Monaco Classic Week - La Belle Classe

Monaco Classic Week - La Belle Classe

Classic yachts, period motor-yachts, motor-boats and skiffs from a bygone era descend to revive a Belle Époque ambiance in Port Hercule. Monaco Classic Week – La Belle Classe takes up residence on Quai Louis II at the foot of the Yacht Club de Monaco’s new premises, inaugurated in June 2014 by HSH Prince Albert II, the Club’s president since 1984.

Launched over 20 years ago, this unique gathering continues to attract enthusiasts, be the owners of classic yachts or period motor-yachts, or those passionate about the motor-boats of yesteryear or powerboats from the 1950s, survivors of the meetings held in the early 20th century and international competitions relaunched by Prince Rainier when the Yacht Club de Monaco was established in 1953.

Some 15 Riva boats, the first of which came to take up berths in Monaco’s Port Hercule after launching, will epitomize the Art de Vivre la Mer of the past. This year, the rowing club (Société Nautique de Monaco) which shares the building on Quai Louis II with the Yacht Club, is introducing a new event: a race for classic rowing skiffs, beautiful varnished wooden boats that are also formidable racing machines. Established in 1888 under the name Société des Régates in which the Yacht Club also has its origins, the rowing club introduces young Monegasques to this very demanding sport and in October 2016 will host the first World Championship ever to be held in Monaco.

As in 2013 when there were around 50 of them, the classic 12’ Dinghy class, for single or double-handers, and an Olympic series for the first time in 1920, will be here again. Also on the water, a fine fleet of 12M IR yachts (Sovereign, Ikra…), which were America’s Cup contestants in 1958 and 1987, will join the International 15 Metre Class boats, Hispania, Mariska, Tuiga and The Lady Anne.

Another highlight is the 130th anniversary celebration for Partridge, the gaff cutter who since her renaissance in 1998, after a meticulous restoration lasting 17 years, has taken part in all the Monaco Classic Weeks. Designed by J. Beavor-Webb, the naval architect behind the unsuccessful British America’s Cup challenger Galatea in 1886, and built by Camper & Nicholson, this Victorian cutter was discovered having been converted into a houseboat and identified from a date and shipwright’s name engraved on a deck beam. Belonging to a member of the Yacht Club de Monaco, she is the doyenne of yachts flying the Club’s burgee.

With races and regularity contests for some and speed trials for others, there is something to suit everyone’s tastes for both participants and spectators. Ashore, festivities follow on one from another, including elegance parades, a chefs’ competition, and a grand party when the Personnalité de le Mer for the year is announced, a title awarded to Sir Robin Knox-Johnston in 2013, who was following in the wake of Jacques Perrin in 2011.

Of course the big novelty for the 12th edition is the Yacht Club de Monaco’s new Clubhouse, a “cruise liner” designed by Lord Norman Foster which many of the participants will be discovering for the first time.

From William Fife to Norman Foster

Monaco Classic Week 2015 will merge the image of what is now Monaco’s intangible past to the boldest of achievements in modern architecture. This temple of yachting and its marina, the YCM Marina, has made this port of call a leading light in maritime tourism.

The Yacht Club, with its 1,600 members and while also developing its sports section, has become a dominant economic player in the harbour and focus for the yachting sector which numbers over 300 companies in the Principality. Monaco: Capital of Yachting is no longer a goal, it has become a reality.

Monaco Classic Week - La Belle Classe

Provisional programme (subject to change)

Quays and exhibitors village open to the public from Wednesday to Sunday (12 noon).

Inspection of yachts by the ‘La Belle Classe Restoration Prize’ Jury.
Chaired by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and composed of history and yachting specialists, this jury is the guardian of the La Belle Classe spirit and inspects each yacht to assess the quality of their restoration.

Wednesday 9th September

  • 9.00am Registration for all competitors
  • 1.00pm Metric class races (15M IRs and 12M IRs)
  • 6.30pm ‘A La Rencontre de la Monaco Classic Week’ Members’ Cocktail, in collaboration with the Monaco Tourism & Convention Authority (yachtsman attire, by invitation, Quay Louis II)

Thursday 10th September

  • 10.30am-3.30pm Chefs Competition, with the support of Moët & Chandon
  • 1.00pm Metric class races (15M IRs and 12M IRs)
  • 1.00pm Classic yacht races (starts organised by rig type)
  • 8.00pm Crew Party (crew attire, by invitation) and prize-giving for the Magnum Painting Contest

Friday 11th September

  • 10.00am-12 noon Dead Reckoning Trial (motor-yachts)
  • 1.00pm Metric class races (15M IRs and 12M IRs)
  • 1.00pm Classic yacht (starts organised by rig type) & 12’ Dinghy class races
  • 3.00pm-4.30pm Manoeuvrability Trials (vintage powerboats)
  • 5.00pm 12’ Dinghy class demonstration in the harbour
  • 7.00pm Personnalité de la Mer 2015 prize awarded followed by ‘La Belle Classe’ evening at the YCM (yachtsman attire, by Moët Hennessy invitation)

Saturday 12th September: Belle Époque Day

  • 10.00am Sailing Yachts ‘Concours d’Elegance’ as they exit the harbour
  • 1.00pm Metric class races (15M IRs & 12M IRs)
  • 1.00pm Classic yacht (starts organised by rig type) & 12’ Dinghy class races
  • 2.30pm-3.30pm Classic rowing skiffs race (organised with the rowing club)
  • 3.00pm-4.30pm Motor-yachts and Powerboats ‘Concours d’Elegance’
  • 5.00pm 12’ Dinghy class demonstration in the harbour
  • 6.00pm ‘L’Art de Vivre la Mer’ live auction (Hôtel des Ventes de Monte-Carlo, the official catalogue is available at:
  • 8.30pm ‘Monaco Classic Week’ evening (Atmosphere Belle Epoque)

Sunday 13th September

  • 11.00am Prize-giving (yachtsman attire, by invitation)
  • 3.00pm Start of the Trophée Pasqui race (Monaco-Nice)

[Photo credits: Yacht Club de Monaco]