Participating in the Regates Royales – Trophee Panerai aboard one of the most beautiful and elegant traditional sailboat, Panerai’s Eilean, is both a great honor and a thrilling experience.
Under a bright sun, the coastal course of the third day of the Regates Royales de Cannes – Trophee Panerai led the classic yachts to the Cap Roux in Esterel, with an east north-east wind of about ten knots. By mid afternoon, the wind slowly began to decrease, forcing the race committee to shorten the course.
Eilean, Panerai and the sea
The 22 m Bermudian ketch Eilean is born in 1936 in the William Fife Scottish shipyard, legendary for its ability to combine brilliance and elegance in design with remarkable craftsmanship. In 1936, in Florence, Officine Panerai created its first prototype watch, the Radiomir, adapted to the requirements of the commando frogmen.
With the sea in common, the destinies of Eilean and Officine Panerai meet in Antigua during the 2006 Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta. Eilean is abandoned in the mangroves, after a long and exciting life sailing on the most beautiful seas in the world.
After its acquisition by Officine Panerai, the boat is meticulously restored in Italy, by the Cantiere Francesco Del Carlo in Viareggio, in the utmost respect of the original plans and typical craftsmanship of the time, to render her original spirit.
Since 2009, Eilean is the ambassador of Officine Panerai at gatherings of vintage yachts of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge and she is travelling to regattas around the world.
A thrilling regatta
After a start in front of the beaches of Cannes, west of the Old Port, Eilean and her competitors sailed along the Lérins Islands to then tack downwind towards the Cap Roux and its majestic red cliffs. On the way back, the vessels sailed along the coast.
Eilean left the Old Port, proceeding under power into the bay of Cannes and its turquoise waters. A crew of 15 operates the vessel, under the orders of Skipper Andy Cully and Tactician Frano Tregakis. An hour before the start, the crew was busy in preparation for the regatta. After the Skipper’s briefing, the crew begun to hoist the sails chosen by Frano Tregakis after the light breeze that was blowing. Winching and securing the sheets allowed each to concentrate on the maneuvers to come they had to assume at their post.
The departure is the most crucial moment of the regatta, representing 90% of the success, as the boats in the same class have roughly the same speed. The tactic consists in sailing circles in the bay, at close range of the departure line, and constantly modify the course to avoid being under the wind of another ship at the start.
Ten minutes before the start, the countdown was on with Tactician Frano Tregakis announcing every 15 seconds the time to go. A single cannon-shot echoed along the sea, announcing four minutes to go. The tension rose on the deck, Frano’s voice keeping on a precise countdown. A second cannon-shot sent all the sailboats off, toutes voiles dehors.
After Frano chose a sailing option, the crew member in charge of the front sails indicated Andy when the sails were perfectly trimmed. While racing, Eilean’s crew is always busy keeping the sails rightly trimmed, answering promptly to a “Ready to tack” from Frano, winching, securing, hoisting sails and changing sides at each tack. On the long tack downwind towrds the Cap Roux, Eric, in charge of trimming the crusing chute, kept annoucing the pressure on the sail, and Andy steered each time a few degrees to keep it high. This constant effort of the crew allowed Eilean regain ground on her rivals.
After turning at the buoy at the Cap Roux, Eilean sailed along the red rocks of the Esterel hills towards Cannes and crossed the finish line after two and a half hours of intensive regatta.
The Captain’s word
Eilean is a cruise ship, one of the largest, most elegant and majestic of her time, which competes in regattas, served by a very competent crew, in love with her. Because of her weight, she needs a strong breeze to rank among the winners. But Captain Andy says: “With such a wonderful ship like Eilean, we win everyday!”
About Officine Panerai
At its beginning in 1860 in Florence, Officine Panerai was a shop with a workshop and a school of watchmaking. For years, it was the supplier of precision instruments for the Italian Navy, first equipping its commando frogmen. The brand was acquired by the Richemont Group in 1997 and the watches were launched in the international market.
Today, Officine Panerai develops and produces its own movements and watches, combining Italian design and Swiss manufacturing perfection in its manufacture of Neuchatel, Switzerland. The watches are sold worldwide through an exclusive network of authorized dealers, as well as in single-brand boutiques around the world.
The Luminor 1950 Regatta 3 Days Chrono Flyback Titanio, the chronograph designed by Officine Panerai calculates with revolutionary simplicity the time preceding the starting signal of a regatta.
Thank you Panerai!
Being, the time of a regatta, aboard the steeped-in-history Eilean and wearing the same uniform than the crew is a rare privilege and honor. We hope this report gives thanks to both Eilean and her very kind and welcoming crew for an unforgettable day of sea, sail and sun.
YesICannes joins its voice to all the sailors’ ones to say again: “Thank you Panerai!”
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