Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars - North Technology

Les Voiles de St. Barth - Testing final day

by KPMS on 8 Apr 2012
Spinnaker Class racing - Les Voiles de Saint-Barth 2012 © Christophe Jouany / Les Voiles de St. Barth http://www.lesvoilesdesaintbarth.com/
On the final race day at Les Voiles de St. Barth crews were again tested with light and variable winds.

It was challenging for tacticians and navigators, helmsman and trimmers who were all looking for any advantage in the changeable conditions.


But with first place still in play in more than half the classes going into the final race, there was plenty of incentive to maintain concentration. In IRC52, Spinnaker 1, Non-Spinnaker Racing, and Multihull classes, only one point separated the first two positions. Les Voiles de St. Barth Race Committee sent the fleet on an initial upwind beat and then around the western islands including Ile Fourchue. Though after several hours, with the breeze lightning even more and with much of the fleet only halfway around, the race committee elected to shorten the course.

In the Maxi class, George David’s 90-foot Rambler (Hartford, Conn.) posted four wins for the week. David has won the two prior editions of Les Voiles, last year with his former boat, Rambler 100. The high-tech monohull, built to break ocean records, capsized in dramatic fashion last August off the Fastnet Rock, when the keel snapped off. Many of the crew from the 100-footer were in St. Barth’s racing on Rambler this year.

David is a big fan of Les Voiles, 'This is a great regatta for a bunch of reasons: it’s a beautiful island, and it’s a vertical island, so it’s scenic to sail around, and you can get some very complicated courses. The race committee does a great job in setting the courses and the breeze can be quite shifty in close to shore, so there are typically lots of turns in this race course. This week, we had between 20 - 23 mile long races, typically seven legs or so, so lots of crew activity and a lot of opportunity for error.'

David described the inner workings of the water-ballasted speedster, 'The big advantage we have, especially in lighter air like this, is we can unload the ballast. Two numbers are important: this boat dry displaces 21 tons and then we add six tons of water ballast to it. Especially in light air conditions, if you can get the boat to float higher and take less power to push it like today, we just slip away. The water ballast is a tremendous advantage.

'Racing is a little bit about luck. It’s also about organization and teamwork, and I think that’s one place where Rambler does no shy from; it’s a mature program, we’ve been racing together now for six years. And we have more miles on the boat than is typical.'

It’s a great place to have a regatta, well sponsored, the shore side parties and race committee work is great. If you talk to all competitors, you’d have to scramble to find a complaint. It just gets better all the time, but it was a pretty high standard in the first place.


This year an IRC class was added in response to the owners input. The new class proved successful as racing for the IRC52 was close all week with each of the boats, Mayhem, Vesper, and PowerPlay winning a race. Today Jim Swartz’ Vesper (USA) took a bullet, but it would be Mayhem (CAN) that posted the best scoreline, to win the class overall.

Skipper Ashley Wolfe has been sailing with her core crew for the past ten years, and onboard in St Barth’s were a formidable crew including Ross MacDonald, Charlie McKee, and Mike Mottl. Wolfe said, 'It was down to pretty much today. The week was fantastic, very tight racing back and forth – it could have been anybody, one day we were first, one day last, the next day second. No mistakes and some luck.' Asked about a return visit, Wolfe said, 'I’ve heard there’s more breeze other years, so I think I’ll come back, but no complaints at all, it was a fabulous regatta!'

Spinnaker 1 class came down to a battle between Frits Bus’ Melges 24, Coors Light (St. Maarten) and Sergio Sagramoso’s J/122, Lazy Dog (Puerto Rico), which finished tied on six points, with the Dutch boat winning on a countback by virtue of their first place finish today. Ashore before the boats docked out, the wind funneled over the hill in Gustavia giving indications of a possibly breezier day. Bus was not optimistic about their chances against a boat with significantly more waterline in those condition; however, competitors eventually encountered much less wind on the course, which suited the Melges 24 and their crew just fine.

In Spinnaker 2, it was Clay Deutsch’s Defiance (Boston, Mass.) that held off Stephen Murray’s Carkeek 40, Decision (New Orleans, La.). Deutsch had chartered the Marten 49 for the regatta and sailed the boat with crew from his previous race boat, Chippewa. Deutsch said, 'We’re absolutely thrilled. Decision got us today, but we have enough points for the week. It was tough day today, very draining. It was very light and variable, with virtually no sea state, but boy, it was shifty so driving was challenging. And it was hard tactically.'

The newly-launched Decision, with tactician Steve Benjamin onboard, pushed Defiance all week. Deutsch said, 'Decision got away from us early, so we sailed our own race. They were basically our competition, and it was great having them here. It’s always more fun when you’re really racing someone and you can go at it back and forth. We were in touch with each other all week, no one ever got more than a couple of minutes ahead.'

Another first-timer at Les Voiles, he said 'We really enjoyed the week, nothing bad happened. I’d love to come back, this was really first class, the race committee did a very good job and the shore side stuff was just fabulous…as only the French can do!'

Non-Spinnaker: Thomas Mullen’s J/95, Shamrock VII (Campton, N.H.) just held off Antiguan Bernie Evans-Wong’s High Tension. Shamrock came straight from the BVI regatta, where they won their class. Right after finishing, they delivered the boat to St Barth’s with barely time to register, let alone practice. Mullen attributed his boat’s win to a combination of bad luck for some of their competitors and extraordinarily hard work on part of his crew.

In the Multihull class, it was Peter Aschenbrenner’s Paradox (FRA) that tied with Lloyd Thornburg’s Gunboat 66, Phaedo (St. Barth, F.W.I.), and won on countback. The Nigel Irens-designed 63-footer, with American multihull sailor Cam Lewis on board, a veteran of several round the world multihull campaigns, and who provided local knowledge having been in St. Barth’s at the two previous Les Voiles regattas.

Classic: Matt and Pam Brooks, owners of the Olin Stephens-designed, Dorade (San Francisco, Calif), were delighted to have brought the famous ocean racing yawl to the Caribbean for the first time ever in the boat’s 80+ years. Brooks said, 'We have learned a lot about how to sail the boat and it has been really fun. Everyday the course was good. Yesterday’s round the island race was really challenging because of the varied conditions. It has really been a lot of fun with good course setting and regatta management. This has been a good warm-up for the boat and crew for the Newport Bermuda Race in June.

The prize giving took place on a stage in the Race Village on the Quai General de Gaulle in Gustavia, with Bruno Magras, President of the Collectivité de Saint-Barthélemy; Ernest Brin, Capitaine of the Port; Sir Peter Harrison, ‘godfather’ of this year’s Les Voiles de St. Barth; Paul Bastard, International Jury Chairman; Marc Grisoli, President of St. Barth Yacht Club; and Francois Tolede, Event Director. Presenting awards to the competitors were Annelisa Gee, Competitions Director, and Kiki Laporte, MC for the evening’s activities.

The top three finishers in each of the three classes – Maxi, IRC, Classic, Spinnaker 1 & 2, Non-Spinnaker, and Multihull – were presented awards. As overall winner of the Maxi Class, George David, owner and skipper of Rambler 90 was also presented a Richard Mille Calibre RM 028 timepiece.

David enthusiastically offered, 'It’s great to see the way Les Voiles has grown and progressed. Rambler and Sojana are only Maxis that have done it three years. The event started with 28 boats in 2010, so it’s clearly taking off. I think it’s going to be one of the great classic regattas in the Caribbean.'


Results here
Les Voiles de St. Barth video racing highlights here

Dates for the 2013 Les Voiles de St. Barth have been confirmed for April 8 – 13.

Les Voiles de St. Barth website: here

Naiad/Oracle SupplierBakewell-White Yacht DesignWildwind 2016 660x82

Related Articles

Michael Marshall triumphs at J/22 World Championship
With a second place finish in Thursday’s only race, Mike Marshall, Todd Hiller and Luke Lawrence are the champions. Heading into the 10th and final race, Marshall and Chris Doyle were tied on points at 30. As the 41 teams arrived at CORK in the morning, the after effects of an overnight storm left breeze in the mid-20s, so the Race Committee postponed on shore.
Posted on 25 Aug
Best pictures of the first 4 Acts of the Extreme Sailing Series™
An influx of fresh talent have all added to the hype, but the greatest evolution is the replacement of the Extreme 40. An influx of fresh talent, new venues and a revised race format have all added to the hype, but the greatest evolution is the replacement of the Extreme 40 by a smaller, faster catamaran: the flying GC32.
Posted on 25 Aug
Return to Russia for the Extreme Sailing Series™
Joining the fleet as the season heads into its second half is Gazprom Team Russia, led by WMRT champion, Phil Robertson. With one week to go, the fleet returns to St Petersburg for the fifth Act of the season, presented by SAP, 35 of the world’s best sailors are getting their heads in the game and preparing for the one of the trickiest venues of the season so far.
Posted on 25 Aug
Marshall and Doyle tied on points at J/22 World Championship
By way of a victory in Wednesday’s third race, Mike Marshall, Todd Hiller and Luke Lawrence are tied at 30 points By way of a victory in Wednesday’s third race, Mike Marshall, Todd Hiller and Luke Lawrence are tied at 30 points with Chris Doyle, Will Harris and Adam Burns. Jeff Todd is still in the hunt in third place with 35 points.
Posted on 24 Aug
Debriefing the 2016 Rio Olympics—Sailing news North America and beyond
Editorial Editorial
Posted on 23 Aug
The Clipper Race turns 20!
Throughout the race, tales of crew celebrating birthdays on board filter back and they are always a special occasion Throughout the race, tales of Clipper Race crew celebrating their birthdays on board filter back and they are always a special occasion, likely to remain a completely unique event in their lifetime.
Posted on 23 Aug
A magnificent fleet gathers in Cowes for Etchells World Championship
58 teams from all over the world have entered the championship, hosted by the Royal London Yacht Club. Twenty teams are from Great Britain and a dozen each from Australia and the United States of America. Four entries are from Hong Kong and as far afield as: Bermuda, Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.
Posted on 22 Aug
FAST40+ Class to be the first to have honour of racing for One Ton Cup
14 FAST40+ racing yachts are expected, flying the flags of England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa and the USA 14 high performance FAST40+ racing yachts are expected for the One Ton Cup, flying the flags of England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa and the United States of America. The crew, of which only five can be professionals, come from countries all over the world.
Posted on 22 Aug
Noroton Yacht Club dominates Hinman Trophy Team Race
Sailors often say it’s the little things that make the difference between winning and lose. 2016 Hinman Trophy Team Race - Sailors often say it’s the little things that make the difference between winning and lose. This was the case for Noroton Yacht Club as they won the Invitational Team Race Regatta for the Commodore George R. Hinman Masters Trophy for the second straight year, though maybe not in the way you’d expect.
Posted on 22 Aug
Drama Queen - Goransson wins Melges 32 National Championship
Richard Goransson and his Inga from Sweden team have claimed the 2016 US Melges 32 National Championship 2016 US Melges 32 National Championship - After a weekend of challenging, moderate conditions in Newport, RI, Richard Goransson and his Inga from Sweden team have claimed the 2016 US Melges 32 National Championship hosted by Sail Newport. Capping a weekend full of tight racing with lead changes around the track, it was fitting that the final race had three teams fighting for the regatta win
Posted on 22 Aug