I couldn’t help having a little nose around this morning as I found myself in Porto Santo Stefano. The Spanish fort overlooks the old port and the picturesque bay where the cream of the Mediterranean classic scene flock once a year in June for the Argentario Sailing Week, part of the Panerai Classic Yacht Circuit. If you approach by road and tackle the final roundabout it is hard to miss the shipyard Cantiere Navale dell’ Argentario that flanks the route in . They have restored ‘medium-sized’ classics for years, many of them beautifully fast American designs such as the Potter Cal32‘s Amorita & Cholita, Herrshoff’s NY30 Linnet and the Olin Stephen’s 12-Metre yachts Nyala & Vim. Other famous yachts like Dorade, Stormy Weather and Bona Fide are also listed in their restoration portfolio online.
Wintering under cover I found many of these boats and more. The names were familiar until I came across Synnove III, a Fife 8-Metre from 1907 and seriously in need of restoration. Great to see she is protected from the elements and being taken care of until a new guardian deems it necessary to invest a small fortune.
On the other side of the road the big boat work is in full flow. The 1931 Alden schooner Puritan has a tent over her so tight I can’t get a peak inside. The spars I find later in a busy mast shed. Alongside is another schooner Zaca designed by the unknown Garland Rotch. She looks fantastic and I feel her braces should be released for her to run d’re’tly down the slip and straight into regatta-ready mode. 2 other yachts are hidden away under more white plastic, Yali and Athena.
I would like to report it is a hive of activity. There is definitely a lot of work going on but I think if I return early-mid May you’ll sees everybody running!