Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars - North Technology

Les Voiles de St. Barth - 65 strong fleet set for 4th edition

by Fabrice Thomazeau on 5 Apr 2013
Les Voiles de Saint Barth 2012 Christophe Jouany / Les Voiles de St. Barth http://www.lesvoilesdesaintbarth.com/
The fourth edition of Les Voiles de St Barth gets underway on Monday, April 8th. While Europe continues to shiver with a bitter wind coming down from Scandinavia, fans of high quality racing in warm winds and sunshine are eagerly looking towards the magical shores of the Caribbean and more precisely Saint Barth.

65 boats representing around fifteen nationalities will be competing after being divided up fairly into six distinct groups. They can look forward to a subtle mixture of top class racing and an opportunity to discover the finer side of French life right in the heart of the Caribbean. Sport, enjoyment, sunshine, clear blue skies with the endless glistening seas… and it all comes with an extraordinary line-up representing the finest yachts in the French West Indies; so there are plenty of very good reasons to feast your eyes on the dreamlike delights of the Voiles de Saint Barth.

The six classes competing at the 2013 Voiles de Saint Barth reflect the various types of boat you can find throughout the year or during the winter season in the Caribbean islands. By setting up these various classes, it means a large number of boats of different sizes, different manoeuvring abilities, can compete on the same race course. Sailed by top class crews, throughout the week they will be offering excitement out on the extraordinary waters around Saint-Barth.

Classic or tradition yachts all have their place in Saint Barth. The presence of these yachts, with all the history they bring, creates a real maritime museum and at the same time they are a beautiful expression of the racing element of fine yachting.

A classic yacht is a boat of a certain age, with a long keel, a heavy displacement, traditional rigging and many, many stories. Much is expected from the very special battle between one of the stars of the Mediterranean Classic circuit, 'The Blue Peter', the Marconi-rigged sloop dating back to 1930, designed by Mylne; the very fast W Class 'Wild Horse'; and the ketch 'Saphaedra'. These three will be great sight in the heart of the fleet at the 2013 Voiles.

The maxi yacht refers to a prototype yacht or one that is manufactured in a limited number with in general some exceptional features, bringing together elegance, comfort, while fitted out with all the latest technology developed for ocean racing boats. There are no specific lengths when designing a Maxi, but 21 metres seems to be the minimum length to fit into this category. They are therefore the perfect expression of the most spectacular elements of modern yachting. The boats measuring 30 metres or more have been designed by some of the leading designers of the modern era, German Frers, Bruce Farr… The Maxi fleet competing at this year’s Voiles de Saint Barth are all newcomers, and so we will have to wait to find out how the mighty Farr designed boats do against each other with their power and elegance, 'Dynamite Idea' will in particular be up against 'Maximiser', but also some big Swans 'Varsovie' and 'Selene,' but the big sloop 'Whisper' could upset things...


This class brings together the racing monohulls designed specifically for coastal and offshore racing. They tend to be built of carbon or composite materials. Fast, easy to manoeuvre, with their high quality sails they always offer a fantastic sight as they do battle against one another. Their sail surface area is huge and their crews have a lot of sailors in order to hike out.

This year, the Spinnaker class will be very competitive with the largest number of boats competing, as 38 have completed their registration. Each crew brings together a number of professionals all racing with the same goal, winning. We shall be looking forward to a great battle between the many Swans, 'Puffy' (53 feet), 'Music' (53 feet) and 'AEZ Optimix' (45 feet). The Melges 24 may be smaller, but they are fine performers on the long swell and there will be many of them competing hoping to achieve a win for Archambault, J Boats or Bénéteau. Simonas Steponavicius’s Lithuanian crew is back with their VOR 60. Peter Harrison has chosen to race this year aboard 'Jolt 2', a futuristic Baltic 45 which does just as well in strong winds as in calm conditions. We should add that there is also one crew made up exclusively of women on board Sophie Olivaud’ J 109 'Voiles au féminin SBH'.

This class brings together crews that have decided to race without a spinnaker to make it easier. This fully expresses the desire of the organizers to open up the Voiles to amateurs, who enjoy yachting, going from beginners to more experienced racers. The excellent racing conditions you can expect in the waters around Saint-Barth can be very demanding and this class enables crews that are less skilled to race while feeling safe in the heart of the fleet. We will be seeing some elegant boats, such as French Kiss, a Bénéteau Sense 50 and the Swan 57 Alpha Centauri and the Santa Cruz 70, which are powerful and offer high performance and whose crews will find the right angles and bearings to make up for the absence of the big downwind sail.

This class brings together racing multihulls, trimarans and catamarans, measuring between 30 and 60 feet in length, which are very light and fast. The Caribbean has always enjoyed welcoming these spectacular multihulls.

The Voiles de Saint-Barth had to set up room for them and so it is with pleasure that we will be able to enjoy once again the graceful and delicate silhouettes of these dragonflies of the sea. Olivier Vigoureux ‘s 'Paradox', a 63-foot Irens designed boat is seen as one of the favourites. She will however have to be quick if she wants to compensate for her high rating in comparison to Erick Clément’s fast 50-foot 'Dauphin Telecom' or Stéphane Cattoni ‘s efficient 40-footer 'Fildou'.

In order to welcome racing cruisers alongside the racers and prototypes, the Voiles de Saint Barth have added in the IRC 52 class this year. Around the world, 8000 boats received IRC certificates in 2011 and the leading races use IRC: the Fastnet, Spi Ouest-France, Copa del Rey, Asian Cup, Maxi Cup, Middle Sea Race, Japan Race... Jim Swartz, a regular at the Voiles de Saint Barth and godfather at the 2013 event will as usual be back at the helm of 'Vesper.' We can expect a race within the race, as he does battle with 'Varuna', Jens Kellinghusen’s Ker 51 and this promises to be an exciting duel and we can look forward to some enjoyable racing.

Each competitor leaves Saint Barth with wonderful memories of the stunning race areas.


For four years now, the Race Director, Luc Poupon has been laying out race courses for the Voiles de Saint-Barth based around the geography of the island for the various categories of boat and depending on the weather conditions that are possible out on the water.

'The layout of Saint-Barth is a real asset for us, as the coastal landscapes of the island are all very different and the presence of fifteen or so little islands means we can organize a wide range of race courses with a lot of changes of direction, which require a lot of manoeuvres from the crews,' explained Luc.

28 race courses ranging from 14 to 40 miles are being prepared beforehand, with the same starting line in the roadstead off Gustavia and the finish in the area around the Petits Saints. The final choice will depend on the weather conditions on the eve of the starts.

Once back on dry land, it is the legendary friendliness of all those, who enjoy the sea, which is combined with the festive atmosphere in Saint Barth. The Race Village will be host each evening after the races, to all of the competitors, who can to enjoy music from around the world, Rhythm and Blues, Rock, Zouk, merengue, electro… (for more information please see the programme).

The lay day on Thursday is a special feature of the Voiles and universally appreciated by the racers, who are able to share some time with their families and friends, when everyone at the event comes together. The Voiles de Saint-Barth invites all down to Nikki Beach on St Jean’s Beach for this lay day. From eleven in the morning, racing is replaced by a day of relaxation, with music and special events, including paddle races and water Loes Voiles de St Barth

Mackay BoatsAncasta Ker 33 660x82Zhik AkzoNobelb 660x82

Related Articles

Marion Bermuda 2017... an Extravaganza
Entries now stand at 60 yachts for the 2017 Marion Bermuda Race and there is still time to get off the fence Entries now stand at 60 yachts for the 2017 Marion Bermuda Race and there is still time to get off the fence and enter this classic, 40th Anniversary Race.
Posted today at 4:32 am
RC44 PRO earns his bucks on snakes and ladders opening day
Sotogrande, Spain laid on a tricky first day of the 2017 RC44 Championship. Sotogrande, Spain laid on a tricky first day of the 2017 RC44 Championship. Nonetheless Principal Race Officer Peter Reggio read his crystal ball well enough to stage four races on this course which uniquely has Europe, Gibraltar and North Africa as a backdrop.
Posted today at 3:57 am
North Sails - 60 years of sailmaking - 1986 12 Metre Worlds
In early 1986, a series of races were held off of Fremantle as a precursor to the 1987 America’s Cup. In early 1986, a series of races were held off of Fremantle as a precursor to the 1987 America’s Cup. Dubbed the 12 Metre World Championship, a dozen syndicates competed in what they considered a “shakedown series” to test their boats against the competition. Some of the teams had new builds, their first development boats.
Posted on 27 Apr
Heiner's consistency pays dividends in Sailing World Cup Hyères
Heiner has been one of the most reliable performers with a string of top five finishes to lead in the Finn. Out of the 534 racers from 52 nations, racing across the ten Olympic events, Foiling Formula Kiteboarding and 2.4 Norlin OD, Heiner has been one of the most reliable performers with a string of top five finishes to lead in the Finn.
Posted on 27 Apr
Clagett Oakcliff Match Race Regatta announces coaches
The 2016 regatta, which had eight teams from across the US taking part will increase to 10 teams in 2017. The 2016 regatta, which had eight teams from across the US taking part will increase to 10 teams in 2017. It is expected there will be teams from the US, and international teams from Canada, parts of Europe and the Caribbean have expressed interest in attending.
Posted on 27 Apr
The world of sailing comes to Antigua Sailing Week
A staggering number of sailors from worldwide are descending on the Caribbean Antigua island to celebrate 50th edition. About 1,500 competitors from 32 countries will enjoy five days of world class racing, preceded by the Guadeloupe to Antigua Race and the Peters and May Round Antigua Race.
Posted on 27 Apr
Ida Lewis Distance Race - Popular sailboat race set for August
The 13th edition of the Ida Lewis Distance Race is scheduled to start on Friday, August 18, 2017 The 13th edition of the Ida Lewis Distance Race is scheduled to start on Friday, August 18, 2017, promising once again to deliver an exciting late-season topper to a busy summer of competitive racing on Narragansett Bay. Classes for IRC, PHRF, One Design, Multihull and Double-Handed insure that everyone (with a qualifying boat of 28 feet or longer) has a place to fit in.
Posted on 27 Apr
Sperry Charleston Race Week 2017 in review
The underlying goal for every race organizer – even those staging benefit regattas – is to provide safe, fair sailing The underlying goal for every race organizer – even those staging benefit regattas – is to provide safe, fair, competitive sailing. When you have your hands on the helm of a mega regatta such as Sperry Charleston Race Week, that doesn’t change. But it does become more complicated.
Posted on 27 Apr
New faces in town with RC44 Sotogrande Cup set to begin
This event follows from last season's RC44 World Championship also held off this magnificent development Of the eight teams competing off Sotogrande, favourite is Igor Lah's Team CEEREF. Not only is the cockpit on the Slovenian RC44 adorned with the overall championship leader's 'golden wheels', but Lah's team also won the World Championship here in 2016.
Posted on 26 Apr
Sailing World Cup Hyères –Day 2– Zegers and van Veen show how its done
Afrodite Zegers and Anneloes van Veen were unstoppable on day two, winning both Women's 470 races in convincing style Out of the 534 competitors from 52 nations racing across ten Olympic events, Open Kiteboarding and 2.4 Norlin OD, the Dutch team were the standout performers.
Posted on 26 Apr