In September every year, Portofino takes a step back in time as the grandes dames of the sea of sail into its charming port for the Portofino Rolex Trophy, which is organised by the Yacht Club Italiano and Rolex. The event invariably attracts veteran craft that written the finest chapters in world yachting history.
Competitors have included the legendary likes of Shamrock V, the J Class built in 1929 for Sir Thomas Lipton, and Cambria, the 23-metre built in 1927 for newspaper magnate Sir William Berry, longstanding rivals in the America’s Cup of the 1930s.
Other entrants in the Portofino Rolex Trophy have included the historic International 12-metre Classes, stars of the post-war America’s Cup, and the famous “centenarian sisters” Mariska, Hispania, Tuiga and The Lady Anne. The latter are the only four surviving International 15-metre Classes: stretching a majestic 24 metres and spreading over 400 square metres of sail apiece, they were the most modern and competitive yachts of the early 20th century – very much the 80’ and 90’ maxiyachts of their day.