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

NaiadAncasta Ker 33 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

Alinghi pull off incredible comeback to take Act 6 in Madeira
Swiss team Alinghi came back from a dismasting to win Act 6 of Extreme Sailing Series™ in extraordinary circumstances Swiss team Alinghi came back from a dismasting to win Act 6 of the Extreme Sailing Series™ in extraordinary circumstances on the waters of Portugal’s Madeira Islands.
Posted today at 3:39 am
It’s Chuck’s fault!
The blame rests squarely with the much venerated, and truly celebrated US sports photographer, Chuck Lantz The blame rests squarely with the much venerated, and truly celebrated US sports photographer, Chuck Lantz. Had he not shown me this image he took during the recent Rolex Big Boat Series on San Francisco Bay, then this editorial would not have come to pass.
Posted today at 2:36 am
Roepers leads Plenty to victory in Zadar, captures circuit crown
Alex Roepers began his sailing season by scoring a major victory in Australia, stopped in Italy Alex Roepers began his sailing season by scoring a major victory in Australia, stopped in Italy a few months later to secure another significant achievement then capped an extremely successful 2016 campaign by closing the deal in Croatia.
Posted on 25 Sep
Oman Air stay top of Extreme Sailing Series table with podium place
Oman Air stayed top of the overall leaderboard after posting a third place in Act six and shifted focus to the next Act. Oman Air stayed top of the overall leaderboard after posting a third place in Act six in Madeira and immediately shifted their focus to the next Act in Lisbon, Portugal, in two weeks.
Posted on 25 Sep
Olympic Gold medalist and Volvo Ocean Race winner up for WS Board
Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing in November. The five times Olympic medalist, Volvo Ocean Race winner and several times America's Cup competitor will bring a much needed sailing edge to the Board of World Sailing if he can navigate the politics of the controlling body of the sport.
Posted on 25 Sep
Olympic Gold medalist and Volvo Ocean Race winner up for WS Board
Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing in November. The five times Olympic medalist, Volvo Ocean Race winner and several times America's Cup competitor will bring a much needed sailing edge to the Board of World Sailing if he can navigate the politics of the controlling body of the sport.
Posted on 25 Sep
Norauto foils to victory at the GC32 La Reserva de Sotogrande Cup
Racing in a light wind Minoprio’s desire to win the leeward position on the start line put Norauto in front in all races Racing in a light westerly Levante wind, Adam Minoprio’s desire to win the leeward position on the start line put Norauto in front in all three races, and he went on to win two of them.
Posted on 25 Sep
Team Tilt finish second at the GC32 La Reserva de Sotogrande Cup
Team Tilt added a second place to scoreboard this weekend at the penultimate event of what has been a successful season The seven crew members on board the 32-foot flying catamaran posted three outright wins from 15 races to finish second overall after Adam Minoprio on Norauto. Team Engie, skippered by Sebastien Rogues finished in third place.
Posted on 25 Sep
Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge - Images from Régates Royales
The final round of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge is underway at Cannes in the 38th Régates Royales. The final round of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge is underway at Cannes in the 38th Régates Royales with classic yachts and Dragons. Eugenia Bakunova of mainsail.ru was on the water at Cannes and provided this gallery of images from the penultimate day of the regatta.
Posted on 25 Sep
Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge - More images from Régates Royales
Second gallery from the final round of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge at Cannes The 38th Régates Royales, the final round of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge is underway at Cannes. Eugenia Bakunova of mainsail.ru was on the water at Cannes and provided this second gallery of images from the penultimate day.
Posted on 25 Sep