Classic superyacht regatta’s £1Million boost to Cornish economy

As well as providing a feast for the eyes during three days of racing in Falmouth Bay, the classic superyacht regatta Richard Mille Cup has brought an estimated £1Million into the local economy.

After thrilling competitive action in every variety of weather the spectacular sailing yachts –– brought together by the luxury Swiss watchmaker and crewed by some of the best sailors in the world – are racing towards Dartmouth in Devon, before heading to Cowes, Isle of Wight and a grand finale in Le Havre, France, on June 15.

As they left Falmouth Harbour on Thursday morning the fleet of pre-war classic yachts competing in the Richard Mille Cup gathered off Pendennis Point to remember thousands of Allied troops who embarked from these waters bound for the D-Day landings on the Normandy Beaches 80 years ago.

As hosts of an intricate array of events in Falmouth the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club (RCYC) and Falmouth Harbour now estimate that the Richard Mille Cup’s 300 yacht-owners, crews and their entourages – along with a surge in visiting spectators – have poured a welcome additional spend into the local economy in terms of accommodation, shopping, venue hires, provisions, restaurants and a multitude of marine services.

“We cannot overstate the importance to our Harbour and its businesses of a prestigious regatta like the Richard Mille Cup choosing the perfect showcase of Falmouth for the first leg of this incredible regatta,” says event director for the RCYC Sarah Hancock. “After last summer’s inaugural Cup event, beginning here in Falmouth, Richard Mille could have decided to race from different ports this year – but instead they chose to return, we believe because of the warm welcome and great race management, general organisation and cooperation they’ve enjoyed here.”</

12 of the world’s most beautiful, historic schooners and cutters gathered in Falmouth Harbour – with the Richard Mille contenders all invited owners and charterers of yachts built before 1939 or faithful replicas of these classics of the pre-war era. The oldest vessel Thalia was built in Poole, Dorset, in 1889 whilst the youngster of the fleet, Viveka, was built in 1929 and spent the second world war years as a US government spotter vessel.

“Falmouth has given us a tremendous welcome and terrific racing – it is the perfect environment to race and admire these beautiful classic yachts,” says Richard Mille Cup organiser and classic yacht expert Dr William Collier. “As a combined team organising this unique regatta we aim to give pleasure and contribute to our host communities as well as our competitors; this is the spirit of the event.”

For the benefit of land-based spectators, inshore racing in Falmouth Bay began and ended as close to Pendennis Point as conditions allowed, with awe-inspiring views throughout the three days from Pendennis, Rosemullion and St Anthony headlands.

Among the flotillas of seaborne spectators were a “pirate ship” of youngsters from all over Cornwall treated to a day out on the briny by the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club Children’s Trust supported by the pleasure boat Princessa and the Richard Mille Cup.

“This event is the highlight of the calendar and it is incredible to see these yachts back for a second year,” says Falmouth Harbour CEO Miles Carden. “The Richard Mille Cup showcases the incredible Harbour and facilities that we offer and more importantly delivers real economic impact in the town.  

“The high-profile nature of the event also showcases career opportunities for local young people. Cornwall has always delivered high quality yacht crews, let’s hope this event highlights what an amazing global career can be found working on or building these beautiful vessels. We hope to see them back soon.”

From Falmouth the Richard Mille Cup continues with racing and social events organised by the Royal Dart Yacht Club in Dartmouth, the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes and the Société des Régates du Havre in Normandy, northern France,  where the winner will be presented with the three-foot-high Richard Mille trophy, designed by royal jewellers Garrard, on June 15th.

Full details of the events, races and competing vessels are announced and updated at

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