Yes we Cannes: Classic yachts make waves at Regates Royales

Story highlights

  • Event welcomes vintage yachts from around the world
  • It was named in honor of King of Denmark in 1929
  • Now attracts around 40,000 spectators to Cannes

(CNN)It's the French coastal town known around the world for its glittering film festival -- but for a few days each September the classics are to be found on the blue water rather than the silver screen.

Cannes plays host to stunning vintage yachts from around the world once a year when it stages the Regates Royales, one of the biggest vintage yacht races to be found anywhere.
It's an unabashed celebration of the virtues of tradition and old-fashioned craftsmanship as up to 100 yachts, built of wood and with huge white canvas sails billowing, glide across Cannes Bay.
    And it forms the climax of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, which consists of a series of 10 regattas held in America and the Mediterranean.
    The oldest yachts competing in 2016 are Nan, built by Scottish designer William Fife in 1896 and boasting a fine paneled interior, and the same man's Eva of 1906.
    Races at the Regates Royales are divided into three categories, with groups for craft constructed before 1950, before 1975 and after 1975 but built to traditional designs using traditional methods.
    The event in its current guise began at the height of interwar glamor back in 1929 when a decision was taken to give it a regal name in honor of Christian X, King of Denmark, who had his own racing yacht on the bay.
    But the postwar years saw a sharp decline of interest in the event, which fizzled out altogether in the 1960s before being brought back to life in 1978. This year's event is the 38th edition.
    And what a renaissance it has been -- every year, more than 40,000 people attend to revel in the sight of majestic yachts competing just as they would have done in the days of Christian X.
    Organizers believe the Regates Royales will continue to go from strength to strength and that sailors around the world "dream, at least once in their life, of being able to participate in such an event."
    So if you thought Cannes wasn't glamorous enough for the rest of the year, give it a try one September.