Please select your home edition
Edition
SailX 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
Bakewell-White Yacht DesignNewport Boat Show 2016 660x82InSunSport - NZ

Related Articles

LVACWS Portsmouth 2016 – standing room only.
There are no half measures where English weather is concerned. There are no half measures where English weather is concerned. Happily, that means that when it’s good it very, very good. Blue skies, sunshine, 23 deg C, clean air, and the whole place looks as if has put on a party frock and got lit up. Wonderful.
Posted on 23 Jul
America’s Cup World Series 2016 – More Day 1 images by Carlo Borlenghi
Photographer Carlo Borlenghi has provided this gallery of images from race day one Photographer Carlo Borlenghi has provided this gallery of images from race day one
Posted on 23 Jul
America’s Cup World Series 2016 – Race Day 1 images by Carlo Borlenghi
Photographer Carlo Borlenghi has provided this gallery of images from race day one Photographer Carlo Borlenghi has provided this gallery of images from race day one
Posted on 23 Jul
America’s Cup World Series – Sir Ben jumps into the lead in Portsmouth
Hot, sunny conditions and thousands of fans lining the Portsmouth seafront was the backdrop to crowd-pleasing action. The home team, Land Rover BAR, led by skipper Sir Ben Ainslie, recovered from a poor first race result to win the second two contests and complete the day at the top of the leaderboard, much to the delight of the tens of thousands of cheering fans lining the shorefront.
Posted on 23 Jul
LV America's Cup World Series 2016 – Poised to pounce for Super Sunday
Oracle Team USA showed determination and fightback in claiming two second place finishes from the first two races Unfortunately, in the third race, the team was pushed right to the back of the pack and couldn't recover. The results leave the team on equal points for third place with SoftBank Team Japan, just three points behind the leaders, Land Rover BAR and Groupama Team France.
Posted on 23 Jul
America’s Cup World Series 2016 – More action images by Ingrid Abery
Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images
Posted on 23 Jul
America’s Cup World Series 2016 – Some action images by Ingrid Abery
Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images Photographer Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images
Posted on 23 Jul
Bumper action on Day 1 of Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series
Feedback from teams put this down to a tight start line, tidal influence and the constantly shifting breeze to the right Feedback from all of the teams put this down to a tight start line, tidal influence and the constantly shifting breeze to the right resulting in 'bumper car' action that kept spectators on their toes, wondering what was going to happen next.
Posted on 23 Jul
ORC World Championship 2016 – Final race action shots by Max Ranchi
Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from final race Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from final race
Posted on 23 Jul
Last call! Counting down to a good time! - Register today
We are a week away from the start of the inaugural Camden Classics Cup and busy confirming numbers with our caterers We are a week away from the start of the inaugural Camden Classics Cup and busy confirming numbers with our caterers and libation suppliers. Meanwhile, the race committee is finalizing courses for a variety of possible conditions and making offerings to the weather deities. It is going to be a great time.
Posted on 23 Jul