11th Gstaad Yacht Club Centenary Trophy

  12.01.2023 Sports & Leisure, Sports & Leisure, Gstaad Living

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez is undoubtedly the meeting place for sailors and sailing enthusiasts with the most beautiful modern or classic yachts in the running.

The two-week-long event allows sailors plenty of time to calmly anchor around the port and suss out the competition. And boat-loving spectators have equal opportunity to enjoy all classes, from Classic to Maxi Yachts, each showing off its virtues.

The idea behind the Centenary Trophy was to gather 100-year-old or older classic yachts on the shores of Saint-Tropez bay. Allowing all boats to compete on fair terms, a unique handicap system was created to ensure the same winning odds for all participants, independently of the size of the ships.

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Centenary Trophy, the GYC Committee decided to create a film intended to capture the meaning of competing in this prestigious regatta for both the owners and the sailors. The production premiered this year for the 11th Edition of the Centenary Trophy Regatta at the La Renaissance Theatre in the heart of Saint-Tropez. The film is a 19-minute documentary that reflects the majesty and beauty of the magnificent centenary yachts taking part in the regatta. Capturing the splendour and excellence as they compete for the prestigious title in the “amphitheatre” of Saint-Tropez. It is a showcase of the elegance of the boats, demonstrating the passion of the owners who strive to continue the traditions and practices of yesteryear, racing their yachts today as they did over a hundred years ago. The interviews were conducted by Shirley Robertson, OBE, the first British woman to win a gold medal at two consecutive Olympic Games and one of the best-known faces in sailing. She was there on the evening and offered insights into the challenges of the film, which captured the importance of taking part in this prestigious regatta for both owners and sailors alike.

After the film premiere with around 200 guests, the evening moved on to the Swiss aperitif with venison sausage, raclette and cheese from the Simmental original, which was much appreciated by the audience, accompanied by locally produced French rosé and white wines.

Race Day
The following morning the boats sailed out from the port with perfect weather conditions for the Centenarians to face the Saint-Tropez Gulf, with stable winds of 15 westerly knots, sunny skies, and warm temperatures blessing the crews. The only race in the World dedicated to these kinds of yachts, accounted for 21 registered beautiful boats competing for the prestigious Centenary Trophy, which included Olympian (1913), the defending winner from the 10th Edition, as well as other past winners such as Oriole, (1905), Spartan (1912), Marga (1910), Nin (1913) and Lulu (1897).

After an exciting race through the nine nautical miles course, the skipper of the stunning Kismet (1898) decided it was the right timing to make the big move – and he was right. “The key moment was when we decided to change the small jib into a bigger one. We have a great crew too; they are excellent sailors.” as it helped to stay ahead of the competition, “We would love to come back next year to defend the title!” Richard Matthews said after the race!

Kismet (1898) had some heavyweight competition, as Scud (1903) was not far from her crossing the finish line in second with Torben Grael aboard as tactician, and the third position went to Oriole (1905).

The remaining Centenarian fleet crossed the finish line to the delight of classic boat aficionados watching the race in the water or on land.


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