Please select your home edition
Edition
Kilwell - 5

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez a fine a display of traditional values

by KPMS on 3 Oct 2012
HISPANIA in the sunshine - Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez © Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi http://www.carloborlenghi.net
The Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez is as fine a display of traditional values as one could desire. The classic yachts present are reminiscent of a museum piece; the row of varnished spars and white hulls moored to the harbour wall providing a glimpse into yesteryear. It is the human element that marks this display apart, that prevents it being as wooden as the masts. At Les Voiles it brings the tradition to life; particularly today as racing commenced for the older portion of the fleet, including those competing for the Rolex Trophy.

The Tradition division took to the Bay of Saint-Tropez spurred on by a breeze that promised much at midday when the first signal sounded, but proved more troublesome: building, dying and shifting throughout the time it took the competitors to complete the 12 nautical mile course around the Bay under a clear blue sky.

Within the yachts vying for Rolex Trophy there are a myriad of stories. The four15 Metre Rule yachts provide the perfect example of the importance of tradition within the assembled fleet. Built to the International Rule at the beginning of the twentieth century, 'Metre' does not refer to the length, but to rating; Mariska (launched1908), Hispania (1909), Tuiga (1909), and Lady Anne (1912) actually measure almost 30 metres (98 ft) in overall length.


Andy Longarela is the skipper of Hispania, originally built for King Alfonso XIII of Spain. Hispania was one of some twenty 15 Metre yachts launched between 1907 and 1917, and the third of eight designed by William Fife III. According to Longarela: 'She is the most noble boat I’ve ever sailed. She provides very deep sensations, completely different to the feelings on a modern boat. I have never forgotten my first impressions. You learn every day, discovering the possibilities of the boat.'

The details of Hispania’s chain of ownership appear lost to the confusion of European conflict in the mid-1900s. By a stroke of good fortune she was discovered in the early 1990s in the mud off the south coast of England by some resolute Spaniards intent on saving a piece of their yachting heritage. After a joint restoration by Fairlie in the UK and Asterilleros del Mallorca in Palma, Hispania was relaunched March 2011 by current owner Fundación Isla Ebusitana.


Finding crew willing to sail a beautiful yacht is easy. Finding crew that grasp the intricacies and, at the same time, value the heritage is harder: 'It is important that people understand the boat and its traditions. You must learn how she works, and appreciate her age. You need to respect her.'

Respecting tradition is costly in financial terms and time. The materials in evidence do not benefit from advancements in ensuring longevity and ease of maintenance: 'It is a lot of work - we have two people working 8–12 hours every day. On a modern boat a halyard may last around two years, on this boat it lasts three to four months because of stretch and wear.'

Original materials demand time-honoured techniques and practices: 'We are organised like a traditional boat. We have a captain, and then we have the contramaestre (boatswain or mate) who knows everything about the boat. He controls the manoeuvres. The crew is organised into distinct teams – staysail, jib, jib-top and mainsail, for example. They work separately, and together as one. When everything works fine it is like a ballet.'


And here is where understanding of and respect for tradition becomes critical: 'So much is by hand. You need to take time with manoeuvres and you need to be very careful. If not you can easily break the topmast or the boom. The upwind sail plan is almost 500m2, which is huge; to pull the mainsail into the middle you need seven people on the sheet.'

Pragmatism means that not all practices have remained traditional: 'To hoist the mainsail we learnt to use the winch on the bow. The gaff weighs about 400 kilos. If we do it all by hand, the whole crew is dead. Although for the topsail jack-yard we still put twelve people on the mast.'

Longarela is confident that their effort to keep alive this heritage is worth it: 'Spain is very proud of this boat. She is very important to the Spanish sailing community.'

Hispania finished second today, behind Mariska, in the 15 Metre class – a sound enough start in her bid to claim the Rolex Trophy.


55 yachts are registered within the Tradition division for the Rolex Trophy, awarded to the best performing yacht over 16 metres in length on Societe Nautique Saint Tropez website

Hamilton Island LuxuryWildwind 2016 660x82navathome 660x82

Related Articles

A jam-packed, fun filled stopover awaits the Clipper Race fleet
Seven teams have completed the Ocean Sprint in the LegenDerry Finale, in a bid to get the final bonus points on offer. At 0900 UTC, Daniel’s team holds a one nautical mile lead overClipperTelemed+ which has chosen a more northerly route, and has stretched to 14NM over third placed LMAX Exchange, whose Skipper Olivier Cardin is looking forward to big surf off the west coast of Ireland.
Posted today at 1:25 pm
Entries open for Invited Classes at Sailing World Cup Final
Racing for the 14 classes begin on 8th December, except for the 2.4mR non-classified class who will begin on Tuesday six This year, event organisers have catered for sailors who would usually compete in the Laser Standard, Laser Radial and 49er FX Olympic Classes but were unable to make a top 20 position. These sailors will have an opportunity to be part of the Sailing World Cup scene and compete in close proximity to the highest rated sailors in their class.
Posted today at 12:36 pm
18ft skiffs - Yamaha victorious at Mark Foy Worlds in Fiji
The trade winds arrived just in time for the final day of racing at the Mark Foy Worlds in Fiji. The trade winds arrived just in time for the final day of racing at the Mark Foy Worlds in Fiji. With 20knots on the course the fleet finally got to unpack their little rigs for a day of thrills and spills.
Posted today at 7:18 am
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - ETAs into Derry-Londonderry
The Clipper Race fleet is closing in on Derry-Londonderry ahead of the start of the Foyle Maritime Festival. The Clipper Race fleet is closing in on Derry-Londonderry ahead of the start of the Foyle Maritime Festival. The finish line to the LegenDerry Finale is approximately a three hour motor from Foyle Marina where the fleet will be berthed.
Posted today at 5:20 am
Slashing red tape on the water
Important changes to Marine Safety Regulation take effect from today to make using state’s waterways simpler and safer. Important changes to the Marine Safety Regulation take effect from today to make using the state’s waterways simpler and safer.
Posted today at 4:51 am
Applications for Keelboat IRC and ORCi Ratings now open
Boat owners/sailors involved in winter offshore calendar will enjoy some of best keelboat events Australia has to offer Boat owners and sailors involved in the winter offshore calendar will enjoy some of the best keelboat events Australia has to offer with events such as the Sydney to Gold Coast, Brisbane to Keppel and Darwin to Ambon races coming up.
Posted on 30 Jun
GC32 Racing Tour – Can one town tip the scales for Armin Strom Team?
With a population of 6500, Kerikeri is known for rural surroundings, plentiful orchards and a true laid back Kiwi life Kerikeri, one of New Zealand’s most northernmost towns is where team manager Sharon Ferris-Choat, bowman Alex Bryning, boat captain Ned Dalbeth Hudson and two-time Kiwi Olympian Andrew Murdoch, the latest addition to Armin Strom Sailing Team, all grew up. Their passion for sailing ignited while attending Kerikeri High School.
Posted on 30 Jun
Clipper Race fleet enjoys strong westerlies at start of Ocean Sprint
The frontrunners have started the Ocean Sprint, gunning for all-important two extra points to add to leaderboard tally. LMAX Exchange is now leading the fleet, 6.5 nautical miles ahead of yesterday’s race leader ClipperTelemed+, which is four nautical miles ahead of home port entry Derry~Londonderry~Doire in third position. Those three teams have started the Ocean Sprint section this morning.
Posted on 30 Jun
18ft skiffs - Yamaha wins the long race lottery at Mark Foy Worlds
After a general recall and an individual recall the fleet set off on long race in a light breeze of about four knots. After a general recall and an individual recall the fleet set off on the long race in a light breeze of about four knots. C-Tech won the start with a port hander and the remainder of the fleet quickly tacked over to head towards the top mark, MalaMala Island.
Posted on 30 Jun
Maxi yachts and a change of scenery around the world's largest lagoon
Ichi Ban, a 60’ Australian yacht, well known in this part of World, announced his participation in next Groupama Race. 2016 Groupama Race - Ichi Ban, a 60’ Australian yacht, well known in this part of the World, has announced his participation in the next Groupama Race. The 'fight' with the Maxi Beau Geste Racing from Hong Kong and the trimaran Orma 60 Team Vodafone Sailing will be undoubtedly exciting.
Posted on 30 Jun