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Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez Day 3 - It's a kind of magic!

by Maguelonne Turcat 30 Sep 13:17 PDT 26 September - 9 October 2020
Voiles de Saint-Tropez day 3 © Gilles Martin-Raget

Wind, sunshine and the most beautiful classic and modern boats racing in the bay of Saint Tropez. Who could ask for more, particularly on a day which was forecast to be oh so very different?

Defying the most pessimistic forecasts and benefiting from a slightly delayed start to proceedings, this third day of racing provided the perfect blend of Monday's breezy conditions and yesterday's light airs, with a medium SW'ly wind of around ten knots kicking in at the start of the afternoon. This proved to be conducive to a series of hassle-free launches, one after the other, of the 5 groups of Modern craft and the 9 groups of Classics grouped into three starts.

Yesterday's jousting clearly whetted the competitors' appetites in each of the groups with an amicable air of revenge colouring play in the 15-mile course throughout racing. This resulted in fairly bunched fleets, close-contact duels, as well as some fine tactical moves, all of which punctuated a wonderful summer's afternoon, in the typically radiant light of the bay, to the great delight of the sailors keen to enjoy life's simple pleasures and the freedom of being out on the water.

The low-down on the BMW Trophy

The BMW Trophy will this year be awarded to the best of the highly sporty IRCCs. Among them are the cream of the 40 to 50-foot racer-cruisers, designed by some of the greats from contemporary naval architecture, like Briand, Frers, Kouyoumdjian and Vrolijk, and built by some of the most excellent yards of the day, like Persico, Mylius and CNB. Kitted out for racing and competition, they feature some of the most cutting-edge equipment in ocean racing, together with the most sophisticated suits of sails.

Full-on, daggers drawn racing, it is very much what one might expect of those competing for the prestigious BMW Trophy. At the midway mark, with three races validated, it's hard to predict who will take victory at this stage. Lisa R, Giovanni Di Vicenzo's Ker 46, excelled in Monday's breeze. Then Gian Marco Magrini's A40 Vito 2 got her revenge yesterday in the light airs. However, it's Lisa R that reaped the benefits today in the medium breeze, which bodes well for an exciting conclusion to the week.

52 footers: advantage the red arrow

Vadim Yakimenko (Freccia Rossa - red arrow) and Stéphane Névé (Spirit of Malouen) are both jockeying for position in the group of pacy 52 footers, which include the TP52s. Monday's winner, Stéphane Névé had to bow to the supremacy of the Italian Vrolijk design and world ORC champion in 2016.

Tomorrow Thursday, Challenge Day

To celebrate the creative spirit of the original race to the Nioulargue between Ikra and Pride in 1981, those competing in Les Voiles are traditionally invited to challenge one another on Thursday, in line with their affinities rather than any logical measurement, for the sheer delight of doing battle with fellow racers. As such, onlookers will have a chance to witness some surprising clashes in terms of style, rig and period of yacht, the loser having to foot the bill for a sumptuous meal. Race Management will open the line throughout the morning off Portalet, after the start of the Club 55 Cup. Worth watching is the tripartite challenge between the three P Class yachts Olympian, Chips and Corinthian, as well as Eileen (Anker 1938) against Ellen (Bonin 1931).

Club 55 Cup: in the wake of pioneers

Among the haul of famous sports trophies contested during Les Voiles, the Club 55 Cup has a very special place. Relaunched in 2003, this unique duel at the heart of the week is much more than a commemoration. It's a genuine homage to the spirit of racing as practised in the last century when, eager for a chance to compete in a friendly, two captains launched a challenge for the love of the sport and an opportunity to size up the performance of a yacht and her crew out on the water. Since its revival, the Club 55 Cup has seen 9 winners. For this 2020 edition, it's about going back to its beginnings, since the Club 55 Cup will see the 12mR Ikra challenge the JP54 The Kid, a modern boat dating back to 2010.

Today's partners:

North Sails, clothing partner for Les Voiles 2020
Elegance, sunshine and beach. A wave of colour and elegance is breaking onto the shores of France's Var region with the very special Les Voiles de Saint Tropez collection. Its inspirations are a sense of freedom and a thirst for exploration; features it shares with the most eagerly awaited yacht race in the Mediterranean. Elisa Riva, Head of Marketing: "For the past two years, North Sails has partnered Les Voiles and its Saint Tropez boutiques are open year-round. Our collection dedicated to Les Voiles has been a great hit. It comes in numerous colours and comprises a men's, women's and kids' range. The nautical inspiration is naturally felt everywhere, in tribute to the founder of North Sails, American Lowell North, an engineer and Olympic medallist. The North Sails boutique in the village at Les Voiles is located at the front of the port. It is a space entirely dedicated to the special Les Voiles de Saint Tropez collection, which sees the introduction of eco-friendly materials: jackets in recycled nylon and polo shirts and T-Shirts in organic cotton." At the end of the week, North Sails will reward the best yacht in the Modern IRC B category.

Torpez, the Vineyards of Saint Tropez
The harvests in the Saint Tropez vineyard, which began on 21 August this year, have just been completed and will now switch over to the vinification period. Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez has just begun and its programme has now been switched to a two-week format. The SNST's desire to run Les Voiles remains unchanged and the same is true for Torpez's harvests and vinification. The Bay and its Vineyard both share a home at the Heart of Saint Tropez and with it the magic and sociability synonymous with the people of the Sea and the people of the Land, between those passionate about the Water and those passionate about Wine. Each crew at Les Voiles will be awarded a case of wine, whilst the Torpez trophy itself will be awarded to the best Classic Yacht from the Epoque Aurique A (Period Gaffer A) group.

Week 1: The Voiles de Saint-Tropez

  • Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th September: registration for boats up to 20 meters (except for certain classes)
  • Monday 28th September: racing for modern yachts
  • Tuesday 29th, Wednesday 30th September, Friday 2nd, Saturday 3rd October: racing for modern yachts and classic yachts
  • Thursday 1st October: Challenge Day
  • Saturday 3rd October: prize-giving (week 1)

Week 2: The Voiles Super Boats

  • Sunday 4th and Monday 5th October: big boat registration (Wally, IRCA, Maxi yachts, big Classic, big Schooner)
  • Tuesday 6th, Wednesday 7th, Thursday 8th, Friday 9th: big boat racing
  • Friday 9th October: prize-giving (week 2)

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