Just a couple of weeks ahead of the start of the fourth Voiles de Saint Barth, the pace for the organisers is already picking up as they prepare to get the event underway. The programmes both out on the water and land are designed once again live up to the legendary reputation of an event that, in just three editions, has become a must on the calendar for yachtsman from around the world.
With Maxi Yachts, IRC 52s, and classics, the Voiles will bring together some of the world’s finest yachts in the magical setting of the islands of Saint Barth. Among them, is a large number of Swans, built in Finland and offering a perfect combination of performance, comfort and elegance. They will be closely watched as they do battle between eighth and 13th April.
Saint Barth promises sea, sunshine and freedom. The Voiles de Saint Barth will once again provide a rare opportunity to enjoy the finer side of sailing on a paradise island, the beauty of which you can be discovered by sea with a multitude of pretty little coves and anchorages to visit.
Sailing around the waters of Saint-Barth, you cannot fail to discover the otherwise hidden delights of a coast with so many charming creeks. Sailors can drop anchor and fully enjoy these picture postcard views and Colombier Cove, in the north west of the island, offers a number of mooring buoys. Located on the leeward side of the island, this cove, along with Gouverneur and Shell Beach, are favourite spots for all those seeking a beautiful view and a safe anchorage in which to relax.
On the southern coast, looking out towards Coco Island, Saline Cove is also well sheltered and a wonderful place to stop during sailing trips around these waters. Slightly further north, Forked Island offers a safe place to anchor, particularly for those who enjoy going for a stroll in what is a breathtaking, almost lunar landscape, offering an incredible view out over the island.
There are no fewer than twelve white, sandy beaches on the island of Saint Barth. Just a few decades ago, Gustavia was a tiny remote village. The rapid growth in the popularity of the island with tourists enabled modern, supporting infrastructures to be put in place. Today, it is very pleasant to go for a stroll along the harbour side and dream of all the magnificent yachts that fill the port during the high season.
Around ten Swans have already pre-registered for the 2013 event in the Maxi, Spinnaker and non-Spinnaker categories. Built in Finland by Nautor’s Swan, these yachts stand out for their excellent racing ability, while remaining very comfortable luxury vessels. Swans, which many people consider to be the ultimate sailing boats, offer some exceptional legendary qualities. One of these is its Finnish mystique without which a Swan would not be a Swan. These boats continue in any case to offer sheer pleasure with their simplified interior layout, which can be modified to offer comfortable conditions for cruising. The unique qualities you only find on Swans have been developed and perfected at the Nautor yard in Pietarsaari (Finland) which has been producing Swans for 37 years and today is under Italian management.
The first models were built in the sixties by the designers Sparkman & Stephens. German Frers took over in the eighties to offer an additional touch of elegance to the lines of these boats putting safety and comfort first. In 1998, Leonardo Ferragamo and a group of Italian investors revitalised the brand values of Swan, which are now characterized by glamour, performance and luxury. Over 2000 Swan yachts have so far been built. Some fine examples of this Swan concept of sailing in comfort will be on show at the Voiles de Saint Barth, including Varsovie 100 in the Maxi category, Arethusa 42 and Puffy 53 in the Spinnaker category and Alpha Centauri in the Non-Spinnaker category.
You can now take part in a competition called Sea, Sail & Sun on the Voiles de Saint Barth Facebook page. Simply send in your best picture of sails in the sun. The official partner, Gaastra, will be awarding a complete Voiles de Saint Barth outfit (First prize), a Voiles de Saint-Barth polo shirt (Second prize) and a Voiles de Saint Barth cap (Third prize) for the three photos that are selected, but hurry! 'Like' our Facebook page and post your photos on the wall. The competition is open until 8th April 2013. The three winning pictures will be selected after the event.
Registrations to compete in the 2013 edition of the Voiles de Saint Barth are open until 8th April. 62 boats are currently pre-registered. You can find the complete list of those that have signed up at Les Voiles de St Barth.
by Fabrice Thomazeau
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7:45 PM Mon 25 Mar 2013GMT
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