Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad/Oracle Supplier

Les Voiles de St. Barth - Door opens for rankings shift

by Fabrice Thomazeau on 13 Apr 2013
Les Voiles de Saint Barth 2013 © Tim Wright / Les Voiles de St Barth http://www.lesvoilesdesaintbarth.com/
The Les Voiles de Saint Barth competitors - well-rested after a lay-day spent at the beach and enjoying other leisurely pursuits, returned to the race course today. Despite a forecast that called for rain and increased winds, sunshine and trade winds prevailed, though the breeze was lighter at 12 to 14 knots.

Principal Race Officer Jean Coadou gave the Maxi/Racing, Spinnaker 1,2,3 and Melges 24 classes two races today: counter-clockwise courses of 17 and 14 nautical miles around St. Barths. Classics, Non-Spinnaker, and Multi-hull classes completed one race, a 31-nautical miler around St. Barths and all of the nearby islets.

After the initial two days of racing, most of the class leaders had only a slight lead, so the door was open for movement in the rankings. It was an opportunity on which only one boat really managed to capitalize. First-time leader in the highly competitive Spinnaker 1 class was the Swan 53 Music (RSA), which took firsts in both races today, and now trails Defiance by one point.

Owner/skipper James Blakemore is originally from Cape Town, South Africa, as is all of his crew. This was Blakemore and Music’s first foray in the Caribbean; while the plan had been to compete in just two events -- the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and the Rolex Swan Cup in the BVI -- Blakemore decided to do just one more regatta after Music was first in the former and second in the latter.

Before docking out earlier today, Blakemore said, 'The courses are really fabulous, and the wind is great. There are some really good downwind legs, with a big swell. You really have to keep on your toes to keep up the boat speed, so helming plays a big part. Technically, I think we have sailed well around the course; we have not had any mishaps, and the crew is very accomplished. We have lost a few seconds here and there, and hopefully we can catch up a bit today.'

Blakemore is a supporter of youth sailing and was involved in the South African America’s Cup challenger Shosholoza. Included in Music’s crew are Matthew Whitehead and Dave Shilton, who sailed for the South African team in the recent Red Bull Youth America's Cup selection series in San Francisco. Whitehead was the helmsman for the team on the AC45 catamarans. Though he finished in sixth place, out of contention, Whitehead was upbeat: 'It wasn’t the result we were looking for, but it was an achievement for our team just to make it to the event. It was an awesome experience.'


Leading Spinnaker 1 is Defiance (USA), a Martin 49 chartered by Steve Cucchiaro, an accomplished sailor in his own right, who assembled an all-star crew. Cucchiaro was a two-time All-American Intercollegiate Sailor at MIT and a 470 sailor in the 1980 Olympics. Defiance’s crew are friends from all over and include Olympic Gold medalists, national North American champions, and former collegiate all-American sailors.

Dockside before today’s racing, Cucchiaro said, 'Conditions for this regatta are just as advertised: absolutely fantastic. The race direction and course management have been great, and the competition has been very difficult – we have had to sail our very best. These races today will be shorter, so we have to put an even bigger premium on the start. It will certainly give a chance to the whole fleet to mix it up a bit, and it is great to get the extra racing. I have been told by people who have been to this event before that this has been the toughest competition yet in our class, and there are a lot of really friendly sailors on the other boats, which makes for a really great week.'

Jim Swartz’ TP52 Vesper (USA) continued her streak of bullets to lead the Maxi/Racing class overall.

Sergio Sagramosa’s Lazy Dog (PUR) dropped one race today to Ramanessin (IRE), but still leads by two points.

In the Melges 24 class, it’s been the usual back-and-forth battle between Team Island Water World and Budget Marine/Gill.

The Non-Spinnaker class has a mix of experienced sailors and boats that for one reason or another do not have enough crew to manage racing with a spinnaker and all that entails.


Certainly the Class 40 Merena (BEL), owned and skippered by Alexis and Sylvie Guillaume, has enough sea miles under it, but the couple also enjoys sailing with youngsters. They are racing at Les Voiles with friends from Belgium and Guillame’s 12- and 14-year old sons and two of their friends’ children. Hailing from Brussels, Belgium, the couple has owned the Class 40 yacht since it was launched in 2006 as hull number eight of what became a very popular and successful offshore racing class.

For the Guillames Merena also has proved to be a very capable and comfortable cruising boat. Last year, they sailed from Belgium to Cape Town with the plan to continue around to Australia, but plans changed and they decided to turn around and head back north to Europe, via the Caribbean. With stops in Rio de Janeiro and the island of Martinique, they arrived in St. Barths in time to compete at Les Voiles de St. Barth, joined by friends with which the couple races and cruises.

'New this year, we have the kids on board, and they seem to like the racing very much...that’s good news for me!,' said Alexis Guillame. 'They participate in all of the maneuvers, pulling the ropes and everything. St Barths is really a place I love. We’ve been coming here for 15 years. We really like the atmosphere and the fact that everything is cool, easy, and friendly -- it’s so different from the rest of the Caribbean.'


In the Multihull class, Peter Aschenbrenner’s 63-foot trimaran Paradox (USA) took its third bullet in as many races. The Nigel Irens-designed multihull sped around the 31-nautical mile course in three hours and 26 minutes.

Aschenbrenner, from San Francisco, had Paradox built in France and often has French sailors on board. 'The island is beautiful, the beaches are nice, and then there is the French culture,' he said. 'It is not really like the Caribbean; it is more like a little bit of France in the Caribbean. We get fewer crazy looks here in Saint Barth than on other islands of the Caribbean because the French are so attuned to multihull sailing and have been for decades and they are passionate about sailing. Most of the top multihull sailors are French and so they are way up the curve and see this boat as being normal. Most places you go you are like an alien race!'

Cam Lewis, tactician and navigator onboard, said: 'We sailed here on Paradox last year and had a fantastic time. These courses are ideal for multihulls and with the breeze up it is fun. They do a great job with the courses and it is really entertaining. The French, being multihull experts, need to get more boats over for the competition!'

Aschenbrenner and his crew are staying in a villa overlooking the beach at Corossol, with their trimaran anchored below. The villa stay is a prize that event sponsor WIMCO presents to each class winner at Les Voiles de St. Barth.


Les Voiles de St Barth

Kilwell - 6InSunSport - NZT Clewring - Generic

Related Articles

National birthdays and sailing—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond
Editorial Editorial
Posted today at 9:34 pm
Volvo Ocean Race 'back on track'
Cape of Good Hope and Australia to port Not since the 2005–06 Volvo Ocean Race has the fleet roared east from the tip of South Africa across the Southern Ocean, but the course now described for the 2017-18 edition has returned the race to its roots.
Posted today at 4:25 am
Volvo Ocean Race adds full Southern Ocean Leg and 5000nm to new course
Volvo Ocean Race has announced a new course for the 2017/18 round the world event. Several major changes are planned including a return to a full Southern Ocean leg, and the addition of a massive Leg 5 of 13,300nm - the longest leg ever sailed in the Volvo Ocean Race. A minimum circumnavigation around the planet is approximately 21,600nm to be recognised as, a record for the course.
Posted today at 4:23 am
National team Send-Off Party set for July 27th in Houston
Fourteen athletes who have earned a place on the U.S. National Sailing Team will be treated to a rousing Send-Off Party Fourteen athletes who have earned a place on the U.S. National Sailing Team will be treated to a rousing Send-Off Party on July 27th in Houston, Texas at Houston Yacht Club, presented by Sunbrella.
Posted today at 2:42 am
Five tips for boaters to get through the holiday weekend
This July 4 holiday weekend there will be more recreational boaters on the water than at any other time of year This July 4 holiday weekend there will be more recreational boaters on the water than at any other time of year, according to Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS).
Posted today at 1:47 am
My Best Olympic Race – Vasilij Zbogar
Memorable moments won’t always be the golden ones. They can be hitting a personal best, breaking a national record Speak to any athlete and ask them about a moment that defines their career. Whether it happened five days, five months, five years or even fifty years ago the chances are the memory of that moment is clearly engraved in their minds.
Posted on 27 Jun
Second round of the FAST40+ Racing Circuit proves to be real thriller
With its double tides, sand banks, channels and numerous land effects, the Solent is a complex place to sail. With its double tides, sand banks, channels and numerous land effects, the Solent is a complex place to sail. The highly changeable weather scenario including thunder and lightening added another dimension to the regatta. However, in the light weight FAST40+ Class, speed is always king.
Posted on 27 Jun
2016 Land Rover Kelowna Canadian National Championship overall
The championship started on June 24 with nothing but wind and March temperatures keeping all sailors dressed for weather The definition of Corinthian is a team with no professional sailors on board. The second in overall ranking and first place in the Corinthian Fleet is Fraser McMillan and the Wet Coast Sailing Team on Sunnyvale CAN151 from Brentwood Bay, Canada
Posted on 27 Jun
Clipper Race – Will there be successful North Atlantic escape artist?
The winds started lightening yesterday, and boat speeds are low today in the fluky airs at around the halfway race mark. ClipperTelemed+ is now leading the fleet again, with former race leader Derry~Londonderry~Doire in second and LMAX Exchange in third after coming out of Stealth Mode as it attempted to bluff the other teams regarding going for the Scoring Gate.
Posted on 27 Jun
Superyacht Cup ends spectacularly after 3 days of hair-raising action
An exhilarating event which perfectly mixes fun times with fierce racing in the Mediterranean's popular superyacht haunt P2, with three bullets to her name, was the undisputed winner in Class B. In classic Class D it was the gleaming Herreshoff designed Mariette of 1915 who, also with a perfect score of three firsts, championed.
Posted on 27 Jun