The Voyage Home

Shenandoah during an Atlantic crossing

The voyage home

However, one of Marcel Bich’s last acts as owner was also one of his most poignant.

The Italian’s claim to yachting fame is that he organised and supported the French challenge to the America’s Cup, first in 1970 and then again in 1974. It was on this latter occasion that he decided to take Shenandoah back to her original home of Newport on Rhode Island. Although she didn’t race, her ‘pomp and glory’ was admired by all who saw her.

“…it was her first trip home since 1905…”

For the first time, the ship became treasured not just by an individual but by two nations – France, for she sailed under its flag, and America. It was her first trip home since 1905 but the return was deliberately low-key.

Bich was not an ostentatious billionaire, he preferred to hide himself away from the glare of parties and he used Shenandoah as his personal sanctuary. He hosted only small gatherings during the races, attended by the likes of Caroline Kennedy – the only living child of the former President – as well as Ambassadors and close family.