An American Dream

From 11-15 September 2019, the Yacht Club de Monaco is organising the 14th Monaco Classic Week – La Belle Classe.

This biennial event was the first in the world to showcase both sailing and motor boats from the past, and is testimony to the Yacht Club’s unwavering commitment to maritime heritage. Recalling the first powerboat meetings of 1904, it brings together in one harbour classic yachts, period motor-yachts and vintage motorboats, to which must be added the 12’ Dinghy class fleet that has lit up the bay for the last four editions.

This year, Monaco Classic Week has chosen an American theme to pay tribute and showcase American-built yachts and their designers.

Since its launch in 1994, Monaco Classic Week – La Belle Classe has become one of the most coveted events on the classic yacht scene in the Mediterranean. Twenty-five years after the first edition, for a week the Principality hosts the most beautiful yachts from the past still sailing, designed by famous naval architects like Nathaniel Herreshoff, John Alden and Olin Stephens and built by famous yards, as well as Chris-Craft, Garwood and Hacker-Craft boats. The 14th edition is dedicated to the United States, one of HSH Prince Albert II’s favourite countries. An ‘American Village’ will commemorate US maritime heritage, which contributed so much to the development of sailing all over the world. A selected 70 yachts are expected (by invitation) to take part in races, parades and of course the traditional Concours d’élégance.

Now for the racing!

Among new initiatives for 2019 is the presence of yachts in the International Rating (Metric) Classes. Since the introduction of this rating in 1906, the fleet has won numerous Olympic medals and countless international regattas.

The four 15M IR survivors from this period, all gaff cutters designed by William Fife, will be there to celebrate the 110th anniversary of the YCM’s flagship Tuiga and her sistership Hispania, built for the King of Spain also in 1909.

Some of the schooners, including Puritan (1931) and Orianda (1937), members of the International Schooner Association, will be participating on this the second meeting of their 2019 circuit. Many other fleets will be present including the 12’ Dinghy, a one-design class conceived by Georges Cockshott in 1913, Rivas and the American all-wood Chris-Craft motorboats from the United States.

A spectacle accessible to everyone!

What with races for the sailing yachts, and regularity and speed trials for the motorboats there will be plenty of action on the Monegasque race area, action that can be seen from the Yacht Club de Monaco’s decks and any viewpoint overlooking the bay.

As well as contests on the water, other events will be taking place ashore, including the La Belle Classe Restoration prize to preserve and highlight maritime heritage, and an original Chefs Competition showcasing the creativity of crew members when pairing dishes and champagne. There is also a feast for the eyes with the Concours d’élégance when all the boats parade in front of a jury comprising artists and well-known personalities. Collectively, they have the difficult task of judging vessel lines, crew attire and respect for naval etiquette to pick a winner.

See you all on the quay for a journey back in time!


Notice for owners of classic yachts!

Owners of vintage or classic yachts may put in a request to participate via the dedicated page on the website:

Those yachts which are selected will receive an official invitation that gives them free entry to the harbour for the duration of the event. Owners and their crews will also be invited to take part in activities on the quays and in the Yacht Club de Monaco.

A list of partner hotels, residences and apartments will be published very soon.

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Classic yachting in vogue

The 13th Monaco Classic Week – La Belle Classe, one of the largest classic yacht meetings, ended today after a week packed with magical events in a Roaring Twenties atmosphere. Time has no hold on this one-of-a-kind biennial event which attracted nearly 150 boats, from classic yachts to period motor-yachts and vintage motorboats, here to pay tribute to our maritime heritage.

Launched in 1994, the meeting has not only retained its freshness, but also the spirit of the first powerboat meetings from 1904 when the Principality hosted the world’s industrialists taking part in nautical events.

It was a week dedicated to the Yacht Club’s Art de Vivre la Mer philosophy, alternating events at sea, technical inspections, a culinary competition, the arts and elegance. “It is this sort of event that repositions Monaco as the city it was conceived to be, one centred around the harbour,” notes the Yacht Club de Monaco’s General Secretary, Bernard d’Alessandri. “Monaco is a yachting destination for both modern and traditional yachts.”

Among the highlights, 90th anniversary celebrations for Creole, Xarifa and Trinakria who made a stunning entrance on Saturday into Port Hercule after racing, and a moving tribute to Carlo Riva, the brilliant designer behind the famous mahogany-hulled motorboats so coveted by the jet set in the fifties.

The big winner of this edition was the gaff cutter Viola, a beautiful 1908 sailing yacht which in France is considered a historic monument. Delighted to receive the Monaco Classic Week Trophy, YCM member Kostia Belkin summed up the history of his boat in two words – love and expertise: “As skippers, we know that boats which are loved, remain beautiful forever. I also think expertise is vital to conserving our maritime heritage. Without the teams of marine carpenters, Viola would not be so beautiful.”

A reminder that this prize is awarded to the boat which obtains the best marks in the La Belle Classe Restoration prize, won this time by The Blue Peter, and the Elegance prize which was won by Elena of London, the replica of the 1911 Nat Herreshoff schooner, Elena.

The jury, presided by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, had a difficult task choosing a winner from such a quality field of participants. “It was not at all easy to choose as the standard is so high. And we admire and are grateful to all the owners for their commitment in keeping the boats they love so much still sailing. It is important to pay tribute to them and encourage them. That is why this event is truly unique,” said the man who was the first to sail solo non-stop round the world.

Chefs Competition

In the Chefs Competition, the jury presided by Jacques Maximin, supported by Christian Plumail (YCM), Christian Garcia (Prince’s Palace), Philippe Johannes (Fairmont) and Eva Casanova (Moët Hennessy) gave first prize to the 50m three-mast schooner Trinakria.

Forever young at 90

Considered by many to be Charles Nicholson’s masterpiece, Creole was the main attraction of the week. The Yacht Club de Monaco wanted to honour this three-mast schooner which is 90 this year. Escorted by Trinakria (50m) and the ketch Xarifa, both also launched in 1927, Creole (58.22m) made a majestic entrance into Port Hercule to a thunderous greeting of horns and cannon fire, trailing a string of Rivas, Chris Crafts and Hacker Crafts in her wake. “This entrance into the harbour with all the owners and their crew saluting Creole was a fantastic moment for us – thank you so much everyone,” said her owner Alegra Gucci, touched by the applause they received at the prize-giving.

A moving tribute

In April this year, the yachting world lost one of its most emblematic characters. Carlo Riva passed away at the age of 95 leaving behind him a fleet of motorboats that captivated the jet set in the 1950s and 60s. Brigitte Bardot, Sofia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were just some of the stars who owned one of these mahogany-hulled gems. As a tribute to his career, the whole Riva family came together on the water in the YCM Marina around a tarpaulin on which was written “Grazie Carlo”. Turquoise blue balloons, a colour forever associated with the famous brand and “made in Italy” design, were released, concluding the ceremony which Lia Riva, the engineer’s daughter, attended on the legendary Lipicar. “I was deeply touched by this homage to my father and thank all those who took part.”

Competitive to the end

Out on the water, the 68 classic boats, four 15M IR yachts and some 20 of the 12’ Dinghy class lit up the bay with their races which could be seen from the shore all along the coast.

  • In the 15M IR class, Mariska helmed by Benjamin Redreau dominated the week, winning three of the six races. For her owner, Christian Niels, “Monaco Classic Week is one of the loveliest regattas in the world. We will keep coming back as long as the 15M IR yachts are still sailing.” The Lady Anne and Hispania completed the podium ahead of Tuiga helmed by Beppe Zaoli assisted by Olivier Campana.

Having already won in the Balearics, Mariska (1908) is well on course to taking the 2017 15M Class Association Annual Trophy, which ends with the third stage in Saint-Tropez.

  • The Vintage Gaff class groups the oldest boats, whose builders and current owners command enormous respect for the meticulous restorations they undertake to keep them sailing. Marc Audineau’s Olympian was 1st out of the 15 entrants, ahead of Bruno Troublé on Chips, who was sailing with John Marshall, a big name in the America’s Cup, with Philip Martinson’s Kelpie completing the podium.

  • Chris Barkham’s Cambria, the only representative of the 23M International Class still sailing won in the Big Boat category ahead of two Yacht Club de Monaco flagged beauties: the gaff cutter Moonbeam IV (1914) and Elena of London.

  • It was a similar scenario in the Vintage Marconi category with victory going to Brendan McCarty on Rowdy, already leading the fleet on the first day and who dominated this 13th Monaco Classic Week. Billoch Martin on Cippino II and David Myatt on Erica completed the podium.
  • Regularity trial: Around 40 motorboats, including a dozen Rivas (MBS, Ariston, Super, Barilani, Super Florida, Junior) as well as Chris Crafts and Hacker Crafts took part in the regularity trial. This involves them having to estimate how long it will take them to get around a course at a pre-selected speed, taking account of the wind and sea conditions. It was won by Why Not, a 1967 Riva Junior, with Giolisan, a Riva Super, in 2nd and the Chris Craft Aristote, all the way from Saint Barthélémey, completing the podium.

Rendezvous for the 14th Monaco Classic Week – La Belle Classe 11th to 15th September 2019.

[icon type=”icon-trophy”] TROPHÉE MONACO CLASSIC WEEK 2017 –  VIOLA

[icon type=”icon-trophy”] RESULTS


[icon type=”icon-trophy”] SPECIAL PRIZES


[icon type=”icon-download”] PHOTOS >>


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Vintage motorboats steal the show

Wind, races, crews parading proudly in front of an already adoring jury, a tribute to Carlo Riva and a triple anniversary (Creole, Trinakria and Xarifa) filled the last day of Monaco Classic Week-La Belle Classe. A packed programme which lived up to expectations and delighted visitors on the quays where the Roaring Twenties was the theme.



It was a fantastic day for all those who came to stroll round the quays and visit the Village, who were bowled over by all the costumes some participants were wearing. It was a day where elegance reigned supreme, one of the most emblematic days of Monaco Classic Week. The Charleston invaded the YCM Marina, girls decked out in the chic flowing dresses with sequins and glass beads so typical of the twenties. Crews were in a buoyant mood as their boats paraded in front of a jury set up on the Lucciana jetty, judging the elegance of each yacht, her crew and respect for naval etiquette.




Rendezvous tomorrow Sunday at 11.00am for prize-giving, and to find out who is the big winner of the Monaco Classic Week Trophy, awarded to the boat with the best marks in the La Belle Classe Restoration Prize and Elegance Parade.


>> Photos >>


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