Please select your home edition
Edition
Ancasta Ker 40+ 728x90

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

PredictWind.com 2014Barz Optics - Melanin LensesAncasta Ker 33 660x82

Related Articles

World Sailing Show - Video news - May 2017 - Volvo 65, America's Cup
May 2017 edition of World Sailing News, which this month features Volvo Ocean Race, America's Cup and more May 2017 edition of World Sailing News, which this month features: Winding the clock back on a Volvo 65 and taking a race boat that already has over 40,000 hard miles under its keel might not be your idea of a perfect start for another lap of the planet. But the newly refurbished fleet of Volvo 65s are better than new. We went to Portugal to find out how this can be so.
Posted today at 11:41 am
Top Chinese sailor aims to inspire in hometown of Qingdao
24-year-old, better known by his nickname Black, is back in his home city of Qingdao as Extreme Sailing Series™ returns The 24-year-old, better known by his nickname Black, is back in his home city of Qingdao as the Extreme Sailing Series™ returns to China’s Olympic Sailing City for an incredible seventh time.
Posted today at 11:18 am
Sailing World Cup - Medal races on LIVE NOW - Day 1
Live coverage of the first day of Medal Racing at Sailing World Cup Hyeres starts at 12:00 CEST Live coverage of the first day of Medal Racing at Sailing World Cup Hyeres starts at 12:00 CEST . First up is the Mens 49er skiff
Posted today at 10:48 am
Comanche on the warpath for Transpac record
Jim Clark’s 100-foot Comanche has joined fleet of 62 entries preparing for Transpacific YC’s biennial LA-Honolulu race Jim Clark’s 100-foot Comanche has recently joined the fleet of 62 entries currently preparing for the 49th edition of the Transpacific YC’s biennial LA-Honolulu race, with one goal: to set a new race record. This 100-foot carbon fiber ocean greyhound designed by VPLP/Verdier and built by Hodgdon Yachts in 2014 was created to be quite simply the fastest sailing yacht in the world
Posted today at 5:29 am
Countdown to Transpac - Under 70 days to go
With just under 70 days to go to the first start of 49th biennial Transpac, skippers and sailors, are all working hard With just under 70 days to go to the first start of the 49th biennial Transpac, skippers and sailors, sponsors, families, spectators and organizers from the Transpacific YC are all working hard on their preparation tasks for this classic 2225-mile race from LA to Honolulu. In all, 63 monohull and multihull entries from seven countries around the Pacific and beyond are now entered
Posted today at 5:17 am
Phil Sharp to kick off Class 40 Championship with Grand Prix Guyader
This will be first attempt for the team racing together on Imerys who are eager to be part of sailing regattas in France In 2016, after just three weeks of season preparation and a series of tired sails that racing soon shredded, Phil came third in the Class 40 Championship. This year he has his sights set firmly on winning and will be aiming for top results in all events including the Grand Prix Guyader.
Posted on 28 Apr
RC44 Sotogrande Cup – Rain does not stay on the plain
Rain of Old Testament magnitude descended on Spain's Costa del Sol for day two. While the wind was not excessive Even as RC44 crews and race management surfaced for their breakfast this morning, it was evident that the onshore easterly breeze, that had been blowing all night, had caused the sea state to build to the extent that waves were already breaking over the harbour wall.
Posted on 28 Apr
28th May announced as the America’s Cup Endeavour Day
The America’s Cup Endeavour Program is the America’s Cup’s ambitious youth sailing and educational program The America’s Cup Endeavour Program is the America’s Cup’s ambitious youth sailing and educational program, dedicated to inspiring everybody who engages with the initiative and to leaving a sporting legacy in Bermuda that has a strong, positive impact on the community.
Posted on 28 Apr
Challenging Qingdao tests Extreme Sailing Series fleet in Act 2 opener
As the fleet of seven crews hit the water the wind was down to just a couple of knots, delaying the start of racing. China's Olympic Sailing City is renowned for its tricky weather conditions that can catch sailors off guard with sudden changes – and the opening day of Act 2 Qingdao 'Mazarin Cup' was a prime example.
Posted on 28 Apr
Extreme Sailing Series – Team Oman Air promise to bounce back
Qingdao is notorious for delivering tricky conditions that can change in an instant, and that's just what happened today After almost two hours of bobbing around waiting for enough wind to allow action to commence, a solid 15-knot breeze swept over the seven-strong fleet allowing three races to be held.
Posted on 28 Apr