Saturday was the last chance for racing at this year's Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. The wind gods must have taken to heart the prayers of the 3,000 or so participants as the violent Mistral winds of yesterday died down just enough to allow a final race before tomorrow's prize giving ceremony.
Conditions were bright and clear and a two-hour delay was enough to allow the wind to stabilise sufficiently for racing to commence. Stabilise is in relative terms, given the wind did not settle from one direction. Equally difficult was the strength, which rose at times to 12 knots inside the Gulf and 18 outside, but just as often dropped as low as 6 knots.
Results for this third and final race, the overall results and the winner of the Rolex Trophy will only be announced at tomorrow's prize giving ceremony, set to take place at 1100 at La Citadelle overlooking Saint-Tropez. Current standings (after two races and not including results of today) see Mariquita on top of the rankings followed by Moonbeam III and Altair (Schooner A). The rankings in the Schooner B category are respectively Bona Fide, Oriole and Maribel. Rowdy is currently leading the Marconi A division, followed by The Blue Peter and Agneta.
As the sailing season comes to an end in Saint-Tropez, we take one last look back in time and find ourselves face to face with Alfred Mylne, another of the great classic yacht designers of the 19th and 20th centuries. Alfred Mylne is known primarily for his role in helping establish the International Metre Class Rule and for designing some of the outstanding yachts that raced under it. In 1896 he set up his own company, Alfred Mylne & Co., known today as the oldest operating yacht design office in the world. A Bit about the International Metre Class Rule
International Metre Class yachts are racing yachts that are separated into classes based on each yacht's rating. A yacht's rating is determined by a formula that takes into account different measurements (including the vessel's overall length, length on waterline, draft, the overall height of the rig, measurements of various sails and more). These measurements may differ for each yacht in a specific class, but when applied to the formula, the resulting figure must produce the rating of 23-Metres, 19- Metres, 15-Metres, 12-Metres, 6-Metres, etc.
Yachts of the same metre class are not made to be identical, like in a one-design class, instead the rule is open to interpretation by each individual yacht designer.
12-Metres were used in challenges for the America's Cup from 1958-1987 and today many 6-, 8-, and 12-Metre classes survive and actively race, usually on the classic yacht circuit. The 2.4-Metre Class, created in 1982, is another active metre class that is currently in use at the Paralympics Games. Alfred Mylne, a pure designer
Alfred Mylne was born in 1872 in Glasgow, Scotland, and began his studies with Scottish ship builders Napier, Shanks and Bell. In 1892, at the age of 20, Mylne began work for G.L. Watson as a draftsman. Under Watson, Mylne drew up the designs for Britannia, a racing cutter for the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII). Four years later Mylne set up his own office, Alfred Mylne & Co.
Mylne helped establish the International Metre Class Rule in 1906 and subsequently designed many boats that raced under the rule. These included 12-Metres Nargie and Mouchette (1908), Javotte and Cyra (1909), Moyana II (1924), Veronica (1931), Marina (1935) and Jenetta (1939).
Mylne participated at the 1908 London Olympics sailing aboard his own 12-Metre design Mouchette, which won the silver medal in racing held on the Clyde - the only Olympic competition ever held in Scotland. In 1911 Mylne designed Octavia, a 19-metre class cutter which, despite four other close competitors, finished top of the 'The Big Class' by the end the sailing season. Octavia's Fife-designed competitor Mariquita is present at this year's edition of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez.
In 1930 Mylne launched the British cutter The Blue Peter, named for good luck after the 'P' flag, which is currently used as the five-minute signal before starting a race. The Blue Peter was very successful and went on to win many regattas over the next few decades and she still participates actively in the classic yacht circuit.
It was in 1936 that Mylne was commissioned by Sir Arthur Young to design a large sea worthy cruiser. One year later the beautiful Thendara was launched; one of last large cruisers to be constructed before World War II and one of the best-preserved yachts of her period still sailing today.
In 1950, Mylne's Nerida was the overall winner of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, now sponsored by Rolex.
Arthur Mylne's career lasted more than half a century and he produced a broad range of yachts, almost 400 in total, before his death in 1951.
Mylne passed the company on to his nephew (also named Alfred Mylne) and it continued to operate independently until 2007, when it was acquired by Ace Marine, a Fife-based organization of naval architects.
At this edition of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez two Mylne designs are competing for the 2008 Rolex Trophy - The Blue Peter and the great Thendara.
Tomorrow's prize giving ceremony is set to take place at 1100 at La Citadelle overlooking Saint-Tropez (upon invitation). For the third consecutive year Rolex is in the 'Partner Club' for Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. This regatta, organized by the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez (SNST), is part of the Rolex Yachting Portfolio that includes over twenty world-class sailing events that take place around the world. Rolex is also the title sponsor of mythic races such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart, the Rolex Middle Sea Race and the legendary Rolex Fastnet Race.
For more information about the Rolex Yachting Calendar: www.regattanews.com