Panerai Transat Classique 2012 A taste of things to come

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Prior to the grand start of the final leg at noon on 2 December, the yachts competing in the Panerai Transat Classique 2012 will be taking part in the Cascais Classic Race (24 & 25 November). This weekend regatta will be a chance for them to make some final tweaks and rub shoulders with the cream of classic yachting in Portugal. Expect some serious racing, a friendly atmosphere and lots of fun!

With less than two weeks to go before the major event in the Panerai Transat Classique 2012, the participating yachts have all rallied Cascais in Portugal and their crews are preparing for the big crossing. Red Hackle is back in the water after some repairs but Persephone and White Dolphin are still on the hard for various hull works and the latter is getting a new propeller fitted after her run of bad luck on the leg from Saint-Tropez to Cascais. Choosing to come out of the water at this juncture is significant; it shows that these two sailing thoroughbreds are getting ready for a serious showdown in the Atlantic, not least because they each won their respective warm-up leg! Persephone took the highest step on the podium for the Douarnenez leg in July while White Dolphin did the same for the Mediterranean run at the beginning of the month. But that won't be enough to impress their opponents who are determined to fight it out all the way to Barbados.

Most of the boats took part in one of the two warm-up events, and their performances in these legs will affect the final score; however some joined the fleet just for the main race. Among these is Artaius. This thirteen year old yacht is entering in the Spirit of Tradition category which includes recently built yachts — in this case 1999 — whose plans, lines or construction techniques are faithful to the spirit of classic yachting. Designed by architect Nigel Irens, who made his name building ocean racing multihulls, Artaius takes her lines from the pilot cutters that once guided the great sailing ships of yore safely into harbour. Fine seagoing lines make her a fast vessel, and a serious contender for the podium. But first she'll have to contend with Saint Christopher, a fifteen metre sloop which came off the slip in 1968. Designed for the prestigious Admiral's Cup, she was drafted by the famous architect German Frers who was working at the time for the renowned Sparkman & Stephens firm. French naval architecture also has its champion in Croix des Gardes. Designed by Henri Dervin, this magnificent fifteen metre Bermuda cutter was built in 1947 by the Bonnin Shipyard in Arcachon.

For the new arrivals to this exceptional transatlantic challenge, as well as for the other competitors, the coming weekend is going to be a fabulous opportunity for sizing up the field and making some final adjustments before the starting gun fires the following week. The Clube Naval de Cascais (CNC) organizes the Cascais Classic Race every year, and every year elegant vessels from the golden age of yachting come from all over Portugal to enjoy a weekend of competitive sailing. This time there'll be the added attraction of an international fleet of classic yachts preparing to race across the Atlantic. But in the meantime, on Saturday and Sunday, these beautiful yachts will be sailing on the Tagus much to the admiration of the spectators lining the shores. And as if that wasn't enough sailing excitement, the competitors in the Panerai Transat Classique 2012 will also be paying their respects to their ancestors at the foot of the Monument to the Discoveries — erected in honour of Portugal's King Henry the Navigator who financed the adventures of Vasco de Gama — and the famous Belem Tower which has seen many a courageous sailor set out to explore the oceans. In the evening the crews will be meeting up in the CNC clubhouse to take advantage of a rare opportunity to socialize. After this weekend's regatta, the crews will have seven days to finish their preparations before they embark upon the 3,300 mile race across the Atlantic to the idyllic island of Barbados.

PLEASE NOTE: the final leg starts at noon on 2 December and not 2 p.m. as previously announced.

The boats engaged :

-          Corto

-          Gwen Even

-          Cipango

-          White Dolphin

-          Croix des Gardes

-          Marie des Isles

-          Artaius

-          Persephone

-          The Blue Peter

-          Valteam

-          Saint Christopher

-          Red Hackle

Isabelle Delaune Rivacom

See Classic Boats > Transat Classique images

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 20 November 2012 )