Please select your home edition
Edition
P&B 2019 - Leaderboard

Capri Classica: Stepping back to yachting's grand epoch

by International Maxi Association 7 May 15:42 PDT 8-12 May 2019
Naema – 128ft built in 2012, inspired by the 1938 Alfred Mylne design Panda. © James Boyd / www.sailingintelligence.com

Like a scene from the nineteenth century, the four giant schooners are currently berthed in Capri ready to set sail tomorrow in the first ever running of the Capri Classica. Burgees are flying from the tops of main and foremasts; topsides, varnish and brightwork are all gleaming and the swarm of crews, all clad in the identical uniform of their respective yachts, are busy making ready after their practice today out on the Bay of Naples.

Sailing schooners is a complex labour-intense process; quite different to racing modern yachts. For example they typically break out more sails upwind than they do downwind. As Charlie Wroe, captain of the 138ft Nathanael Herreshoff-designed Mariette of 1915 explains: "With two masts, we have eight sails flying upwind and we go down to four downwind. Before the leeward mark you have to drag down a whole load of sails and get all the others back up, which involves a lot of crew work. But it is fun - there is never a dull moment because there is always a sail going up or down."

With the sad withdrawal of Elena of London for technical reasons, this first edition of the Capri Classica will be contested by four classic schooners ranging in size from the longest, Mariette of 1915, down to the 85ft 1937 vintage Orianda.

The Capri Classica is organised by the Circolo Remo e Vela Italia, the Yacht Club Capri, the International Schooner Association (ISA) with the support of the International Maxi Association and in cooperation with Porto Turistico di Capri and the Associazione Italiana Vele d'Epoca. But it has come about following the establishment of the ISA in September.

"We founded the ISA last year to get like-minded owners and crews to talk to each other," explains Tomas de Vargas Machuca, President of the International Schooner Association, whose company, The Classic Yacht Experience, owns and runs two of the Capri Classica entries, Puritan and Orianda. "What we found is that in normal regattas, schooners are always put into classes that don't suit their needs - schooners prefer wide reaches, which typically you don't get. So we got fellow owners and captains talking to each other and we set up the ISA."

The result of this has been the Schooner Cup Series 2019, which, following the Capri Classica, continues with Monaco Classic Week and Les Voiles de St Tropez, where the first winner of the Schooner Cup Series will be crowned. Of this trio of events the Capri Classica is the only one set up especially for the new circuit.

"It is a really great to start the summer in a place like Capri a nice private regatta with friends. What's not to like?" continues Mariette of 1915's Charlie Wroe. "The ISA is a good idea because it is here to promote like-for-like sailing for our yachts. You see how the J Class Association has produced some spectacular regattas and we enjoy racing against other big gaff-rigged boats, so it made perfect sense. We have done regattas in the past, in St Tropez especially, where you get a fleet of 10+ gaff-rigged boats and it is as spectacular a sight as you can see in sailing. Hopefully this will provide the impetus to encourage more people to come racing."

It is also about preventing skills from simply being lost. As Tomas de Vargas Machuca adds: "We keep the tradition of sailing schooners alive. We train a lot of youngsters in a kind of 'academy'. It is attracting young people to older boats. There is a time for carbon fibre and a time for tradition this is the latter!"

Celebrating these traditions will be reflected in this event where, post-racing, crews will demonstrate the skills and habits employed on classic schooners, from intricate ropework to the singing of sea shanties. Perhaps most exciting for the competitive side of the Capri Classica will be the rare opportunity to see the yachts starting from anchor during some races, just as they did in the 19th century, including the first editions of the America's Cup.

Following a welcome cocktail party on the dockside this evening, with refreshments including gin from the exclusive Downton Distillery, racing at the inaugural Capri Classica starts tomorrow with a first warning signal at 1200. It continues until Saturday 11th May when the final race will conclude off Capri's Faraglioni rocks, followed by a prize-giving in the charming Marina Piccola on Capri's south side.

The competitors

  • Mariette of 1915 138ft 1915 Nathanael Herreshoff schooner
  • Naema 128ft built in 2012, inspired by the 1938 Alfred Mylne design Panda
  • Orianda 85ft 1937 Dahlstrom staysail schooner
  • Puritan 126ft 1930 Alden gaff schooner
Schedule:

Tuesday May 7th

12:00-17.00 Arrival and Registration
17:00 Inauguration of the Schooner Village
19.00 Welcome Cocktail

Wednesday May 8th

09.30 Skippers' Briefing at the Schooner Village
12.00 Race start
20.30 Evening Entertainment

Thursday May 9th - Race day N.1

09.30 Skippers' Briefing at the Schooner Village
12.00 Race start
20.30 Evening Entertainment

Friday May 10th - Race day N.2

09.30 Skippers' Briefing at the Schooner Village
12.00 Race start
20.30 Evening Entertainment

Saturday May 11th - Race day N.3

09.30 Skippers' Briefing at the Schooner Village
12.00 Race start
(Qualifying round of the Schooner Cup Series)
18.30 Prizegiving Ceremony

For more information on the International Schooner Association visit www.internationalschoonerassociation.com

For more information on the International Maxi Association visit www.internationalmaxiassociation.com

Related Articles

Mariette and Naema win Capri Classica 2019
Racing between the giant schooners concluded on Saturday For their final day of racing, the four schooners, ranging in size from 85ft Orianda to 138ft Mariette of 1915, once again started in the Gulf of Naples bound for a turning mark off Punta Campanella, at the tip of the Sorrento Peninsula. Posted on 12 May
Naema noses ahead after incident at Capri Classica
Naema noses ahead after incident at Capri Classica Just when it seemed that the four giant schooners were likely to spend the day tied to the dock, the sea breeze filled in perfectly allowing the penultimate race of Capri Classica to take place. Posted on 11 May
Capri Classica: Mariette of 1915 levels scoreline
Blustery conditions on day 2 at the maxi schooner competition For day two of maxi schooner competition at this inaugural Capri Classica, the Gulf of Naples took on a northern European feel with an overcast sky, Vesuvius obscured by the mirk and a dark grey cloud parked over Capri's highest summit Posted on 9 May
Mega-schooner match race on the Bay of Naples
Action-packed opening day of racing at the inaugural Capri Classica Out on a sunny but chilly Bay of Naples, there was a remarkably action-packed opening day of racing at the inaugural Capri Classica, with lead changes galore, a David v Goliath competition and an encounter with a Neapolitan fishing net best forgotten. Posted on 9 May
Five giant schooners to compete at Capri Classica
Magnificent historic sailing craft are due gather on the Bay of Naples Created by the International Schooner Association in conjunction with the International Maxi Association, the first edition of Capri Classica is exclusively for classic schooners. Posted on 29 Apr
Capri Classica: A bespoke regatta for schooners
The world's largest and most beautiful classic schooners will line up off Capri The ISA, the Circolo del Remo e della Vela Italia and the Yacht Club Capri, with the support of the International Maxi Association (IMA), have launched the Capri Classica which will take place over 8-12 May, just before Capri Rolex Sailing Week. Posted on 13 Mar
New Mediterranean Series launched as IMA turns 40
New Mediterranean Series launched as IMA turns 40 In 2019 the International Maxi Association (IMA) celebrates the 40th anniversary of its establishment by notable maxi boat owners of the day, Baron Edmond de Rothschild, Raul Gardini, John Kilroy and William Whitehouse-Vaux. Posted on 12 Mar
International Schooner Association founded
The grace, power and complexity of classic schooners engenders great passion In recent years many of these yachts have been beautifully restored, or replicas have been built, with painstaking attention to historical detail and with no expense spared. Posted on 3 Oct 2018
IMA set to expand under new President
International Maxi Association has already expanded its operations considerably Taking over as President from Thomas Bscher, owner of the Wallycento 107 Open Season, is Benoît de Froidmont, who campaigns the Farr-designed Wally 60 Wallyño. The Geneva-based Luxembourger will serve for a three year term in office. Posted on 24 Sep 2018
Marine Resources BOTTOMMelges 14 2019 FooterRS Sailing BOTTOM