All the yachts taking part in the Corsica Classic have a tale to tell. The 18.9m Manitou, for example, became known as the “floating White House” after being used by President Kennedy, and legend has it that its bath tub (a rare feature for a boat at the time) was once utilised by Marilyn Monroe.
Classic and vintage yachts participating in this year’s Corsica Classic regatta (August 27-September 3; €200 per person) include France’s SY Hygie, which won the 1931 King Edward VII Cup (a victory that was immortalised on canvas by Marin Marie, once official painter of the French navy). It will be racing 220km along the island’s craggy coastline in pursuit of the coveted Sebago Cup, taking on competitors from countries including Monaco, Switzerland, Spain, England and the US. Entry is open to classic yachts approved by the CIM (International Mediterranean Committee) and boats in the Spirits of Tradition class that have been registered and approved in 2017 by the IRC (International Racing Club). New entries for this eighth edition include SY Trinakria from Luxembourg, SY Hanni II from Sweden and SY Rosalu from Italy.
The race, part of the official circuit organised by the CIM and the French Association of Yachts of Tradition (AFYT), sets sail from Ajaccio’s Port Charles Ornano at midday on Monday August 28. There will be at least two and a half hours of navigation daily, with up to seven hours for the longest race, and Corsica-based chef Romuald Royer of Propriano’s Michelin-starred Le Lido and Domaine de Murtoli will host beach dinners for the fleet between legs. There will also be tastings of Corsican specialities, including Patrimonio wines, crumbly white Brocciu cheese, organic fruit and vegetables from Gody Jochmans’ La Ferme de Queccialba, and Pierre Geronimi’s artisan ice cream, the chunky fresh chestnut version of which is “an island legend”, according to Corsica Classic president and founder Thibaud Assante.
The main race will be followed by an informal, non-competitive sea-sprint island rally (September 4-10; €100 per person), with regattas in and around the bay of Saint-Florent on the north of the island. The winner will take the Saint-Florent Trophy and the event will finish at Saint-Florent with a gala dinner prepared by three Michelin-starred chefs – Yann Le Scavarec from La Roya in Saint-Florent, Jerry Monmessin from Le Pirate in Erbalunga and the aforementioned Romuald Royer – plus a surprise guest chef.