GYC Centenary Trophy - Marigold claims victory in Saint-Tropez

2012 GYC Centenary Trophy
At the 2012 GYC Centenary Trophy, Marigold, cutter designed by Charles Nicholson in 1892 and owned by Richard Allan, claimed the victory. The black hulled, UK flagged yacht managed to keep a 15 minutes lead on 2011 title holder Bonafide from Italy, in third place the 1905 NYYC30 one design Oriole.

One could not have asked for more today for the second edition of the Centenary Trophy, organized and awarded by the Gstaad Yacht Club in co-operation with the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez. A bright sun, blue skies just streaked with clouds, a good breeze, hundreds of spectators' boats and a huge public watching the show from the old port walls. Sure, the spectacle of the one century and more old boats was the focal point of today's racing at the Voiles the Saint-Tropez, hosting event of the Centenary trophy regatta.

Thanks to a good south-westerly of ten/twelve knots the Race Committee opted for course 2, that is a 10,7 miles long coastal triangle with a start and a finish just metres away from the harbour ramparts. The cannon fired the first signal at exactly 1pm for Lulu, the little 1897 Rabot's designed fore and aft cutter, that was followed in succession by the others, the last being the 15M Mariska some 46 minutes later, according to the specially created handicap system for this pursuit race. The first mark was set at the Rabiou Marque, then the boats had to go around the Séche à l'Huile just off the point of Sainte-Maxime to get back to the bay and the finish. As the race progressed the wind went up to around 15 knots, putting to the test the crews skills and physical strength.

In a close and thrilling finish, gusts sweeping the line, under the eyes of hundreds of spectators Marigold crossed in first, ahead of Bonafide and Oriole. Marigold's owner Richard Allan was ecstatic and shortly after arriving on the pontoon commented: 'We are really, really happy, it's great to race in an event when each and every competitor has the same age. It's the first time we take part to the trophy (last year we were not in Saint-Tropez) so we're even more satisfied.' Allan also explained that the secret to today's success was all in the boat. 'Marigold loves, thrives in strong breeze. The handicap we got takes into consideration the fact that she has still cotton sails and I think the system is very fair. We'll be back next year to defend our title, that's sure!'

In the exciting 'race inside the race' where four 15M I.R. Tuiga (1909), The Lady Anne (1912), Spanish flagged Hispania (1909) and Mariska (1908) it was close racing at its best and on the finish line it was The Lady Anne to get over the line in first, celebrating in grand style her one hundredth anniversary followed by Hispania and Mariska, while Monaco's Tuiga had to retire sometime before the finish due to a technical hitch.

A very satisfied Peter Erzberger, Commodore of the Gstaad Yacht Club commented: 'It was a beautiful, very positive race. Today we proved that the formula is perfect and that with every successive edition we can gather more data to make the handicap system better and to have sailors enjoy the regatta more and more. They know exactly where they and their adversaries are on the racecourse and that makes of even closer racing. By analyzing the boats performances we will be able to sharpen the rating system and possibly create a specific 'centenary rule' for the future editions. Also that is very good for the spectators, for whom is easier to understand and even bet on who the winner will be, besides being able to admire the sheer beauty of these boats.' he also congratulated to Marigold and expressed his wish for more participants for next year. 'Every 'new old' boat is more than welcome to join us.'

On Thursday night, the winner and the rest of the crews gathered for a very special prize-giving ceremony at the Chateau in Saint-Tropez that for the occasion featured a Swiss 'flavour' to it. Marigold will receive the trophy, created by Wakely and Wheeler of London in 1911.

Gstaad Yacht Club website