Of the 130 boats invited to the 16th Monaco Classic Week-La Belle Classe, a biennial launched in 1994 including around 40 classic sailing yachts, a dozen motor-yachts, 60+ vintage motorboats and 20 of the 12’ Dinghy class, it was the 1912-built The Lady Anne who was the fairest of them all.
All the vessels pulled out every stop to seduce the Jury chaired by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and the public who were free to stroll around the village and admire the boats throughout the meeting.
“This event is an integral part of our traditions and values. The boats invited all have their own charm and are already equipped with a certain level of technology from the era when they were built. It is therefore our duty to do everything we can for them so they continue to stand the test of time as befits their original design,” said Yacht Club de Monaco General Secretary, Bernard d’Alessandri.
The Lady Anne is one of the last three 15M IR boats still sailing along with YCM’s flagship Tuiga (1909) and Mariska (1908).
Commissioned by George Coats and built in the famous yard of the Fife family in the tiny Scottish village of Fairlie by William Fife III, The Lady Anne sailed with a Bermudan rig until the twenties, then became a ketch used during the Second World War to transport ammunition. After several years in Spain, The Lady Anne was discovered in the Hamble river in England and totally restored by Fairlie Restoration near Southampton.
The Monaco Classic Week Trophy not only takes race results into account but the quality of the restoration as assessed by a Jury of experts who are looking at how faithful it is to the original plans, the materials used to build the boat and the knowledge of those who restored them. “This event is unique of its genre as it brings the most beautiful yachts together in Monaco so the public can see what yachting was like a hundred years ago. If we don’t preserve our history, what do we have left? History can tell us what the future will be like,” said Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, President of the Jury and first man to sail non-stop solo round the world.
The Lady Anne belongs to the same 15-Meter International Class as Tuiga. Unfortunately, she is severely penalised by the rating on account of the carbon-fibre reinforcements in her mast and other spars, which make them stronger but also stiffer, thus improving her performance. This explains why, although The Lady Anne may cross the finishing line first, it is often Tuiga that collects an award.
She is a superb boat and beautifully balanced; further proof that Fife built both for strength and beauty.
ORIGINAL SOURCE & PHOTO: Monaco Yacht Club