Argentario Sailing Week & Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge: Grandes Dames to race 4 days as Porto Santo Stefano hosts 115 years of sailing history

Argentario Sailing Week

With only four weeks to go before the 18th edition of Argentario Sailing Week kicks off and with over 40 Grandes Dames already registered, Porto Santo Stefano is ready to host the international Classic Yacht regatta. The event is organized by the Yacht Club Santo Stefano in partnership with the Florentine haute horologerie brand Officine Panerai.

In 2017, yachts will be racing for one day more than compared to past editions, for a total of 4 days. A novelty that will allow crews to enjoy the hospitality of the Argentario and Porto Santo Stefano to the fullest and offer sailing enthusiasts the opportunity of retracing 115 years of sailing history while strolling down the docks. The Majestic Beauties will be racing on marks with the islands of Giglio, Giannutri, Montecristo and Elba providing a stunning backdrop from 14 to 18 June in what constitutes the second leg of the Mediterranean Circuit of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge.

All participating yachts, their designers and stories are described in great detail on the event’s Facebook page.

The Grandes Dames of the Sea

Big Boats

Cambria (1928) and Moonbeam of Fife (1903) return to Argentario’s waters in the Big Boats class to face off against Hallowe’en (1926) and secure the first prize in their category. William Fife III (1857-1944), the Scottish designer whose name is indissolubly linked to the Dragon (1888) and to the America’s Cup, designed all three yachts. William Fife III designed and built the first Shamrock (1899) and the third one in 1903 for Sir Thomas Lipton. Currently, about 100 yachts designed by Fife still exist of which fifty are still sailing, including Eilean (1937) owned by Officine Panerai, the set of Duran Duran’s “Rio” music video.

Vintage Yachts

With one month to the start of the regatta, sixteen boats have registered in the Vintage class, four of whom were designed by young and brilliant US naval designer Nathanael Greene Herreshoff I (1848-1938). As in the past editions, Rowdy (1916) will be battling it out on the race course with her sister Chinook, the latter with Italian Rugby star and sailing enthusiast Andrea Lo Cicero once again crewing on board. Also on the starting line and by the same designer, Linnet (1905) – the tenth of 18 yachts of the New York Yacht Club 30 class owned by Patrizio Bertelli and, making her debut at Argentario Sailing Week, , Herreshoff’s Spartan (1913), the last remaining specimen of the New York Yacht Club 50 Class.

Lovers of Sea and Beauty will also be able to admire Alzavola (1924), White Wings the beautiful yacht designed by John Alden in 1938, Morwenna (1914) who took part in the 1932 Fastnet but was forced to retire, and Circe designed by Sparkman and Stephens and 1951 Fastnet winner.

Classic Yachts

So far, four yachts in the Classic Yachts category are making their debut at the 18th edition of Argentario Sailing Week. One-Tonner Ganbare, which in Japanese means courage and strength, was designed by a very young Doug Peterson, built in the record time of 6 weeks and launched on 19 May 1973; Forban V (1955) designed by the French naval architect Eugene Cornu; Famalù (1957) designed by Laurent Giles and St. Christopher, designed by a young German Frers when he was an apprentice at the Sparkman & Stephens studio in New York.

Other boats that have made the history of sailing and are racing in this class include Naif captained by Ivan Gardini and Il Moro di Venezia I owned by Massimiliano Ferruzzi The sloop Naif was commissioned by Raul Gardini, designed by Dick Carter and took part in the 1973 Admiral’s Cup and Fastnet with Cino Ricci at the helm. Il Moro di Venezia I was commissioned by Serafino Ferruzzi and Raul Gardini and designed by German Frers in 1976. She is the first yacht to bear on her stern the name of one of the sailboat dynasties and of the America’s Cup.

Spirit of Tradition

The fleet of Wiannos designed by Manley Crosby in 1914 will be well represented at Argentario Sailing Week with four boats: Pyxis, Raindrop, Wianno and Wind & Wine. Making their debut in Porto Santo Stefano, Savannah designed by Pedrick and launched in 1997 but inspired by 1930s yachts and Fairlie (2011).


As in past editions, the Argentario Sailing Week – Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge will be divided into five categories: Classic Yachts, Vintage Yachts, Big Boats, Spirit of Tradition, Metric classes and one-design. The Overall winners of the Regatta in the Classic, Vintage, Big Boat and Spirit of Tradition classes shall receive an Officine Panerai timepiece.


Wednesday 14 June – Reserved for registration and measurement. In the evening, the Argentario Sailing Week welcome cocktail will take place at the Yacht Club Santo Stefano.

Thursday 15 June – The Mayor of Monte Argentario will greet all participants at 8.30 at the Town Hall before the Skippers’ briefing. The first warning signal is scheduled for 11 a.m.

Friday 16 June – After racing, the Spanish Fortress built in the 18th Century overlooking the Argentario Bay will provide a magical setting for the crew dinner organized by the Yacht Club Santo Stefano (8 p.m.)

Saturday 17 June – Racing

Sunday 18 June – the Prize Giving Ceremony will take place at the Race Village followed by a Farewell Cocktail.

The Argentario Sailing Week 2017 is organized by the Yacht Club Santo Stefano with the patronage of the Region of Tuscany, the Province of Grosseto, and the Municipality of Monte Argentario, the Municipality of the Island of Giglio and of AIVE (Italian Association of Vintage Yachts). The local tourism board supports the event. Officine Panerai is the Title Sponsor. Other sponsors include Argentario Approdi Spa, SLAM and Argentarola srl. Official Suppliers: Roman’s () and Verdissimo.

The Argentario Sailing Week is part of the Mediterranean Circuit of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge. The opening leg is Les Voiles d’Antibes (31 May-4 June), followed by Argentario Sailing Week in Porto Santo Stefano (14-19 June), the XIV Copa del Rey de Barcos de Época in Mahon (29 August-2 September) and the Régates Royales in Cannes (26-30 September).


Founded in Florence in 1860 as a laboratory, shop and watchmaking school, Officine Panerai for many years was the supplier of high precision instruments for the Italian Navy, mostly for the needs of Special Forces divers. The projects developed during this period – including the Luminor and Radiomir watch – were covered by military secret for years and their launch took place on the international market after the acquisition of the brand by the Richemont group in 1997. Today Officine Panerai develops and produces its own movements and watches in the Neuchâtel facility. The watches represent a synthesis between Italian design and history and Swiss craftsmanship, and are sold worldwide through an exclusive network of distributors and brand boutiques. –



The sea represents Panerai’s identity and its place of origin. To honor its historic ties with the sea, for over 10 years Officine Panerai has been committed to sustaining the culture of classic sailing through the sponsorship of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, the leading international circuit for classic and vintage yachts. In 2007, Panerai bought and restored the Bermudian ketch Eilean, built in 1936 by the legendary yards Fife in Fairlie, now brand ambassador during the classic yacht regattas.

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