What is the Classic Channel Regatta?

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The Classic Channel Regatta is a leading international event in the classic sailing world:

It has competitors of several nationalities including English, French, Irish, Dutch, Belgian and German. It also visits 3 of the Channel’s most beautiful ports in England, France and the Channel Islands

There are 80 or more classic boats taking part:

All built to pre-1975 designs. Most are original and some built more recently, but to old, classic designs. The oldest boat that we have had in the 12 year history of the regatta was launched in 1902. There is a diverse range of boats of different shape, rig, size and history, but their owners share the same passion to preserve and promote classic yachting heritage

The regatta includes a series of races:

  • The Dartmouth Classics weekend on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th July with racing around buoys in Start Bay.
  • The Classic Channel Race, stage 1, from Dartmouth to Guernsey on Monday 10th and Tuesday 11th July.
  • The Classic Channel Race, stage 2, from Guernsey to Paimpol on Wednesday 12th July.
  • The Round Bréhat race on Thursday 13th July.

There are also several informal parties, prize-givings and a picnic for the crews during the course of the week.

Prizes are awarded for each race and for a boat’s overall performance in the regatta. Each boat has a handicap or ‘rating’ based on its measurements to try to provide each boat with an equal chance of winning. There is also a ‘Spirit of the Regatta’ Trophy awarded to the boat that has done most to embrace the Corinthian ethos of the regatta.

Spectator events:

There are numerous activities on the water and ashore of interest to spectators and crew-members. Classic boats in these sorts of numbers are a spectacular and beautiful sight.

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  • A parade of sail in Dartmouth harbour on the morning of Saturday July 8th at 10:30
  • The racing in Start Bay on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th can be seen from Warren Point to the west of the river mouth
  • Entry into the lock at Paimpol, with music on the harbour wall, on the evening of Wednesday July 12th
  • The popular “Danse des Classiques” on Thursday, July 13th is ideal for spectators – spectator boats “vedette de Bréhat” sailing from Paimpol at 10 euro for a 2 1/2 hour trip
  • Procession up the Trieux River on the afternoon of Thursday 13 July
  • Arrival of the yachts at the port of Lézardrieux with musical accompaniment
  • Return to the port of Paimpol on Friday 14th with entry parade starting at 10 am
  • The regatta village in Paimpol with stalls and entertainment and the harbour celebrations all day on 14th July
  • Sightseeing trips on Saturday 15th July for the crews

The full programme of events can be seen here.

History:

This regatta is held biennially in early July, and has grown steadily since the first one in 2005. It was initiated by a group of classic boat owners in Dartmouth in 2003 who sailed in company to a regatta on the northern Brittany coast. The regatta has always centred around Dartmouth, St Peter Port and North Brittany, where it went to two other locations before finding the perfect welcome in Paimpol. The French section of the Classic Channel Regatta has returned to Paimpol every time since 2009.

The regatta has been in Paimpol for the 14th July – French Fête Nationale (Bastille Day to us English) – for the last two regattas and will again be there in 2017. A harbour full of beautiful classic boats combined with the Quatorze Juillet festivities and fireworks makes for a fantastic finale to the Regatta.

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All photos taken at previous Classic Channel Regattas and reproduced by kind permission of Mike Wynne-Powell, Karine Gilles de Pelichy and waterlinemedia.com