Celebrating a Classic

The 49-foot Camper & Nicholsons yawl Barbara just passed 100 years of being on the water.
Sailboat near Capraia Island
Barbara racing at Capraia Island. P. Maccione

Not many yachts hold the distinction of being out cruising on the water for 100 years or more, but Barbara—a 49-foot Camper & Nicholsons launch from 1923—recently completed a centennial celebration of events and regattas in the Mediterranean.

This effort included six months at sea, 3,200 miles traveled and 18 events in four countries. Support was provided by Frisbi Società Benefit, a supplier of renewable electricity. More than 150 friends took turns on board with owner Roberto Olivieri of Florence, Italy.

“With Barbara, it was love at first sight. She immediately became the perfect location to share moments of joy during holidays and regattas with relatives and friends,” Olivieri stated in a press release. “I don’t feel like an owner, but rather a keeper, aware of the privilege, but also of the responsibility to take care of this jewel of nautical culture from the last century, still sailing, and to preserve it for future generations.”

Built in Gosport, England, with teak and pitch-pine planking on a white oak frame, Barbara is based on a design by Charles Ernest Nicholson. The yawl has a Bermudan rig with triangular sails and two masts, allowing for navigation with a reduced crew.

Roberto Olivieri
The Florentine Roberto Olivieri, owner of Barbara, at the Vele d’Epoca Imperia M. Ventimiglia

After being commissioned by Herbert Hines, the boat spent a few more years in England with the London sailor Harold Francis Edwards. In the late 1920s, it was transferred to northern France by a new owner, Baron Amaury de la Grange. Later, Barbara cruised the waters of the French Riviera with Commander Jean de Vogue, whose family owned Moët & Chandon. Moored between Cannes and Monaco for several decades, Barbara hosted sailing and parties.

In 1982, Barbara was the support boat for a crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in 24 days. After being abandoned at the end of the century in Spain, the boat was transferred to the Cantiere Navale Francesco del Carlo in Viareggio, Italy, where it was brought back to its former glory.

The centennial tour included winning numerous awards, not only for the boat itself, but also at a culinary competition as part of Monaco Classic Week. At the Voiles de Saint Tropez, Barbara participated with 22 other boats in a regatta for yachts of similar age.

Monaco Classic Week
Barbara racing at the Monaco Classic Week. Studio Borlenghi

What is the business of sponsor Frisbi Società Benefit? It’s an Italian undertaking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.

Learn more about the classic yawl Barbara: click over to barbarayacht.com