Voile d'Antibes 2024
Voile d'Antibes 2024

Les Voiles d'Antibes 2024 – The Legendary Mediterranean Yachting Event Where Adventure Meets Luxury

Join the largest gathering of classic, vintage, and traditional yachts on the Mediterranean at the Cote d’Azur’s Port Vauban this spring where the yachting elite meet for the opening event of the yachting race season: Les Voiles d’Antibes 2024 (29 May – 2 June).

Over the course of five days, up to 70 yachts and 700 crew members compete in a series of events in Les Voiles d’Antibes along a 23km stretch of coastline between the historic port of Antibes and the neighbouring Art Deco resort of Juan-les-Pins.

Having only launched in 1996, Les Voiles d’Antibes has quickly positioned itself as one of the must-attend events on the French Riviera each year, and there is no better way to attend the event than aboard a luxury yacht. Whether you are looking to spectate from the comfort of your yacht’s sun deck, board one of the racing yachts for a thrilling day of sailing, or even follow the action at speed on one of the official semi-rigid tenders supplied by event partner Antibes Bateux Services, you’ll be grateful for the cocooned comfort of your yacht at the end of the day. Those wishing to enter their own classic or vintage yacht into the regatta can find all registration details on the Les Voiles d’Antibes website.

Les Voiles d’Antibes 2024: Kicking off the Mediterranean Season

Each year, Les Voiles d’Antibes sees a beautiful fleet of classic and vintage yachts gather in Port Vauban, Europe’s largest marina (and one of its oldest), heralding in the new Mediterranean yacht racing season.

There are three classifications of yachts that take part each year in Les Voiles d’Antibes: vintage yachts (‘Yachts d’Epoque’), which must have been built before 1950; classic yachts (Yachts Classiques’) dating pre-1976; and yachts built from the late 19th-century onwards (‘Yachts Esprit de Tradition’).

Two vintage yachts racing in les Voiles d'Antibes
Port Vauban is Europe's largest marina, hosting les Voiles d'Antibes 2024

During the day, spectators can browse the exhibition stands around the marina, and by night, the excitement spills over onto the pontoons as skippers, crew, and spectators mingle to discuss the day’s races and celebrate successes at cocktail parties and soirees in and around Port Vauban and at the Villages des Voiles.

Competitive Spirit: The Thrill of Traditional Yacht Racing in the Mediterranean

Traditional yachts have an aura about them that modern yachts simply can’t replicate. Far from simply throwbacks to past eras, vintage and classic sailing yachts are evidence of how much modern shipbuilders owe to their forebears: they are the yachts that have brought us to where we are today.

And not only have these yachts lived through historic moments, but many of them, such as the 1934 yacht STORMY WEATHER, have made history themselves and achieved iconic status. Built by Olin Stephens when he was just 25 years old, the 16.42m Bermuda yawl STORMY WEATHER won the Newport to Bergen transatlantic race and the Fastnet the year after launch.

Moonbeam of Fife, one of the traditional yachts ready to compete in Voiles d'Antibes 2024
Hallowe'en, one of the classic sailing yachts ready to compete in Voiles d'Antibes 2024

Yachts such as the 32m MOONBEAM OF FIFE, built by William Fife & Son and launched in 1903 also attend each year and still draw wonder from the gathering spectators who are endlessly impressed by her streamlined profile and large sails.

Another William Fife-built yacht, HALLOWE’EN, which was designed as a low-aspect Bermudan cutter at a time when gaff-rigged racers were de rigueur, is also perennially popular. Described by William Fife himself as “the perfect gentleman’s yacht”, soon after launching in 1926, HALLOWE’EN became a record-breaking yacht and today, fully restored, she is a remarkable example of a wooden classic sailing yacht. 

Maritime Heritage: Honouring the Legacy of Vintage Yachts

Each morning during the regatta, classic yachts leave Port Vauban at about 10am and the Bay of Antibes around 11am, returning at 4pm, depending on the race route – the race committee decides the route for that day each morning.

For many attendees to the annual event, Les Voiles d’Antibes offers an opportunity to appreciate the workmanship of these legendary yachts, with all the different elements working in perfect harmony. Watching the choreography of the crew as they move about the yachts is also an exciting part of the spectacle, as is seeing some of the yachts built for adventure and racing  up close.

Crew on one of the vintage yachts sailing in les Voiles d'Antibes
classic sailing yachts starting les Voiles d'Antibes race

Seeing them in their natural environment, racing in the Mediterranean, is a reminder of what they were designed to do and what they are still capable of. It’s a credit to their respectful and visionary owners, who have spent money and time restoring them and maintaining them year after year, that we still get to see them on the water today.

Yacht Lover’s Paradise: Antibes – A Destination for Seafaring Enthusiasts

The Port of Antibes, enviably located between the resort town of Cannes and the elegant French city of Nice on the Cote d’Azur coastline, has undeniable nautical pedigree. Once a natural harbour, it has been used by ships since the time of the Roman Empire and was later fortified by Sebastian Le Prestre, Marquis of Vauban, who was one of France’s most celebrated military engineers and Marshal of France under Louise XIV.

Sunset in Port Vauban, home of les Voiles d'Antibes 2024
Port Vauban's narrow cobbled streets, perfect for a walk while enjoying les Voiles d'Antibes yachting events

Today, it is a prime spot for absorbing the ageless atmosphere of the French Riviera, allowing you to admire graceful sailing yachts and they depart for the day as you slowly rouse yourself from your seaview slumber, or plot a course through some of the Mediterranean’s most beautiful cruising ground.

Between coastal hops around the Antibes peninsula or trips to Riviera hotspots such at St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and Monaco, few visitors can resist a wander amid the port’s old town where narrow cobbled streets weave past old cafes, galleries, ice-cream shops and designer boutiques towards the Marche Provencal where you can shop for cheese, olives, and other local delicacies ­– perfect for a picnic at anchor while you watch the yachting events unfold from the water.

Like much of this part of the world, Antibes is a classic, timeless setting, and perhaps that’s why this annual regatta feels as though it’s always been here.


22 May 2024

Written by:

Jack Hartley