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Les Voiles de St Barth - Escapando del invierno


'Les Voiles de St. Barth 2013 - Fleet Race muelle en Puerto de Gustavia'    © Tim Wright / Les Voiles de St Barth    Click Here to view large photo

Les Voiles de St Barth - Con el invierno alargándose en el norte de Europa y Estados Unidos, es lógico envidiar a los regatistas que se encuentran ahora mismo en el Caribe alargando el calendario de competición. Más de 60 embarcaciones con sus respectivas tripulaciones se encuentran ahora mismo en la isla de Saint Barth, en la parte francesa de las Indias orientales, preparados ya para competir en Les Voiles de St. Barth.

La cuarta edición de esta regata ofrecerá cuatro días de intensa competición combinada con una animada agenda social en la que los participantes disfrutarán de animación en el village e incluso un día de descanso lleno de actividades en la playa en la bahía de St. Jean.

Como en sus anteriores tres ediciones, Les Voiles de St. Barth ha atraído de nuevo una competitiva flota internacional procedente de Reino Unido, Estados Unidos, Francia, Italia, Irlanda, Holanda, Bélgica y Sudáfrica, así como un fuerte contingente de Puerto Rico, San Martín, Anguila, Antigua y Trinidad.

Desde la primera edición celebrada en 2010 con la participación de 27 embarcaciones, las inscripciones han aumentado sensiblemente a medida que los medios de comunicación y los propios regatistas han ido extendiendo la información sobre esta regata por el mundo.

François Paul Tolède, director del evento y Nils Dufau, vice presidente de la Colectividad de Saint Barth y presidente del Comité Turístico -  © Tim Wright - Les Voiles de St Barth   Click Here to view large photo
El director del evento François Paul Tolède se mostraba así de entusiasta al observar la flota amarrada en el muelle General de Gaulle en Gustavia: El ambiente es fantástico en tierra y el clima parece perfecto' comentaba.

'Con 62 embarcaciones inscritas y teniendo en cuenta la actual coyuntura económica mundial, las cifras reflejan la estima de los armadores por Les Voiles de Saint Barth'.

Tolède aseguraba también que 'Luc Poupon (director de la regata) ha planeado algunas pruebas nuevas, algo más largas en algunos casos, ya que muchos de los regatistas querían pasar más tiempo en el agua, por lo que las pruebas comenzarán algo más temprano. Esperamos un viento de entre 15 y 20 nudos o más esta semana, unas condiciones ideales para la flota, que va desde las embarcaciones de 24 pies (Melges), hasya las de 100 pies (el Swan 100 Varsovie)'.

La flota se divide en ocho clases: Maxis, Spinnaker 1, 2 y 3; Melges 24; Non-Spinnaker; Clásicos y multicascos. Los organizadores pueden elegir entre 28 recorridos diferentes de entre 11 y 40 millas náuticas. La competición empezará hoy martes 9 de abril con la primera señal a las 11.00 (hora local).

Jim Swartz, Vesper -  http://www.lesvoilesdesaintbarth.com/!©_Christophe_Jouany_- Les Voiles de St. Barth   Click Here to view large photo
Jim Swartz, armador y patron del TP52 Vesper ejerce de padrino en la regata de este año. Para Swartz, que ha tomado parte en las cuatro ediciones celebradas, Les Voiles de Saint Barth es una cita ineludible.

'Las condiciones son fabulosas', señala, 'es precioso navegar alrededor de esta isla y el viento es bastante predecible, especialmente cuando sopla desde la parte trasera de la isla (barlovento)'. Navegarán a bordo de Vesper algunos regatistas de Copa América como Gavin Brady (tactic), Rob Salthouse (trimmer de foque), Kazuhiko Sofuku (proa) y Jaime Gale (navegante), que participó en la pasada edición de la Volvo Ocean Race.

Tras participar en el Mundial de TP52 en Miami el mes pasado, Vesper fue trasladado a Saint Thomas para prepararlo para la regata y la semana pasada llegó a Saint Barth. 'Les Voiles está siempre en nuestro calendario', comenta Swartz 'el ambiente, la competición, la gente y la organización son geniales, todo funciona muy bien'.

Vesper during Les Voiles de St. Barth 2011 -  http://www.lesvoilesdesaintbarth.com/!©_Christophe_Jouany_- Les Voiles de St. Barth   Click Here to view large photo

Más de la mitad de las embarcaciones y patrones participantes ya han tomado parte en la regata. Aunque también hay presencias nuevas como la del Ker 51 Varuna de Jens Kellinghusen, que ha participado en la Semana de Kiel y en Les Voiles de Saint Tropez desde su botadura; el Volvo 60 Cuba Libre (ex-Heineken) en la categoría de Non-Spinnaker (mientras en V60 Ambersail participará en Spinnaker 1); el Swan 42 de Phil Lotz Arethusa, flamante campeón de la Rolex Swan Cup del Caribe; Jolt 2, un Baltic 45 que ya ha participado en la categoría de Clásicos de la reciente RORC Caribbean 600; Heroina, un Frers de 74 pies construido en los años 90 y el ketch de 51 pies Saphaedra, diseñado por Aage Nielsen.

Durante la rueda de prensa inaugural de la regata, el vicepresidente de la colectividad de Saint Barth y presidente del Comité Turístico Nils Dufau señalaba que 'Les Voiles de Saint Barth se ha convertido en una extraordinaria herramienta de comunicación para mostrar nuestra isla como destino turístico de gama alta. Este evento transmite el espíritu de esta isla que se ha convertido en un oasis de paz y tranquilidad'. De hecho, la Caribbean Sailing Association ha calificado Les Voiles de Saint y la BVI Spring Regatta como 'Mejores eventos de 2012'.

El evento cuenta con el apoyo continuo del relojero Richard Mille y de la firma de ropa deportiva Gaastra. La agencia de alquiler de villas WIMCO es otro de los patrocinadores de esta regata, cuyos ocho vencedores podrán disfrutar de una semana de relax gratuita en una de sus villas, con un servicio incluido de recepción para atender todas sus necesidades.


Les Voiles de St Barth


by Fabrice Thomazeau

  

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6:19 PM Tue 9 Apr 2013GMT


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