Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Les Voiles de St. Barth - Ready to embrace Gustavia’s inner harbor

by Fabrice Thomazeau on 14 Mar 2014
Les Voiles de St. Barth 2013 © Christophe Jouany / Les Voiles de St. Barth http://www.lesvoilesdesaintbarth.com/
Anticipating seventy or more boats, the Les Voiles de St. Barth is adding entries at a good clip leading up to its 2014 regatta dates of April 14-19. Sixty two racing yachts have thus far confirmed plans to line the docks or otherwise slip into the warm embrace of Gustavia’s inner harbor and protected anchorage on the western side of St. Barthelemy island where the Quai Général de Gaulle is the event’s headquarters and lively epicenter for shoreside socializing.

Seven or more 'maxis' (to be further separated into Maxi-Racing and Maxi-Racing Cruising/CSA Rating) are sure to steal the show in terms of sheer elegance and their precisely calculated approaches to competition, while at least 39 'spinnaker' yachts (to be further sorted into Spinnaker 1 and 2/CSA Rating), three IRC 52s, five Non-Spinnaker yachts and eight Racing Multihulls will impress with a dazzling array of sailing talent aboard, ranging from home-grown Corinthians to worldly professionals.

'We’re delighted to be coming back to Les Voiles de St. Barth with Rambler (a Reichel-Pugh designed 90 footer),' said owner George David (Hartford, Connecticut), giving an appreciative nod to the event’s fifth anniversary. 'It’s an exceptional regatta given its venue and organization, and this will be the fourth year for us (three in the 90’ Rambler and one in Rambler 100). The winds begin to moderate seasonally in April, but we recall a good many days of well over 20 knots.'

Although he credits consistently good sailing with helping Rambler to win its class in three prior appearances, David expects tough competition in 2014 from at least two of the newer mini-maxis. 'They’re quicker around shorter courses than we are, and they’re a decade newer in design and build.'

David’s reference is undoubtedly to Hap Fauth’s (Minneapolis, Minn.) Judel/Vrolik 72 Bella Mente and Alex Schaerer’s (Newport, R.I.) Mills 68 Caol Ila R. Both are new to the regatta.


'I’ve done a fair amount of racing at the St. Barths Bucket, about five or six, over the years, but I’ve never done this regatta,' said Fauth. 'I love sailing around St. Barths. We keep (our cruising sailboat) Whisper there a lot, and the conditions are just fantastic. It will be fun to race a raceboat in this environment, which I know from a cruising standpoint.'

Just off the high of steering Bella Mente to win the mini maxi class at Key West Race Week (where Caol Ila R came second) and finish second overall and second in IRC Z class at the RORC 600, where Rambler finished sixth and fifth, respectively, Fauth added, 'Rambler has got a lot of waterline, and they’re tough; they’re well sailed. We have a couple of tricks up our sleeves, and our team will get four days of practice in and then we’ll let ‘er go. It should be fun.'

Bella Mente finished fourth to Caol Ila R‘s fifth at last year’s Mini Maxi Worlds and, according to Fauth, is 'tactically and strategically up to speed' on the coastal racing that is signature to Les Voiles de St. Barth. 'If we sail well and don’t make any mistakes, the outcome will take care of itself, but you’ve got to practice before these regattas to get the crew back in sync.'

As many teams will do during the regatta, Bella Mente Racing will spread out over several villas, with one central gathering house designated for meetings and meals that are not enjoyed at the regatta or at local restaurants. 'We are going to tie up next to Whisper in the anchorage because Bella Mente draws so much water,' said Fauth.


Along with the 72’ Aragon, the 77’ Ocean Phoenix and the 112’ Highland Breeze, Wendy Schmidt’s Swan 80 Selene will be another decidedly American entry to watch among the Maxis. Having last year won Maxi class overall, Schmidt will be traveling over 2300 miles for her repeat appearance, yet she will find St. Barth in many ways similar to her home island of Nantucket off the coast of Massachusetts.

Only eight square miles, the tiny collectivity of St. Barth--nestled among the leeward islands that comprise the French West Indies--is at once both sophisticated and quaint, busy and laid back, complicated and simple. In-season, it’s a luxurious destination for the rich and famous, with its cobblestone streets, gingerbread architecture, fine restaurants and fancy boutiques, while off-season, during Les Voiles de St. Barth, it’s the perfect playground for enjoying all of that plus the best regatta action in the Caribbean.

Bakewell-White Yacht DesignKilwell - 1Schaefer 2016 Ratchet 300x250

Related Articles

Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 2
Yachting NZ's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is unprecedented Yachting New Zealand's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is without precedent. Subject to Appeal, the Kiwis have signaled that they will reject 30% of the positions gained in the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander in 2014.
Posted on 22 May
Gladwell's Line - World Sailing changes tack after IOC windshift
Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick. Every blow well earned over issues such as the pollution at Rio, the Israeli exclusion abomination plus a few more. But now World Sailing is getting it right.
Posted on 21 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 1
Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving its goals Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving goals set in the Olympic Commission report of 2010. Around 64 countries are expected to be represented in Rio de Janeiro in August. That is a slight increase on Qingdao and Weymouth, but more importantly a full regional qualification system is now in place
Posted on 19 May
Taming the beast-a conversation with Stuart Meurer of Parker Hannifin
While AC72 cats were fast, they difficult to control, so Oracle partnered with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way. If you watched videos of the AC72s racing in the 34th America’s Cup (2013), you’re familiar with the mind-boggling speeds that are possible when wingsail-powered catamarans switch from displacement sailing to foiling mode. While foiling is fast, there’s no disguising the platform’s inherent instability. Now, Oracle Team USA has teamed up with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way.
Posted on 18 May
From foiling Moths to Olympic starting lines-a Q&A with Bora Gulari
Bora Gulari’s is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class, along with teammate Louisa Chafee. Bora Gulari (USA) has made a strong name for himself within high-performance sailing circles, with wins at the 2009 and 2013 Moth Worlds. In between, he broke the 30-knort barrier and was the 2009 US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. His latest challenge is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class as skipper, along with his teammate Louisa Chafee.
Posted on 12 May
Concern for Zika at Rio Olympics is now deadly serious
Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, or the Rio Olympics. Many others have, and they were apt, but things have changed. So here now we have a situation where one man, Associate Professor Amir Attaran, who does have a more than decent string of letters after his name, is bringing nearly as many facts to bear as references at the article's end
Posted on 12 May
Zhik - The brand born of a notion, not its history
here is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline is officially marketed as Made For Water There is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline has been officially marketed as Made For Water, and this is precisely what the company has done for the last eight years before the succinct and apt strapline came from out of R&D and into mainstream visibility.
Posted on 8 May
Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr