Panerai Regates Royales aboard Moonbeam IV

26/09/2012
A terrific day aboard Moonbeam IV yesterday. It all came about after a very tiring 3.00am start to catch the plane to Cannes for the Panerai Regates Royales held at this time of the year set in the old port of the town on the Mediterranean.

With classic yachts all around from small Dragon class yachts to massive 200 tonne monsters. On arrival and check in at the press office, I went around during the warm evening sun seeing who was around and picking up some ‘atmosphere’ shots along the way.

I then received a text from Carla in the press office, asking me to return. She then asked if I wanted to shoot aboard Moonbeam IV the following day. A silly question really. Anyway, off we went to meet the skipper, arrange times and all was set – apart from the necessary license of course. That meant queuing up to await my turn, pay over the fee, and receive a piece of stamped paper.

I was welcomed on board and shown around this magnificent yacht built by the renowned Fife yard in Scotland around the time of the first World War. 105 feet long with a displacement of some 75 tons, she is a classic beauty.
No deck shoes down below and you can see why. The thick super glossy varnished wood is everywhere, including the floorboards. I haven’t seen varnished wood like it – superb.

In the stateroom saloon, I donned the required uniform of white cotton trousers and smock, navy hat and neckerchief, before mustering on deck for the briefing – in French of course,
Some of the crew for the day recognised me or my images. One Philippe, who I had shared a boat with at Falmouth a couple of years ago, and another who was the Director of the Voiles d’Antibes, Yann Joannon.

Around 11:00 we slipped our moorings to the sound of the piper on board. Bagpipes ion Cannes? Well on Moonbeam IV, it is de rigueur.
Okay, I’ll keep this short as I have to get down to the quay for today’s racing, but I will update later. Suffice to say, the residing memory is of unbelievable teamwork required to do any manoeuvre, superbly controlled by the skipper and his permanent crew. Instructions shouted and actioned precisely in a whirl of heaving sweating bodies taking bites of rope to retrain the massive spars and sailcloth. Brilliant.

Ian