Bosham-based Peter Nicholson, owner of Solent Sunbeam ‘Dainty’ hull no. 1, sets off for the annual Regates Royales and Voiles de St Tropez Regattas in the South of France.
The event, hosted by the City of Cannes and organised by the Yacht Club de Cannes, takes place from 28 September to 6 October.
Cannes will see the gathering of around 150 of the world’s greatest classic yachts, for competitive racing on the water followed by the friendliest of evening soirees ashore as the yachts moor alongside each other on quay in the old port!
What started 15 years ago as an unusual and challenging adventure, has become an annual event, but getting a 96-year-old classic keelboat plus its skipper, crew and shore-team is a military operation which takes planning and commitment, not to mention people and financial resources!
The trip down to the South of France is taken at a leisurely pace allowing time to enjoy the food and wine on the way!
But, as you would expect years of towing a classic yacht from Itchenor to the South of France has not always been plain sailing. A blown head gasket one year necessitated a hasty trip back to the UK to purchase a new car in order to complete the yacht’s trip down to the Mediterranean!
Once the racing is completed at Cannes, the classic fleet sets sail for St Tropez in the annual Yacht Club de France Coupe d’Automne (Autumn Cup).
Voiles de Saint-Tropez is a huge event attracting both classic yachts and the latest modern racing yachts with over 300 yachts taking part and in excess of 4000 sailors and supporters. Peter notes that St Tropez with its magical location and stunning racing makes the perfect setting for the end to his sailing season.
Peter, owner of Solent Sunbeam Dainty hull no. 1, which was built in 1923, notes that ‘it’s not about the winning at these events, it’s all about the taking part!’.
The atmosphere and camaraderie are what bring him and his 96-year-old Sunbeam, Dainty back year after year!