Please select your home edition
Edition
Wildwind 2016 728x90

Les Voiles de St. Barth - 65 strong fleet set for 4th edition

by Fabrice Thomazeau on 5 Apr 2013
Les Voiles de Saint Barth 2012 Christophe Jouany / Les Voiles de St. Barth http://www.lesvoilesdesaintbarth.com/
The fourth edition of Les Voiles de St Barth gets underway on Monday, April 8th. While Europe continues to shiver with a bitter wind coming down from Scandinavia, fans of high quality racing in warm winds and sunshine are eagerly looking towards the magical shores of the Caribbean and more precisely Saint Barth.

65 boats representing around fifteen nationalities will be competing after being divided up fairly into six distinct groups. They can look forward to a subtle mixture of top class racing and an opportunity to discover the finer side of French life right in the heart of the Caribbean. Sport, enjoyment, sunshine, clear blue skies with the endless glistening seas… and it all comes with an extraordinary line-up representing the finest yachts in the French West Indies; so there are plenty of very good reasons to feast your eyes on the dreamlike delights of the Voiles de Saint Barth.

The six classes competing at the 2013 Voiles de Saint Barth reflect the various types of boat you can find throughout the year or during the winter season in the Caribbean islands. By setting up these various classes, it means a large number of boats of different sizes, different manoeuvring abilities, can compete on the same race course. Sailed by top class crews, throughout the week they will be offering excitement out on the extraordinary waters around Saint-Barth.

Classic or tradition yachts all have their place in Saint Barth. The presence of these yachts, with all the history they bring, creates a real maritime museum and at the same time they are a beautiful expression of the racing element of fine yachting.

A classic yacht is a boat of a certain age, with a long keel, a heavy displacement, traditional rigging and many, many stories. Much is expected from the very special battle between one of the stars of the Mediterranean Classic circuit, 'The Blue Peter', the Marconi-rigged sloop dating back to 1930, designed by Mylne; the very fast W Class 'Wild Horse'; and the ketch 'Saphaedra'. These three will be great sight in the heart of the fleet at the 2013 Voiles.

The maxi yacht refers to a prototype yacht or one that is manufactured in a limited number with in general some exceptional features, bringing together elegance, comfort, while fitted out with all the latest technology developed for ocean racing boats. There are no specific lengths when designing a Maxi, but 21 metres seems to be the minimum length to fit into this category. They are therefore the perfect expression of the most spectacular elements of modern yachting. The boats measuring 30 metres or more have been designed by some of the leading designers of the modern era, German Frers, Bruce Farr… The Maxi fleet competing at this year’s Voiles de Saint Barth are all newcomers, and so we will have to wait to find out how the mighty Farr designed boats do against each other with their power and elegance, 'Dynamite Idea' will in particular be up against 'Maximiser', but also some big Swans 'Varsovie' and 'Selene,' but the big sloop 'Whisper' could upset things...


This class brings together the racing monohulls designed specifically for coastal and offshore racing. They tend to be built of carbon or composite materials. Fast, easy to manoeuvre, with their high quality sails they always offer a fantastic sight as they do battle against one another. Their sail surface area is huge and their crews have a lot of sailors in order to hike out.

This year, the Spinnaker class will be very competitive with the largest number of boats competing, as 38 have completed their registration. Each crew brings together a number of professionals all racing with the same goal, winning. We shall be looking forward to a great battle between the many Swans, 'Puffy' (53 feet), 'Music' (53 feet) and 'AEZ Optimix' (45 feet). The Melges 24 may be smaller, but they are fine performers on the long swell and there will be many of them competing hoping to achieve a win for Archambault, J Boats or Bénéteau. Simonas Steponavicius’s Lithuanian crew is back with their VOR 60. Peter Harrison has chosen to race this year aboard 'Jolt 2', a futuristic Baltic 45 which does just as well in strong winds as in calm conditions. We should add that there is also one crew made up exclusively of women on board Sophie Olivaud’ J 109 'Voiles au féminin SBH'.

This class brings together crews that have decided to race without a spinnaker to make it easier. This fully expresses the desire of the organizers to open up the Voiles to amateurs, who enjoy yachting, going from beginners to more experienced racers. The excellent racing conditions you can expect in the waters around Saint-Barth can be very demanding and this class enables crews that are less skilled to race while feeling safe in the heart of the fleet. We will be seeing some elegant boats, such as French Kiss, a Bénéteau Sense 50 and the Swan 57 Alpha Centauri and the Santa Cruz 70, which are powerful and offer high performance and whose crews will find the right angles and bearings to make up for the absence of the big downwind sail.

This class brings together racing multihulls, trimarans and catamarans, measuring between 30 and 60 feet in length, which are very light and fast. The Caribbean has always enjoyed welcoming these spectacular multihulls.

The Voiles de Saint-Barth had to set up room for them and so it is with pleasure that we will be able to enjoy once again the graceful and delicate silhouettes of these dragonflies of the sea. Olivier Vigoureux ‘s 'Paradox', a 63-foot Irens designed boat is seen as one of the favourites. She will however have to be quick if she wants to compensate for her high rating in comparison to Erick Clément’s fast 50-foot 'Dauphin Telecom' or Stéphane Cattoni ‘s efficient 40-footer 'Fildou'.

In order to welcome racing cruisers alongside the racers and prototypes, the Voiles de Saint Barth have added in the IRC 52 class this year. Around the world, 8000 boats received IRC certificates in 2011 and the leading races use IRC: the Fastnet, Spi Ouest-France, Copa del Rey, Asian Cup, Maxi Cup, Middle Sea Race, Japan Race... Jim Swartz, a regular at the Voiles de Saint Barth and godfather at the 2013 event will as usual be back at the helm of 'Vesper.' We can expect a race within the race, as he does battle with 'Varuna', Jens Kellinghusen’s Ker 51 and this promises to be an exciting duel and we can look forward to some enjoyable racing.

Each competitor leaves Saint Barth with wonderful memories of the stunning race areas.


For four years now, the Race Director, Luc Poupon has been laying out race courses for the Voiles de Saint-Barth based around the geography of the island for the various categories of boat and depending on the weather conditions that are possible out on the water.

'The layout of Saint-Barth is a real asset for us, as the coastal landscapes of the island are all very different and the presence of fifteen or so little islands means we can organize a wide range of race courses with a lot of changes of direction, which require a lot of manoeuvres from the crews,' explained Luc.

28 race courses ranging from 14 to 40 miles are being prepared beforehand, with the same starting line in the roadstead off Gustavia and the finish in the area around the Petits Saints. The final choice will depend on the weather conditions on the eve of the starts.

Once back on dry land, it is the legendary friendliness of all those, who enjoy the sea, which is combined with the festive atmosphere in Saint Barth. The Race Village will be host each evening after the races, to all of the competitors, who can to enjoy music from around the world, Rhythm and Blues, Rock, Zouk, merengue, electro… (for more information please see the programme).

The lay day on Thursday is a special feature of the Voiles and universally appreciated by the racers, who are able to share some time with their families and friends, when everyone at the event comes together. The Voiles de Saint-Barth invites all down to Nikki Beach on St Jean’s Beach for this lay day. From eleven in the morning, racing is replaced by a day of relaxation, with music and special events, including paddle races and water Loes Voiles de St Barth

PredictWind.com 2014Barz Optics - Kids rangeAncasta Ker 33 660x82

Related Articles

Melges 24 European Sailing Series - And the winners are…
Maximum number of races sailed in almost perfect conditions was a result of three-day Portoroz Melges 24 Regatta Maximum number of races sailed in almost perfect conditions was a result of three-day Portoroz Melges 24 Regatta - the season opener both for the 2017 Melges 24 European Sailing Series and Melges 24 Italian Sailing Series. Andrea Racchelli and his team on Altea ITA722, the winner of the 2016 Melges 24 European Sailing Series, were showing their superiority since the beginning of the regatta
Posted today at 5:43 am
Champions crowned after tricky finale at Sperry Charleston Race Week
Charleston is known for its reliable spring seabreeze, but the Holy City’s coast outdid itself this year Charleston is known for its reliable spring seabreeze, but the Holy City’s coast outdid itself this year during the 22nd edition of Sperry Charleston Race Week. It wasn’t just the three race days either; from the first team’s arrival for practice more than a week earlier until the lengthy awards ceremony on Sunday night, reliable southerly winds buffeted the region, ensuring maximum racing
Posted today at 4:27 am
She’s still here with us, and now we can be there for her
Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the most paramount is her effervescence. Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the most paramount is her effervescence. Yet it is what lies behind that which could be her most incredible characteristic. Sometimes you can almost overlook her steely determination, but not for long when you start talking with her. Catching up with her live from Cape Town surely was a vivid reminder of not only what this sailor can accomplish...
Posted today at 1:08 am
Wild Day 2 at Sperry Charleston Race Week
For a second day, Charleston Harbor and open ocean just offshore provided near-perfect conditions for over 200 teams For a second straight day, Charleston Harbor and the open ocean just offshore provided near-perfect conditions for over 200 competing teams at Sperry Charleston Race Week 2017. Boats across all six courses faced brisk southerly winds of 15-20 knots, while the offshore boats saw five-foot waves and big gusts on the second day of the biggest multiclass keelboat regatta in the Americas.
Posted on 23 Apr
The Vendée Globe skippers hosted at the Elysée Palace
The Elysée Palace yesterday hosted a grand ceremony where the Head of State honoured the heroes of offshore racing. The Elysée Palace yesterday hosted a grand ceremony where the Head of State honoured the heroes of offshore racing. Twenty-three of the twenty-nine Vendée Globe skippers attended the event, gathering around winner Armel Le Cléac’h, appointed Knight of the Legion of Honour.
Posted on 22 Apr
Boat International partners with NZ Millennium Cup 2018
Boat International partners with NZ Millennium Cup 2018 to celebrate superyacht regatta’s tenth anniversary Boat International Media, the global authority on superyachts and the luxury lifestyle that goes with them, has today announced that it will be partnering with the NZ Millennium Cup superyacht regatta, to be held in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands in January 2018.
Posted on 22 Apr
48th anniversary of Sir Robin’s Golden Globe victory
Robin Knox-Johnston set off for Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, striving to be the first person to sail single handed In 1968, when 29 year-old Robin Knox-Johnston set off for the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, striving to be the first person to sail single handed, nonstop around the world was not the only challenge he had to overcome.
Posted on 22 Apr
Golden Globe Race Plymouth start confirmed
The 2018 Golden Globe Race will start from Plymouth on Saturday June 30, 2018. The 2018 Golden Globe Race will start from Plymouth on Saturday June 30, 2018. The Race marks the 50th anniversary of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s victory in the Sunday Times Golden Globe solo non-stop round the world Race back in 1968/9.
Posted on 22 Apr
Just a perfect Day 1 of Melges 24 European Sailing Series
The Race Committee under the supervision of PRO Bojan Gale managed to execute three great races for the first event Just a perfect day! What else can you say about the day where all matches: wonderful weather with blue skies and sunshine, nice sea breeze up to 13 knots from South-West and happy Melges 24 sailors enjoying all of it at the first regatta
Posted on 21 Apr
World Cup Series Hyères – Returning to action
There will be a Riou partnering Besson, but this time it will be in the shape of former Laser Radial competitor, Amélie. Besson, along with partner Marie Riou, won all four Nacra 17 World Championship titles in the Rio 2016 quadrennial but failed to capitalise on that dominance as a back injury hampered any Olympic medal ambitions the pair harboured.
Posted on 21 Apr