Please select your home edition
Edition
Mackay Boats

Les Voiles de St. Barth 2013 - Bring it on

by Sue Maffei Plowden on 10 Apr 2013
Frits Bus on Island Water World - Les Voiles de St. Barth 2013 Barby MacGowan
Les Voiles de St. Barth 2013 - It was hard to tell dockside in Gustavia this morning if there was a care in the world among the Les Voiles de St. Barth competitors, what with the trade winds blowing, blue skies prevailing, and large cumulus clouds scudding overhead. With the first warning signal at 11 a.m. (10 a.m. for the rest of the week), there was time for the crews to enjoy café and a croissant in the race village, finish prepping their boats, and catch up with friends. The atmosphere was relaxed and thoroughly Caribbean-style, though it belied somewhat the competitive spirit found in a good part of the fleet. Through just about all classes, sailors were scouting their competition, checking ratings and looking to see what modifications had been made since their adversaries last competed on the water.

The fleet of 59 boats is spread over eight classes, and within each of those there is ample competition.

Onboard the Baltic 45 Jolt 2 (GBR), owner/skipper Peter Harrison is racing at Les Voiles de St Barth for the first time. Harrison is also on-site as CEO of Richard Mille Europe, sponsor for the event. 'We have been out a few times trying to work out all the local secrets, which has been very difficult! We are really pleased as a team and as a company to support the event. It is great to see such a varied fleet of professional and amateur crews. There is a nice group to sail against – Arethusa (USA), Defiance (USA), Hamachi (USA), and Music (RSA) -- so exciting racing ahead. We have quite a nice course for today, reaching most of the way back, and we hope it will be good for our boat; she is good downwind.'

Indeed, St. Barths served up perfect conditions with a 15-20 knot southeasterly breeze. Early on, there were mechanical issues for two boats, including Jack Desmond’s White Rhino (USA), which had a problem before the start with the mast partner that necessitated returning to the dock. Shortly after the Maxi class start, the headstay on the Swan 100 Varsovie (CAY) parted, though with quick crew work it did not damage to the mast.

Classes were sent on three different courses, ranging in length from 24-33 nautical miles, which took the fleet counter-clockwise in the lee of St. Barths, around the southern end of the island at Pointe a Toiny, where boats encountered a four-to-six-foot swell. Occasional squalls brought rain (fresh water rinse!) and big variations in wind pressure, which ratcheted up the pressure on tacticians to pick the best course.

The Volvo 60 Cuba Libre sailed in the non-spinnaker class with two local teenagers on board, one on a race boat for the first time. Skipper Benedikt Clauberg had high praise for the teenager who served as his bow man, saying, 'It’s his first day on the boat, and he performed like a professional bow man. We had a lot of sail changes when a jib halyard snapped – we had some action, but it was wonderful!'

For the Melges 24 class, it was a spirited day. Local St. Maarten sailor Frits Bus is back for his second time. Bus won his class (Spinnaker) last year on his Melges 24 Team Coors Light, in a closely fought week of racing with Lazy Dog (PUR), winning the final deciding race by 20 seconds on corrected time.

This year the Melges 24s have their own class with six boats. Sunburned and a bit weary after sailing the 24-nautical mile course on Island Water World, an enthusiastic Bus said, 'We had a great day today with shifty conditions at the start. We made big gains on the big shifts that came in; we managed to catch up from third place at the first mark to finish by two boat lengths, overtaking Budget Marine Gill (AHO) and Amcom Express (TRI) on the last upwind leg to the finish. The course was long, but it was a great day of sailing.'

'We had a few new people on the boat, so we went out early to do some practice. The day was long, but it was beautiful sailing, and the course was great: all kinds of conditions, with big swells, low winds, then no winds under the cloud cover in the squalls. Everything was there, the perfect day’s sailing!'

Phil and Wendy Lotz on the Swan 42 Arethusa are racing here for the first time. 'We heard a lot of good things about the regatta; it’s a little bit of the European flair down in the Caribbean,' said Phil Lotz, who steers the boat. 'We come down about every two years and do about three regattas. We hadn’t done this, and we wanted to check it out. With the Swan Cup that preceded it by a few weeks, it fit into a nice schedule; we’ll go on from here to Antigua Sailing Week.'

Arethusa has some tough competition in their class with Steve Cucchiaro’s Marten 49 Defiance (USA) and James Blakemore’s Music, a Swan 53. About today’s race, Lotz added, 'It was fun…a long race, pretty much full-on the whole time, a lot of gear shifting. Occasionally there were more waves than wind.'

Race results were pending at press time.

The event enjoys the continued support of watchmaker Richard Mille as well as sportswear brand Gaastra. Other event partners include leading St. Barth villa rental agency WIMCO, which offers a gorgeous portfolio of private villas for rent on St. Barth. WIMCO’s sponsorship includes presenting eight Les Voiles class winners with a complimentary week in one of their top villas, inclusive of a concierge ready to attend to every Les Voiles de St. Barth website
Mackay BoatsNorth Technology - Southern SparsZhik Dinghy 660x82

Related Articles

Alinghi win Sydney finale to secure third Extreme Sailing Series title
Swiss team Alinghi were crowned champions today after an epic final-day shoot-out at the season finale in Sydney. In a nail-biting showdown that went right down to the wire, Arnaud Psarofaghis' men saw off a last-ditch attempt from arch rivals Oman Air to complete their ascendancy to the top of the 2016 rankings.
Posted today at 11:35 am
Team Oman Air finish second overall in Extreme Sailing Series
Team Oman Air’s year-long campaign was foiled at the final hurdle in Sydney by flawless performance from rivals Alinghi Team Oman Air’s year-long campaign for the first trophy was foiled at the final hurdle in Sydney by a flawless performance from rivals Alinghi, who dominated the Act and were crowned 2016 champions.
Posted today at 11:14 am
18ft Skiffs Syd. Barnett Jr. Memorial Trophy on Sydney Harbour
With a 12-15 knot ENE wind prevailing, only four of the 18-boat fleet elected to go with the bigger number one rig With a 12-15 knot ENE wind prevailing, only four of the 18-boat fleet elected to go with the bigger number one rig and it was decisive in the Thurlow Fisher Lawyers win.
Posted today at 10:46 am
Wild Oats XI in Hobart Workup - Video
With barely two weeks remaining before 'The Big Turn Right' on Boxing Day, a number of the grand prix performers – With barely two weeks remaining before 'The Big Turn Right' on Boxing Day, a number of the grand prix performers – including Black Jack, CQS, Wild Oats XI and Ichi Ban - were to be seen offshore in training and work-up mode today, enjoying perfect sailing conditions. The Bow Caddy team sent their aerial camera out to capture the last yacht to return through the Heads as she heade
Posted today at 10:25 am
Melbourne turns on spectacular Sailing World Cup finish
Melbourne turned on its best day at Sailing World Cup Final, loads of summer sunshine and cool S-SW winds 10-15 knots Melbourne turned on its best day at the Sailing World Cup Final, loads of summer sunshine and cool S-SW winds 10-15 knots for the close of the Olympic and Invited classes competition that drew sailors from around the world aged eight to 79.
Posted today at 7:46 am
ISAF Sailing World Cup - Melbourne - Tale of two shootouts
The Sailing World Cup Melbourne Final saved the best to last with the Laser rounding off the week of competition The Sailing World Cup Melbourne Final presented by Land Rover saved the best to last with the Laser rounding off the week of competition and serving up two tantalising in-race battles that decided the podium places.
Posted today at 7:11 am
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