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Angelo Bonati (left)

Best vintage boat restorationOfficine Panerai: Eilean wins the PREMIO ITALIA 2010 PER LA VELA

Angelo Bonati, CEO of Officine Panerai, collected the “Premio Italia per la Vela 2010” prize for Best Vintage Boat Restoration on Friday April 23rd at the Livorno Naval Academy, in Italy; the award was won by Eilean, the Bermudian ketch built in 1936 by the legendary Scottish boatyard, Fife of Fairlie and bought by Officine Panerai in 2007 which then underwent conservation and restoration works lasting three years.

The “Premio Italia per la Vela” 2010 for the Best Vintage Boat Restoration, promoted and organised by Tuttovela, was awarded by the Italian vintage yacht association, Associazione Italiana Vele d’Epoca (AIVE), with the Patronage of the Naval Academy and the Organising Committee of the 27th Naval Academy and City of Livorno Trophy (TAN). Past winners of the Premio for Best Vintage Boat Restoration include Amorita, Bonafide, Lulworth, which are all very well-known to vintage yacht enthusiasts.

Eilean was painstakingly restored to her former glory after she was discovered in very poor condition on the Caribbean island of Antigua in 2006 and bought by Officine Panerai. It took a team of craftsmen at the Francesco Del Carlo boatyard in Viareggio three years to complete the restoration, not only conserving her shape and features but also the majority of her original materials.

Eilean’s relaunch was celebrated at the end of  2009 at the Sezione Velica of the Italian Navy in La Spezia, Italy. The ties between the Italian Navy and Officine Panerai go back a long way: in 1936, the year Eilean was built, the Florentine producer of fine watches created the first prototype of an underwater watch for diving missions by the Italian Royal Navy’s Commander Submarine Group One. In recognition of its history and the many similarities between the craftsmanship featured in classic yachting and haute horlogerie, Officine Panerai has promoted the culture of sailing with the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, the leading international regatta circuit for vintage yachts since 2005.