For the grand finale of the 35th Régates Royales – Trophée Panerai the bay of Cannes guaranteed all the necessary ingredients: excitement, fun, close racing, good breeze.
Fleet in action at the 35th Régates Royales
Today's racing was action packed and crucial to award victory in several classes. After a long week series, consistency paid off for some, like Moonbeam of Fife III winning among the Big Boats or EA among the Classics, while in other classes classes the scoreboard was totally shaken at the very end of the regatta. In the Dragon Class British skipper Gavia Wilkinson – Cox on Jerboa succeeded in bouncing back on the two Russian teams and getting a last-chance, last-race win. The prize giving ceremony closed one of the most successful editions of the Régates, filled with action on the water and social events ashore.
'This year weather conditions were excellent, giving us the chance to have top-end racing and to launch at least one race every day. The atmosphere has always been great and the village was packed after racing. Not to mention the success of the Panerai dinner. We need to thank all the people who, with their hard work, contributed to the success of the event. Without them the Règates Royals would not happen. The Yacht Club the Cannes has been working hard to offer what competitors deserve and, for 2014, we hope to be able to welcome an even bigger fleet.' said a contented Jacques Flori, President of the Yacht Club de Cannes during the closing ceremony.
The final day was key to determine winners in some classes, but not in the Big Boats division where Moonbeam of Fife III finished with a large margin on Moonbeam 4 and Mariska. 'The courses were not ideal for us this year, but we managed to make up with good tactics, good navigation and an excellent helmsman. Even on the days the wind was very light, we managed to keep our competitors at bay and score some wins. It's very positive for us, we are really happy for this win, winning here in Cannes has a special meaning because the level is always so high.' said Erwan Noblet, Moonbeam III's skipper.
Team in action at the 35th Régates Royales
Among the Vintage gaffers, Graham Walker's Chinook had to fight to the very last race to get a victory at her debut on the Régates Royales, distancing Oriole and Eva, respectively finishing in second and third. Italian-flagged Ea easily maintained her lead among the Classics on Arcadia and Sagittarius. Likewise in the Vintage Marconi of more than 15 metres, victory went to Skylark of 1937 and the podium was completed by Leonore and Rowdy. The gold in the Spirit of Tradition division went to Catleya, the silver to Freya 2003 and the bronze to Savannah.
Team in action at the 35th Régates Royales
World famous Argentinian architect German Frers helmed Sonny, a 1935 Bermudan cutter designed by his father that made her debut at the Régates Royales this year. After a week long battle with Vagabundo and Sirius II, it was the latter to get the win in the Vintage Marconi of less than 15 metres, Sonny finishing in second. But the Frers' family honour was safe because Vagabundo too is a Frers Sr. design, and two steps out of three on the podium is not a bad result at all. 'Among the boats racing here in Cannes, Il Moro di Venezia was designed by me, but both Sonny and Vagabundo II are my father's creations. We could call it a 'family fleet'...' said Frers 'It's exciting to race here, these are the kind of boats I grew up admiring. I'm very happy that there is a sort of revival for classic boats, it's important to restore, keep and show them to the world. And they're stunning to watch sailing. They can show us designers how to create modern boats as fascinating as classic yachts, slim, elegant, harmonious. There is a lot we can learn from these boats.'
The queen of the Dragons
With a brilliant last part of the series, British skipper Gavia Wilkinson – Cox on Jerboa made up for 9 points in the overall standing and thanks to two second places today and two wins yesterday, won the 2013 Régates Royales in the Dragon class, followed by the two Russian crews of Integrity and Annapurna.
Antoine Pecheur's Slim won among the Requin followed by Daniela skippered by Roger Quenet while Aubrey Finburgh's Johnny III completed the podium. In the Broad One Design class it was James Tubby's Marsh Harrier to become the 2013 winner, Stuart Rix's Guillemot got the silver and Philip Harstson's Puffin the bronze.
Gérard Pascalini, General manager of the Société des Régates de Cannes declared: 'Unlike last year, we have been very lucky as far as sailing conditions are concerned. Excellent breeze on the first two days and no less than 10 knots later in the week. We are very, very happy with this 2013edition. This year we focused on the 35th anniversary, with more activities on the village open to the public. As usual the volunteers, have given an enormous contribution to the success of the Royales and have showed great professionalism both ashore and on the water. I also wish to thank exhibitors and sponsors. See you next year!'
During the prize giving ceremony, French media partner Bateaux magazine awarded four special prizes.
Heritage: to Sagittarius for the long lasting relationship of the Lafitte family with the boat.
Passion: to Yves Laurent on Nin for the passion he always showed to his centenary yacht.
Elegance: to Oiseau de Feu, listed as national heritage and first 12IM built to take part to offshore races.
For the full results please visit: Event website