Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad/Oracle Supplier

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

Bakewell-White Yacht DesignZhik Dinghy 660x82Naiad/Oracle Supplier

Related Articles

Aiming for cold to gold for Tassie skiff crew
Jasmine Galbraith and her 29er skiff crew Chloe Fisher sit in fifth coming into the deciding day of SWC Melbourne Final Training on Hobart’s Derwent River in winter when her hands are so cold she can’t feel them is the less glamourous side of the sport for 17 year-old sailor Jasmine Galbraith and her 29er skiff crew Chloe Fisher, who sit in fifth coming into the deciding day of the Sailing World Cup Melbourne Final presented by Land Rover.
Posted today at 3:47 am
Cal 20 Fun Run - Chuck Clay wins and spoils Ives’ shot at sixth win
Chuck Clay, commodore of Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, won Cal 20 Fun Run Saturday in this traditional end-of-season regatta Chuck Clay, commodore of Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, won this year’s Cal 20 Fun Run Saturday in this traditional end-of-season regatta hosted by Long Beach Yacht Club.
Posted today at 3:32 am
Aon Youth Sailing Worlds - Ups and downs. Winners to underdogs
2016 Aon Youth Sailing Worlds will see the return of inaugural girl's 29er winners who are back to defend their title The 2016 Aon Youth Sailing World Championships will see the return of the inaugural girl's 29er winners who are back to defend their title, but they know it won't be easy.
Posted today at 12:43 am
J70 DIYC Winter One 2016-17 – Day 1 action-shots by Christopher Howell
Christopher Howell was on water at J70 DIYC Winter One 2016-17 and provided this gallery of images from Day 1 action. Photographer Christopher Howell was on water at J70 DIYC Winter One 2016-17 and provided this gallery of images from Day 1 action.
Posted today at 12:21 am
World Sailing Cup Final - Live video coverage from Melbourne - Day 2
The Medal Races on Sunday 11 December will draw the 2016 Sailing World Cup Melbourne Final to a close. The Medal Races on Sunday 11 December will draw the 2016 Sailing World Cup Melbourne Final to a close. The deciding races will be streamed live on World Sailing TV on YouTube. Coverage started at midday local time or 0100UTC
Posted on 10 Dec
Vendée Globe – Day 35 – Lost weekend
For Thomson and Armel Le Cléach'h the leaders of the race, Sunday morning should provide some time to regroup mentally For Alex Thomson and Armel Le Cléach'h the leaders of the race, Sunday morning should provide some time to regroup mentally, to snatch some rest, to thoroughly check their boats and to somehow prepare for the next battering.
Posted on 10 Dec
RORC Transatlantic Race – Day 15 – Maverick blasts into Grenada
Infiniti 46, Maverick, skippered by Cotterell crossed the finish line outside Camper and Nicholsons Port Louis Marina. Infiniti 46, Maverick, skippered by Oliver Cotterell crossed the finish line outside Camper and Nicholsons Port Louis Marina, Grenada. The British yacht, with radical side foils is provisionally the winner of IRC Canting Keel and currently placed second overall under IRC
Posted on 10 Dec
Full day of competition at the Sailing World Cup Melbourne
Every class made it out onto Port Phillip Bay on the penultimate day in conditions very different to the last two days. Finally every class made it out onto Port Phillip Bay on the penultimate day in conditions very different to the previous two days. Flat seas and sou’west winds struggling at five knots in fact made the going hard for the Invited and Olympic opening session that began at midday.
Posted on 10 Dec
Extreme Sailing Series™ to go down to the wire after penultimate day
The battle for the ESS™ title took a new twist today as Red Bull Sailing Team squeezed in between Alinghi and Oman Air The battle for the Extreme Sailing Series™ title took a new twist today as Red Bull Sailing Team squeezed in between Act 8 leaders Alinghi and overall table toppers Oman Air on the penultimate day of the 2016 season finale in Sydney.
Posted on 10 Dec
All to do on final day of Extreme Sailing Series for Team Oman Air
Points proved elusive for Team Oman Air on the third day of racing in Sydney as the Act 8 leaderboard was rejigged ahead Points proved elusive for Team Oman Air on the third day of racing in Sydney as the Act 8 leaderboard was dramatically rejigged ahead of the crucial final day of the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series.
Posted on 10 Dec