Nantucket will host the Opera House Cup, August 18 to 21, part of the North American Circuit of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge. The Opera House Cup takes its name from the eponymous venue whose owner, in 1973, had the idea of organizing a regatta reserved for wooden sail boats. It is the oldest regatta of this kind to take place along the East Coast. Every year, a large fleet of vintage boats gathers in a thrilling spectacle. The Opera House Cup has become a summer spectator tradition as the Rainbow Fleet escorts the boats past Brant Point lighthouse to the start.
Past participants include former America’s Cup winners (Intrepid, Weatherly, Columbia), well-known competitors (Shamrock, Endeavor) and other notable yachts like the Mystic Seaport schooner Brilliant and General Patton’s When and If. On the smaller side, prestigious boats in the Dragon class and the classic Herreshoff-designed and Nantucket-built Alerions also often participate. Yachts must be made in wood or metal, built according to traditional designs and methods, with wood or aluminium spars.
The North American Circuit of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge takes place in three locations throughout the season: the Corinthian Classic Yacht Regatta in Marblehead, the Opera House Cup in Nantucket and the Museum of Yachting Classic Yacht Regatta in Newport.
For each regatta, an Officine Panerai prize is presented to the overall winner and to the winners of each class. The overall winners for each of the three regattas receive their prizes in a ceremony held during the Museum of Yachting Classic Yacht Regatta in Newport. To compete for the final trophy, each boat must participate in at least two of the three events in the schedule, one of which must be the Museum of Yachting Classic Yacht Regatta.
The Opera House Cup Regatta is the grand finale of Nantucket Race Week, and the events culminate with the OHC Awards Party, held under the tents on Jetties Beach on Sunday evening. Good food, drinks, videos of the OHC race, a silent auction, presentation of the awards and music keep the party going late into the evening. The OHC Awards Party is one of “the parties of the season” on Nantucket.
For information on the Opera House Cup, go to www.operahousecup.org.