Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez - Manitou on the start line

by KPMS on 6 Oct 2012
MANITOU - 2012 Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez © Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi http://www.carloborlenghi.net
If a single boat could fully encapsulate the fabled allure and spirit of Saint-Tropez it has to be Manitou. This 62-ft cutter rigged Marconi yawl may be difficult to differentiate from the other 113 beautiful and historic Tradition yachts lining the wharf at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez.

Like so many others, she sports a pristine white hull, teak deck, brass fittings and immaculately varnished spars. What sets her apart from her fellow competitors in the Rolex Trophy fleet and draws the crowds is her association with the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy.

While her prestigious former owner may never have raced her, Manitou was today lined up on the start line for the third race of Les Voiles and the Rolex Trophy. The 14 nautical mile course sent the Tradition yachts north-east out of the Bay of Saint-Tropez, before a leg south, and the westward return home. For the main part, the race was conducted in a wide-ranging five to 15 knots of easterly breeze, which swung a dramatic 180 degrees towards the end of the race.

'It was my friend Philip Jordan who came up with the idea that we might buy President Kennedy’s sailing boat,' explains Claes Goran Nilsson (one of the co-owners along with Jordan, Pat Tierney, and Melinda Kilkenny). 'It took nearly a year to finalise everything and after some renovation work we started racing last year. We have been quite successful this year with a win in the Spanish Cup, but here we’ll have to see!'

It is not immediately clear which element of her past first attracted Nilsson and his friends to the idea of Manitou – its illustrious past or its illustrious designer: 'It’s a Sparkman & Stephens design which meant we liked the boat and it was what we were looking for. They designed great boats, and you know they are real quality from the smallest piece to the biggest. S&S are very special. But even as a Swede I like the story of Kennedy. I remember him as the first modern president with a vision for the future. It is definitely an added ingredient with this boat.'

Nilsson is quietly understated but he clearly understands and appreciates the significant piece of maritime history he has at his disposal: 'When we are racing, we are just one of the other boats, but within this class it is nice to have a good-looking boat with history. It gives us a special feeling when we are talking about the boat, its story, and how we should present it.'

Manitou has long been a valued yacht. In 1936, American James Lowe commissioned Olin Stephens to design him a boat that could win the 289nm Chicago-Mackinac Race. Launched in 1937, Manitou more than fulfilled her owner’s ambitions breaking the elapsed time record and winning the 1938 race on corrected time too. Nilsson and his fellow owners may take great credit for having restored the racing pedigree of a fine yacht.

Some of the most memorable photographs of JFK on the water were taken onboard Manitou and the yacht was known as the ‘floating white house’. That Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis tried to buy her while courting Jackie Kennedy, former First Lady of the United States, only adds to the lustre of Manitou’s story. All told her credentials surely give Manitou the right to an exulted place within the exclusive legend of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez.

Manitou, which means ‘spirit’ in Native American, was apparently named after the Manitou Passage on Lake Michigan. An appropriate name for a boat which provokes huge interest wherever she goes in the Mediterranean, and carries the memories of one of world’s most significant individuals. For Nilsson, though, all the classic yachts at Les Voiles have some significance, and the regatta is the better for their presence: 'Les Voiles is special because of all the boats that are here. I think everybody loves the town and this regatta. It is a great place to have the finale for the year.'

Tomorrow marks the fourth and final race for the Rolex Trophy awarded to the best performing yacht over 16m on deck in the Tradition division at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez.


Societe Nautique Saint Tropez website

Barz Optics - Kids rangeAncasta Ker 40+ 660x82upffront 660x82

Related Articles

Yachts for Sale, Shows and Events for Ancasta International
The largest on-water boatshow is running from the 16th - 25th September this year at Southampton's Mayflower Park. The largest on-water boatshow is running from the 16th - 25th September this year at Southampton's Mayflower Park. The Ancasta team will be presenting models from Beneteau Sail and Power, Prestige and Lagoon Catamarans.
Posted on 23 Aug
The Clipper Race turns 20!
Throughout the race, tales of crew celebrating birthdays on board filter back and they are always a special occasion Throughout the race, tales of Clipper Race crew celebrating their birthdays on board filter back and they are always a special occasion, likely to remain a completely unique event in their lifetime.
Posted on 23 Aug
The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup – The Ultimate Showcase
This year’s fleet will surpass the previous record for participation (49 competing yachts in 2010). With the average size of the yachts nudging 28 metres (90 feet), if the entrants lined up bow to stern they would measure a little under 1,425 metres (0.9 of a statute mile). For an event that has always been breathtaking in magnitude, these are seriously impressive numbers -- proof positive of the continuing passion within the sport to push the boundaries of design, technology and knowledge.
Posted on 22 Aug
Eight British medals at Eurosaf Youth Championships
The EUROSAFs, which take place annually, see Europe’s top Youth sailors come together to battle for European honours. The EUROSAFs, which take place annually, see Europe’s top Youth sailors come together to battle for European honours. The team were represented by two boats in each class, with sailors having been selected from the 2016 RYA Youth National Championships in April.
Posted on 22 Aug
A magnificent fleet gathers in Cowes for Etchells World Championship
58 teams from all over the world have entered the championship, hosted by the Royal London Yacht Club. Twenty teams are from Great Britain and a dozen each from Australia and the United States of America. Four entries are from Hong Kong and as far afield as: Bermuda, Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.
Posted on 22 Aug
FAST40+ Class to be the first to have honour of racing for One Ton Cup
14 FAST40+ racing yachts are expected, flying the flags of England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa and the USA 14 high performance FAST40+ racing yachts are expected for the One Ton Cup, flying the flags of England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa and the United States of America. The crew, of which only five can be professionals, come from countries all over the world.
Posted on 22 Aug
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2016 - Day 1 Video
Day 1 of Audi Hamilton Race Week 2016 provided the first opportunity for Wild Oats XI and Scallywag to go head-to-head Day 1 of Audi Hamilton Race Week 2016 provided the first opportunity for Wild Oats XI and Scallywag to go head-to-head on an inshore race course. The two boats shadowed each other in the pre-race manoeuvres prior to the start of a race to Lindeman Island and back, starting in Dent Passage. Both boats made a fine spectacle as they reached to the northern tip of Dent Island before heading upwind
Posted on 21 Aug
Reading Australia’s Rio 2016 Sailing Report Card
Pre-event, Australian Sailing officials predicted there would be between three and five medals at Rio 2016. Pre-event, Australian Sailing officials predicted there would be between three and five medals at Rio 2016. So Tom Burton's Gold in the Laser, and then Silver for the 470 Men’s sailors, Matt Belcher and Will Ryan, London 49er Gold Medallists Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, and then lastly Nacra 17 first time campaigners, Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin, was a good result.
Posted on 21 Aug
Young people gearing up for ASTO Dartmouth to Gosport Small Ships Race
Almost 200 young people from a wide range of backgrounds will be sailing under the banner of the ASTO. Almost all of the 23 sail training vessels lining up to sail in the regatta are ASTO members. At least half of the crew on board each vessel will be under 25 with the youngest sailors being just 12 years old. The majority of the young people who will take part have never sailed before and will be experiencing the life-changing potential of Sail Training for the first time.
Posted on 20 Aug
Phaedo^3 sets a new World Record around the Isle of Wight
Phaedo^3 set a new incredible World Record time of two hours, four minutes and 14 seconds around the Isle of Wight Now the MOD70 holds both the World Record and Race Record. The race record from this years The boat itself held the old World record of two hours 21 minutes and 25 seconds, but that is when is was “Foncia” and being skippered bi Michel Desjoyeaux.
Posted on 20 Aug