Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Les Voiles de St. Barth - 60 yachts and crew prepare for the start

by Fabrice Thomazeau on 9 Apr 2013
Les Voiles de St. Barth 2013 - Race Fleet dockside in Gustavia Harbour © Tim Wright / Les Voiles de St Barth http://www.lesvoilesdesaintbarth.com/
Les Voiles de St. Barth gets underway tomorrow and with winter weather persisting in northern parts of the U.S. and Europe, sailors could be envied for heading to the Caribbean to extend their racing calendars. As it is, over 60 yachts and crew are currently on the island of St Barths, in the French West Indies. The fourth edition of this regatta will offer up four days of racing on a mix of courses and a social schedule equally as demanding, with dockside entertainment each evening and a lay day (Thursday) full of activities at Nikki Beach on St. Jean Bay.

As it has for its prior three editions, Les Voiles de St. Barth again has drawn a competitive mix of international yachts and crews from the UK, USA, France, Italy, Ireland, The Netherlands, Belgium, and South Africa, as well as a strong Caribbean contingent from Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, Anguilla, Antigua, and Trinidad.

The inaugural event in 2010 drew 27 boats, and since then, entries have steadily grown as the media and sailing’s coconut telegraph helped spread the word. Event Director François Paul Tolède was enthusiastic as yachts tied up stern-to at the Quai General de Gaulle in Gustavia.

'The atmosphere is great on shore and the weather looks perfect,' he said. 'With 62 boats entered so far (registration closes at 5 p.m. today) and considering the current economic climate, the turnout shows what great regard the yacht owners have for the Voiles de Saint Barth.'

Tolède continued: 'Luc Poupon (Course Director) has come up with some new courses, slightly longer in some cases, as many of the sailors wanted to spend more time on the water, and so racing will start a little earlier. We expect anywhere between 15 to 20+ knots of wind this week -- ideal conditions for the fleet, which ranges from 24 feet (Melges) to 100 feet (the Swan 100 Varsovie).'

The fleet is divided into eight classes: Maxis; Spinnaker 1, 2, and 3; Melges 24; Non-Spinnaker; Classics; and Multi-hulls. Organizers can chose between 28 course variations, from 11 to 40 nautical miles. Racing begins tomorrow, Tuesday April 9, with the first signal at 1100.


Jim Swartz, owner/skipper of the TP52 Vesper, is the anointed 'godfather' of this year’s regatta. An enthusiastic competitor, he has participated in all four editions.

For Swartz it is a do-not-miss event. 'The conditions are fabulous,' he said. 'Sailing around this island is beautiful -- the winds are always predictable, they are always a lot of fun, particularly when we get a good breeze on the back (windward) side of the island.'

Sailing onboard Vesper will be former America’s Cup sailors Gavin Brady (tactician), Rob Salthouse (jib trim), Kazuhiko Sofuku (mid bow), and Jamie Gale (navigator), past Volvo Ocean Race crew.

After Vesper competed in the TP52 Worlds in Miami last month, the boat was shipped to St. Thomas to get it race ready and then delivered to St. Barths this week.

'Les Voiles is always on our calendar,' Swartz said, 'It’s the atmosphere -- the racing is great, the people are great, as is the organization. It all runs very well. And the dining and shopping (for the ladies)…all that St. Barths is about, we enjoy the same thing!'


Over half the boats and skippers are return competitors. Notable new editions this year include Jens Kellinghusen’s Ker 51 Varuna, which has raced in the year since its launch at Kiel Week and Les Voiles de St. Tropez; the Volvo 60 Cuba Libre (ex-Heineken) in Non-Spinnaker (while the V60 Ambersail will be in Spinnaker 1); Phil Lotz’ Swan 42 Arethusa, which is fresh off winning the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean; Jolt 2, a Baltic 45 that has already stretched its legs on the recent RORC Caribbean 600; in the Classic class, Heroina, a 74’ cold molded Frers design build in the ‘90s; and the 51’ Aage Nielsen-designed ketch Saphaedra, a seasoned ocean racer.

At this morning’s media briefing at Hotel Carl Gustaf on the hill overlooking the harbor of Gustavia, Nils Dufau, Vice President of the Collectivity of St. Barth’s and president for the Tourism Committee, said, 'Les Voiles de St. Barth has become a formidable communication tool for our island as an up-market destination. This event conveys to all the 'state of mind' of an island that has built up over time and which today has become a haven of peace and stability -- the very basis of its reputation.'

In a further nod to this relatively new event, the Caribbean Sailing Association named Les Voiles de St. Barth and the BVI Spring Regatta 'Best Events of 2012.'

This evening is the Skipper’s Briefing after which event organizers will kick off the week with the Opening Ceremony and party in the Race Village on the Quai General de Les Voiles de St Barth

Zhik Dinghy 660x82InSunSport - NZBakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

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
2016 TP52 Super Series – More action shots from Day 3 by Ingrid Abery
Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from day three of Audi Settimana delle Bocche Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from day three of Audi Settimana delle Bocche
Posted on 30 Jun
2016 TP52 Super Series – Day 3 images by Ingrid Abery
Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from day three of Audi Settimana delle Bocche Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from day three of Audi Settimana delle Bocche
Posted on 30 Jun
Azzurra remains in the top three at the Audi Settimana delle Bocche
The course was beautiful and short enough so that the windward/leeward race that had to be abandoned could be recovered. The third day of racing saw breezes kick in a bit late. The Racing Committee decided on a 12 nautical mile course that took the fleet from Porto Cervo to the Secca di Tre Monti between Sardinia and Caprera, and back.
Posted on 30 Jun
A fistful of winners at Audi Settimana delle Bocche Regatta
So far Bronenosec, Provezza, Azzurra and Quantum Racing have all led the table and the points remain extremely tight. So far Bronenosec, Provezza, Azzurra and Quantum Racing have all led the table and the points remain extremely tight. Quantum Racing, with Doug DeVos on the helm, achieved their own points goal for the day.
Posted on 30 Jun
2016 TP52 Super Series – Images from races four and five by Max Ranchi
Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from races four and five Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from races four and five
Posted on 30 Jun
14th C. Thomas Clagett Jr Memorial Clinic and Regatta in history books
Many of the sailors taking part have competed in at least five regattas with some returning to sail 10 or more years. Many of the sailors taking part have competed in at least five Clagett regattas with some returning to sail 10 or more years. Both the US and Canadian sailing teams heading for Rio in September for the 2016 Paralympics are Clagett alumni and six out of the 15 teams taking part in the Sonar class in Rio have attended The Clagett over its 14 year history.
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
2016 52 Super Series - Day 2 action-shots by Ingrid Abery
Photographer Ingrid Abery was on water at 2016 52 Super Series and provided this gallery of images from Day 2 action. Photographer Ingrid Abery was on water at 2016 52 Super Series and provided this gallery of images from Day 2 action.
Posted on 30 Jun
Azzurra wins the second day of the Audi Settimana delle Bocche
The second day of racing at the classic regatta hosted by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda saw a big shakeup in positions. The day’s very light breezes forced the Racing Committee to substitute the scheduled coastal race with a windward/leeward race that began at 2:00 PM in light and unstable breezes that tended to shift towards the right.
Posted on 29 Jun