Please select your home edition
Edition
RS Sailing 728x90

Les Voiles de St. Barth - 65 strong fleet set for 4th edition

by Fabrice Thomazeau on 5 Apr 2013
Les Voiles de Saint Barth 2012 Christophe Jouany / Les Voiles de St. Barth http://www.lesvoilesdesaintbarth.com/
The fourth edition of Les Voiles de St Barth gets underway on Monday, April 8th. While Europe continues to shiver with a bitter wind coming down from Scandinavia, fans of high quality racing in warm winds and sunshine are eagerly looking towards the magical shores of the Caribbean and more precisely Saint Barth.

65 boats representing around fifteen nationalities will be competing after being divided up fairly into six distinct groups. They can look forward to a subtle mixture of top class racing and an opportunity to discover the finer side of French life right in the heart of the Caribbean. Sport, enjoyment, sunshine, clear blue skies with the endless glistening seas… and it all comes with an extraordinary line-up representing the finest yachts in the French West Indies; so there are plenty of very good reasons to feast your eyes on the dreamlike delights of the Voiles de Saint Barth.

The six classes competing at the 2013 Voiles de Saint Barth reflect the various types of boat you can find throughout the year or during the winter season in the Caribbean islands. By setting up these various classes, it means a large number of boats of different sizes, different manoeuvring abilities, can compete on the same race course. Sailed by top class crews, throughout the week they will be offering excitement out on the extraordinary waters around Saint-Barth.

Classic or tradition yachts all have their place in Saint Barth. The presence of these yachts, with all the history they bring, creates a real maritime museum and at the same time they are a beautiful expression of the racing element of fine yachting.

A classic yacht is a boat of a certain age, with a long keel, a heavy displacement, traditional rigging and many, many stories. Much is expected from the very special battle between one of the stars of the Mediterranean Classic circuit, 'The Blue Peter', the Marconi-rigged sloop dating back to 1930, designed by Mylne; the very fast W Class 'Wild Horse'; and the ketch 'Saphaedra'. These three will be great sight in the heart of the fleet at the 2013 Voiles.

The maxi yacht refers to a prototype yacht or one that is manufactured in a limited number with in general some exceptional features, bringing together elegance, comfort, while fitted out with all the latest technology developed for ocean racing boats. There are no specific lengths when designing a Maxi, but 21 metres seems to be the minimum length to fit into this category. They are therefore the perfect expression of the most spectacular elements of modern yachting. The boats measuring 30 metres or more have been designed by some of the leading designers of the modern era, German Frers, Bruce Farr… The Maxi fleet competing at this year’s Voiles de Saint Barth are all newcomers, and so we will have to wait to find out how the mighty Farr designed boats do against each other with their power and elegance, 'Dynamite Idea' will in particular be up against 'Maximiser', but also some big Swans 'Varsovie' and 'Selene,' but the big sloop 'Whisper' could upset things...


This class brings together the racing monohulls designed specifically for coastal and offshore racing. They tend to be built of carbon or composite materials. Fast, easy to manoeuvre, with their high quality sails they always offer a fantastic sight as they do battle against one another. Their sail surface area is huge and their crews have a lot of sailors in order to hike out.

This year, the Spinnaker class will be very competitive with the largest number of boats competing, as 38 have completed their registration. Each crew brings together a number of professionals all racing with the same goal, winning. We shall be looking forward to a great battle between the many Swans, 'Puffy' (53 feet), 'Music' (53 feet) and 'AEZ Optimix' (45 feet). The Melges 24 may be smaller, but they are fine performers on the long swell and there will be many of them competing hoping to achieve a win for Archambault, J Boats or Bénéteau. Simonas Steponavicius’s Lithuanian crew is back with their VOR 60. Peter Harrison has chosen to race this year aboard 'Jolt 2', a futuristic Baltic 45 which does just as well in strong winds as in calm conditions. We should add that there is also one crew made up exclusively of women on board Sophie Olivaud’ J 109 'Voiles au féminin SBH'.

This class brings together crews that have decided to race without a spinnaker to make it easier. This fully expresses the desire of the organizers to open up the Voiles to amateurs, who enjoy yachting, going from beginners to more experienced racers. The excellent racing conditions you can expect in the waters around Saint-Barth can be very demanding and this class enables crews that are less skilled to race while feeling safe in the heart of the fleet. We will be seeing some elegant boats, such as French Kiss, a Bénéteau Sense 50 and the Swan 57 Alpha Centauri and the Santa Cruz 70, which are powerful and offer high performance and whose crews will find the right angles and bearings to make up for the absence of the big downwind sail.

This class brings together racing multihulls, trimarans and catamarans, measuring between 30 and 60 feet in length, which are very light and fast. The Caribbean has always enjoyed welcoming these spectacular multihulls.

The Voiles de Saint-Barth had to set up room for them and so it is with pleasure that we will be able to enjoy once again the graceful and delicate silhouettes of these dragonflies of the sea. Olivier Vigoureux ‘s 'Paradox', a 63-foot Irens designed boat is seen as one of the favourites. She will however have to be quick if she wants to compensate for her high rating in comparison to Erick Clément’s fast 50-foot 'Dauphin Telecom' or Stéphane Cattoni ‘s efficient 40-footer 'Fildou'.

In order to welcome racing cruisers alongside the racers and prototypes, the Voiles de Saint Barth have added in the IRC 52 class this year. Around the world, 8000 boats received IRC certificates in 2011 and the leading races use IRC: the Fastnet, Spi Ouest-France, Copa del Rey, Asian Cup, Maxi Cup, Middle Sea Race, Japan Race... Jim Swartz, a regular at the Voiles de Saint Barth and godfather at the 2013 event will as usual be back at the helm of 'Vesper.' We can expect a race within the race, as he does battle with 'Varuna', Jens Kellinghusen’s Ker 51 and this promises to be an exciting duel and we can look forward to some enjoyable racing.

Each competitor leaves Saint Barth with wonderful memories of the stunning race areas.


For four years now, the Race Director, Luc Poupon has been laying out race courses for the Voiles de Saint-Barth based around the geography of the island for the various categories of boat and depending on the weather conditions that are possible out on the water.

'The layout of Saint-Barth is a real asset for us, as the coastal landscapes of the island are all very different and the presence of fifteen or so little islands means we can organize a wide range of race courses with a lot of changes of direction, which require a lot of manoeuvres from the crews,' explained Luc.

28 race courses ranging from 14 to 40 miles are being prepared beforehand, with the same starting line in the roadstead off Gustavia and the finish in the area around the Petits Saints. The final choice will depend on the weather conditions on the eve of the starts.

Once back on dry land, it is the legendary friendliness of all those, who enjoy the sea, which is combined with the festive atmosphere in Saint Barth. The Race Village will be host each evening after the races, to all of the competitors, who can to enjoy music from around the world, Rhythm and Blues, Rock, Zouk, merengue, electro… (for more information please see the programme).

The lay day on Thursday is a special feature of the Voiles and universally appreciated by the racers, who are able to share some time with their families and friends, when everyone at the event comes together. The Voiles de Saint-Barth invites all down to Nikki Beach on St Jean’s Beach for this lay day. From eleven in the morning, racing is replaced by a day of relaxation, with music and special events, including paddle races and water Loes Voiles de St Barth

BandG Asia Zeus3 660x82Hall Spars - BoomZhik AkzoNobelb 660x82

Related Articles

Transat Jacques Vabre – Imoca podium decided as Class40 trio contract
Behind them are the races within the race that characterise different preparations, aspirations and generations of crew The Anglo-Spanish pair of Phil Sharp and Pablo Santurde (Imerys Clean Energy) still lead, but the 20 miles they earned yesterday at the end of the Doldrums has evaporated before the Equator with less than 10 miles between all three again.
Posted today at 5:12 pm
Volvo Ocean Race – Pressure coming on
In particular, the navigators and skippers are faced with choices that may largely determine their fate on Leg two On Sunday morning, with most of the leading group having finally gybed and sailing an easterly track towards Cape Town, Team Brunel defied expectations and turned back to the southwest in an effort to get closer to the stronger winds of a weather system that is expected to deliver the leading group towards their destination.
Posted today at 3:12 pm
St Barth Cata Cup – Suspense reigns high
In spite of uncertain conditions, some sailors kept up a steady pace, starting with Franck Cammas and Matthieu Vandame Those born in Saint Barth will tell you that wind from the southwest is rather rare on the island. Yet that’s exactly what happened on Saturday in the West Indies, with erratic light winds (very instable from five to eight knots).
Posted today at 1:19 pm
Clipper World Race – Day 19 – A time of quiet reflection across fleet
Following medical advice and considerations, Simon was given a sea burial at 0900 local time (0300 UTC) today Sanya Serenity Coast continues to lead the fleet with just over 1,000 nautical miles to go to Fremantle and has completed the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint - results will be announced after all teams have done so.
Posted today at 11:09 am
11th Yisunsin Cup International Yacht Race – Day 2
With the wind blowing up to 28 knots, the boats sailed fast and sailors gave their best performance in hard conditions. It was a completely different scenery and racing setup today – as the wind forecast looked promising… while the race course changed from off-shore to the more technical in-shore course.
Posted today at 9:44 am
Raja Muda Selangor International Regatta 2017. Here we go again.
This year for the first time all RMSIR boats are carrying Yellow Brick trackers. It’s 14 years since I was introduced to the ‘Raja Muda’, and over the years the fascination with Asia’s entirely unique and equally intriguing regatta has not dimmed. It used to be billed as ‘Asia’s most challenging regatta: can you beat it?’ and today runs under the headline of ‘9 days. 4 destinations. Full on.’ They are both true.
Posted today at 9:25 am
St Michel-Virbac break record to win Transat Jacques Vabre Imoca class
Jean-Pierre Dick and Yann Eliès on St Michel-Virbac, have won Imoca class of 13th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre Jean-Pierre Dick and Yann Eliès on St Michel-Virbac, have won the Imoca class of the 13th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre after crossing the finish line in the Bay of All Saints in Salvador de Bahia on Saturday, November 18, 2017 at 20:11:46 (UTC), 13 days 7 hours 36 minutes and 46 seconds after leaving Le Havre, Normandy, France. St Michel-Virbac covered the theoretical course of 4,350 NM
Posted today at 4:10 am
2017 Melges 40 Grand Prix - A dramatic final day of racing
The final day in Palma at 2017 Melges 40 Grand Prix hosted by Real Club Nautico de Palma was nothing short of exciting The final day in Palma at the 2017 Melges 40 Grand Prix hosted by Real Club Nautico de Palma was nothing short of exciting - most especially for newly crowned champion Yukihiro Ishida on SIKON with tactician Manuel Weiller and crew members Enrique Camselle, Jaro Furlani, Michele Gregoratto, Darren Jones, Victor Marino, Antonio Otero, Alberto Viejo and Vittorio Zaoli.
Posted today at 2:44 am
Clipper RTW - Simon Spiers washed overboard on way to Australia
We are extremely saddened today to report the fatality of Simon Speirs, a crew member on board CV30 We are extremely saddened today to report the fatality of Simon Speirs, a crew member on board CV30, (GREAT Britain). Simon, 60, from Bristol, UK, was on the foredeck assisting with a headsail change from Yankee 3 when he was washed overboard.
Posted today at 12:00 am
Transat Jacques Vabre – Dick coasting to record win
Victory will make Dick the only person in the history of this double-handed race, in any class, to have won four times A 19:30 UTC finish would also mean that Dick and Eliès will set a new record for the Transat Jacques Vabre to Salvador, with Dick beating his own record, of 13 days 09 hours 19 minutes and 2 seconds set with Loïck Peyron on Virbac-Paprec in 2005.
Posted on 18 Nov