Man’s World

Age and beauty – classic yacht regattas 2019

Les Voiles d’Antibes

While modern sailing craft are becoming increasingly technological and reaching new dimensions of speed and performance by means of hydrofoil arrangements, the fascination of traditional yachts continues to exert a spell on sailors the world over. Every year there are many regattas in which superbly-restored vintage craft, built before 1950, are raced alongside classic yachts, built before 1976, and more recent craft in which traditional design is accompanied by modern construction and materials. Here are some of the events in which graceful yachts are put through their paces in idyllic settings.

5-9 June 2019 – Les Voiles d’Antibes

This year, Les Voiles d’Antibes takes place from 5 to 9 June 2019. It represents the opening of the Mediterranean circuit of races for vintage, classic and traditional yachts, with regattas taking place along the splendid coastline between Antibes and Juan-le-Pins. Harbourside entertainment is lavish, organized around a complete hospitality village and including exhibitions and events on the themes of the sea and the environment, with concerts, cocktails, processions and challenges.

Les Voiles d’Antibes 2

Les Voiles d’Antibes, photo courtesy of the organizers

8-9 June 2019 – Vele d’Epoca nel Golfo

The Associazione Italiana Vele d’Epoca is a point of reference in Italy for vintage and classic yachts, and the first regatta that it organizes in the season is Vele d’Epoca nel Golfo, in the bay of La Spezia from 8 to 9 June. Yachts moor at the small and attractive harbour of Le Grazie, near Portovenere, and the competition comprises two regattas, on 8 and 9 June. This is a relatively new event: the 2018 edition was the very first to be held.

classic yacht regattas

Photo courtesy of Alexis D/

19-23 June 2019 – Argentario Sailing Week, Santo Stefano

The Argentario Sailing Week 2019, organized by Yacht Club Santo Stefano, takes place from 19 to 23 June. The time of year – second half of June – was chosen specifically because the breeze in this lovely Tuscan location is stronger. Yachts are moored along the spectacular ancient harbour of Porto Santo Stefano, where crews and visitors can enjoy the village’s historic charm, with its restaurants, bars and boutiques facing the jetties.

26-30 June 2019 – Le Vele d’Epoca, Naples

From 27 to 30 June, it is the turn of Naples and the Reale Yacht Club Canottieri Savoia to host the queens of the sea in the event named Le Vele d’Epoca a Napoli. Last year, the four days of regatta saw the victory of British cutter Kelpie, built in 1903, one of the oldest boats ever to have taken part in this event. In addition to the races, there is a Concours d’Elegance.

22 June-1 July 2019 – Trophée Bailli de Suffren, Malta

The 18th Trophée Bailli de Suffren, from 22 June to 1 July 2019, deserves a special mention, because it is a long and demanding 450-nautical-mile regatta that starts from Saint-Tropez and ends in Malta, after stops in Corsica and Minorca. It celebrates a naval battle in which French officer Bailli de Suffren played an important part in 1756, following France’s capture of Minorca from the British.

4-7 July 2019 – Grandi Vele Gaeta

Grandi Vele Gaeta, from 4 to 7 July, is based at the enchanting harbour of Molo Santa Maria, Gaeta. One of the participants in previous editions was the 8-metre yacht Italia, which won the gold medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

10-13 July 2019 – Puig Vela Classica, Barcelona

The 12th edition of the Barcelona Puig Vela Classica regatta will be held from 10 to 13 July. Last year the event saw the participation of almost 50 yachts from many countries all over the world. The regattas can be viewed from iconic locations in the city, such as Barceloneta Beach, Port Olimpic or Port Vell. During the event, Barcelona’s social scene is focused on the Real Club Náutico de Barcelona Village, which is also a perfect spot in which to enjoy the city’s famed sunsets.

Mercury Puig Vela Classica

Mercury, Puig Vela Classica, photo courtesy of Nico Martinez

14-17 August – Illes Balears Clàssics

This year, the celebrated regatta, held in the Bay of Palma from 14 to 17 August 2019, will be involved in the 5th centennial of Spanish explorer Juan Sebastián Elcano’s voyage around the world, the first circumnavigation which lasted from 1519 to 1522. With 50 yachts present in 2018, Illes Balears Clàssics is one of the best-loved classic yacht events in the Mediterranean.

25 August-1 September 2019 – Corsica Classic

The 10th edition of the Corsica Classic regatta starts from Bonifacio and takes the participants to Saint-Florent, for a total distance of 170 nautical miles. Intermediate stops are Porto Vecchio, Sari-Solenzana, Bastia and Macinaggio.

Corsica Classic Mister Fips

The yacht Mister Fips, Corsica Classic, photo by Françoise Tafani

27-31 August, Copa del Rey, Vela Clásica Menorca

Probably the most famous classic yachting event in the Mediterranean, the “Copa del Rey de Barcos de Época – Vela Clásica Menorca” is held off Mahon, Minorca, attracting about 150 boats last year and including the presence of King Felipe VI of Spain, a keen sailor whose curriculum includes participation at the Barcelona 1992 Olympics in the Soling class.

5-8 September, Vele d’Epoca, Imperia

Founded in 1986, the regattas held at Imperia for vintage, classical and traditional yachts attract many participants. A highlight of the event is a superb fireworks show, accompanied by music broadcast across the harbour by a giant audio system.

11-15 September, Monaco Classic Week – La Belle Classe, Monaco

The biennial event Monaco Classic Week brings together magnificent sailing boats, in addition to vintage and classic motorboats, and the 12’ Dinghy class fleet. An atmosphere of luxury is accompanied by the skill, excitement and athleticism that accompany the regattas. This edition will be dedicated to the United States, with an American Village commemorating the country’s maritime heritage. 70 selected yachts will be taking part.

23-28 September – Régates Royales, Cannes

Taking place just after the Cannes Yachting Festival, the Régates Royales brings together around 200 yachts, which compete in regattas in the azure waters of the Bay of Lérins. The races take part fairly close to the beach, giving spectators on land a fine show. The ancillary social events include live music, exhibitions and prize-giving ceremonies.

Regates Royales 2018

Regates Royales 2018, photo courtesy of Guido Cantini