Please select your home edition
Edition
Mackay Boats

Les Voiles de St. Barth 2013 - Bring it on

by Sue Maffei Plowden on 10 Apr 2013
Frits Bus on Island Water World - Les Voiles de St. Barth 2013 Barby MacGowan
Les Voiles de St. Barth 2013 - It was hard to tell dockside in Gustavia this morning if there was a care in the world among the Les Voiles de St. Barth competitors, what with the trade winds blowing, blue skies prevailing, and large cumulus clouds scudding overhead. With the first warning signal at 11 a.m. (10 a.m. for the rest of the week), there was time for the crews to enjoy café and a croissant in the race village, finish prepping their boats, and catch up with friends. The atmosphere was relaxed and thoroughly Caribbean-style, though it belied somewhat the competitive spirit found in a good part of the fleet. Through just about all classes, sailors were scouting their competition, checking ratings and looking to see what modifications had been made since their adversaries last competed on the water.

The fleet of 59 boats is spread over eight classes, and within each of those there is ample competition.

Onboard the Baltic 45 Jolt 2 (GBR), owner/skipper Peter Harrison is racing at Les Voiles de St Barth for the first time. Harrison is also on-site as CEO of Richard Mille Europe, sponsor for the event. 'We have been out a few times trying to work out all the local secrets, which has been very difficult! We are really pleased as a team and as a company to support the event. It is great to see such a varied fleet of professional and amateur crews. There is a nice group to sail against – Arethusa (USA), Defiance (USA), Hamachi (USA), and Music (RSA) -- so exciting racing ahead. We have quite a nice course for today, reaching most of the way back, and we hope it will be good for our boat; she is good downwind.'

Indeed, St. Barths served up perfect conditions with a 15-20 knot southeasterly breeze. Early on, there were mechanical issues for two boats, including Jack Desmond’s White Rhino (USA), which had a problem before the start with the mast partner that necessitated returning to the dock. Shortly after the Maxi class start, the headstay on the Swan 100 Varsovie (CAY) parted, though with quick crew work it did not damage to the mast.

Classes were sent on three different courses, ranging in length from 24-33 nautical miles, which took the fleet counter-clockwise in the lee of St. Barths, around the southern end of the island at Pointe a Toiny, where boats encountered a four-to-six-foot swell. Occasional squalls brought rain (fresh water rinse!) and big variations in wind pressure, which ratcheted up the pressure on tacticians to pick the best course.

The Volvo 60 Cuba Libre sailed in the non-spinnaker class with two local teenagers on board, one on a race boat for the first time. Skipper Benedikt Clauberg had high praise for the teenager who served as his bow man, saying, 'It’s his first day on the boat, and he performed like a professional bow man. We had a lot of sail changes when a jib halyard snapped – we had some action, but it was wonderful!'

For the Melges 24 class, it was a spirited day. Local St. Maarten sailor Frits Bus is back for his second time. Bus won his class (Spinnaker) last year on his Melges 24 Team Coors Light, in a closely fought week of racing with Lazy Dog (PUR), winning the final deciding race by 20 seconds on corrected time.

This year the Melges 24s have their own class with six boats. Sunburned and a bit weary after sailing the 24-nautical mile course on Island Water World, an enthusiastic Bus said, 'We had a great day today with shifty conditions at the start. We made big gains on the big shifts that came in; we managed to catch up from third place at the first mark to finish by two boat lengths, overtaking Budget Marine Gill (AHO) and Amcom Express (TRI) on the last upwind leg to the finish. The course was long, but it was a great day of sailing.'

'We had a few new people on the boat, so we went out early to do some practice. The day was long, but it was beautiful sailing, and the course was great: all kinds of conditions, with big swells, low winds, then no winds under the cloud cover in the squalls. Everything was there, the perfect day’s sailing!'

Phil and Wendy Lotz on the Swan 42 Arethusa are racing here for the first time. 'We heard a lot of good things about the regatta; it’s a little bit of the European flair down in the Caribbean,' said Phil Lotz, who steers the boat. 'We come down about every two years and do about three regattas. We hadn’t done this, and we wanted to check it out. With the Swan Cup that preceded it by a few weeks, it fit into a nice schedule; we’ll go on from here to Antigua Sailing Week.'

Arethusa has some tough competition in their class with Steve Cucchiaro’s Marten 49 Defiance (USA) and James Blakemore’s Music, a Swan 53. About today’s race, Lotz added, 'It was fun…a long race, pretty much full-on the whole time, a lot of gear shifting. Occasionally there were more waves than wind.'

Race results were pending at press time.

The event enjoys the continued support of watchmaker Richard Mille as well as sportswear brand Gaastra. Other event partners include leading St. Barth villa rental agency WIMCO, which offers a gorgeous portfolio of private villas for rent on St. Barth. WIMCO’s sponsorship includes presenting eight Les Voiles class winners with a complimentary week in one of their top villas, inclusive of a concierge ready to attend to every Les Voiles de St. Barth website
Southern Spars - 100Helm Events 660x82Zhik ZKG 660x82

Related Articles

Vendee Globe - Kito de Pavant now aboard the Marion Dufresne
Kito de Pavant was successfully recovered from his stricken yacht around 0100hrs TU Wednesday morning Kito de Pavant, the 55 years old French skipper of Bastide-Otio, who suffered damage to his keel when racing in the remote South Indian Ocean while racing in the Vendee Globe solo round the world race, was successfully recovered from his stricken yacht around 0100hrs TU Wednesday morning
Posted today at 12:26 pm
Vendée Globe – Sébastien Josse announces retirement
Major damage to the port foil, which occurred at 0930 UTC on Monday morning meant that he was in a tricky situation Major damage to the port foil, which occurred at 0930 UTC on Monday morning meant that he was in a tricky situation facing extreme weather conditions – 40 knots of wind and 8m high waves to the south of Australia, sailing along the edge of the Antarctic Exclusion Zone.
Posted today at 11:22 am
Vendée Globe – Thomas Ruyant faces ingress of water
Shortly before 0700 UTC, Thomas Ruyant informed his boat captain that damage to the boat had led to an ingress of water. Shortly before 0700 UTC this morning, Thomas Ruyant - Le Souffle du Nord pour le Projet Imagine – informed his boat captain, Laurent Bourguès, that damage to the boat had led to an ingress of water.
Posted today at 10:58 am
Hyde Sails Distributor in Denmark places 1000th order!
Congratulations to Kjeld Larsen, Hyde Sails distributor in Denmark, on placing his 1000th order with the loft! Congratulations to Kjeld Larsen, Hyde Sails distributor in Denmark, on placing his 1000th order with the loft! Kjeld has been working with Hyde Sails as a distributor since placing his first order in March 2008.
Posted today at 10:43 am
Sailing World Cup Melbourne – Aussies revel in seabreeze conditions
Another day of good sailing conditions in Melbourne made for a memorable day for Australia’s sailors competing in finals In the 470 Men’s event, Mat Belcher and Will Ryan had another strong day winning both of their two races. They currently lead overall, five points ahead of China’s team of Lan/Wang.
Posted today at 9:50 am
WSSRC ratifies Cowes to Dinard monohull World Record for Phil Sharp
The route distance of 138nm was covered in nine hours three minutes and six seconds with an average speed of 15.25 knots The route distance of 138nm was covered on 24 November in nine hours three minutes and six seconds with an average speed of 15.25 knots. Phil set a new record nearly three hours faster than the previous time of 12 hours one minute and 31 seconds set on 85ft Adrien by J L Van Den Heede (FRA) in November 2004.
Posted today at 9:34 am
Vendee Globe- No tethers in Southern Ocean?
I was interested to see that Seb is wearing neither a pfd nor a harness while racing in the Southern Ocean. Take a look at this pic of Seb Josse racing in the Vendée Globe. He is in the Southern Ocean sailing in rough seas and I imagine he is hitting speeds in the mid-twenties. I know what it’s like to sail down there. I have done numerous Southern Ocean transits and I know it to be an unforgiving region. So I was interested to see that Seb is wearing neither a pfd nor a harness. Interesting.
Posted today at 7:59 am
Sailing World Cup Final - Finn racers put to the test
The top Finn racers at the Sailing World Cup Final presented by Land Rover are putting each other to the test The top Finn racers at the Sailing World Cup Final presented by Land Rover are putting each other to the test and for Rio 2016 Olympians Jake Lilley (AUS) and Caleb Paine (USA), it's business as usual after a period of rest.
Posted today at 7:03 am
Vendee Globe - Rescuers in the zone
The evacuation of the skipper de Pavant is expected to start around daybreak once there is sufficient light. The Marion Dufresne, the research and supply vessel which serves the remote French islands in the South Indian Ocean, has arrived close to the stricken French skipper Kito De Pavant. The evacuation of the skipper de Pavant is expected to start around daybreak once there is sufficient light.
Posted today at 6:11 am
Sailing World Cup Melbourne - Volunteers, the source of energy
Energy is not something that can always be measured, but strength that volunteers in sailing bring is critical to events Energy is not something that can always be measured, but the strength and vitality that so many volunteers in sailing bring to the events that and clubs that they help out is an amazing resource that is critical to events such as Sailing World Cup Melbourne.
Posted today at 3:54 am