A memorable inauguration ceremony
It was a truly emotional experience and I felt goose bumps when we stepped on the red carpet of the new home of the Yacht Club last Saturday, at the sound of the drums that cheerfully welcomed the guests. We were warmly greeted by Bernard D’Alessandri YCM’s skipper extraordinaire, surrounded by the smiling club ambassadors beautifully dressed in white and Panama hats. We then proceeded to pose for a commemorative photo that gives the impression we were sailing in an ocean liner. Sublime!
June 20, 2014 became a memorable date inscribed in the history of the Principality with the highly anticipated official inauguration of the new state-of-the art Yacht Club of Monaco (YCM) by HRH Prince Albert II, accompanied by the royal family and the renowned building’s British architect Lord Foster. It also marked the 30th anniversary of the Prince as President of the distinguished club. The 1,300 members, representing 66 nationalities, were joined by all government ministers and National Council constituents, plus friends of the club from around the world and all those taking part in the Giraglia Rolex Cup, a reputable race that for the first time in history finished in Monaco. The only drawback was that with all the additional guests invited to participate in the festivities, the members were outnumbered and it was rather difficult to move up and down the different floors to join in the celebration and visit our club for the first time. But with the new facilities now open we will have plenty of opportunities to enjoy our dear club.
Earlier that afternoon Monaco’s Archbishop Bernard Barsi blessed the building before the Prince and Princess went on an official tour. Later on HSH Prince Albert proceeded to the closing of the old home on the other side of the harbor lowering the YCM flag, and accompanied by the Club’s General Secretary Bernard d’Alessandri they boarded a traditional Mediterranean fishing boat on the Antoine Quay to sail to the Quay Louis II where the new building is anchored. On arrival they were welcomed by HSH Prince Charlene, HRH Princess of Hanover and her children and other members of the royal family, to the cheerful ovation of the club proud members, who we were all dressed in formal yachtsmen attire and waving their red and white YCM scarves. A moment in time that will be unforgettable!
After signing the logbook, the President raised the Yacht Club’s flag, before giving his traditional opening address for the Member’s Cocktail.
Following the tradition of the bi-annual cocktails, this was also the occasion for the induction of new members by the President. They had the privilege to be the first to be welcomed into the club’s new home. After the official ceremonies were over, the evening continued with a reception, music and dancing. Sebastian Tellier offered a lights and sounds show on the pontoon of the club’s marina for the great pleasure of electro-rock music lovers, followed by Greg Boust, the DJ resident of Baron nightclub in Paris who animated the Ball Room transformed in dance floor.
An eco-friendly landmark is born
When HSH Prince Albert officially opened the doors to the YCM he was quoted saying: “The flag I have just raised today flies proudly on the mast at the top of our new premises. It marks an important phase in the life of our Club, for Port Hercules and for the Principality.” He continued: “With this architectural masterpiece we wished to affirm Monaco’s yachting identity, our ambition being to continue to orient our country’s future prosperity towards the sea.” Lord Norman Foster emphasized: “When designing this building which is open to the sea, at the center of the harbor, and embracing they city, we wanted to preserve the traditional spirit so dear to the Principality,” adding that if this building was a real liner he would call her Free Spirit.
The talented Monegasque architect Alexandre Giraldi who collaborated with the cabinet of Lord Norman Foster is proud of a mission well accomplished. The studies started in 2003 with the conception of the building lasting through 2008. It was a long and complex project and its duration is commensurable with the technical requirements of the construction. Giraldi had said that the new YCM was a both a technique and architectural challenge realized at a high cost adequate to the complexity of the building. The project responds to the requirements of the High Environmental Quality certification (HQE), built according to the latest sustainable construction standards to provide the users with a healthy and comfortable interior promoting environmentally friendly behavior. The building complies with precise criteria in relation to:
- Eco-management: responsible management of energy, water and waste
- Comfort: hydrothermal, acoustic, visual
- Health: air and water quality, etc.
Giraldi said it had been a beautiful human adventure, a true collaboration work among the Lord Foster team in London and the Monegasque authorities under the supervision of representatives from the local Public Works Department.
A gemstone in the Mediterranean Sea
The building is stylish and graceful blending harmoniously in the port and establishing Monaco into the third millennium and moving forward.
The magnificent building has a surface of 26,500m2 with a length of 204m distributed on 7 floors:
- Ground floor – Sailing School with a boat hangar of 950m2, the Rowing Nautical Society with a hangar of 290m2, the offices of the club and a versatile room and four commercial rooms for a total of 300m2.
- First floor – The fitness room, members’ locker room and a kitchen area that exists in all levels.
- Second floor – The main restaurant of 450m2 that includes the Bar and a VIP dining room, the Club House of 400m2, a swimming pool of 16,5m x 5.5m with a removable bottom.
- Third floor – VIP lounge of 350m2 that will function as events room with a height in two levels and the Executive offices.
- Fourth floor – The mezzanine of the Honor salon, sleeping rooms and the Presidential room. Fifth floor – An observatory deck with the Riva salon.
- Sixth floor – Terraces
Giraglia Rolex Cup finished in Monaco for the first time
The festivities continued throughout the weekend with the Giraglia Rolex Cup prize-giving, with Pierre Casiraghi in the team that took line honors on Esimit Europa 2 and a exclusive presentation of the 122’ Mythos, the largest Riva ever built (37m). Symbolizing the YCM’s attachment to its maritime heritage, the four surviving International 15M class yachts (Tuiga, Hispania, The Lady Anne and Mariska) were racing over the weekend, with victory going to Mariska (1908).
We members are really proud of the new home of our Club, that promises many memorable and enjoyable moments in a luxurious but most importantly friendly atmosphere. All aboard!