Air, Earth & Water06.12.2017

Panerai Classic Yacht Challenge 2017

Antonia Stoilova Antonia Stoilova
+8 imagesPanerai Classic Yacht Challenge 2017

Autumn always brings this melancholy feeling. The smell of rain, the leather jacket that we put on every morning, it all reminds us of that the nice warm days are ending. All the summer adventures are hidden in our memory boxes. And the only summer we have left is in the shape of the sunsets that we rush to catch after work, so we can keep the summer warmth just a little bit longer.
But sometimes and only sometimes, you may get the present of a few more sunrays to catch and a sea breeze to feel. In France. 

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Just when you thought Cannes couldn’t get more attractive, from 26 – 30 September over 90 yachts from 20 countries participated in the 39-th of its kind regatta -  Régates Royales de Cannes – as part of the finals of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge 2017. The competition has previously taken place in Antibes, Porto Santo Stefano and Mahón and now it’s time for everyone to head to the renowned Côte d'Azur town for the trophy handout. The official sponsor of this incredible event is Officine Panerai.

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All the participant yachts are put in three categories – Vintage yacht (made of wood and steel before the year of 1950), Classic yacht (the ones that have begun their journeys around 1976) and Mega yacht (those of more than 30m length).  For the competitors to be equal, every yacht gets a certain rating which is number gained through a formula of calculations of the yachts age, length and size of the sails. 

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On the first day we got on the famous Vintage boat – Eilean which was sailed by the Panerai crew. Eilean was meant to compete in the finals of the regatta, but unfortunately the boat was hit at the start and one the masts broke in half.  No one was hurt but Eilean couldn’t open its sails for the rest of the season. Despite the unpleasant situation, the crew happily welcomed us with a tour around the boat and lots of stories about this gem.

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Officine Panerai’s CEO, Mr Angelo Bonati, discovered the collapsing boat in the Caribbean a long time ago. Regardless of the boat’s condition, he says it was

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

so Bonati decided to buy it and transport it back to Italy. The full restoration of the wooden 1936 yacht - Eilean - took four years and millions of euros. The name comes from the Celtic word isle, and was designed by William Fife III.  
It was a very emotional experience – being able to touch something so fascinating that carries all this history. A boat made with so much elegance and attention to detail, where you can even feel this unstoppable desire of the crew to graciously sail this lady ‘of a certain age’ as the French say. Vintage yachts have their own circle of admirers who know how incredible the moment of embarking is. Exactly this moment of the regattas is what inspired Panerai’s watch, which draws the attention to the captains who are bravely sailing under the (pressure of the) rough waves.

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This classic way of sailing inspired the outstanding watch named Radiomir 1940 3 Days Automatic, which I had the honour to wear during the regatta.
This watch is a symbol of prestige in sailing and carries out the status of the luxurious yacht of its owner.  Its chronograph has a titanium corps with a P. 4000 automatic calibre. The clock-face has a diameter of 42 mm and a separate arrow to measure the seconds.
For the first time in the Radiomir 1940 collection, there is a watch designed with white clock-face to allow clearer visibility. These functions help the yachtsman to detect the exact time of start and end of the regatta.

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After five races carried through a slight sea breeze which put the crews under some pressure, the seasonal trophies of the Paneri Classic Yachts Challenge 2017 Mediterranean Circuit were handed out. Hallowe’en was the winner of the Mega yacht category, Linnet was from Vintage yacht, and Ganbare was the Classic yacht’s winner. Hallowe’en’s win caused a particular excitement among the crew as they have been trying to win the trophy of Panerai Classic Yacht Challenge for 9 consecutive years.

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Watching the regatta meters away from the boats was an incredible experience. This is the only way you truly understand the greatness of the yachts and can feel the dedication and hard work of the crews. You can see how every detail is covered by someone, and how a small mistake can cost them the win, or even cause a serious damage.
To me this regatta was like traveling through time, a time that was measured by the arrows of the wind. I left the wind to blow all my problems away and the sun to grant me with another summer memory to keep in my box. 

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