Each year, at the end of May, beginning of June the Mediterranean Yachting season opens in Port Vauban, Antibes, the premier marina in Europe. Begun in 1996, the Voiles d’Antibes marks the opening of the Mediterranean circuit where captains and crews, owners and friends gather for friendly but fierce competition along 23 kilometers of coastline between Antibes and Juan les Pins. An array of yachts from vintage (constructed before 1950) to classic (constructed before 1976) as well as traditional and Metrics (competitors of the Americas Cup between 1958-1987) compete for the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge Trophy while enjoying the camaraderie of friends old and new on sea and on land.
For four days yachts compete on the water while concerts, exhibitions, parades and parties celebrate the opening of the season on land. The first day all yachts must register and be inspected. For the next four days races begin at 11am. A prize award ceremony takes place on Sunday evening, the last day of the competition.
September 29 to October 6 of this year marks the twentieth anniversary of Les Voiles de St Tropez. Begun by the Nautical Society of St. Tropez in 1999, over three hundred classic and modern yachts participate in six days of racing leaving from the port of St. Tropez. Like the races in Antibes, the festivities aren’t limited to the crews and owners of the racing yachts but are open to all who visit St. Tropez where parties, music and art welcome visitors and participants alike.
In addition to the races and festivities, Les Voiles is partnering with the “Seacleaner Association” to raise awareness of the problems of pollution and the environmental impact on the ocean.
If you have a yacht that meets the standards of either of these regattas and would like to participate, you’ll have to wait until early 2020 when registration opens. Make sure to contact the yacht clubs in either Antibes or St Tropez for more information. For those of us who don’t have yachts but love watching beautiful boats competing on the brilliant blue waters of the Mediterranean just mark your calendars for St. Tropez in September and Antibes next June.