Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez welcomes stunning classics

by KPMS on 28 Sep 2011
Race start - Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez 2011 Carlo Borlenghi © http://www.carloborlenghi.com
The Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez could not have welcomed a more impressive fleet of classic boats then the more than one-hundred racing this week at what is an armada that showcases designers from the golden ages of yachting history: Among them, Herreshoff, Fife, Sparkman & Stephens, Rhodes, Mylne, and Alden.

The summer-like conditions that prevailed on the Gulf of St Tropez outside of the old port featured plenty of blue sky, an unseasonably hot sun, and light breeze.

Racing was schedule for 12 noon, and after an hour’s postponement, Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez race committee managed to find enough wind in the starting area to send the fleet on a short nine-nautical mile coastal race, once the easterly breeze filled in to about five knots. It was enough to get nine classes off the line in five starts – first the smaller gaff-rigged and Marconi classes and through to the 'grand époque' big boats with stunners such as the 167-foot (51m) overall Herreshoff schooner Elena, the 19-metre class (110 feet overall) Mariquita, the Fife-designed gaff cutter 115-footer Moonbeam IV, and the 23-metre class, Cambria.

Even given the nearly half mile starting line for the twelve big boats, Mariquita, Tuiga, and Moonbeam were in a group that proved intent on the favoured committee boat end. Alone towards the pin end was Cambria, which found more pressure on the northern side of the gulf. Elena was safely just behind the first starters, but her towering sail plan made the most of the challenging conditions and allowed her to quickly gain on the others.

Most boats, having left the gulf and cleared the Porte Seiche mark, found the breeze clocking towards the south which allowed a mix of running sails to be set: spinnakers, fishermen, topsails. Further along the coast, the wind went painfully light, and the fleet compressed around the leeward mark off the town of Issambres. From there it was a beat upwind until they could lay the mark of Porte Seiche and then ease sheets for a reach towards the finish in a slighter fresher breeze. They were the lucky ones – for several of the bigger boat classes, the course was shortened and a finish line set off Porte Seiche.

Given the weight differential with this range of classics, certain boats fared better in the light conditions: two-time Rolex Trophy winner (2008 and 2009) NY 40 Rowdy for one. Skipper Graham Walker knows his way around the race course here. This time around, Walker has turned the tiller over to his new co-owner Nick Barham.

An Englishman from Monaco, who has extensive experience racing in the competitive Sydney 38 one-design class, Barham is clearly thrilled to be competing in St Tropez, 'It was a very difficult start, very tight on the start line, but we managed to get some clean air. Got up to first mark and slipped away with the wind, fantastic…perfect conditions for us, and a wonderful sail. After the leeward mark, we hung up to windward until we had about twenty degrees off the mark we had to come inside. Then we picked up a whole new breeze coming down towards the finish. The crew performed superbly.'


Rowdy will again be a force to be reckoned at Les Voiles this week as the 1916 Herreshoff sloop is coming off a successful season, with wins at Antibes, Porto Rotondo and Monaco. The crew is pretty much the same as prior years with some family members having come on as well, though Barham said 'we’re not de-professionalizing it, but making it a little more social than before.'

The Rolex Trophy is a competition within the Tradition division for all boats over 16 metres on deck. The winning boat receives the Rolex Trophy and a Rolex timepiece. First awarded in 2006, this year over 50 boats are eligible for the Trophy. Defending winner from 2010 is Yves-Marie Morault’s 12-metre Ikra.

Racing continues tomorrow for both Traditional and Modern classes. First warning signal is 1100 for the Moderns, 1200 for Traditional.

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez 2011 Event Programme:

Sunday, 25 September: Welcome for Modern yachts
Monday, 26 September: Welcome for Traditional yachts; Racing for Modern yachts
Tuesday, 27 September: Modern and Traditional yacht racing
Wednesday, 28 September: Modern and Traditional yacht racing
Thursday, 29 September: Challenge Day (match racing); Club 55 Cup between Mariquita and Altair; Centenary Trophy (yachts over 100 yrs + longer than 16 metres)
Friday, 30 September: Modern and Traditional yacht racing
Saturday, 1 October: Modern and Traditional yacht racing
Sunday, 2 October: 11am, Prizegiving Ceremony at La Citadelle

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez website

Southern Spars - 100Wildwind 2016 660x82InSunSport - NZ

Related Articles

Count down to Nassau – All-Time Champions - SSL Finals
The fourth edition in Nassau will feature for the first time a full sailing festival, with junior and traditional racing The VIP skippers are invited for their sailing achievements in different classes, and the Star sailors invited are the ones in the top 12 of the 2016 SSL Rankings. Throughout the year, Star Sailors from across the world gather ranking points at events and the top performers make the trip to Nassau for the SSL Finals.
Posted today at 12:03 pm
Didac Costa to take part in Vendee Globe despite lightning damage
Dídac Costa has shown today he is absolutely determined to overcome one more obstacle on his way to the start line. The Spanish sailor Didac Costa has reaffirmed that he will be taking part in the Vendee Globe despite lightning damaging part of his boat’s electronics. His team has called for new sponsors to overcome this latest difficulty. Costa will be the fourth Spanish sailor who has attempted to complete this gruelling race
Posted today at 11:49 am
2016 J70 World Championship - Day 3
Two races were held today on Berkeley Circle for the J70 fleet. The first one was in non-planing conditions Two races were held today on Berkeley Circle for the J70 fleet. The first one was in non-planing conditions of eight - twelve knots and the second had winds of fifteen - twenty knots.
Posted today at 4:44 am
2016 J70 World Championship - Day 3
Two races were held today on Berkeley Circle for the J70 fleet. The first one was in non-planing conditions Two races were held today on Berkeley Circle for the J70 fleet. The first one was in non-planing conditions of eight - twelve knots and the second had winds of fifteen - twenty knots.
Posted today at 4:44 am
2016 Melges 32 World Championship - Newport nor'easter
There are many attractions that Newport offers for sailors around world, iconic sailing venue with rich sailing history There are many attractions that Newport offers for sailors around the world - an iconic sailing venue with a rich sailing history, great entertainment and of course, world renowned clam chowder. One unique Newport characteristic that greeted Melges 32 competitors on the first day of the 2016 Melges 32 World Championship was front edge of a strong nor'easter that brought 20-27 kt winds
Posted today at 4:07 am
Split personality conditions at Day 3 of the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds
Mother Nature had some surprises in store for the 68 boats that assembled on the Berkeley Circle for third day of racing Mother Nature had some surprises in store for the 68 boats that assembled on the Berkeley Circle for the third day of racing at the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds, hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club, namely split personality conditions that tested each boat's light- and heavy-air skills, as well as their patience as conditions played tricks on racers and the Race Committee alike.
Posted today at 3:43 am
Split personality conditions at Day 3 of the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds
Mother Nature had some surprises in store for the 68 boats that assembled on the Berkeley Circle for third day of racing Mother Nature had some surprises in store for the 68 boats that assembled on the Berkeley Circle for the third day of racing at the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds, hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club, namely split personality conditions that tested each boat's light- and heavy-air skills, as well as their patience as conditions played tricks on racers and the Race Committee alike.
Posted today at 3:43 am
Groupama Race – The first Caledonians at Home
A beautiful performance for the kiwis on their Eliott 50. Their complete the Groupama Race in four days 10h and 24 min. A beautiful performance for the kiwis on their Eliott 50. Their complete the Groupama Race in four days 10h and 24 min after nearly 300 NM of 'Match Racing' against local sailors.
Posted on 29 Sep
First all-female Extreme Sailing Series™ team to compete in Lisbon
First all-female GC32 team will make its debut at the penultimate event of the year in Lisbon in just one week’s time. The first all-female GC32 team, Thalassa Magenta Racing in partnership with the Magenta Project, will make its debut at the penultimate event of the year in Lisbon in just one week’s time.
Posted on 29 Sep
J70 World Championship – More action shots from Day 2 by Chris Howell
Photographer Christopher Howell has provided this gallery of images from day two Photographer Christopher Howell has provided this gallery of images from day two
Posted on 29 Sep