Valiant, 12 Meter Class, sailing in the Museum of Yachting Classic Yacht Regatta. Valiant won the Panerai Classic Yacht Challenge North American Circuit for the Spirit of Tradition Class LRNewport, Rhode Island, September 7th 2010- The Museum of Yachting (MoY) Classic Yacht Regatta sponsored by Officine Panerai marks the final segment of the North American Challenge circuit, which was met with a great deal of anticipation with the arrival of Hurricane Earl to the area bringing high winds and a severe weather advisory. Unfortunately this caused the cancellation of the first day of racing for the regatta and a postponement of the registration and Welcome Reception to Saturday evening. The reception turned out to be a spectacular night with a stunning sunset welcoming the competitors to the grounds of Fort Adams and the chic Panerai hospitality lounge set up in the confines of the Museum. There was a lot of animated discussion about the previous night’s weather and the quick passing of Hurricane Earl that was downgraded before it hit Newport. The entry lists for this year’s event saw 55 boats registered, but with the threat of Hurricane Earl and many boats being hauled out of the water, the entry list was affected. Considerable effort was made by the owners and crew to participate in the event and 42 boats started the race. In addition to title sponsor Officine Panerai, the MoY Classic Yacht Regatta is presented by Land Rover and operated by the organizing authority Sail Newport.

Sunday morning started with bright blue skies, low humidity and heavy winds gusting up to 30 knots on the Narragansett Bay. Many of the participating yachts proudly hoisted their pennants and battle flags, while circling the inner Harbor for a “parade of Classics” allowing the on-shore spectators to take in the sights of these classic beauties sailing out of the picturesque harbor.

Sonny overall winner of the Museum of Yachting Classic Yacht Regatta LSAfter a blustery opening to the day that saw several yachts returning to port with breakages, including an unfortunate collision between Joyant and Destiny that brought down Destiny’s mast and tearing Joyant’s mainsail. The strong winds continued to fill in at the start, with high winds blowing 30 plus knots out of the southwest then going more west as the day went on. The race committee made a prudent decision to postpone the start, giving several of the boats an opportunity to reef their mainsails as well as allowing the race committee to change one of the marks to a inflatable tetrahedral Panerai mark set off of Clingstone rock, thus shortening the course and making it a safer mark rounding for these classic yachts. The heavy winds continued making it a very technical race forcing the skippers to “choose when to make a sail change in the ever changing wind shifts” according to Brad Read, Executive Director of Sail Newport, who was aboard the 6-Meter Totem. The second mark was set north of the Newport bridge near Prudence Island and the wind dropped down to 12-15 knots and became more like Bay sailing conditions. Once under the bridge and heading downwind there was an exciting man overboard maneuver with the 12-Meter Valiant losing one of their crewmembers overboard and Totem came to his assistance dropping their Genoa and keeping an eye on the crewmember as Valiant, helmed by owner Gary Gregory, did an excellent job of collecting the crewmember as well as the man overboard module and ring before completing the race with all crew onboard. Totem continued their race and even with their maneuver to assist Valiant still managed to finish the 12.4 nautical mile race, taking third place overall in the Classic non-spinnaker class. There was an impressive fleet of the 12-Meter yachts participating including American Eagle skippered by Carol Swift, who regrettably was late for the start after putting a reef in and were never able to catch up to the winning Columbia helmed by Alain and Don Hanover. There was an exciting match race in the S Boat class with four entries including the oldest in the fleet, the 1919 Argument, which was overtaken by the 1926 Firefly helmed by Alan Silken. The 100 ft. custom ketch Herreshoff Ticonderoga, helmed by owner Scott Frantz and an avid supporter of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, had one of the youngest crewmembers with a one-year old taking part in the race. The 46’ W-Class Equus owned by Wendy Schmidt took the honors of winning the Spirit of Tradition class giving the 12-Meter Valiant a close second and the 76’ W-Class White Wings third place in the second largest class of the event with ten entries.

In the warm summer evening, many jubilant participants, crews and friends joined together at the MoY to celebrate this exceptional classic regatta with a prize-giving ceremony and dinner, with many boats receiving a variety of accolades and awards. The popular Panerai hospitality lounge, stylish and comfortable, hosted the competitors before the awards ceremony by offering refreshments, canapés and sailing coverage of their Classic Yacht Challenge and was full of enthusiastic banter about the exciting day’s events and racing. Each boat that was first-in-class in the following categories received an heirloom-quality Panerai barometer. George Hinman, a past Commodore of the New York Yacht Club, thanked Panerai for their fifth year of sponsorship and also acknowledged the continued support from Land Rover. The Class winners were Equus Spirit of Tradition non-spinnaker fleet, Steve Frarys’ Kestrel took the honors of the classic spinnaker class as well as a Designers Award for best performance by a Herreshoff-designed yacht. Sonny took first place in the classic non-spinnaker class. The Luders 24 Belle helmed by owner Joe Lougborough won the 6-Meter division, Firefly in the S-Class and Columbia in 12 Meters both took first place. The newly restored 1930 Bill Luders-designed Totem, skippered by owner Jesse Smith who placed third in the non spinnaker class, was awarded the best Corinthian Spirit of the regatta and received the trophy for the overall winner of the North American Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, after single-handedly sailing to Nantucket to win the prestigious Panerai Regatta timepiece at the Opera House Cup two weeks ago. The highlight of the evening was the award for the Overall Classic Yacht Regatta winner with the presentation of the rare 2010 Panerai Radiomir Regatta 1/8th second Titanio – 47 mm watch, which was won by Joseph Dockery, owner of the lovely 1937 custom Sparkman & Stevens-designed Sonny in the Classic non-spinnaker class.

Following the resounding success of the 31st Annual MoY Classic Regatta, many look forward to next year’s event when they will celebrate the 32nd annual Classic Yacht Regatta.

Press Contact:
Tera Leuthauser
Nike Communications
(646) 654-3444

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