By Madeline Gill
Over the past five weeks, New England towns have been host to a large number of classic yachts for a series of regattas. The fleet convened in Camden, ME and made their way down the coast to Newport, RI. The Corinthian Classic Yacht Regatta (August 12-13 in Marblehead, MA), Nantucket Regatta (August 18-19 in Nantucket, MA), Opera House Cup Regatta (August 20 in Nantucket, MA), Herreshoff Classic Yacht Regatta (August 25 in Bristol, RI), and Newport Classic Yacht Regatta (August 26-27 in Newport, RI) comprised the North American Circuit of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge (PCYC). These events were preceded by an additional four that served as warm-ups for the teams planning to participate in the 13th running of the PCYC.
The well-known ports were proud to show off their deep roots in the history of both boat building and sailboat racing, and the competing yachts showcased the level of craftsmanship and practicality that has definitively waned in more recent decades. At a time when high-tech, light-weight, and composite boats are becoming the norm and many classes are geared toward providing an adrenaline rush to their sailors, these classic yachts serve as a living example of the beauty and endurance that once defined yacht design.
The undisputed star of the first four events was Chris Bouzaid and his Luders 24 Leaf. He and his team executed commendable wins in the CRF-Vintage class at the Camden Classics Cup, the Classic B class at the Castine Classic Yacht Race, the Classic A class at the Camden Classic Regatta, and the Vintage A class at the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta. Also of note is George Pilgrim’s New York 40 Marilee and her finishes of second, seventh, second, and first in the same events. Not only was Marilee the sole yacht to compete in all nine events, but she also finished the PCYC North American Circuit with a first place in the Vintage Grand Classic class.
Joining Marilee with a perfect attendance record at the PCYC North American Circuit regattas were Samuel Croll’s 8 Meter Angelita, Joerg Moessnang’s Sonder Tilly XV, Donald Tofias’ W Class Wild Horses, and Gary Gregory’s 12 Meter Valiant. Angelita and Marilee, while 89 and 91 years old, respectively, were not the oldest yachts of the bunch; Tilly XV celebrates her 105th birthday this year. In a remarkable display of commitment and capability, Tilly XV’s team proved that performance need not diminish with age by posting the highly sought after ‘picket fence’ scorecard; Moessnang and his crew closed out the PCYC North American Circuit at the top of the Vintage Day Racer class.
In the Vintage Corinthian Classic class, which was a bit more hotly contested than the Vintage Day Racers, Craig Venter’s S&S Sonny pulled off an overall win. Despite missing the Corinthian Classic Yacht Regatta early on, Venter and crew performed strongly enough to edge out Angelita and John Taft’s Crowninshield Fortune by the narrowest margin in any class. Rounding out the leaderboard for the PCYC North American Circuit was Valiant in the Grand Prix class.
New this year was an award presented by the Classic Yacht Owner’s Association, for the “Best in Fleet.” Among the criteria for the new award is authenticity to the original design, quality of operating standard, aesthetic value, and owner dedication. This year’s award was presented to Scott Frantz and his 1936 72′ Ticonderoga.