Monaco Classic Week honors the country’s maritime heritage

A grand cru 13th edition classier than ever

The 13th edition of the Monaco Classic Week – La Belle Classe, one of the largest classic yacht meetings, run from September 13-17, 2017, swarming with magical events in a Golden Twenties nostalgic ambiance. This unique biennial event attracted nearly 150 boats, from classic yachts to period motor-yachts and vintage motorboats, gathering to honor the Principality’s maritime tradition. Launched in 1994, the conclave has not only retained its brightness, but also the spirit of the first powerboat gatherings from 1904 when the Principality hosted the world’s industrialists taking part in nautical events.

It was a week dedicated to the Yacht Club’s Sea Lifestyle philosophy, alternating events at sea, technical inspections, a culinary competition, the arts and elegance. “It is this sort of event that repositions Monaco as the city it was conceived to be, one centred around the harbour,” notes the Yacht Club de Monaco’s General Secretary, Bernard d’Alessandri. “Monaco is a yachting destination for both modern and traditional yachts.”

Viola received coveted top trophy!

The big winner of this edition was the gaff cutter Viola, a beautiful 1908 sailing yacht considered a historic monument in France. Delighted to receive the Monaco Classic Week Trophy, YCM member Kostia Belkin summed up the history of his boat in two words – love and expertise: “As skippers, we know that boats which are loved, remain beautiful forever. I also think expertise is vital to conserving our maritime heritage. Without the teams of marine carpenters, Viola would not be so beautiful.”

It is important to notice that this prize is awarded to the boat which obtains the best marks in the La Belle Classe Restoration prize, awarded this time to The Blue Peter, as well as the Elegance prize which went to Elena of London, the replica of the 1911 Nat Herreshoff schooner, Elena.

The jury, presided by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, had a tough time selecting a winner among so many quality contenders. “It was not at all easy to choose as the standard is so high. And we admire and are grateful to all the owners for their commitment in keeping the boats they love so much still sailing. It is important to pay tribute to them and encourage them. That is why this event is truly unique,” said the man who was the first to sail solo non-stop round the world.

Trinakria won Chefs’ Competition

In the Chefs Competition, the prestigious jury presided by Jacques Maximin, supported by Christian Plumail (YCM), Christian Garcia (Prince’s Palace), Philippe Johannes (Fairmont) and Eva Casanova (Moët Hennessy) gave the first prize to the 50m three-mast schooner Trinakria.

90 years young

Considered by many to be Charles Nicholson’s masterpiece, Creole was the main attraction of the week. The Yacht Club de Monaco wanted to honour this three-mast schooner becoming 90 this year. Escorted by Trinakria (50m) and the ketch Xarifa, both also launched in 1927, Creole (58.22m) made a majestic entrance into Port Hercule to a thunderous greeting of horns and cannon fire, trailing a string of Rivas, Chris Crafts and Hacker Crafts in her wake. “This entrance into the harbour with all the owners and their crew saluting Creole was a fantastic moment for us – thank you so much everyone,” said her owner Alegra Gucci, touched by the applause they received at the prize ceremony.

Honoring gentleman Carlo Riva

In April this year, the yachting world lost one of its most emblematic characters. Carlo Riva passed away at the age of 95 leaving behind him a fleet of motorboats that captivated the jet set in the 1950s and 60s. Brigitte Bardot, Sofia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were just some of the stars who owned one of these mahogany-hulled gems. As a tribute to his career, the whole Riva family came together on the water in the YCM Marina around a tarpaulin on which was written “Grazie Carlo”. Turquoise blue balloons, a colour forever associated with the famous brand and Made-in-Italy design, were released, concluding the ceremony which Lia Riva, the engineer’s daughter, attended on the legendary Lipicar. “I was deeply touched by this homage to my father and thank all those who took part.”

Vintage regattas

Out on the water, the 68 classic boats, four 15M IR yachts and some 20 of the 12’ Dinghy class lit up the bay with their races which could be seen from the shore all along the coast.

In the 15M IR classMariska helmed by Benjamin Redreau dominated the week, winning three of the six races. For her owner, Christian Niels, “Monaco Classic Week is one of the loveliest regattas in the world. We will keep coming back as long as the 15M IR yachts are still sailing.” The Lady Anne and Hispania completed the podium ahead of Tuiga helmed by Beppe Zaoli assisted by Olivier Campana. Having already won in the Balearics, Mariska (1908) is on line to take the 2017 15M Class Association Annual Trophy culminating with the third stage in Saint Tropez.

The Vintage Gaff class groups the oldest boats, whose builders and current owners command enormous respect for the meticulous restorations they undertake to keep them sailing. Marc Audineau’s Olympian was 1st out of the 15 entrants, ahead of Bruno Troublé on Chips, who was sailing with John Marshall, a big name in the America’s Cup, with Philip Martinson’s Kelpie completing the podium.

Chris Barkham’s Cambria, the only representative of the 23M International Class still sailing won in the Big Boat category ahead of two Yacht Club de Monaco flagged beauties: the gaff cutter Moonbeam IV (1914) and Elena of London.

It was a similar scenario in the Vintage Marconi category with victory going to Brendan McCarty on Rowdyalready leading the fleet on the first day and who dominated this 13th Monaco Classic Week. Billoch Martin on Cippino II and David Myatt on Erica completed the podium.

Regularity trial: Around 40 motorboats, including a dozen Rivas (MBS, Ariston, Super, Barilani, Super Florida, Junior) as well as Chris Crafts and Hacker Crafts took part in the regularity trial. This involves them having to estimate how long it will take them to get around a course at a pre-selected speed, taking account of the wind and sea conditions. It was won by Why Not, a 1967 Riva Junior, with Giolisan, a Riva Super, in 2nd and the Chris Craft Aristote, all the way from Saint Barthélémey, completing the podium.

Final list of winners

Overall Winner – MONACO CLASSIC WEEK TROPHY 2017: Viola (Kostia Belkin)

Elegance Prize– sailing yacht Elena of London (Mark Dixon) / Motorboat: Albatros (John Filoes)

La Belle Classe Restoration Prize: The Blue Peter (Mathew Barker)

Regularity Trial: Why Not, a 1967 Riva Junior (Renaud Balay)

Classic Yachts – 15M IR Class

  1. Mariska (Christian Niels)
  2. The Lady Anne (Richard Le May)
  3. Hispania (Marcos Garcia Faria)
  4. Tuiga (Pierre Casiraghi) 

Classic Boats  – Vintage Gaff

  1. Olympian (Marc Audineau)
  2. Chips (Bruno Troublé)
  3. Kelpie (Philip Martinson)

Classic boats – Vintage Marconi

  1. Rowdy (Brendan McCarty)
  2. Cippino II (Martin Billoch)
  3. Erica (David Myatt)

Classic Boats – Classic Category

  1. Encounter (Bart Weduwer)
  2. Resolute Salmon (Valter Pizzoli)
  3. Samurai (Luigi Pavese)

Classic Boats – Big Boat Category

  1. Cambria (Chris Barkham)
  2. Moonbeam IV (Mikael Creac’h)
  3. Ellena of London (Stephen McLaren)

12’ Dinghy Class

  1. Trecivette (Nicola Rainusso)
  2. Pupi (Alessandro Pedone)
  3. Cice (Philippe Battaglia)

Mark your calendars for the 14th Monaco Classic Week – La Belle Classe, September 11-15, 2019.

Today’s Quote

“Calm sailing doesn’t come from calm waters, it comes from having a good navigator; a good crew and a good vessel.” Anthony T. Hincks


One thought on “Monaco Classic Week honors the country’s maritime heritage

  1. Congratulations to everyone who took part. Monaco classic week is a chance to reunite with our mistress, the beloved sea.
    As I say about yachts;
    “Yachts don’t get older. They just get better!”

    All the best.
    Anthony T. Hincks


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