A Celebration of History at Sea

Les Voiles d’Antibes marks the start of the Mediterranean’s classic-yacht regatta season.

2012 Les Voiles d’Antibes

The 2013 Les Voiles d’Antibes was expected to offer scenes as classic as this one, from the 2012 event. Courtesy Les Voiles d’Antibes

Les Voiles d’Antibes has just kicked off the Mediterranean’s season of classic yacht regattas, with an impressive field that included 31 vintage yachts built before 1950, 18 classic yachts built before 1975 and a pair of former America’s Cup competitors. At least one participating yacht dated to the late 1800s.

One of the most-watched yachts in the regatta was the 1936 William Fife design Eilean, which MTV fans from the 1980s may remember as the yacht whose bowsprit served as a stage for Duran Duran’s Simon le Bon as he sang the lyrics to “Rio.” That, sadly, was perhaps the greatest modern moment for Eilean, which ended up half-sunk with no mast in English Harbour, Antigua. The yacht was restored at a cost of $3.8 million through Officine Panerai and returned to the public eye at Les Voiles d’Antibes — to cheers all around.

Also eagerly watched this year was the New York 40 Chinook, a 65-foot Bermudan sloop designed by Nathaneal Herreshoff and launched in 1916 for a New York Yacht Club member. She, too, recently completed a full restoration and performed very much like she did during the 1920s and 1930s, when she was active on the racing circuit.


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