Anthony D Blake
Across the Startline At St Tropez
Oil on canvas
61 x 91 cm
Relative Size: Across the Startline At St Tropez
Relative size

Moonbeam III, Mariska and Altair Cross the Start Line at St Tropez, France, Present Day:

This painting depicts Moonbeam III in the foreground, Mariska and the large schooner Altair crossing the start line off the old town of St Tropez, France during a recent Les Voiles de St Tropez - The Sails of St Tropez classic yacht regatta.

The starting buoy is just out of the picture frame, to the left of Moonbeam III giving her the best start of the three yachts. A brilliant morning sun reflects off the water and a fresh wind pushes the yachts along at maximum speed creating large bow waves and wakes of white water. The crews are busy easing sheets as they approach the start buoy. St Tropez is silhouetted in the background providing spectators with a wonderful vantage point from which to view the start and finish of the regatta races.St Tropez is one of the main Mediterranean locations annually hosting this major classic yacht regatta.

All three yachts were designed by William Fife III and built at William Fife & Sons Fairlie, Scotland. Moonbeam II at 98 ft 5in LOA was launched in 1903. Mariska designed to the 15m rule, at 90ft 5in LOA was launched in 1908 and Altair at 133ft 9in LOA was launched in May 1931. All three yachts have been recently restored to their original gaff rig configurations.

Both Moonbeam III and Mariska have the classic yacht cream coloured sails. This darker creamy-yellow more accurately replicates the colour of the original cotton canvas sails than the standard white sails used by Altair.

I visited a large classic yacht regatta at Imperia, Italy in 2006 and have spent time in St Tropez watching the classic yachts and painting scenes around St Tropez. Nowadays there are four, 15m yachts racing at St Tropez: Mariska, Tuiga, Lady Anne" and Hispania, all designed by William Fife, they usually race together, a magnificent sight. - A D Blake