The continuing star of the Mediterranean has got to be the island of Mallorca. With sunshine from April to October, glistening turquoise waters, over 200 miles of stunning coastline and hundreds of beaches and coves only accessible by sea, it is no wonder that people flock to the island year after year. There is no better way to discover the beauty of Mallorca than by sea aboard a stunning classic yacht.
The Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge in Cannes and the Voiles de St Tropez follow the Cannes Yachting Festival and Monaco Yacht Show as part of autumn on the French Riviera. It’s time to test the speed of some of the sailing yachts!
Classic sailing yachts line the Vieux Port in Cannes at the end of September when the city welcomes the Cannes Royal Regatta, and a range of sailing yachts will race against each other in the bay of Cannes, with its iconic views of the hotels lining the Croisette.
As the Cannes Regatta comes to an end, the Voiles de St Tropez is just beginning, and continues in to early October. Les Voiles de St Tropez is said to bring together the pleasure of sailing and the party spirit that St Tropez is so well known for. This regatta almost marks the end of the summer season on the Riviera, and is one of the best opportunities to make the most of the still warm weather that the south of France has to offer.
Would you like to sail on a classic yacht? THE BLUE PETER is the perfect opportunity! Enjoy a day charter on the Riviera; you can organise a team building event where everyone gets stuck in to sailing, or just relax on a prime example of a classic yacht.
The summer sailing season is in full swing and while for many charterers that means heading to the Mediterrean for blue skies and turquoise waters, there are those among the Boatbookings team that like to brave the chillier waters of the United Kingdom.
Once a year on the East Kent Coast the annual Swale Smack and Sailing Barge Race takes place in the River Swale. Run by the Kentish Sail Association each race draws together perhaps the biggest fleet of historic vessels that can be seen at any one time anywhere in the county.
This year saw a particularly early start to the race with the first boats setting off at 6:00 am. Cries of “don’t worry, we’ll be home and on the gin by 11” proved false as a particularly light and fluky wind saw to it that it was one of the longer races we have had for several years. After drifting round the first two marks, the wind began to pick up for the homeward journey and the competition really began. Leading our class we were cruising nicely towards some silverware when a halyard snapped and down came the topsail. One sail change later (we like to think executed as smartly as aboard a JCLASS but probably not), we were speeding along again and over the finish line well ahead of our competition. Prize giving and celebratory drinks lasted well into the night because in the end, isn’t that what we all go to sea for?
The Boatbookings Team cater for all of your yachting wishes and requirements, from sailing regattas to super yachts. Our team provide hands on experience, expertise and unrivalled knowledge in all areas, ensuring that your charter is as memorable as possible.
To true sailors, there’s nothing like a classic yacht regatta. One could spend an entire day just looking at the yachts’ gorgeous lines, woodwork and finishings, but to actually crew on one in a regatta surrounded by these beauties is about as good as it gets. Add on top the sun, beautiful blue sea, views of the French Riviera, superyachts and villas, a fun crew who loves what they’re doing and the excitement of trying to win a race – and you can see the deep attraction that people have to classic yacht regattas.
We had the pleasure of crewing on the Blue Peter during the Voiles d’Antibes this week. Captain Matt Barker is a veteran of many regattas and has built an excellent crew and track record over the years. He has a relaxed demeanor, but make no mistake, he takes the race seriously and loves to win!
The race has several parts: pre-race planning, the start, racing the course, finishing, and celebrating (whether you won or not!)
About an hour before setting sail, the whole crew gets a briefing on the weather, their jobs for the day and anything else that might be required of them. Everyone is assigned to a specific area of the boat and task – there can be no training once the race starts. Some help with navigation, some with trimming the sails, some with raising and lowering the spinnaker and foresails.
There is anticipation in the air, but everything is still calm especially on a day like today when there isn’t much wind.
Around 11:00, most boats started out of the port toward the start of the race, directly outside the port. Along the way, we had to make way for a few super yachts that decided they needed to start their cruises in the middle of a regatta.
Most boats do a quick shake down, testing the wind and sails and making sure all crew members were comfortable with their tasks for the day.
There was not much wind, but the sun was peaking through the clouds, meaning that the breeze would freshen as the land heated up and created a convection current.
There’s nothing quite so chaotic as the start of a regatta. Boats maneuver for position as successive guns go off signalling 10 minutes, 5 minutes and 2 minutes to start. Because they’re under sail, the yachts don’t have a lot of ability to avoid other boats who might be trying for the same position as you. Everyone is at close quarters, and it’s not unusual to hear a bit of shouting between boats about who has the right of way.
Oops – at the start we heard a second shot, meaning at least one boat had jumped the gun. Despite years of practice and coordination, part of our boat was over the line at the gun. We had to turn back and try again, losing somewhere between 30 seconds and a minute.
The course today would take us by some of the most valuable real estate in the world – from old Antibes around the villa-laden Cap d’Antibes, to Juan les Pins and Golfe Juan and back. The first mark was east of Antibes toward the Nice airport, then back toward and around the Cap.
We got stuck (as many other boats did) in a particularly dead area just after the start, and were literally barely moving for about 5 minutes. Some boats in our class escaped earlier than we did, while others were mired in it for 20 minutes more.
The breeze freshened as we headed back to Cap d’Antibes, and we finally felt like we were sailing. We performed several tacks and ultimately put up the spinnaker. Once the spinnaker was up (which many refer to as the “kite”) the crew had little to do except eat a sandwich and watch the villas go by.
When we got to Golfe Juan, we did have a bit of excitement, as we performed a “Kiwi Drop” (raising the foresail, while dropping the spinnaker at the same time as you’re jibing around the mark). This was made more exciting by cutting between the gorgeous classic yacht Cambria and another smaller boat right before the mark. Just as it looks like the day will end with these gorgeous yachts in splinters, they magically avoid each other and round the mark.
Despite our slow start, we made up a lot of ground on many boats, as the Blue Peter is quite a fast boat and we made some good decisions as to where the wind would be. We were unable to place first in our category, but did end up 4th out of 10, just 2 minutes out of 2nd place. Our slow start had made the difference.
No matter where a boat finishes, there’s ample reason for celebrating at the end of the day. Two perfectly executed “Kiwi drops”, nice sailing around the Cap, and beating our arch competitor Halloween by nearly 30 minutes were all reasons for champagne, rose, white wine and any food that could be found in the galley.
A superb day on a beautiful yacht, with a fun and dedicated crew sailing in the Cote d’Azur. Exhilarating, exhausting, not to be missed!
Click here to read more about chartering for a sailing regatta. If you’d like to charter the Blue Peter for a regatta with Captain Matt and the crew. Or see more about the Blue Peter Classic Yacht Charter here.