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8th Gstaad Yacht Club Centenary Trophy: One month to go

by Gstaad Yacht Club 11 Sep 12:39 PDT
Tilly XV approaching the finishing line © Juerg Kaufmann / www.go4image.com

In a month's time, some of the most handsome boats from the classic yachting circuit will reunite again on the Cote d'Azur to fight for the eighth edition of the Gstaad Yacht Club Centenary Trophy and to celebrate some very special anniversaries...

The Gstaad Yacht Club Centenary Trophy in Saint-Tropez, has now become a true tradition, a special race where unique boats are going to be admired, crews to meet and share and where unique birthdays can be celebrated.

That is the case of Kismet, saluting her 120th anniversary by debuting in the Centenary Trophy. Designed and built by Fife and launched when Queen Victoria was still on the throne in 1898, at the outbreak of WWII Kismet joined many other yachts in mud berths in Essex where she laid as a houseboat for over 50 years. Kismet was "rescued" from near wreck status and underwent a four-year restoration.

Just ten years younger is Viola, a William FIFE III gaff cutter built in 1908 for T.M. Hunter of Cowes who raced her for several years until, during the second world conflict, she was derigged. In 1996 Viola was renovated by the Raymond Labbé yard at Saint-Malo in the North of France. In 1993, the yacht was declared French national historical monument and since 2000 she has been based at the Maritime Museum in La Rochelle. In 2017 VIOLA won the prestigious "Monaco Classic Week" and was named "Yacht of the year" by French Magazine Yachting Classic.

The gaff sloop Tilly XV, built in 1912 for Prince Heinrich Von Preussen to compete in the North Sea races was renovated and started her new career in the Med, under the loving care of her longtime owner Siegfried Rittler, won the Trophy last year and is confirmed to be back to try and be the first crew to win the prize for the second time in a row.

She will have to fend off attacks from the 14 yachts entered so far and other "new" centenaries debuting in the regatta this year, like Cariba from 1912, Gaudeamus and Iona. German-flagged gaff-cutter Gaudeamus, from 1914 was built for the Königsberg Yacht Club and in the 1950s, she was converted to a Marconi cutter and renamed Rugia and in 1962 she was used by Klaus Schroeder's family to flee from East to West Germany, before being sold. Between the 1980s and 90s she was based on Lake Constance, later to be purchased by Raimund Deibele who moved her to the Côte d'Azur, rechristened her Gaudeamus and restored her gaff rig.

Iona was built in 1899 and one of the rare 19th century yachts still taking part in the classic and vintage circuit. She belongs to the "25 feet" class, 40 of which were built worldwide in total. She started her new life in 2008 when French Mathias Hellen fished her out of the Thames where she had sunk and sent her to Holland for restoration. During this process, she was converted from a gaff to a Marconi rig.

The regatta, unique in its genre, is reserved to boats that are one hundred years or older and in 2018 will celebrate its eighth edition. Over the years, the Centenary trophy has gathered some of the most gorgeous and best performing classic yachts from the past century.

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