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Cyclops Marine 2023 November - LEADERBOARD

Gstaad Yacht Club Centenary Trophy 2023 Preview: a classic for classics

by Gstaad Yacht Club 26 Sep 2023 07:35 PDT 5 October 2023
The 2023 `rookie` centenarian, Italian flagged Barbara © Fabio Taccola

Back in 2011 the Gstaad Yacht Club launched a regatta, unique in its genre, reserved to boats that are one hundred or more years old, and over the years, the Centenary Trophy has grown to become a familiar "rendez-vous" at the Voiles de Saint Tropez.

"The Gstaad Yacht Club was founded in 1998 by a group of sailor enthusiasts with the vision to "create a unique global yacht club away from the waters, instead of another local club by the waters." With sailing projects on all levels from juniors to professional sailors and the launch of the Centenary Trophy regatta in 2011 it has become a key actor on the Swiss sailing scene and in classic yachting. "It's with great pleasure and sure to have fun that we come back every year to admire these magnificent boats, and this 12th edition will be no different.Plus, the club is celebrating its 25th anniversary as do the Voiles de Saint Tropez, so the occasion is just perfect." Declared Manrico Iachia, Commodore of the Gstaad Yacht Club.

The Centenary Trophy is raced in a pursuit format with staggered starts, that has proved extremely attractive for the sailors and the public alike over the years, using an especially created and constantly refined handicap system, allowing very different boats in size and rig to compete on equal terms.

As explains one of the most enthusiastic international ambassadors of the regatta, French skipper and classic yachting lover Bruno Troublé:"I've taken part in the Centenary Trophy many times, and it's fantastic! The concept is absolutely brilliant because the boat's handicap is taken into account at the start and not at the finish, which changes everything. You know when you cross the finish line who the winner is. I have a particular fondness for this regatta organised by the Gstaad Yacht Club, which I won aboard the ClassP Olympian (1910). It's a really great event!"

After a most successful 11th edition in 2022, the regatta will be back this year with the usual mix of aficionados and newcomers, as well as many of the past winners of the Trophy, like last year champion Kismet (1898). On the starting line just off Saint Tropez, there will also be two boats that have participated eight times to the regatta and will score a record ninth time: the gaff ketch Veronique (1907) and 2021 winner Olympian (1913), one of the three P-Class gaff cutters that race regularly in the Med.

This year's "rookie" will be right on time, having turned centenarian in 2023. Italian flagged Barbara is a Marconi yawl designed in 1923 by Charles Ernest Nicholson and built at Camper & Nicholsons shipyard in Gosport, UK.

"I don't feel like the owner," says Florentine Roberto Olivieri "but rather the guardian of this jewel to be known and passed on to future generations. It is the first time that we take part in the Centenary Trophy. We are very impressed by the welcoming reception and the impeccable organization of Gstaad Yacht Club. I love the innovative formula of racing with staggered starts and the finish in real time. We are very happy to be lining up for it, and I hope in the next years to have all the centenarians in the same location, that will make for an amazing floating museum. These boats have a soul that can be better understood by seeing them".

Besides being a regular feature on classic yachts events, in recent years Barbara has also been promoting social initiatives and environmental sustainability, to the likes of the (Re)lnspiration project about cystic fibrosis, and the Frisbi Energia project, for the reduction of plastic and a conscious use of renewable energy.

Organizers are also working on the social activities ashore, to make sure the Centenary Trophy is fun too. On the menu a Swiss night, at the Cinéma in the historic Place des Lices on Wednesday where sailors will have the chance to taste the specialties from the Alps but also put their abilities to the test in a very Swiss activity...

The Centenarian Award

The Centenarian of the Year Award, organised by Classic Boat magazine and the Gstaad Yacht Club, was launched in 2017. Any boat of 100 years or more, which is still sailed in a largely authentic way, is eligible. The independent panel of judges considers any kind of sail boat, including cruising boats, race yachts and former work boats. Each boat should have achieved something significant in the past year, be it a long cruise, a race win, a major restoration or something else noteworthy. The winner is announced at the annual Classic Boat Awards, held at the Royal Thames Yacht Club in London and awarded with a Sterling Silver Cup, sponsored by Robbe & Berking Silver manufacturer.

**More information can be found at the Centenary Trophy website: gyccentenarytrophy.com

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