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Cannes Croisette Cup: Sailing and Searching for Diamonds in the Med

Superyachts battle for treasure on the Med

A unique and fun, yet competitive race for superyachts in the form of a treasure hunt.

Due to the outstanding success of last years inaugural event, the Cannes Croisette Cup, a superyacht treasure hunt held on the French Riviera, returns with even more flare and even more intrigue for the second edition this May. Word has definitely spread how fantastic and entertaining an event it is because last year’s edition was modest with only eight big boats participating, whereas Cannes Croisette Cup 2007 has already upped the competitive stakes with 11 superyachts signed up to compete in this prestigious regatta and more promised.

Although officially it is not a regatta, the event musters up as much friendly competitive spirit and sportsmanship as if it were. No surprise since the prize is a stunning De Beers diamond jewel - a glittering reason to go hunting on the hot Med Sea. 
This exclusive event, open to boat owner’s and their crews will be held May 31 to June 3 in the waters off Cannes, hot on the heels of the movie stars who will grace the Film Festival’s famous red carpet, mere days prior to the sailing event.
Strategically scheduled to take place directly after the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Cannes Film Festival, the Cannes Croisette Cup puts the Riviera in the spot light again with yet another deluxe event for the world’s elite to enjoy. Now sailors can enjoy super fast cars, super stars followed by an exclusive, fun, superyacht treasure hunt – it’s the perfect way to kick start the sailing season in the Mediterranean.
Amusement on the Med
The event involves a hidden De Beers diamond treasure, enigmatic maps with clues to be deciphered and requires superior sailing skill to win one of the three trophies up for grabs. The maps are under close guard until the start of the event when participants must use their intellectual skills as much as their sailing abilities to figure out the puzzles, which lead the yachts to the treasure. The treasure course takes yachts around markers at the Castle of Mandelieu, by the islands of Lérins, round a buoy in the Cap d’Antibes, finishing up outside the port in Cannes. The super yachts offer an unforgettable sight as they battle it out along the coast off Cannes and Antibes eager to figure out the clues first - those with some historical knowledge of Cannes will be at an advantage, so start studying!

Big boat big prize
The winner of last year’s coveted cup and the six-carat bejewelled medallion, worth Roman60,000 was Australian Captain Andrew Barry and his crew aboard Hyperion, a 47-metre superyacht and one of the most beautiful sloops in the world from the Cayman Islands. Barry and his team managed to figure out the treasure map and the clues written on parchment paper, which were contained in a wax-sealed bottle to finally find the key to open the treasure box.
This year’s event promises plenty more surprises and intriguing clues for superyacht treasure hunters. It will take place over four days with racing in the bay of Cannes, taking in spectacular views of this stretch of the Riviera.

Cream of the crop go hunting
Yachts must be 100-foot plus to participate in the trophy treasure hunt. This event is reserved for owners, owner’s guest, captains and crew to enjoy some entertaining sailing in a convivial ambiance in this exclusive location.

Everyone welcome
However, if you do not have a yacht available but would like to attend and to take part in the Cannes Croisette Cup 2007, the committee have organised deluxe packages to entice you to join in the entertainment, including flights, courtesy cars to and from your luxury hotel or villa or on board accommodation and a 100-foot’ superyacht so you can join in the fun on the water. Just contact the organisers for your tailor-made visit to ensure a unique sailing experience to remember.

Passion behind the scenes
The race is the brain child of Lionel Péan, an avid and famous sailor and co-founder of the Winning Edge Big Boat Foundation. He took International Yacht Vacation and Charters on board his yacht last year to see the winner pass the finishing line and explained why he founded the event. ‘I wanted to create a private race tailored to super yachts. I am from Brittany, in the north of France but I live on the Riviera now and love this region. Cannes has the perfect port and waters for such a race and it all made sense especially with Cannes’ reputation, which fits in perfectly with the image I wanted for the event. It is also a means to help charity; €500 per entry is donated.’  It made sense as well for Péan to be the founder and organiser; he is well respected on the yachting circuit with more than 30 years of sailing and 350,000 nautical miles on all oceans behind him as well as a list of distinctions, including Whitbread winner, Yachtsman of the Year, honorary citizen of St Malo to mention a few. He was also race director of the single-handed transatlantic Saint-Nazaire Cuba race.

This year’s event takes place May 31st to June 3rd in Cannes harbour and 25 superyachts up to 65metres will claim their berths opposite the famous Palais des Festivals. Participants come from all over the world including the USA (Tiara 52m, Adela 50m, Blus Dream 40m, Velsheda 41m, Shamrock 40m and Hyperion 38m).

Respect, safety and fun. The committee asks participants to join in the spirit of the event and this request that protests or disputes be resolved over a glass of Grand Cru wine at the end of the day!

Sign up!
It seems certain that the prestigious De Beers diamond -sponsored sailing race is set to become a permanent date in the social and sailing calendar on the French Riviera. De Beers have committed to design a unique treasure for the three years of their partnership with the regatta; a real incentive for participants. Time to sign up now!   

About the Cannes Croisette Cup:

How to enter
Cannes Croisette Cup 2007 is open to invited superyachts with a minimum length on deck LOD of 25 meters. The event is by invitation only and entries must be received by April 1st 2007. Each entry should be submitted on the official form and must be signed, and accompanied by the correct entry fee. The entry form and sailing instructions are on their website. Entry fee is 150€ (before tax) per meter LOD and an additional 500€, which is donated to charity. The entry fee includes: owners private dinner tickets for six people, Provencal dinner party tickets for fifteen people and Cannes Harbour mooring fees for four days (fee does not include special switches, water, divers, and other extras).

Regatta schedule
Thursday 31st June....
Registration from 12 midday
3-5pm: Warm up.
7pm : Welcoming party (In the regatta village)

Friday 1st June...
9.30am: Briefing
12 midday: First start for “De Beers” Treasure Hunt.
6pm: Treasure ceremony (Regatta Village)
8pm: Owner’s dinner (Black tie)

Saturday 2nd June...
9.30h Briefing
12 midday: First start
6pm: Prize Giving for the Esterel Trophy (Regatta Village)
8pm: Captain’s & crew party
(Barbecue & live music)

Sunday 3rd June...
9.30am: Briefing
12 midday: First start
6.30pm: Presentation of “Croisette Grand Prix” and “Cannes Croisette Cup 2007”

Three categories were created for the race, Sailing Cruiser, Cruiser Racer and Racer 100’ plus.
First Prize a De Beers” Treasure Hunt (A Master piece from De Beers 2007 Jewel collection) for the best treasure hunter yacht
Esterel Cup & Grand Prix Trophies for Saturday and Sunday winners.
De Beers Perpetual trophy presented to the Cannes Croisette Cup 2007 winner.

More Stories By Paula Farquharson

Paula Farquharson is an editor of The Riviera Times newspaper. Originally
from Ireland, she worked in New York and is now based in Nice, France,
where she learned to sail.

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