Over 130 boats have gathered for the16th Monaco Classic Week-La Belle Classe organised by the Yacht Club de Monaco (13-16 September). The boats, including some forty classic sailing yachts, a dozen period motor yachts, around sixty vintage motorboats and a 20-strong fleet of Dinghy 12’ class, made their way into Port Hercule to moor in the YCM Marina.  

Launched in 1994, this biennial meeting showcases the boats of yesteryear that are still sailing. To kick things off, Tuiga, the flagship of the Yacht Club de Monaco, will join the other two 15M IR yachts, The Lady Anne and Mariska, for an inaugural regatta, while the Jury, chaired by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, will begin its inspection for the ‘La Belle Classe Restoration’ Prize.

The world’s most beautiful sailing boats are coming to the meeting, designed by the early America’s Cup architects including Nathanael G. Herreshoff to whom we owe several legends from the American classic scene, such as Atlantic (56.43m) and Elena of London (41.60m). Alongside will be the superb Charles Nicholson masterpiece, the three-mast schooner Creole (58.22m), showing off her elegant lines.

On display there’ll also be the O’Remington (23.20m). Launched in 1946 under the name Maria del Mar, the schooner was owned by Lord Remington. Illustrious names like Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti and Marcello Mastroianni went on board and four Palmes d’or winners of the Cannes Film Festival stayed on her who came to see the boat as a lucky charm for Italian cinema.

At Maria Callas’s request, Lord Remington then headed for Athens where he met the famous Greek shipowner, Aristotle Onassis. During her time in Italy, the Diva rehearsed on board, an event engraved in the collective Italian memory reflected in the boat’s nickname ‘La Divina’. Eyes will also be on the Naema (40.59m). This faithful replica of Alfred Mylne’s Panda left the Camper & Nicholson yard in 1938. Offered as a gift to King Bao Da of Anam (Vietnam) by the French government the boat found refuge in Toulon after the French withdrew from Indochina in 1954.

In the wake of the first motorboat meetings in 1904, some sixty motorboats will be brought together, including three dating from the early 20th century. A dozen vintage motor yachts will be cruising in the Bay of Monaco, beauties like Thelasbuilt (1936) by De Vries Lentsch from the architect Norman Hart’s drawings. Alongside them will be an exceptional fleet of around thirty Rivas, the mahogany wooden runabouts of the 1950s.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Prince Rainier III, who founded Monaco Yacht Club in 1953, an exclusive exhibition entitled ‘The Prince and the Sea’ during Monaco Classic Week shines a light on some of the beautiful boats owned by a man who loved the sea and boats.