2021 CT winner Olympian - Photo © Juerg Kaufmann / GYC
The Gstaad Yacht Club's Centenary Trophy is back
Back in 2011 the Gstaad Yacht Club launched a regatta, unique in its genre, reserved to 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.
After a most successful 10th anniversary edition in 2021, the event is coming back this year with the usual mix of aficionados and new entrants, so to speak, as more yachts turn centenarians.
Among the rookies 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. Hence the sail number V1. The exact number of Sunbeams produced has never been established, but many still compete today and Dainty in particular has been racing in hundreds of regattas, often doing very well despite her being the smallest yacht of the fleet. Her beauty and performances were also celebrated in a book "The Brilliance of Sunbeams" by Peter Nicholson.
Another new entry in this year Centenary Trophy is WIKI, a Marconi ketch designed in Kiel in 1920 by renown German naval architect Harry Wustrau that has a pretty peculiar history, and ambitious plans for the future. She is one of the very few German wooden yachts of her age and tonnage that survived WW II and are still sailing. She was originally commissioned for Otto Erdmann who was himself an engineer and naval architect. and built by Deutsche Werke yard in Kiel. 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. For the last 38 years WIKI has continually sailed the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. WIKI is about to undertake a three year journey in support of a multi media effort, HELP SaveThe Med, calling in all of the 22 countries that border the Mediterranean within the WIKI's Centennial Expedition that will set sail in the spring of 2023.
As more boats are entering the 11th edition of the regatta, the final number of entrants is expected to grow over the coming days. Yet, last year's winner Olympian (1913), one of the three P Class yachts regularly taking part to the Mediterranean classic circuit, confirmed she will be on the starting line in 2022 too 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. The whole Olympian team is hoping to finish in first place once again." Declared Philippe Oddo, Olympian's owner.
The Centenary Trophy is raced in a pursuit format with staggered starts, has been created and organized by the Gstaad Yacht Club as a key event at the world-famous Voiles de Saint Tropez. The event features 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 GYC is delighted to host the 11th Centenary Trophy again in partnership with the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez during Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. We have worked very hard during the year with the SNST to create a platform to race the100 year old beauties in seamanship style and in convivial spirit of the Les Voiles. The regatta will be again raced in pursuit race format, and we will all looking forward to a tight finish as we have seen in the last year." Said Daniel Heine, Gstaad Yacht Club Sailing Officer.
"A new element of this years Centenary Trophy is that we are very grateful to the Mayor and City of Saint-Tropez for allowing us access to the cinema at the Place de Lice where we are very honoured to show two short films, a short one by Bruno Trouble featuring the Nioularge and a film s produced by Shirley Robertson and Tim Butt during lasts year's Centenary Trophy. The movie presentation will be followed by a Swiss Aperitif for all sailors and friends of the Centenary trophy of the Gstaad Yacht Club." explained Heine, introducing this year's collateral events.
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.