Monaco 2016: Best In Show
Approximately 40 recent launches more than 100 feet in length are making their debuts at the Monaco Yacht Show this year.
The Monaco Yacht Show is the world’s greatest showcase for big boats. With more than 580 exhibiting companies and approximately 120 superyachts on display, the show transforms the environs around Port Hercules into the quintessential venue for those interested not only in yachts, but also in all aspects of the superyacht lifestyle. The show features designers, suppliers and luxury accessories, and this year will include a Car Deck display of automobiles from Lamborghini, Centigon, Rolls-Royce, Tesla and more.
When: September 28-October 1 (10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.)
Where: Port Hercules, Boulevard Albert 1ER, Principality of Monaco
Tickets: Public $150 euro/day (on sale at the show)
For more information: monacoyachtshow.com
Monaco, Monarchs and the Sea: A Brief History of Yachting in the Heart of the Mediterranean
The seafaring life and Monaco have been eternally entwined. In ancient times, the intrepid, oceangoing Phoenicians were said to have sailed into the sheltered harbor of Monaco. Long the subject of gossip—way before Vanity Fair and “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”—the region that is now Monaco featured colorfully in Greek mythology. Heracles, more commonly known by his Roman moniker Hercules, played a part in the Monaco story. The Temple of Monoikos was purportedly built to honor his feats on land and at sea. And the name of the principality’s largest port, Port Hercules, no doubt is a nod to the rambunctious son of Zeus.
Monoikos, which translates from the Greek to mean “single house,” connotes self-reliance and self-sufficiency. Today, this bite-size country (second-smallest only to the Vatican) ruled by a monarch is indeed a singular enclave unlike any other. Prince Albert II, the current ruling monarch, can trace his family origins back to 1297 when François Grimaldi, disguised as a monk, seized the fortress of Monaco from a rival Italian faction.
Naturally, over the course of time, leaders came and went. In 1604, Lord Honore II propelled Monaco into its “Great Century,” firmly implanting the Grimaldis as sovereigns. Fast-forward to the French Revolution: Monaco was annexed by France and did not revert to Grimaldi rule until Napoleon’s abdication in 1814.
Yachting as we know it came into play in the principality during the 19th century. According to the Yacht Club of Monaco, the first regattas were held in the bay of Monaco in 1862. However, it was not until 1888 that Prince Charles III and his son Prince Albert I established the “Société des Régates.”
Charles III (“Carlo” in Italian) is the namesake of Monte Carlo. He established gambling and founded the Grand Casino. However, it was Prince Albert I—who took over the monarchy in 1889—who had closer ties to the sea. Under his reign, the first international event for motorboats was established in Monaco in 1904. Thereafter, all the big sailing and motor yachts gathered annually to be part of historic gatherings. Monaco had become the center of the world for fashionable water sports.
Prince Albert I was also keen on scientific research and oceanography, and he created the Oceanographic Museum on The Rock of Monaco (where the palace sits). An ongoing enterprise today, it has been a great resource for exhibits and education over the years. Jacques-Yves Cousteau was the director of the museum from 1957 to 1988.
Prince Albert I combined yacht exploration and education. He owned four research yachts: Hirondelle, Princesse Alice, Princesse Alice II and Hirondelle II. He traveled throughout the Mediterranean with leading scientists of his day, recording oceanographic studies and creating maps and charts. In 1896, on an oceanographic survey of the Azores, he discovered the Princess Alice Bank. In the years from 1898 to 1907 he made four scientific reconnaissance cruises to Svalbard and the Arctic.
In 1953, Prince Rainier III, grandson of Prince Albert I, founded the Yacht Club de Monaco. It was a natural evolution for the Société des Régates. The objective, according to the yacht club, was “to develop, encourage and serve the promotion of the principality in the yachting sector.”
In the 1960s and ’70s, many eminent parties happened aboard one particularly famous yacht in Monaco. Celebrities, movie stars and heads of state were entertained aboard Aristotle Onassis’ 325-foot (99-meter) Christina. In 1981, Stavros Niarchos built the 380-foot (115-meter) Atlantis II to exceed his rival Onassis’ yacht. Today Atlantis II is a permanent fixture at her berth in Monaco’s harbor, but there are no publicized parties aboard.
In 1984, HSH Prince Albert II became president of the Yacht Club of Monaco and has made great strides in ensuring that Monaco remains the luxury yachting capital of the world. He has a passion for all things yachting. In 1995, he acquired the 1909-built, 92-foot Fife Tuiga as the club’s flagship. As part of the Prada Challenge vintage circuit, the club established Monaco Classic Week. In 2005 the club instituted the “La Belle Classe” label, federating yacht owners around a charter that defends essential yachting values: respect for etiquette, safeguard of the environment, preservation of the country’s heritage of classic yachts and innovation for luxury yachting. During the past few years, Prince Albert II spearheaded the building of a Norman Foster-designed yacht club facility, inaugurated in 2014 to further anchor Monaco as a world destination and facility for superyachts.
It would be a Herculean task to match Monaco as a sensational yachting port of call. —Jill Bobrow