Please select your home edition
Edition
Wildwind 2016 728x90

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
Newport Boat Show 2016 660x82Naiad/Oracle SupplierSchaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82

Related Articles

Edgartown Race Week - Overall report
Four races were held today, in nine - twelve knots from the southwest for the IRC fleet. This is the third leg of the east coast IRC summer series. Four races were held today, in nine - twelve knots from the southwest for the IRC fleet. The three TP52’s had hard fought battles as usual.
Posted today at 6:35 am
Conch Republic Cup - More than just a race to Cuba
When relations between U.S. and Cuba were restored in 2015, Conch Republic Cup was resurrected after a 13-year hiatus. When diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba were restored in 2015, the Conch Republic Cup was resurrected after a forced 13-year hiatus.
Posted today at 6:02 am
2016 Jessica Uniack Memorial Beach to Bay Race - Alex Lech wins
Alex Lech of Long Beach Yacht Club won the 29th annual Jessica Uniack Memorial Beach to Bay Race perpetual trophy 2016 Jessica Uniack Memorial Beach to Bay Race - Alex Lech of Long Beach Yacht Club won the 29th annual Jessica Uniack Memorial Beach to Bay Race perpetual trophy Thursday in racing his Naples Sabot dinghy to first place in the Sabot C3 class, the largest class for the event.
Posted today at 3:43 am
Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup - Lone bullets for the Brits
Despite three more inshore races being held on day five France Blue leads with a similar 11.5 point margin to yesterday 2016 Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup - Despite three more inshore races being held on day five of the Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, the Royal Ocean Racing Club's biennial flagship event for three boat teams with Corinthian crews, France Blue leads with a similar 11.5 point margin to yesterday, but Flanders North Sea is now the team that has relieved France White of second place overall.
Posted today at 2:10 am
Supermaxi Scallywag has her first outing on Sydney Harbour
Scallywag is a 100' Super Maxi Yacht (ex Ragamuffin 100) owned by a HongKong Business man. Scallywag is a 100' Super Maxi Yacht (ex Ragamuffin 100) owned by a HongKong Business man. Yesterday the boat took it first sail on Sydney Harbour in preparation for this weekend's start of the CYCA Land Rover Sydney to Gold Coast Yacht Race
Posted on 28 Jul
Extreme Sailing Series– Oman Air sneak early lead despite bump on nose
Hamburg’s River Elbe in the HafenCity area was transformed into the ultimate test in Stadium Racing today Hamburg’s River Elbe in the HafenCity area was transformed into the ultimate test in Stadium Racing today, with the narrow river, passing traffic, high walls, shifty light winds and strong currents challenging the fleet on the opening day
Posted on 28 Jul
52 Super Series – Puerto Portals Week – Quantum Racing top of the pops
Quantum Racing stand on the threshold of their third regatta win of the season after sailing to their fourth win today. The Bay of Palma lived up to its one way traffic reputation for most of the time. The risk-reward equation for those pressing for the pin end launch was high. But significantly both of today’s race winners – Quantum Racing and Bronenosec– favoured the lower risk mid line starts where they had a better chance of coming away from the gun at maximum speed by staying clear of the jousting and jostling
Posted on 28 Jul
Debriefing the 2015-16 Clipper Round The World Race with Huw Fernie
Sail-World talked with Huw Fernie of Visit Seattle to learn more about a Clipper Round The World Race skipper’s life. Skipper Huw Fernie and his Visit Seattle crew took top honors in the Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge, marking their second podium finish during the 2015/16 Clipper Round The World Race. I recently caught up with Fernie to learn more about Visit Seattle’s success in the Den Helder Northern Seas Challenge, and to learn more about the life of a Clipper Round The World Race skipper.
Posted on 28 Jul
Oman Air quick to master light airs on Day 1 of Extreme Sailing Series
Last year’s wild and gusty winds gave way to light simmering airs but the Oman Sail was quick to master the conditions. The compact River Elbe race course, bordered on all sides by cargo containers and all the handling equipment associated with one of the busiest ports in the world, was expected to be tricky for the GC32 fleet even though the race area had been expanded.
Posted on 28 Jul
Finale of Clipper Race global series starts in The Netherlands
The 198nm race to London is going to be one of the most nail-biting yet with just six points separating the top teams After a Departure Ceremony from Willemsoord Marina and a Parade of Sail in the presence of Dutch Royal Navy ship ZrMs Luymes, the fleet started the final short sprint to London off the Dutch coast.
Posted on 28 Jul