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Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez 2019 - Preview

by Maguelonne Turcat 16 Jun 2019 07:21 PDT 28 September - 6 October 2019
Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez day 5 © Gilles Martin-Raget /

Fast approaching its 20th anniversary, Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez remains as passionate as ever about the prospect of hosting 300 of the world's finest classic and modern boats. At the invitation of the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez and its President, Tony Oller, more than 4,000 crew are preparing to reinvest their energy and enthusiasm in the race village and the legendary port in France's Var region. Top-level races on the water and entertainment for all on shore are a prerequisite in the success of this unmissable end-of-season meeting.

For this anniversary edition come some extraordinary innovations for the classic and modern yachts alike. Among the former, Les Voiles is preparing to play host to the large schooners promoted by the new International Schooner Association (ISA) created in 2018 "to represent the interests of owners of classic schooners and the specific needs of these wonderful yachts with an historic mission." It's the first time this circuit has existed and Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez will be the only French leg and the last event on the programme.

With regards to the largest modern racers, for the first time in 2019 the IMA (International Maxi Association) is adding a new event to its official schedule under the name Mediterranean Maxi Inshore Challenge, which comprises 5 meetings set to round off in style in Saint Tropez within the context of Les Voiles.

On shore: a totally revamped village at the event's core

The beating heart of Les Voiles' 'onshore' activity, the village, which is open to competitors, locals and the wider public, has been a primary focus of the organiser: the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez. Set up behind the Harbour Master's Office, this year it is once again taking up the idea of an elevation of the Eastern section over two floors, which will notably accommodate the event's VIP area, providing exceptional panoramic views across the race zone and the port. Another new feature is the presence of the SNST's reception and registration chain, which will this year be placed at the entrance to the village. There will also be innovative changes to the general atmosphere of the event, which this year induces a sense of intimacy, since the chosen theme is "a boat's interior".

With a view to sharing these delights with the first International Meeting of Sustainable Mobility organised by the Town of Saint Tropez in partnership with the 5ème élément association from 20 to 24 September, the structure of Les Voiles village will this year be erected from mid-September.

SNSM and Les Voiles stand together

The world of ocean rescue, and more widely the marine world and all its practitioners, professionals, sportsmen and women and casual protagonists, have been in mourning since the tragic incident in Les Sables d'Olonne on Saturday 8 June where a lifeboat capsized during a rescue mission that resulted in the death of three of its volunteers. The SNSM (France's lifeboat association) has always had a special place in Saint Tropez, at both the Nioulargue and all the subsequent events at Les Voiles. For a number of years, the inscription fees for the classic boats were borne by the organisation, with participants being asked to make a donation to the association. As organiser of the traditional Tuesday 'sardinade' sardine festival the local delegation will naturally be in attendance. "We won't forget our colleagues" stresses Pierre-Yves Barasc, President of the SNSM of Saint Tropez "These events remind us that we must remain humble in relation to the sea; however we are keen to continue supporting this festive meeting, which is an important opportunity for racers and lifeboat men and women to come together."

My Song: message to the sea

One of the most famous movers and shakers of the IRC A Class at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez has been the victim of an extremely rare accident: the superyacht My Song. On Saturday 25 May, whilst lashed down to the deck of a cargo ship transporting her from the Caribbean to the Balearics the cradle, on which the 40-metre hull was being supported, broke causing her to fall off the boat into the sea. Fortunately, the salvage operation a week later enabled the Maxi to be towed to the port of Palma. The owner of the yacht, Pierluigi Loro Piana, is currently studying the different possibilities, as much for the boat herself as his involvement as partner to the various events in the Maxi event schedule, and notably Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, where he planned to step things up a gear in terms of his presence this year.

North Sails flies the flag of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez

Already a sponsor of the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez since 2018, North Sails is taking things up a notch by becoming official clothing supplier to Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez for the next 5 years. A specific lifestyle range has been created for the French audience by the designers of the original Italian brand, with a positioning intended to appeal to a broad spectrum of ultra-chic and comfortable sportswear fans, as well as a young target. This exclusive collection, which stuns in blue, white and red, is out now in the men's section of the BHV department store in Paris, as well as in several sections of Les Galeries Lafayette. Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez's range will also be available in a selection of prêt-à-porter boutiques.

Besserat de Bellefon: the Champagne Maison climbs aboard to celebrate the 20th anniversary

Champagne has a special place at every French festival, celebration and joyful social occasion. The 20th anniversary of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez is no exception to this tradition. Though the association of the names Besserat de Bellefon dates back to 1920, with the union of Edmond Besserat and Yvonne Meric de Bellefon, the company itself dates back to 1843, making it over 175 years old this year. Proof then of the excellence and renown of this name, whose vintages are not sold in the mass marketing circuit, instead being reserved for restaurants, wine merchants and individuals.

Programme for modern yachts:

Saturday 28, Sunday 29 September: Registration and inspection
Monday 30 September, Tuesday 1, Wednesday 2, Thursday 3 (J. Laurain Memorial Day, Challenge Day), Friday 4 and Saturday 5 October: Inshore races, 1st start 11:00 hours

Programme for classic yachts:

Sunday 29 and Monday 30 September: Registration and inspection
Sunday 29 September: arrival of the Yacht Club de France Autumn Cup feeder race from Cannes Tuesday 1, Wednesday 2, Thursday 3 (J.Laurain Memorial Day, Challenge Day, Club 55 Cup, GYC Centenary Trophy), Friday 4 and Saturday 5 October: Inshore race, 1st start 12:00 hours

Prize-giving for all fleets will be Sunday 6 October, from 11:00 hours.

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