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Setting a course for the 10th Edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille

by Maguelonne Turcat 25 Nov 2018 05:07 PST 14-20 April 2019
Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille © Théo Reynal

With the turquoise waters of the Caribbean's paradise island preparing to host the 10 th edition from 14 - 20 April 2019, the regatta is proud to sport a new name: Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille.

In 2010 two sailing enthusiasts, François Tolède and Luc Poupon, created Les Voiles de St. Barth. The event's humble beginning hosted 13 boats but together with Richard Mille, they set the foundation to become one of the finest regattas in the Antilles Arc. The new title designation testifies to the power of this wonderful partnership.

Incredible Racing, World-Class Shoreside Hospitality in a Dream Setting

Over the past nine years, nearly 500 boats and thousands of professional and amateur sailors on high-performance yachts have enjoyed the magic elixir of close competitive racing, casual and classy après sailing social activities and soaking up the warm Saint Barth hospitality. Many of these sailors come from northern climates hungry for the Caribbean sun and warm breeze, and all agree Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille has the right combination in place to deliver an incredible week.

The biggest names in sailing have graced the stage from Americans Ken Read, Cam Lewis, Terry Hutchinson and Dutchman Bouwe Bekking, with Lionel Péan and Loïck Peyron just a few of the French talent on board each year.

"For this anniversary edition, we're inviting all the historical participants to come back and embrace the magic of Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille. Help us celebrate our 10th anniversary in style," said François Tolède.

Highlight on the 2019 Maxi Racing Calendar; An Important Year for the Multihulls

Boasting an increasingly large fleet of Maxis attending the Richard Mille Maxi Cup, the event has unquestionably gained momentum. According to Benoît de Froidmont, president of the International Maxi Association:

"I'd say that Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille is a subtle blend of Saint Tropez and Porto Cervo -- with its own Caribbean style," said de Froidmont. "On shore we find the charm of Saint Tropez and an extraordinary festival spirit. On the water, we navigate a landscape of heavenly islets akin to La Maddalena. Saint Barth's is a superb stretch of water offers up excellent sailing and wind conditions for the Maxi Yachts. This type of course has great appeal as it's both varied and technical. To win, you need a combination of tactics and great navigational skill, which is what makes it so popular."

The regatta's multihull fleet also continues to grow, and the regatta is now considered a "must attend" event on their racing calendar. Race Director Luc Poupon aims to the best possible welcome for the multihulls by adapting the race categories and courses.

The 2019 fleet will be further bolstered by those boats currently participating in the Route du Rhum, which will be keen to round off their singlehanded transatlantic passages with some sociable crewed races.

New in 2019: A Switch to the IRC rule for the Maxis and Maxi 72s

The IRC rule is used in regattas around the world, from the Giraglia to the RORC 600. And now, Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille will join these world-class events and use IRC for the Maxis and Maxi 72s to help create consistency across the circuits.

Richard Mille: A strengthened friendship

Theirs is a history of trust which is constantly evolving. Indeed, the natural catastrophe that affected the island and its inhabitants in September 2017 has merely accentuated Richard Mille's desire to support the growth of this pearl of the Caribbean. That is why he has taken on the role of title partner of the regatta for the 10th edition. Competitive sailing shares the ideas peculiar to Richard Mille by combining extreme performance, cutting-edge technology and a strong artistic dimension in line with the discipline's traditions. "There is a genuine link between watchmaking and sailing. Many hours of R&D are required to design a Mille watch, and like boats on drawing boards and in shipyards, our watches are created by hand from man's passion and know-how", explains Richard Mille.

In order to reach nigh on unprecedented levels of performance, the company from the Jura department in eastern France has studied the most innovative materials, which hail from the latest technological advances in yachting, to make exclusive Richard Mille materials from it such as TPT® carbon, which now forms part of a number of the models from the collection. The Richard Mille expertise in diving watches has asserted itself through the creation of several models including the RM 025 Tourbillon Chronograph, the RM 028 Automatic – a special edition of which has been created in honour of Les Voiles de St Barth Richard Mille – and the RM 032 Chronograph. The brand has resolutely confirmed the importance of the marine environment in its collection, notably with the RM 60-01 Chronograph Flyback Regatta, presented as a limited edition in the regatta's colours in 2015. It is driven by an automatic RMAC2 calibre made of grade 5 titanium and a 55-hour power reserve with a variable inertia balance wheel, Flyback chronograph functions, an annual calendar and a large date and UTC display. The RM 60-01 facilitates navigation thanks to its special rotating bezel, punctuated by four cardinal points and a 360 degrees graduated disk with a 24-hour counter. What sets this watch apart from other navigation timepieces is a capacity to orientate the wearer in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

Les Voiles de St Barth Richard Mille is paying tribute to these extraordinary creations. To celebrate this partnership, the winner of this top-flight competition will win a highly exclusive "RM 60-01 Chronograph Flyback Regatta".

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