Vintage and Classic boats at Imperia, Italy

Panerai Vele d’Epoca 2008, Imperia. Last reach to the finish. Stormvogel

Two weekends back saw the bi-annual Vele d’Epoca d’Imperia – the Imperia Classics regatta, sponsored by Officine Panerai, and part of the Mediterranean classics circuit. This was the 15th Imperia sailing regatta, in the alternate years they hold a Classic Motoryachts event.

The Trofeo Panerai is awarded for points accumulated during the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, which consists of Les Voiles d’Antibes (France), Argentario sailing Week (Italy), the Copa del ray de Barcos de Epoca-Mahon (Spain), Vele d’Epoca d’Imperia (Italy) and the Regates Royales de Cannes (France). There are also points awarded for the passage races between events.

Panerai Vele d'Epoca 2008, Imperia. A forest of varnished spars.
The Imperia event is based in the historic harbour of Calata Anselmi, Porto Maurizio. This year’s 94 entries almost filled the basin completely, and the sight of quite so many classic boats in one place is magnificent indeed. Moored stern-to in traditional Mediterranean fashion (and no bow thrusters on these boats, thank you!) the spectacle of the fleet in port is almost (but not quite) as impressive and important as the racing itself.
Panerai Vele d'Epoca 2008, Imperia. "That way... I think." Skipper Graeme Henry (foreground) calls the shots for owner Ermano Traverso (red gilet) on board Stormvogel.
Boats race in Classic (pre-1975) and Vintage (pre-1949) classes, and divisions within classes.

For Asian-based readers, boats of note at Imperia were the 42m Camper & Nicholson ketch Sylvia, until recently a familiar sight at the Phuket King’s Cup, and also Ermano Traverso’s Stormvogel, another regular Asian regatta competitor.

Sail-world Asia is delighted to report that not only did Stormvogel win the passage race from Porto Mahon to Imperia, but then scored four wins from four starts, taking out the Classic class overall (and of course a division win as well).

Sail-World Asia was delighted to be on board for one of the races – pics included here.

We have heard a number of rumours around the bars and beaches in Asia recently, saying that there’s going to be a real rinky dink classics regatta sometime soon. But don’t hold your breath. If you want to see classic boats racing, and until someone produces a venue and a fleet that looks like this, get on a plane and go to the Med.

The recent tragedy at the Regates Royales de Cannes, involving Saphir and Rowdy, in which Saphir was dismasted and her owner killed by the falling mast, has cast a shadow over the racing of these beautiful boats. Here by way of an antidote is a picture gallery from Imperia.

Click on the thumbnails (so the site doesn't load all these pics at once and slooooow down).