• Alba, Emeraude, Marigold, Amorita and Moonbeam III were proclaimed winners of this edition
• The city has become for a few days the world capital of classic sailing where 44 ships have deployed their sails in an event stained with tradition
• More than 500 ship owners and sailors from seven countries in Europe and America have competed, with Barcelona’s coastline as a backdrop, to the delight of visitors
• Stories as picturesque as that of Anne Bonny –the sailboat with a lesser length of the whole competition– or the exits and returns of Moonbeam IV accompanied by the sound of a bagpipe, have added, one more year, a historical, social and cultural note to this sporting event
Barcelona, 21st of July 2015. One more year, VIII Barcelona Puig Vela Clàssica regatta has transformed the Catalan city, between the 15th and 18th of July, into the heart of classic sailing worldwide. After seven successful editions, the eighth regatta continues to strengthen itself both at national and international levels, welcoming boats from seven countries in Europe and America.
More than 500 crew members from historic sailboats have participated in this sporting event, consolidating it as one of the reference competition in the regattas calendar of Classic and Vintage boats. It is one regatta included in the official calendar of the Royal Spanish Sailing Federation (RFEV) and scoring for the Spain Championship of Classic and Vintage Boats.
Having had these boats in Barcelona has been comparable to receiving in the city a test of the Grand Slam of classic sailing. The world elite of the sport has gathered together at the Real Club Náutico of Barcelona and amateurs from all places of the world have focused their attention in Barcelona during these days of pure spirit and seafaring tradition.
Heat wave and emotion
The eighth edition of the Puig Vela Clàssica Barcelona Regatta has overcome again its number of participants, with forty of them, confirming itself as the Vintage and Classic regatta with greater participation of those ones competed in Spanish waters. This year’s novelty was the division of the Classics fleet in two categories, Classics 1 and Classics 2 –depending on their performance, according to the RORC rating– which joined to those form Cangreja Époque, Marconi Époque and the spectacular Big Boats.
This year a total of 44 vessels did not want to miss the great event organized by the Real Club Náutico of Barcelona, whose excellence and good treatment to participants have deeply penetrated among the usual participants of this type of competition. Among them, winners of previous editions as Marigold, Manitou, Gipsy, Amorita, Moonbeam III, Moonbeam IV, Yanira, Alba and Argos came back again with the challenge of registering their names again in the list of winners of this regatta.
Although the South thermal wind did not shine as on other occasions, the intense heat wave that affected the Catalan coast could not cancel it completely. It is worth mentioning the work of the Regatta Committee, that combining patience and talent, knew how to manage deferrals and tours, to complete the schedule of a daily test and a total of three scheduled rounds. Thus, the first day the fleet sailed at 10 knots on a triangle of three sections and 7.7 miles for Big Boats and Vintage, while the Classics sailed five sections and 10 miles; the second day was the one with the weakest wind, when the initial South wind progressively went down from 8 to 5 knots, complicating the 13.7 miles of coastal round; the thermal wind wore its best clothes in the Barcelona Puig Vela Clàssica on the final day, blowing at 10-12 knots on a triangle of 8.7 miles with three sections for Vintage and Big Boats fleets, compared to the 11,1 miles in five sections for the Classics.
Big Boats in match racing mode. This sentence sums up what happened between Moonbeam III and Moonbeam IV. Two boats and two crews that know each other and that have already offered their best in the Barcelona regatta course in other occasions; not in vain, Moonbeam III arrived with four victories to his credit, while the IV in the series had won last year. A title it could not renovate, seeing how its rival overtook it in the three competed tests. But its defeat was quite expensive, since the exits and when it was close hauled were scenes of intense battle, with hard markings that had a quick retort of fast distancing. In the supporting courses, the asymmetrical spinnaker of Moonbeam III and its smaller displacement offered it better conditions than those from Moonbeam IV, with its large symmetrical spinnaker that was not able to perform to its full potential with those gentle breezes.
Until the last mile, the Cangreja Époque winner was not decided. After the first two tests, there was a double tie. Kelpie of Falmouth and Marigold came to the regatta course with three points, leading the provisional ranking, whereas Gipsy, Patna and Morwenna had 8 points. In the decisive round, Marigold’s crew pulse did not shake, thus adding another first partial position to its rating, something which was worth the final victory, the second of two consecutive victories, since it won last edition. Kelpie of Falmouth was a worthy second that was not troubled by its pursuers. Morewnna imposed itself in a three-way game by signing a third partial position, by a fourth of Patna, which meant an identical order in the final ranking, while the Gipsy could not complete the test and was fifth at the overall ranking.
The Marconi Époque Amorita repeated its victory since it had already achieved it in 2008, but again with some difficulty. The sea got a bit flatter for it when the perennial favourite Manitou was loaded with 13 points the first day, after being unable to finish the opening regatta, although later it reacted with second and first partial positions, which made it reach the fourth position. Halloween became the strongest opponent of Amorita, starting the final round with 4 points compared to the 3 points of the leader, which was able to control the final round in order to secure its victory. Behind them, Sonata was ranked third and climbed again the podium of Barcelona Puig Vela Clàssica.
After the first two days, it seemed that both categories of Classics would have the same outcome, since Argos in Classics 1 and Alba in Classics 2 had dominated the last regattas without problems, as it seemed they were going to do it again in the third and final round. Both of them, which had previously competed against each other with the single category for this fleet, had already shared the top honours, Alba appear in the list of winners twice, and Argos did it in 2009. While Alba confirmed the forecasts, Argos collided with Yanira in the pre-start manoeuvres and was disqualified. The sum of points made Emeraude inherit the victory after a regular series (3-2-2), supported on the podium by a Yanira that was asserting its best partial positions to break the tie with Guide. Equally tight was the classification of Classics 2 after Alba, as both Diana and Kanavel began the final day tied at 5 points. Controlling the time Diana should compensate in rating, Kanavel was second in the litmus test and on the podium. Melibea captured the fourth position in its partial and final ranking.
This edition of the Barcelona Puig Vela Clàssica will be certainly remembered again as a contested and even regatta. Not surprisingly, the high technical and sports level is one of the banners proudly displayed by the great event of this Spanish classic sailing, organized every year by the Real Club Náutico of Barcelona on the coast of this emblematic Mediterranean capital.
On Saturday 18th of July, after the last round, the expected award of the VIII edition of the Barcelona Puig Vela Clàssica Regatta took place, attended by Marc Puig, President of Puig, Enrique Corominas, President of the Real Club Náutico of Barcelona, Jordi Puig, Vice-president of RCNB, Damián Ribas, Commodore of the RCNB and Xavier Torres, President of the Catalan Sailing Federation.
During the closing ceremony, Marc Puig, president of Puig, encouraged sailors to extend the invitation to all international classic yachts, so that they join in the future editions of this Barcelona Puig Vela Clàssica.
Besides, the Enrique Puig award for national teams went to Italy, with Emeraude and Amorita sailboats.
A RACE OF CLASSIC ALWAYS KEEP BIG STORIES
All paths lead to Barcelona
If something stands out in Barcelona Puig Vela Clàssica is its cosmopolitan scent. Besides what is obvious –it is an exceptional nautical performance– when walking along the docks and talking to the sailors in the Village, you can feel this international air enriching the event, with the confluence of languages, backgrounds and such different environments that, all them together, transform the regatta into a multicultural hotbed beyond what is mere sport.
Thus, the VIII Puig Vela Clàssica Barcelona has had sailboats and crews coming from Portofino in Italy (Ella, 1960) and Saint Tropez (Manitou, 1937 and Moonbeam III, 1903), Marseille (Briseis, 1931), Sète (Aitor, 1964) , Cannes (Halloween, 1926) or Antibes (Zinita, 1928) in France.
From Helford –UK– came the classic Patna from 1920 and, nationwide, boats from Alicante (Argos, 1964), Formentera (Atrevit, 1969) or Mallorca (Sonata, 1937 or Enterprise, 1940) did the same.
Despite the differences, if ship owners, skippers and sailors coincide in something – independently of their nationality–is in the care with which they look after these true gems of the sea. A process of restoration and tuning that involves an almost infinite patience and a love for pure sailing where every detail and material is carefully used in these sailboats.
This joint deployment of seafaring tradition can be seen in very few places in the world, and it is even more difficult to see in a big city like Barcelona. For this reason, Barcelona Puig Vela Clàssica has become one of the most attractive regattas for sailors around the world that, year after year, repeat the experience and enjoy these days of “classics” that, for eight years, Puig and the Real Club Náutico of Barcelona bring to the Catalan capital every month of July.
A bagpiper aboard Moonbeam IV
During the regatta days in Barcelona, everyone who was at mid-morning or mid-afternoon near the sea, by Passeig de Colón or Moll de la Fusta, was surprised to hear Celtic chords in the middle of Barcelona coast. This melody came from the centennial Moonbeam IV, when announcing its exits and returns of the Real Club Náutico of Barcelona to the rhythm of a bagpipe, a tradition of this legendary sailboat that captivated most of the audience. The truth is that admiring the exit or return of a boat of this size – with all its crew in silence and focused on the melancholy sound of this Scottish instrument– flooded the RCNB every day with a special aura, moving the spectators of this singular and emotive spectacle to another époque.
The author of this Moonbeam IV’s tradition is Dominic, a Scottish amateur sailor and lover of classic regattas that met the boat skipper –with Scots ancestors–seven years ago in Cannes. Having a drink and talking about musical preferences, they agreed to begin this ritual that also serves as a tribute to the builder of the sailboat, the famous William Fife III, who was also Scottish.
Although he is not part of the regular crew of Moonbeam IV, when travelling in it, Dominic wears his ‘kilt’ to play the bagpipe. This clothing belongs to his family since 1880 –135 years ago –. As the boat leaves the port, Dominic takes off his ‘kilt’ and puts on the usual sailor clothing, to help his crewmates until the vessel returns to the port and this nice and curious tradition starts again.
A David against dozens of Goliaths
They say the great perfumes come in small bottles. This could well be the definition of Anne Bonny, a wonderful sailboat only 7.53 meters length that appears this year among the great classics of the Barcelona Puig Vela Clàssica.
The soul of this classic ship is the shipbuilder Niklaus-Matthias Stoll, a Swiss man living in Catalonia who bought the original drawings of the 809 design, created by the renowned William Fife III in 1935 in 1998.
Once the plans purchased, Niklaus began building this classic boat in his yard in Palamós, respecting the methodology of the 30s: brass rivets and African mahogany. Since then he has built four classic replicas that preserve the spirit with which he created the great Fife.
Namely Anne Bonny, in honour of the legendary Irish pirate of the eighteenth century, it was launched in 2001 and it has been six years competing in the Barcelona Puig Vela Clàssica regatta.
HISTORY OF WINNERS
Moonbeam III, a great among the greats
William Fife was responsible for the construction of what would be the first of the ships known as Moonbeam, a series whose design and performance was improved respect to the former one. In 1903, Moonbeam III, which travelled to Cannes in 1920 to settle in this port, was built. After passing through several owners, in 1989 it was sold at the Sotheby’s auctions in 2000 and acquired by its current owner, Didier Waetcher, who celebrated in style the centenary of the ship in 2003.
Erwan Noblet, Moonbeam III’s ship owner, welcomed with satisfaction the triumph of the last edition of this regatta, which meant the boat “increased its reputation and its real value, since they had shown that it was still alive and it could win a competition”; something that in the fourth edition has been more evident than ever, with the confirmation of its victory in the Big Boats category.
Marigold, pure elegance
Marigold is a vintage gaff cutter beautifully restored and maintained. It was one of the first designs of Charles Nicholson, and it was launched in 1892 at Camper & Nicholson shipyard, in Gosport. The sailboat has finishes of authentic Victorian style, such as its mahogany paneled lounge and its central table with leather seats.
Built primarily as a regatta sailboat, Marigold can also accommodate about 12 guests on board and three crew members. This boat catches everybody’s attention wherever it goes and has been awarded the “Concours d’Elegance”, the most precious prize to elegance.
Emeraude, a Corinthian classy
The spectacular Emeraude is an oceanic corridor of IOR first class. It was built by a French owner, joined the French team in the 1977 Admiral Cup and participated in the Sardinia Cup in 1980. Since 1997 it has been held by its current owner and captain, and its crew is completely Corinthian.
Amorita, a winner of 32 feet
Amorita, built in Oregon pine, oak and teak, belongs to the One Design ClassCalifornia 32. The name of this class is derived from the waterline length, 32 feet (9.75 meters). Like the other ships of this class, Amorita was built on an inverted mold (the first time this technique was used in California). These structures obtained very respectable positions in the Pacific ocean regattas. In 1959 and 1960 Amorita won the California Lipton Cup. Acquired in good conditions in 2005 by Claudio Mealli, former head of Latium, in San Francisco, it was restored in the shipyards of Porto Santo Stefano Argentario, Tuscany, keeping the mast Spruce (type of fir) original from 1937.
Alba, a single piece
Alba is a pure sailing boat to enjoy the sweet days of wind, which probably encouraged its first owner, an American, to baptize it with the name of Honey. Despite being so special, Alba has not belonged neither to magnates, nor politicians or Hollywood stars.
Launched in 1956, Alba is a yawl designed by Phillip Rhodes in his studio in New York. There, the work began, and it was transferred to Germany by a cargo, to continue its construction in Abeking & Rasmussen, a prestigious shipyard during the postwar years that was frequented by Americans, when the fashion for midsize boats regattas emerged.
Alba is one of the few classic boats that still keep its original parts. Iron fittings, fetters, winches… all in bronze, have been preserved and if they get broken, they are replaced with original pieces.
You can find regatta videos on: http://www.puigvelaclassica.com/new-videos/
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