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Watches of Switzerland Perpetual Sailing Challenge 2016

The Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club has a long and proud history in traditional and high performance sailing in many classes. These classes have changed over many years according to world trends and modern designs however many traditions remain and family participation is of utmost importance. Couta Boats are the Club’s signature fleet. 

As historical fishing boats, now raced most weekends, Couta Boats are an integral part of the Club’s culture. Couta Boats use traditional sailing methods and techniques and do not rely upon technological aides such as navigation systems. It was in these historical vessels that over 40 teams raced in the inaugural Watches of Switzerland Perpetual Sailing Challenge last weekend.



On a beautiful Saturday in February, the Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club was decked out in a classic Italian fashion for a day of sailing and revelry with Panerai and the classic 'Couta' boats that the club is famous for. With a beautifully bedecked, long table taking centre stage in the club room, guests of Panerai and Watches of Switzerland had the opportunity to see and handle some exsquisite Panerai timepieces that were on display, before being treated to a beautiful Italian-inspired lunch. 



The afternoon's festivities were hosted by television personality and long time Paneristi, Hamish McLachlan, who in turn introduced guests to our Watches of Switzerland Chairman, Eric van der Griend, Panerai's Alban Fauchille, and finally, Commodore of the Club, Andrew Plimpton (or as he prefers, 'The Commodore'). Once the formalities were out of the way, the boats hit the water with all sailors keen to win the prize for the day, a Panerai PAM000 timepiece. 



Guests were invited to board spectator vessels for the afternoon to watch the action unfold, albeit in a more comfortable setting than 'hiking out' of a speeding Couta Boat. Blessed with perfect weather, and just enough wind to make the sailing exciting, the Coutas eventually crossed the line, and winners were decided on handicap rules, which we won't pretend to understand.



The afternoon concluded with a presentation ceremony for all the participants, at which the winner was awarded the aforementioned Panerai PAM000 timepiece, and the second division winner was awarded a Panerai Barometer, a rarely-seen piece of machinery out of the brand's Swiss factory.

The entire event was a rousing success, and we can certainly look forward to the next Watches of Switzerland Perpetual Sailing Challenge next year! There are big shoes to fill, that's for sure.

 

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