One of the largest ever gatherings of big schooners made a superlative spectacle at the opening of the 20th Superyacht Cup in Palma

Palma Bay witnessed the superlative sight today of seven classic and replica schooners gathering, together with one Fife gaff cutter, for an exhibition sail, that resembled a friendly match. Glorious sunny weather and a sea breeze of 12-15 knots set this extraordinary fleet off to perfection.

Biggest ever ‘Big Class’ schooner gathering at Superyacht Cup in Palma

Even at classic regattas, such a fine selection of large schooners is seldom seem, not least because some of these yachts have never raced before. Germania Nova, a replica of the 1908 classic Germania, was one such. They assembled for a special spectacle to preface the 20th anniversary of the Superyacht Cup.

The first finisher of the match, if you can call it this, was the extremely well-sailed Mariette, an original Herreshoff design which celebrated her centenary last year. This is the yacht that the late Tom Perkins restored back in the 1990s using original drawings from the MIT library, and which has been looked after handsomely for many years by her current owner and captain Charlie Wroe.

Mariette‘s smaller ‘sistership’, the recently restored Francis Sweisguth designed Kelpie of Falmouth, which was originally built in 1929, was also taking part.

So, too, was Naema, a 137-footer inspired by a 1937 Alfred Mylne design and built and launched by Hodgdon Yachts in 2013, Shenandoah, the 178ft three-masted schooner, the huge 180ft Elena, a replica Herreshoff design, and Eleonora, the 162ft replica of 1910 Herreshoff’s design Westward, built in 2002.

The odd one out, if you could really call her that, was Moonbeam. Although clearly an eligible member of the ‘big class’, this 115ft William Fife design from 1914 is a gaff cutter and has been a well-known sight at classic yacht regattas.

Here is a short video that captures a little of the magic of this fantastic fleet under sail.