Please select your home edition
Edition
Wildwind 2016 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

Helm Events 660x82Hall Spars - MastWildwind 2016 660x82

Related Articles

RORC Transatlantic Race – Day 15 – Maverick blasts into Grenada
Infiniti 46, Maverick, skippered by Cotterell crossed the finish line outside Camper and Nicholsons Port Louis Marina. Infiniti 46, Maverick, skippered by Oliver Cotterell crossed the finish line outside Camper and Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada. The British yacht, with radical side foils is provisionally the winner of IRC Canting Keel and currently placed second overall under IRC
Posted today at 1:01 pm
Full day of competition at the Sailing World Cup Melbourne
Every class made it out onto Port Phillip Bay on the penultimate day in conditions very different to the last two days. Finally every class made it out onto Port Phillip Bay on the penultimate day in conditions very different to the previous two days. Flat seas and sou’west winds struggling at five knots in fact made the going hard for the Invited and Olympic opening session that began at midday.
Posted today at 12:35 pm
Extreme Sailing Series™ to go down to the wire after penultimate day
The battle for the ESS™ title took a new twist today as Red Bull Sailing Team squeezed in between Alinghi and Oman Air The battle for the Extreme Sailing Series™ title took a new twist today as Red Bull Sailing Team squeezed in between Act 8 leaders Alinghi and overall table toppers Oman Air on the penultimate day of the 2016 season finale in Sydney.
Posted today at 10:43 am
All to do on final day of Extreme Sailing Series for Team Oman Air
Points proved elusive for Team Oman Air on the third day of racing in Sydney as the Act 8 leaderboard was rejigged ahead Points proved elusive for Team Oman Air on the third day of racing in Sydney as the Act 8 leaderboard was dramatically rejigged ahead of the crucial final day of the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series.
Posted today at 8:42 am
Meet the 2017-18 Crew - Daniel Clifton
NSW, Australia, Computer Operator Daniel Clifton never dreamed he would one day be a part of the Clipper Race. Growing up in the country in Forbes, NSW, Australia, Computer Operator Daniel Clifton never dreamed he would one day be a part of the Clipper Race.
Posted today at 8:06 am
Vendee Globe - Nandor Fa remembers some of the old days
The wind had increased and turned but not continuously. At night there was big drop in wind speed then it came back soon The wind had increased and turned, but not continuously. At night there was a big drop in wind speed, then it came back soon. I saw on the AIS that Stéphane’s speed went down to seven knots. I started worrying about him, then I met the reason too: there was a massive fog - just as if we were sailing by Ireland. I could see only 50 metres, which means one and a half waves.
Posted today at 5:23 am
Aon Youth Sailing Worlds - One door closes, another one opens
When Aon Youth Sailing Worlds gets underway there will be a new class and a new opportunity for the young sailors When the 2016 Aon Youth Sailing World Championships gets underway there will be a new class and a new opportunity for the young sailors to prove themselves in.
Posted today at 4:46 am
World Sailing Cup Final - Live video coverage from Melbourne - Day 1
The Medal Races on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 December will draw the 2016 Sailing World Cup Melbourne Final to a close. The Medal Races on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 December will draw the 2016 Sailing World Cup Melbourne Final to a close. The deciding races will be streamed live on World Sailing TV on YouTube. Coverage started at midday local time or 0100UTC
Posted today at 2:09 am
Vendée Globe – Thomson and Le Cleac'h cross Tasman Sea
Weather files suggest it will be Saturday evening before they are into better conditions as low moves east with them. Weather files suggest it will be Saturday evening before they are into better conditions as the low moves east with them.
Posted on 9 Dec
Phuket King’s Cup 2016 – A Mark of Respect
Blessings on His Late Majesty for having inspired one of Asia’s greatest sailing events. For the past several years it has been a tradition at the Phuket King's Cup regatta to conduct a Sail Past on 05 December, in celebration of the birthday of His Majesty King Bumiphol Adulyadej. Since the sad demise of His Majesty, today’s Sail Past was a Commemoration rather than a celebration, and it was held on 09 December. The official name of the late King is Rama IX.
Posted on 9 Dec