Please select your home edition
Edition
Guy Nowell - Blue 728

Les Voiles de St. Barth - No sweeter a name for fine competition

by Kirsten Ferguson on 20 Mar 2013
Les Voiles de Saint-Barth Christophe Jouany
Les Voiles de St. Barth. The name has a ring to it all its own, though it describes but a single regatta among several in a series that lures the world’s best sailors to the Caribbean each spring. The name rolls as lightly off the tongues of the French sailors/organizers (François Tolède, Luc Poupon, and Annelisa Gee) who conceived it as it does the international sailors who have come to revere it as one of the best managed and presented events in the global realm of yacht racing.

'It is a first-class event that draws very serious teams and boats,' said Jim Swartz (Park City, Utah), who has been anointed the 'godfather' of the 2013 competition scheduled for April 8-13. Swartz, like godfathers Sir Peter Harrison and Jimmy Buffet before him, is an impressive sailor. An IRC North American and East Coast champion, he won the 2011 event with his IRC 52 Vesper and epitomizes the quality of competition that fills the Les Voiles ranks. He has raced in all of the event’s previous three runnings and will return with Vesper to compete again this year with his 16-member crew that includes such recognizable names from America’s Cup, match racing and other high-profile sailing arenas as Gavin Brady, Jamie Gale, Ken Keefe, James Baxter and Ben Beer.

'Key to the event’s success is the fair division by rating in each of the classes, with deep competition within; the race courses, which are very distinct and class appropriate; and the professionalism of the race committee itself,' said Swartz.

'This combination attracts the top professional teams in the sport, yet there is ample room and reason for amateur teams to participate as well.' Swartz added that divisions for IRC-rated yachts, CSA Spinnaker and Non-Spinnaker, Classics and Multihulls attract all levels of sailors from all corners of the world. Most teams bring their own boats; however, several charter opportunities exist for full teams or even individuals who want to join a boat already delivered to St. Barth.

Varuna, the Ker 51 owned by Germany’s Jens Kellinghusen (Hamburg), can’t wait to match up its mostly amateur crew of university students against the big-name veterans aboard Vesper. The boat is relatively new to the international race circuit, having been launched only last April and with just Kiel Week (where it won its class) and Les Voiles de St. Tropez (third in class) as its only tests, thus far, in around-the-buoys racing.

Kellinghusen, age 64, has been building his current sailing team since the beginning of 2010 when he campaigned a Rogers 46, also named Varuna.

'After he completed the 2011 Transatlantic Race and the Rolex Fastnet Race, he wanted to buy an existing TP 52 and modify it so it would be capable of offshore racing, but then the decision was made to build a new boat,' said Vasco Ollero, a law student who has been Kellinghusen’s bow man for 15 years. 'The layout of the new boat and its sail inventory are mainly for offshore, but the concept is that it is good for course racing, too: almost the size of a TP 52, fast on real time and slow on corrected time.'

When all is said and done, however, the offshore/inshore transitions will add an extra layer of difficulty for the team during Les Voiles de St. Barth, says Ollero.

'The thing about mixed campaigns is that in offshore races, maneuvers are slower, so with inshore races we need to get the crews together to get everybody up to speed. This is the first time for us at Les Voiles de St. Barth. We chose it because the plan was to get the boat to the Caribbean for the RORC Caribbean 600 distance race (starting February 18), and the next main event is the Transpac in June, so we needed something in between to get the guys on the boat again so we didn’t have too long of a gap. We decided this is the best race for us, especially with the competition we are facing. We can gain a lot by taking part and being as fast as possible.'

For the Varuna team, just as it is for Phil Lotz’s team aboard the Swan 42 Arethusa, the Les Voiles de St. Barth allows them to stretch their sailing season and get more racing in where there is a guarantee of warm weather and good wind. Lotz, who won the IRC East Coast Championships last fall, shipped Arethusa from Newport, R.I., to Florida for Quantum Key West Race Week, where his team finished third in the Swan 42 class.

'We wanted to try some new venues and have heard good things about this event,' said Lotz. 'It fit well, as we are doing the new Swan Cup and Antigua, so the separation between those events works for us. I also expect good boats and a mix from the U.S., Caribbean and Europe.'

Lotz also heard through word of mouth about the island of Saint Barth’s magic, conjured by turquoise waters, the whitest of sand beaches and constant trade winds, not to mention the spectacular views that are to be had from every nook and cranny of its 16 square mile silhouette. Then for the sailors lucky enough to have a ride at Les Voiles de St. Barth, there is the picturesque harbor of Gustavia, which serves as Regatta Central, and a full schedule of regatta parties and activities that showcase the finest of French wine, cuisine and Les Voiles de St Barth website

North Technology - Southern SparsBarz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best Eyewearupffront 660x82

Related Articles

Zhik sailors win 17 sailing medals at 2016 Olympic Regatta
The 2016 Olympic games are over and what a Games they have been - Zhik sailors dominated Zhik sailors won almost 60% of the medals contested at Rio de Janeiro. It was a regatta which tested sailors and gear - with one day being the most severe conditions ever experienced at an Olympic regatta. For the Zhik team riders on the waters of Rio, four years and more of hard work and dedication have paid off for many.
Posted on 29 Aug
Zhik sailors win 17 sailing medals at 2016 Olympic Regatta
The 2016 Olympic games are over and what a Games they have been - Zhik sailors dominated Zhik sailors won almost 60% of the medals contested at Rio de Janeiro. It was a regatta which tested sailors and gear - with one day being the most severe conditions ever experienced at an Olympic regatta. For the Zhik team riders on the waters of Rio, four years and more of hard work and dedication have paid off for many.
Posted on 29 Aug
Etchells Europeans - Kiwis on top after Day 1 after long day in Cowes
For the first day of the 2016 Etchells Open Europeans, PRO Phil Lawrence, prophesied that it might be a long day The top Etchells team today was Feng Shui, from the Royal Akarana Yacht Club, Auckland, NZ. Helmed by Andrew Wills and owned by Anatole Masfen, Matthew Kelway completes the line up. The team has won several New Zealand National Titles and Wills was on Jud Smith's winning team for the 2006 Etchells Worlds.
Posted on 29 Aug
Volvo Ocean Race - Enright and Towill ready to go again in 2017/18
Team Alvimedica skipper Charlie Enright and his long-time buddy Mark Towill are eager to put their experience to use. Team Alvimedica were the youngest team in the race last edition, and now skipper Charlie Enright and his long-time buddy Mark Towill are eager to put that experience to use. Volvo Ocean race's Jonno Turner caught up with Mark and Charlie to chat about everything from the transition back into 'real life', their reflections on the 2014-15 campaign - and the future.
Posted on 29 Aug
The door’s been flung open – again
Now whether it was the Champagne or something far more ethereal, there is the chance that sailing gets sexier for Tokyo Now whether it was the Champagne or something far more ethereal, there is the chance that sailing may get sexier for Tokyo 2020. Yes, the proverbial door has been cast ajar before, often to much fanfare, and not that much has been achieved.
Posted on 28 Aug
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - The Week in Video
Catch all the action from Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, Bob Killick and the 18ft Skiff video and commentary team If you missed the action from Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, Bob Killick and the 18ft Skiff video and commentary team were on hand to record the on the water action from the Week
Posted on 28 Aug
Michael Illbruck crowned 2016 Melges 20 World Champion
Although not a simple task, Freides aimed to keep Illbruck behind him, or at minimum out of top nine ranking. Hosted by Marina di Scarlino/Club Nautico Scarlino, the World Championship was the most successful to date featuring four days of incredible sportboat racing.
Posted on 28 Aug
Frankly spectacular at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week
GC32 catamaran Frank Racing has won the Racing Multihulls division of the Australian Yachting Championship “I can’t tell you the buzz you get out of sailing the GC32. I’ve spent years and years on the likes of TP52s and other keel boats eking out a tenth of a knot here and there, and with these things you just jump 10 knots, it’s a quantum leap!” So says Simon Hull, Kiwi skipper of the foiling GC32 catamaran Frank Racing which is presently leading the Racing Multihulls division of the Australian Yac
Posted on 28 Aug
Regatta finishes on a high at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week
A fresh and cool SSE breeze under clear skies powered the record number of yachts in AHIRW’s 14 divisions 2016 Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - A fresh and cool SSE breeze under clear skies powered the record number of yachts in Audi Hamilton Island Race Week’s 14 divisions from the start line in Dent Passage northward yesterday, with most divisions charging off on the 15 nautical mile Molles Islands race.
Posted on 28 Aug
Freides defends leadership at Melges 20 World Championship
The one and only race that was able to take place at the 2016 Melges 20 World Championship was a difficult one at best 2016 Melges 20 World Championship - The one and only race that was able to take place at the 2016 Melges 20 World Championship hosted by Marina di Scarlino/Club Nautico Scarlino was a difficult one at best, however managed to present some nice new faces at the front of the fleet.
Posted on 28 Aug