Being old has its privileges

Published on September 19th, 2022

The Gstaad Yacht Club was founded in 1998 by a group of sailor enthusiasts with the vision to ‘create a unique global yacht club away from the waters, instead of another local club by the waters’. Based in the Swiss mountains, the club has more than 400 members from over 35 different countries, and on September 29 will host the 11th edition of the Centenary Trophy in Saint Tropez, France.

Back in 2011 the Gstaad Yacht Club launched this regatta for boats that are one hundred or more years old. Over the years, the Centenary Trophy has gathered some of the most gorgeous and best performing classic yachts from the past century.

Among the rookies in 2022 is the tiny Marconi Sloop Dainty (1922), the first of the Sunbeam one-design boats to be built at the shipyard Woodnutt & Co. on the Isle of Wight on a plan by Briton Alfred Wesmacott. Her beauty and performances were celebrated in a book “The Brilliance of Sunbeams” by Peter Nicholson.

Another new entry this year is WIKI, a Marconi ketch designed and built in Kiel in 1920 by renown German naval architect Harry Wustrau, and is one of the very few German wooden yachts of her age and tonnage that survived WW II. In 1984, she was bought by her current owner Tom Woods, at the time a young American film maker of 33, after discovering her languishing at dock.

Last year’s winner Olympian (1913), one of the three P Class yachts regularly taking part in the Mediterranean classic circuit, will be on the starting line in 2022 to defend her title, as will be her sisterships Chips (1913) and Corinthian (1905). This will be Olympian’s ninth participation to the GYC Centenary Trophy.

“We are delighted to be back at the regatta this year to defend our title. The format of the race is really nice, you know the winner as soon as you cross the line,” noted Philippe Oddo, Olympian’s owner.

The Centenary Trophy is raced in a pursuit format with staggered starts, using an especially created and constantly refined handicap system, allowing very different boats in size and rig to compete on equal terms, and its format has proved extremely attractive for the sailors and the public alike over the years.

The Trophy, handed over every year is also over centenarian, having been created by Wakely and Wheeler of London in 1911, that is exactly 100 years before the first edition of the regatta.


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