In 1980, a group of New England yachtsmen looked around Newport harbor and saw classic yachts that were once glorious decaying before their eyes. Inspired to raise awareness for these endangered vessels, these sailors founded the Classic Yacht Regatta in Newport, Rhode Island. The newly formed Museum of Yachting organized the first event, and forty wooden classics came to the starting line. As the event grew in size and stature, this annual showcase of vintage yachts became the impetus for a number of boat owners to restore and maintain the historic watercraft under their care. Event sponsor Panerai joined the event in 2006—bringing significant upgrades to the regatta and its prizes and social festivities—and this regatta is now firmly established as a weekend of camaraderie and competition that draws meticulously restored classics and spirit-of-tradition yachts that are modern in build and materials yet traditional in design. Some of the original founders of the regatta are now gone, but their legacy lives on in these graceful vintage vessels that faithfully return each year to this annual event.
Meaghan O'Neill is a writer, editor, blogger wrangler, and the founder of Puddingstone Post. She was formerly editor-in-chief of TreeHugger, Discovery Channel online, and TLC's Parentables. Her writing has appeared in numerous print and online publications, and her book, Ready, Set, Green: 8 Weeks to Modern Eco-Living (Villard/Random House) was published in 2008. She lives in Newport, RI with her family.
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