Kismet's crew celebrate their victory in the Centenary Trophy 2022 - Photo © Juerg Kaufmann/GYC
Kismet wins Gstaad Yacht Club Centenary Trophy 2022
Kismet (1898) skippered by British Richard Matthews has won the 2022 edition of the Gstaad Yacht Club Centenary Trophy, with only a tiny margin on Scud (1903) owned by Italian Patrizio Bertelli with Torben Grael calling tactics in second, and Oriole (1905) sailed by a young Spanish crew completing the podium.
Kismet is a gaff cutter designed by William Fife III and built in Scotland in 1898, after a long racing career she was used as a houseboat until 2005 and was later restored and went back to regattas, winning several events. This was her third participation to the Centenary Trophy and, in fact, the lucky one. An elated Matthews, just after docking in said: "We are very happy, the boat went perfectly we never had her going so fast windward. And the course was perfect, we had enough wind, not too much. It was just perfect sail. We were looking back and kept saying 'where are they?' We saw Scud coming up fast but we thought we've got enough time, we can make it and we did. The key moment was when we decided to change the small jib into a bigger one. We have got a great crew too, they are very good sailors." "We would love to come back next year to defend the title!" Concluded Matthews.
The Centenary Trophy was raced on a nine nautical miles course set in the Gulf of Saint Tropez, with the start and finish line just off the breakwater to allow the public and the fans to admire the show of the old ladies battling for victory.
After two days of strong Mistral, today the Cote d'Azur provided with perfect sailing conditions, blue sunny skies, warm temperature and a westerly of around 15 knots. First to cross the starting line, as per the Centenary Trophy's 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, was gaff cutter Lulu (1897) at 12.45.
The rest of the 20-entrants strong fleet followed suit, with the smaller and better rated yachts to the likes of Fife's designed Jap (1897), pilot cutter Madcap (1874) and "rookie" Dainty (1922) a few seconds later whilst the more powerful and faster ones, the huge schooner Shenandoah of Sark (1902), the P-class Chips (1913), NYYC 50 Spartan (1913) and finally the Bermudan ketch Sumurun (1914) distanced by 30 to 40 minutes.
Kismet started seventh, but managed to catch up already on the initial stretch to the first downwind mark, and from then on maintained the lead until the finish line, where her crew celebrated the victory in style!
Daniel Heine, sailing officer at the Gstaad Yacht Club, who today raced onboard Gaff yawl Veronique (1807) said: "What a glorious day of racing it was. 15-18 knots of wind and clear, blue sky and air. All the centenarian boats sported great performances, for a close and challenging race with a well deserved winner. Congratulations to Kismet for becoming the first Fife designed yacht to be awarded the Centenary Trophy."
Participants gathered for the prize-giving ceremony, where Kismet's whole crew was awarded with the The Trophy, that is also centenary, as it was created by Wakely and Wheeler in London in 1911, exactly 100 years before the first edition of the regatta.
The Gstaad Yacht Club's Commodore, Manrico Iachia also celebrated this years' regatta success: "We are proud the Trophy racing format has proved once again to suit perfectly these magnificent boats, the whole club wishes to congratulate Richard Matthews and his crew for the win and we hope to have all this year's participants and many more in 2023. See you in 2023!"