Thirty days. That’s how long the competitors in the Panerai Transat Classique have to get their yachts ready for the first leg. As they cross the starting line on 22 July and head for the unpredictable Bay of Biscay, the classic racers will get a spectacular send-off from the hundreds of vessels taking part in Douarnenez’s festival of the sea. Their first destination is Cascais, Portugal, where a similar fleet hailing from the Mediterranean will join them at the end of the summer. The final leg starts on 2 December and will see the teams take on the Atlantic Ocean as they set course for Barbados!
After a successful founding race in 2008, the Panerai Transat Classique is back with a new, more ambitious route and some of the finest classic yachts of the Atlantic, Channel and Mediterranean coasts. On 22 July the first fleet will quit the Breton port of Douarnenez, famous for its active preservation of historic vessels and traditions of the sea; while on 25 October a second fleet will set out from the world-renowned Saint-Tropez, home of the classic yachting fraternity on the French Riviera. The fleets will rendezvous in Cascais, legendary Portuguese harbour town at the mouth of the Tagus, before racing across the Atlantic Ocean to the jewel of the Caribbean: Barbados.
Skippers and sailors, all enthusiasts of classic yachting, will be giving free rein to their competitive spirit as they push these legendary seagoing thoroughbreds to their limit. Many of the yachts were designed to win, and the Panerai Transat Classique is sure to be a race worthy of their pedigree and past exploits.
To date, more than thirty yachts have signed up for this unique event. They are perhaps no match for today’s generation of fast sailers but they are an essential part of yachting history. There’s the elegant Moonbeam IV built in 1914, the formidable Emeraude designed in 1973, the gigantic schooner Germania Nova measuring 54 m overall, the charming Portuguese Pirata Azul just 9.2 metres long, and of course the legendary Pen Duick II which Eric Tabarly sailed to victory in the 1964 single-handed transatlantic race. This incredible armada constitutes a living monument to the history of the yacht, a testament to the genius of great naval architects such as William Fife, Nathanael Herreshoff, Eugène Cornu and Charles Nicholson.
Sponsored by the Italian watchmaker Panerai, traditional supplier to the Italian Navy and supporter of classic yachting for many years (Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge), the Panerai Transat Classique is an exceptional event organized by Douarnenez’s Atlantic Yacht Club.
Get ready for an exciting race to determine the successor to Stiren, the famous 1962 Olin Stephens design and winner of the 2008 Transat Classique!
The Panerai Transat Classique 2012 in figures
22 July: Atlantic fleet leaves the French port of Douarnenez for Cascais in Portugal.
25 October: Mediterranean fleet leaves the French port of Saint-Tropez for Cascais in Portugal. 2 December: Both fleets leave Cascais for the Caribbean island of Barbados.
4,000 Nautical miles from Douarnenez and Saint-Tropez to Barbados, via Cascais. 29 Yachts in the combined Atlantic and Mediterranean fleet (as of 20 June 2012) 200 Crew members taking part in the various legs (as of 20 June 2012).
54 Length overall in metres of the fleet’s largest yacht, Germania Nova.
9.2 Length overall in metres of the fleet’s smallest yacht, Pirata Azul. 1 Only one team can win the Transat Classique 2012!