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Gstaad Yacht Club Centenary Trophy: the old beauties are back

by Gstaad Yacht Club 17 Aug 2019 02:35 PDT 3 October 2019
Tilly XV 2018 winner racing in Saint Tropez - 2018 Gstaad YC Centenary Trophy © Juerg Kaufmann / www.go4image.co

In two month's time, some of the most handsome boats from the classic yachting circuit will gather once more on the Cote d'Azur for the 9th edition of the Gstaad Yacht Club Centenary Trophy.

Feels like yesterday when the Swiss Club launched the idea of an event dedicated to boats one hundred years and more of age, but the Gstaad Yacht Club Centenary Trophy will celebrate its ninth anniversary this year in Saint-Tropez, the regatta having become a true tradition and an unmissable rendez-vous for the centenarian sailing beauties.

As past winners and participants keep coming back for more, year after year new centenarian yachts make their debut at the Trophy.

The provisional entry list includes, in fact, several rookies like 1918 Apache, a 8 Metres IR designed by Norwegian architect Johan Anker, known worldwide as the father of the Dragon, the boat that has maintained the status of Olympic class for longer in the history of sailing. Of Scottish origins is another newcomer: Endrick, a 7 Metres IR designed by William Fife III also in 1912, whose owner and skipper is former Swiss Olympic sailor Jean Degaudenzi, who took part to the 1972 Games in Munich in the Flying Dutchman class.

From the same drawing board comes Sayonara, Japanese for "goodbye". Designed as a fast cruising yawl by William Fife III of Fairlie in Scotland and built in Australia in 1897, where she was one of the fastest racing yachts of the time, winning several regattas and holding passage records.

Olympian, the William Gardner designed gaff cutter from 1913 and skippered by France America's Cup veteran Bruno Troublé, will be back to defend the title won in 2014 but more past winners like Tilly XV, double champion in 2017 and 2018, confirmed they will be on the starting line. Tilly XV, is a Sonderklass racer, with a particularly contemporary design, that won the Kiel Week in the very same year she was launched was built in 1912 in Germany for Prince Heinrich Von Preussen, the brother of Kaiser Wilhelm II, and is the fifteenth of a series of boats that all carry the same name.

The event, raced in a pursuit format with staggered starts, is scheduled for Thursday, October 3rd and is expected to be yet again the focal point of classic racing at the Voiles de Saint-Tropez. The Centenary Trophy features an especially created and constantly refined handicap system, allowing very different boats in size and rig to compete on equal terms, and its format has proved extremely attractive for the sailors and the public alike, with the first boat to cross the line off the Saint Tropez breakwater to be declared the winner.

This year too, during the prize-giving night both the Centenary Trophy and the Centenarian Award Silver Bowl will be on display. The prize that has been awarded earlier in the year, in April in the Royal Thames Yacht Club in London to the boat deemed the Centenarian of the Year 2019 and went to Carlotta, 50ft (15m) protection cutter built in 1899, restored by Abernethy and Gaudin in Canada and the Elephant Boatyard in England.

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