Words by: JPS
There are few more gentlemanly sporting occasions than the annual competition for the Classic Division trophy presented by Rolex at Les Voiles de St. Tropez.
The regatta was first run 26 years ago as La Nioulargue, and remains the top event for classic yachts anywhere in the world. At this years regatta, which just wrapped up, the 29-meter Maria Giovanna II won the Rolex Trophy with a single point lead over rivals Namib and Stiren. This year the true historic action was focused on the 15 Meter Class Association Championship, of which Les Voiles was the final stage, previous races having been run in the Balearic Islands, Monaco and Portofino.
Imagine the majesty of four splendid cutters, the last of their kind remaining from the early 19th century, competing for top honors: Mariska (1908), Tuiga (1909),Hispania (1909), and The Lady Anne (1912). Each won a race over the course of the week, making it anyone's guess who would nail the prize. The winner in St. Tropez and the seemingly the best over the week was Lady Anne, but when the final tally was in, Tuiga, helmed by Bernard d’Alessandri, Secretary General of Yacht Club Monaco, was awarded the cup by a single point. The 28 meter gaff-rigged cutter, built in Scotland in 1909, was originally commissioned by the Duke of Medinaceli, a close friend of Alfonso XIII, the King of Spain. It's safe to say shes been helmed by gents ever since.
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