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Sail Away

Discover the six most prestigious vessels of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge

Passionate billionaires from all over the world sailed into Nantucket Sound this August for the Opera House Cup at the North American Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, a regatta held by the luxury Italian watchmaker during Nantucket Race Week that attracted some of the world’s most historic yachts, from Humphrey Bogart’s 1935 yacht The Santana to the 1958 America’s Cup winner Columbia. “Panerai has always had a tie to the sea, as the brand’s beginnings can be traced to manufacturing watches for the Italian Navy,” says the company’s CEO Angelo Bonati. “This innate link to the nautical world is a part of our history and the shared values of beauty, design, craftsmanship and excellence make for a natural affinity between Panerai and the world of sailing and racing.”

Columbia: The 12-meter 1958 America’s Cup winner, Columbia, also sailed in the America’s Cup in 1962, 1964 and 1967. In 1997 she was returned to Newport (now her home port) to be restored where she is anchored today. She was designed by Sparkman & Stephens.

Around 65 classic sailing yachts in four different classes (Vintage Grand Classics, Vintage Corinthian, Vintage Day Racer and Grand Prix—Spirit of Tradition) competed in the 45th annual Opera House Cup regatta for the top prize: a Panerai timepiece along with a silver plate trophy. “I can say with great pride that our commitment to safeguarding and fostering classic sailing is both unparalleled and unprecedented on an international level,” says Bonati. “This is our 13th consecutive year to sponsor the circuit and we have seen many extraordinary events flourish and witnessed the rebirth of some stunning vintage craft as a result of the commitment and passion of many enthusiasts.” To celebrate this collaboration, the timepiece brand has debuted two new flyback chronographs (two new Luminor Flyback watches, the PAM 653 and PAM 654) appealing to watch-lovers and seafarers alike.

The Eleonora: Owned by Zabynek Zak, Eleonora is an exact replica of the 1910 schooner Westward, arguably one of the most famous and best known schooners in the world. Eleonora was built at the Van der Graaf shipyard in Holland and was launched in March 2000.