquebrune-Cap-Martin and Cap d’Ail “to offer vintage motorboats and motor yachts, an activity that would allow them to explore the area. Everyone had to follow a course with various directions and landmarks, and take a photo to prove they’d found the right spots. It was a great success,” said a satisfied project manager.
In addition to the regattas, there is also a Restoration Prize, the Chefs’ Competition and the Elegance Prize which is awarded to “the most elegant crew, taking into account clothing, the condition of the boat… Normally, it takes the form of a grand parade at the port entrance, but this year, due to the poor sea conditions, the boats stayed at the quay and the jury came to inspect them. Quite a few candidates participated despite the wet conditions”, Fanny Brouchoud noted. Another competition greatly appreciated by the participants, the Chefs’ competition, was full, with “10 places for 10 candidates. A motorboat, the Triton, even set up a kitchen to participate”. Aboard their boat, the Chefs had to produce a starter with lobster and a main course of brill and Riviera vegetables. The 2023 title went to the M/Y Sally, followed by the sailing yacht Barbara of 1923 and Stalca.

5. You can only win the Monaco Classic Week Trophy once

It’s a grail that a boat can only win once. Each year, one participant is awarded the MCW Trophy, based on both the sporting result and the restoration of the boat to its former glory, with special attention paid to the respect of the original plans, the materials used and the expertise of the people who have restored them. “This event is unique 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,” explained British yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, president of the jury who spent the whole week examining each yacht. After Puritan in 2019 and Mariella in 2021, The Lady Anne won this year this prestigious award. Designed and built by the famous naval architect William Fife III in the family shipyard at Fairlie in Scotland, this gaff cutter now belongs to the Botin family “who has been involved in the classic circuit for a very long time”, explained Fanny Brouchoud. The Lady Anne is one of four 15 Metres still sailing today, alongside Mariska, Hispania and Tuiga.


The results

Trophée Monaco Classic Week – Rolex : The Lady Anne (1912)

Prix La Belle Classe Restauration Monaco Marine :
Canot automobile : Scolopendra (1903) et Ida (1913)
Motor-yacht : Thelas (1936)
Coup de Coeur : Black Swan (1899)

Groupe Big Boat :
1- The Lady Anne (Fife 1912)
2- Mariska (Fife 1908)
3- Tuiga (Fife 1909)

Classique Marconi :
1- Chaplin (1974)
2- Argynnes III (1955)

Epoque Marconi :
1- Carron II (1935)
2- Fjord III (1947)
3- Comet (1946)

Epoque Aurique :
1- Corinthian (1911)
2- Chips (1913)
3- Olympian (1913)

Dinghy 12’ :
1- Claudia 3 (2020)
2- Blu Amnesia (2006)
3- Cicci (2000)

Canots automobiles :
Lumaca (1966)
Motor-yachts :
Italica (1964)

Epreuve Elégance :
Voilier de tradition : Oriole (1905)
Motor-yachts : Italica (1964)
Canot Automobile : Albatross (1955)

The current magazine