New vintage yacht regatta sets sail from Falmouth

Richard Mille Cup

Some of the world’s most beautiful classic superyachts are gathering in Falmouth Harbour this weekend for the first Richard Mille Cup, which features three days of fierce competition hosted by the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club.

The inaugural Richard Mille Cup, which runs from 10-13 June 2023, will take spectators back to the classic yacht races of the late 1800s — with phase one seeing Falmouth’s Harbour and Bay dominated by towering wooden masts and billowing sails on twelve authentic wooden vessels – some of which are well over a century old.

Falmouth Harbour will showcase the first events of the two-week competition featuring historical yachts from Great Britain and France. It will begin in Falmouth and finish in Le Havre, with three days hard-fought coastal racing in each of Falmouth and Cowes, and passage races to Dartmouth and Le Havre.

Richard Mille Cup

“Classic yachts bear a living, breathing testimony to the highest values of workmanship, heritage and tradition passed on to us through centuries,” says a Richard Mille spokesperson in a statement. “By creating this challenge, we aim to set sail through history and to bring this high-end craft very much back to life.”

Some of the yachts, including the 65m three master Adix and the 42m twin masted schooner Mariette have been restored or refitted on many occasions over the years by Falmouth’s own superyacht specialists Pendennis Shipyard – in between their voyaging and competing across the world.

The Richard Mille Cup will pit these classic vessels against each other in both inshore and offshore competition with more than 200 sailors expected to participate in the racing.

Richard Mille Cup

The Royal Cornwall Yacht Club has been a feature of Falmouth’s harbour since 1871 and as a vibrant club today hosts many national and international events.

“We are extremely proud to have been selected as the initial venue for this special and innovative event in the yachting calendar,” says RCYC Commodore Sarah Hancock. “It should prove a major spectacle and attraction for Falmouth, with over 200 participants arriving in port and be a very rare opportunity to see such stunning yachts competing seriously against each other.”

Boats will be racing from Falmouth on the 11, 12 and 13 June, starting each day at 10.30am with a start line approximately 800 metres off Pendennis Point — giving tremendous views to spectators from Pendennis, Rosemullion and St Anthony Heads.

Depending on weather and wind, the vessels will race across Falmouth Bay to a turning mark off the Manacles, then sail up channel towards Fowey and turn again to Falmouth with the finishing line off the Falmouth beaches or Pendennis Point, should conditions allow, at approximately 3.00pm.

Spectator boats are welcome but will be required to keep a wide berth of the racing fleet at all times, especially ahead of the start where the huge vessels will be manoeuvring and requiring substantial sea room.

Richard Mille
Richard Mille Fife Regatta

While in Falmouth Harbour, the boats will be berthed at Pendennis Marina and the larger vessels moored near Caldy and Frigate buoys. On Wednesday 14 June, the Richard Mille fleet will race from Falmouth to Dartmouth.

Dr William Collier, who has restored multiple historic yachts back to vintage racing condition, is working with the watchmaker and the hosting yacht clubs on this new event. “The Richard Mille Cup strives to recapture the spirit of the pre-war British racing circuit,” he says. “We see these yachts as important cultural artefacts.”

The Richard Mille contenders are invited owners and charterers of yachts built before 1939 or faithful replicas of such yachts, with twelve vessels competing in the Schooner and Cutter categories. The event includes racing and social events organised by the Royal Cornwall and the Royal Dart Yachts Clubs and the Royal Yacht Squadron, before the final race of the Société des Régates du Havre.

Richard Mille Cup

The three-foot-high Richard Mille trophy has been designed by Garrard, jewellers to the British Royal Family for the last 300 years and designers of the America’s Cup trophy 170 years ago.

The cup takes place shortly before the 2023 edition of UK sailing regatta Falmouth Classics (16 and 17 June), with boats arriving into port on 15 June. Earlier this year, the event announced that it would welcome steam-powered boats for the first time.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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