The world's largest and most beautiful classic schooners lined up of Capri, the Gulf of Naples, for the first regatta designed solely for classic schooners, and the inaugural event for the newly formed International Schooner Association.
Downton Distillery threw in their nautical history behind this spectacular event by sponsoring the regatta with their Explorer's Gin - a natural choice considering the adventurous spirit, high adrenaline and sheer excitement that goes with sailing these classic yachts. To ensure the sailing was true to its heritage, the organisers designed the races to start from anchor as they did in the 19th century, and staggered starts with the courses optimised for the peculiarities of the classic schooner sailing.
Tomas de Vargas Machuca, the President of the International Schooner Association and The Classic Yacht Experience (TCYE) who own and run two of yachts, Puritan and Orianda said: “It’s a great honour to be representing the interests of owners, captains and crews of these wonderful yachts. After all, we are only custodians of them during our lifetime. We keep the tradition of sailing schooners alive and train a lot of youngsters in a kind of 'academy' It is attracting young people to older boats."
Celebrating these traditions was also reflected in this event where, post racing, crews demonstrated the skills and habits employed on classic schooners, from intricate ropework to the singing of sea shanties. All things that Sir Walter Raleigh and other explorer's would have been more than knowledgeable of!
The 138ft Mariette of 1915 and the 18ft Naema were the winners of this 2019 inaugural regatta. These two yachts had spent the entire event match racing, with the outcome decided on the last race when Naema planted a penalty on her rival in a port-starboard incident at the top mark. After Mariette of 1915 tacked on to port and was approaching the mark she infringed Naema, which was closing on the mark on starboard with rights. In fact Mariette of 1915 should have accepted a time penalty, but in the event she carried out a 360° penalty turn – no small undertaking in a 138ft 180 tonne beast of a vessel with eight sails up – leaving her behind her rival, and ultimately top honours.
Downton Distillery's Explorer's Gin typifies the same sense of adventure and boldness that classic yacht sailing embodies.... an extraordinary gin that contributed to making the Capri Classica and Schooner Cup a great success. We hope they will continue partner The Classic Yacht Experience for many years to come!" Tomas de Vargas Machuca.