Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik Isotak Ocean

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

Marine Resources 660KZRaceFurlersSail World NZ Lone Wolf

Related Articles

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
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
Volvo Ocean Race – Weekend warriors prepare for battle
Leaderboard is undergoing a shake-up, reflective at the moment almost entirely by how far east a team is positioned As the fleet approaches the latitude of the finish line in Cape Town, this is hardly surprising. Any progress to the east is a direct mile off the 2,500 or so miles left to the finishing line.
Posted on 18 Nov
Clipper Race – Day 18 – Race leaders begin Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint
Unlike Scoring Gate, the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint bonus points are awarded to the three teams with the quickest times Other teams will continue to cross the start gate of the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint throughout the day and Visit Seattle is currently in third place with Dare To Lead and Qingdao in close proximity to each other in fourth and fifth place.
Posted on 18 Nov
11th Yisunsin Cup International Yacht Race – Day 1
It is one of the biggest Regattas in Korea with 50 entries this year, hosted at Gyeong-Nam province and Tongyeong City. The event started with the on-water parade followed by the first warning signal of the offshore race of the day. The 50 boats sailed fast downwind to reach the buoy close to the Soji island. The light breeze dropped down during the day making it harder for most of the boats to finish the race.
Posted on 18 Nov
Volvo Ocean Race - No clear leader as fleet dives south before turn
According to Predictwind.com the fleet leaders are expected to finish within a few days of each other According to the weather routing function of Predictwind.com the fleet leaders are expected to finish within a few days of each other when Leg 2 finishes in five and a half or six days time in Cape Town, South Africa. Winds are still moderate in strength with the sleigh ride just two days away once the boats reach the latitude of Cape Town and make the turn for the finish line.
Posted on 18 Nov
Garmin to prepare for non-emergency medevac of Erik Hellstrom
Skipper Gaëtan Thomas and his Garmin team are making preparations for a non-emergency medevac of Erik Hellstrom Skipper Gaëtan Thomas and his Garmin team are making preparations for a non-emergency medevac of round the world crew member Erik Hellstrom who is suffering from an ongoing abdominal condition.
Posted on 18 Nov
Fundraising dinner - Total sum released by Sail Aid UK
The Trustees of Sail Aid UK drive to help victims of Caribbean Islands most severely impacted by September hurricanes, The Trustees of Sail Aid UK, the organisation that is uniting the UK sailing community in a long-term fundraising drive to help the victims of the Caribbean Islands most severely impacted by the September hurricanes, are overjoyed with the results of their first big fundraising event, the Black Tie/Loud Shirt Dinner held on Saturday night 11th November 2017, which has raised an incredible £46,000.
Posted on 18 Nov
Transat Jacques Vabre – Dick eyes record books
It would be record-breaking victory for Dick, who would become the only person in the history of this double-handed race The podium places look take but behind Des Voiles et Vous!, Three other Imoca finally emerged from the Doldrums last night and have started to accelerate again: Malizia II, Bastide Otio and Initiatives Cœur. They were positioned east and were the big winners.
Posted on 17 Nov