Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

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
Wildwind 2016 660x82Ancasta Ker 40+ 660x82Naiad

Related Articles

Registration is now open for the 2017 Queen's Cup Race
The on-line entry is now open and available to register for the 2017 Queen’s Cup Race hosted by South Shore Yacht Club. The on-line entry is now open and available to register for the 2017 Queen’s Cup Race hosted by South Shore Yacht Club. The Queen’s Cup race has a great history and competition. Race for one of the oldest trophies in yacht racing. On-line entry, entry form, NoR and other race documents can be found at www.ssyc.org under the Queen’s Cup tab.
Posted today at 2:08 am
Vendée Globe – ETAs becoming clearer for Attanasio and Colman
Conrad Colman is only 163 miles from the finish, and although under jury rig is making 6.8 knots towards the finish. Conrad Colman (Foresight Natural Energy) is only 163 miles from the finish, and although under jury rig is making 6.8 knots towards the finish. Eve though the NW’ly wind will continue to veer northerly during the night and become lighter at times later in the day tomorrow, the Crazy Kiwi hopes to arrive on Friday night.
Posted on 23 Feb
Vendée Globe – The best of Didac Costa
Didac Costa's welcome back was big. At the heart of it were the men and women of the Les Sables d'Olonne fire service. Didac Costa's welcome back to Les Sables d'Olonne was big. And at the heart of it were the men and women of the Les Sables d'Olonne fire service.
Posted on 23 Feb
RORC Caribbean 600 – Epic win for Bella Mente
Bella Mente counted 85 sail changes and at one point, both yachts were way-over canvassed, smoking along at 30 knots The lead in the Maxi72s changed hands on seven occasions during the race. Bella Mente counted 85 sail changes and at one point, both yachts were way-over canvassed, smoking along at 30 knots in a gigantic squall.
Posted on 23 Feb
Volvo Ocean Race - The 10 young sailors who impacted RTW race history
Age is just a number, right? Well, yes – according to some of the sailors who've tackled the world's toughest ocean test Age is just a number, right? Well, yes – according to some of the sailors who've tackled the world's toughest ocean test. They say 'if you're good enough, you're old enough', and this lot certainly proved that. Here, we look back at some of the most iconic young sailors in the Volvo Ocean Race and its predecessor, the Whitbread Round the World Race's four-and-a-half decade history.
Posted on 23 Feb
Vendée Globe – Vendee2020Vision – Six best solo sailors selected
Vendée2020Vision helped with the coaching and development of a 10-strong squad of Britain’s top aspirant solo skippers. While in Les Sables d’Olonne competitors continue to stream across the finish line after three and a half months at sea, in Southampton work continues to train up British sailing talent to give them the best chance of competing in the Vendée Globe in four year’s time.
Posted on 23 Feb
Extreme Sailing Series– ENGIE and Team Tilt to take wildcard challenge
Headed up by highly experienced offshore sailor, Sebastien Rogues, ENGIE come with valuable experience in the GC32 Following their participation in the inaugural GC32 Championship - also being staged in Muscat - the GC32 Racing Tour teams ENGIE and Team Tilt will compete in the Extreme Sailing Series season opener in Oman in less than two weeks' time.
Posted on 23 Feb
Invisible Hand In inshore mode – Images by Erik Simonson
Invisible Hand In inshore mode – Images by Erik Simonson Invisible Hand In inshore mode – Images by Erik Simonson
Posted on 23 Feb
Vendée Globe – Didac Costa takes 14th place
The tenacious, driven Costa succeeded with one of the smallest budgets of 29 skippers who started race on November 6th. The tenacious, driven Costa has succeeded with one of the smallest budgets of the 29 skippers who started the race on November 6th.
Posted on 23 Feb
Vendee Globe - Foresight Natural Energy Day 109 - Ancient Homer
The wind has died. The one proud mainsail drags lazily back and forth across the cabin top. The wind has died. The one proud mainsail drags lazily back and forth across the cabin top. Even the rippling laughter of the wake down the side of the hull has dulled as Foresight Natural Energy lethargically crawls across the dark disk of the horizon. The bright orange jib is the only flash of colour in a quiet world where a dull lead coloured sea lolls under a pewter sky.
Posted on 23 Feb