Clash of the icons
One of the most intriguing battles in the classic division took place in the Epoque Marconi class, which saw close racing between Tara Getty’s Skylark, German Frers on Fjord III, and Charles Dunstone’s newly restored and launched S&S Blitzen. The win narrowly went to Cholita, a California 32, in a fleet which included the famous Stephens design Stormy Weather.
For legendary designer German Frers, it was a chance to reconnect with one of his father’s breakthrough designs. “The boat was built in 1947 for the Rio race – it didn’t make it in time for the start then, but started a day and a half later. Then she won the race in 1950, when she was ready. She went on to win the Bermuda Race in 1954. But when I was a kid she was very close to my heart. I was five when she was launched,” he explained on the dock.
“The present owner bought her in the States. I didn’t have a boat this year, so I asked him if he would charter the boat to me, but he said ‘No, I’ll give it to you for the week’. So I’m sailing with friends and the crew of my boat. I cannot sail modern boats, I cannot race with professionals, so I’ve found my niche on these classics, to have some fun.”
Charles Dunstone meanwhile was racing his beautifully restored 1938 S&S Blitzen with Peter Morton, who explained: “[Dunstone] was looking to do less grand prix racing and more fun racing. So we talked about doing some classic racing because it’s actually a growing fleet, and looked for a boat with some heritage.”
Blitzen’s heritage includes winning the Newportbermuda Race in her launch year, and the 55-footer rounded off her 2016 Les Voiles with two wins in a row, finishing just one point away from first overall in her first competitive event.