Richard Mille: Racing through the waves for the Richard Mille Cup

Richard Mille recaptures the spirit of the pre-war British racing circuit with the inaugural Richard Mille Cup

In a testament to the watchmaker’s unwavering commitment to excellence and its strong interest in all things marine, Richard Mille last month hosted its first-ever regatta dedicated to historical yachts. The Richard Mille Cup, held June 10 to 25, saw 15 yachts dating from the end of the 19th century to the late 1930s competing between Great Britain and France, from Falmouth to Le Havre, with stopovers in renowned sailing landmarks Dartmouth and Cowes in a series of inshore and offshore races.

“Classic yachts bear a living, breathing testimony to the highest values of workmanship, heritage and tradition passed on to us through centuries. By creating this challenge, we aim to set sail through history and to bring this high-end craft very much back to life,” says Richard Mille, who partnered with William Collier, organiser of the world-renowned Fife Regatta and a longtime restorer of historical yachts, to launch the Richard Mille Cup.

One of the main goals behind the Cup is to promote the beauty and pageantry of iconic handcrafted vessels, with a focus on authenticity. The 15 yachts, which competed in Schooner and Cutter categories, were joined by two spectacular 60m-long three-masters. Participants navigated the hallowed institutions that are the Royal Cornwall and Royal Dart Yacht Clubs, and the Royal Yacht Squadron before speeding across the Channel towards the final line at the Société des Régates du Havre.

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“These yachts need an environment in which they can thrive, and that’s why it’s so important to involve the yacht clubs, allowing competitors to mingle in an atmosphere redolent of the true spirit of the pre-war era,” explains Richard Mille. Each of the clubs has a long and distinguished history, with the Royal Cornwall dating to 1871 and the Royal Dart to 1866. The Royal Yacht Squadron has been a driving force in British yachting for over 200 years, while the Société des Régates du Havre is France’s oldest saltwater racing yacht club at 185 years old and the venue for many classic cross channel races.

Among Richard Mille family members, Pierre Casiraghi, who has been with the brand since 2018 as a sailor, joined the race on Tuiga, the Yacht Club de Monaco’s legendary flagship vessel. He was one of many competing for the striking 1m-high Richard Mille Cup trophy, which was specially designed and crafted by the esteemed Garrard jewellery house in sterling silver with dramatic windswept forms that pay tribute to the elegance of sails in the wind. The Richard Mille Cup is a perpetual trophy and the winner was presented with a 40cm-high replica also made by Garrard.

The inaugural Richard Mille Cup was the first of what is intended to be an annual event that not only celebrates the spirit of pre-war British racing and the yachts that defined it but also marks a new era in classic competitive sailing.

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