HomeNewsTribute to American yachts which dominated the international stage from 1851 to 1973

Tribute to American yachts which dominated the international stage from 1851 to 1973

14th Monaco Classic Week – La Belle Classe : Stars and Stripes forever!

For this edition of the biennial Monaco Classic Week, the Yacht Club de Monaco is taking on an American accent, opening the meeting with a rendition of the famous Sousa march, ‘Stars & Stripes forever’ performed by naval military band, Musique des Equipage de la Flotte.

This is the only classic boat gathering which invites both sailing and motor boats, with some 130 registered. They include 74 classic and Metric Class sailing yachts, as well as 30 motorboats, represented by those symbols of the Mediterranean, the Rivas, and for the USA a fleet of the Chris Craft icons of American lakes.


It will be the first time that Atlantic 2010 (replica of the 1903 three-mast schooner on which Charlie Barr in 1905 set the best time for an Atlantic crossing) will be in the Principality. Another icon, SS Delphine (1921), the 79m steam-boat built for the wife of automobile magnate Horace E. Dodge, makes a welcome return. It was aboard this beauty that three world leaders, Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill, negotiated at least part of the 1945 Yalta Agreement.





In Port Hercule, on the quays and in the Clubhouse, the YCM celebrates American yachting, those East Coast heroes on New York Yacht Club territory whose members helped write this incredible chapter in yachting history. Through their creations, we will find its designers, the likes of Starling Burgess, Nat. Herreshoff and John G. Alden, not to mention their prolific prestigious successors, Olin Stephens and his accomplice Roderick Sparkman, and Dick Carter whose clients had names like Vanderbilt, Rockfeller, Pierpont Morgan, Gorbes and John Kennedy.


More than a past-time, yachting combines creativity, industry and high-level competition, but also economic rivalry. What more effective and subtle way to conquer the American market, better than with tea or a disposable pen, thought the yet to be ennobled Thomas Lipton and then nearly a century later ballpoint producer Marcel Bich.

It was with American gigantism that the Yankees developed yachting to its highest level to beat the English on their own turf in Cowes, in front of Queen Victoria one day in June 1851. The vanquished wanted revenge, the winners agreed to host them on their waters, and the challenge was named after the victorious 1851 schooner, America, the replica of which will be moored in the YCM Marina.

Initially inspired by the big Maine fishing schooners, these designers were quick to innovate when faced with an onslaught of beautiful British yachts designed by Watson, Fife, Mylne and co. At the same time that NYYC members were building ever larger one-design classes, up to 70-foot for racing amongst themselves, others less wealthy but just as passionate were going for the Atlantic record in the Fastnet race to hear their anthem on the podium. And they were building them solid. The 20-plus out of 70 sailing boats that will be here at Monaco Classic Week will show they had lost none of their flair: Oriole (NY 30, 1905), Chips (P-Class, 1013), Rabbit, real time all classes combined winner of the 1965 Fastnet, and many others.





On the water

This year, Metric Classes built after the 1906 International Rating (IR) was introduced have been invited to Monaco: 6M, 8M, 12M, and of course the 15M which includes the YCM’s emblematic Tuiga, celebrating her 110th anniversary this year. It is an opportunity to see some great racing, particularly in the popular 6M and 8M classes. The 12M class will be represented by La Spina, a masterpiece of Italian design, and French Kiss, just out of the yard after some restoration work. It was the latter which, in 1987 skippered by Marc Pajot, pulled off the best result to date for a French boat in the America’s Cup by reaching the Challengers’ semi-finals in Perth.

The International Schooner Association has chosen Monaco, after Capri, for the second stage of its all-new Schooner Cup Series. A dozen schooners, including Invader (1905), Puritan (1930) and Elena of London 2009 (1910 replica) will recreate the atmosphere on the quays of yesteryear, when they came to spend the winter in Monaco or watch the Powerboat Meetings in the spring at the turn of the last century.



Among newcomers of Monaco Classic Week: Atlantic (66m), the famous New York Yacht Club schooner which in 1905 set the record for an Atlantic crossing of 12 days 4 hours 1 minute 19 seconds. Rebuilt at the instigation of Ed Kastelein, an expert in recreating famous sailing yachts, Atlantic is an identical replica of the three-mast schooner Charlie Barr commissioned for the Kaiser’s Cup in May 1905. It was not until 1st August 1980 that a certain Eric Tabarly improved on that time on this 2,925 mile course.

Amidst this prestigious fleet will be 20 entrants from the charming 12’ Dinghy class, with their immaculately varnished hulls and colourful sails, flitting across the water like butterflies.





A reminder that quays are open to the public who are free to stroll around the Monaco Classic Week Village of around 20 exhibitors all linked to classic yachts: boatyards, craftsmen, marine painters, sculptors and photographers, with an overall American theme for the decor.

In front of the YCM’s Clubhouse, a one-off G.L. Watson and the America’s Cup exhibition will delight classic yacht fans who for the first time on this side of the Atlantic can find out more about those early boats, which competed in the America’s Cup and established USA supremacy. Set up on Quai Louis II it features unpublished photos from the George Lennox Watson archive, the unlucky Scottish designer behind four British Challengers including a Shamrock for Sir Thomas Lipton. A pioneer of industrial espionage, for each edition of the Cup he obtained photographs of the American boats either in action or in the yard to study them. This unique and historically significant collection has been made available to the yacht Club by G. L. Watson & Co in Liverpool.



Spectacle accessible to all!

Regularity and manoeuvrability contests for the motorboats, races for the sailing yachts and elegance parades – chaired by S.H.S. The Princess Beatriz de Orléans-Borbón in the presence of S.H.S. The Princess Camilla de Bourbon des Deux-Siciles – are just some of the highlights awaiting spectators. Ashore, chefs on classic yachts vie to produce the most creative original dish in a culinary competition on the quay. For members and participants, the Yacht Club’s decks offer panoramic views of the bay, as does the main harbour wall and other high viewpoints in Monaco for the public.


Time to step back in time to relive the passion yachtsmen already had over a century ago and which continues to motivate those who restore, maintain and sail these invaluable testimonies to our maritime heritage.



Provisional programme (subject to change)


Monday 9th & Tuesday 10th September

11.00am                      Start of passage race from Imperia – Monaco

Tuesday 10th September

6.30pm                        Premiere of Movie-lecture MONACO and the Sea (Ballroom)

for YCM members and participants of Monaco Classic Week

Wednesday 11th September

11.00am                      Metric Class races (6 M IR/ 8 M IR/ 12 M IR/ 15 M IR)
11.00am                      Classic yacht races (CIM rating)

7.00pm                        ‘A la rencontre de la Monaco Classic Week’ opening cocktail (by invitation)

with an American serenade by Musique des Equipages de la Flotte

Thursday 12th September
9.00am-6.00pm           Inspection of yachts by “La Belle Classe Restoration” Jury

9.00am-10.00am         Chefs Competition (distribution of ingredients on the quays)
11.00am                      Metric Class races (6 M IR/ 8 M IR/ 12 M IR/ 15 M IR)
11.00am                      Classic yacht races (CIM rating)

11.00am                      Regularity challenge for motorboats
12.30pm                      Picnic at sea for motorboats
5.00pm-7.00pm          Chefs Competition (presentation of dishes on the quays)
8.00pm                        Crew Party (by invitation)

Friday 13th September

9.00am-6.00pm           Inspection of yachts by “La Belle Classe Restoration” Jury

11.00am                      Metric Classes and 12’ Dinghy class races

11.00am                      Classic yacht races (CIM rating)

11.00am                      Manoeuvrability challenge for motorboats

8.30pm                        La Belle Classe party (yachtsman attire, invitation by Moët Hennessy)

Saturday 14th September 

9.00am-6.00pm           Inspection of yachts by “La Belle Classe“ Jury

10.00am                      Elegance parade for Classic yacht

11.00am                      Metric Classes and 12’ Dinghy class races

11.00am                      Classic yacht races (CIM rating)

2.30pm                        Elegance parade for motorboats
8.00pm                        American Night (Great Gatsby dress code, Thirties, by invitation)

Sunday 15th September

12 noon                       Prize-giving (by invitation)



  • News
  • 6 September 2019