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RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez Day 4 - 40 years on, the Nioulargue is revived at Les Voiles!

by Maguelonne Turcat 30 Sep 12:51 PDT 25 September - 9 October 2021

Rocking up to Saint Tropez this Thursday, one could have been forgiven for thinking Les Voiles had lost its mind. However, the long-held tradition of this special day is fully understood and much appreciated by racers and owners alike as they leave the rankings to one side for a day to launch a series of non-point-scoring challenges in line with the original spirit of the Nioulargue, created on a stroke of genius by Patrice de Colmont back in 1981, and celebrated both at sea and on land.

Combining all genres, classes and styles, the Club 55 Cup and the Centenarians race is a display of yachting at its best, its only objectives being the beauty of the gesture and the sheer enjoyment of being out on the water with like-minded people. Mirroring Ikra and Pride, pioneers of the Nioulargue some 40 years ago, it was Jean-Pierre Dick's prototypeThe Kid and the Marconi ketch Stormvogel, designed by Van de Stadt-Giles-Illingworth (1962), which went head to head today with ultimate victory going to The Kid, with Bill Jayson, whose father Dick owned Pride, as crew. Among the Centenarians, the competition went right to the wire with Olympian finally securing the win.

Challenge Day

Tradition has it that any skipper on any boat can challenge another on this very special Thursday at Les Voiles with Race Management opening up a start line set off Le Portalet and festivities being announced via VHF... In this way, a dozen or so challenges set sail from 12:30 hours in a light NW'ly wind that built as it clocked round to the east over the course of the afternoon. In this way, the large ketch Hygie competed against the gunter rig Alcyon 1871, whilst Eileen 1938 opened up her challenge to several yachts at the same time, namely Hellen and Marge and two Modern yachts competing in IRC B, Mister Fip and Quatre Quarts. Meantime, another exciting duel gathered together the First 53 Ritual and X50 Ectabane. A sequence of starts ensued and we'll have to wait until this evening and the buzz of Saint Tropez's little streets, for the accounts contested out on the water to be settled among friends.

Club 55 Cup: Victory to The Kid

Snatching the win in elapsed and corrected time, the 54-foot Modern prototype The Kid owned by Jean Pierre Dick got the better of her rival for the day, the ketch Stormvogel. Bill Jayson, son of Dick Jayson, the owner of Pride during the original race in 1981, was aboard, delighted and emotional about reliving the Nioulargue race that inspired today's Les Voiles some 40 years ago.

Centenary Trophy - Gstaad Yacht Club; Olympian bags the cup!

It was with a light E'ly wind that the 23 yachts, all of them over a hundred years old and competing for this prestigious 10-year-old trophy, set sail from Le Portalet Tower at midday. At the end of a 7.5-mile circuit around the bay, it is the 1913 P Class Olympian with her stunning deep green hull who took line honours after a hair-raising match race between Bruno Troublé at the helm of the winner and Peter Isler of America's Cup fame, at the controls of Spartan (Herreshoff). This is the second victory in a row (2019 and 2021 for the Gardner design Olympian, since the pandemic meant that the race could not be contested in 2020. The other P Class Chips rounds off the podium in what proved to be an absolutely epic race today.

Details on the races:

Among the Classics

Joining the fray of Les Voiles on Tuesday, 82 traditional yachts have been racing together, albeit in 10 separate groups. Two fine races have been validated so far, with one light airs race on Tuesday and a second on Wednesday in the Mistral. A moment for everyone to shine then depending on whether their steeds are best suited to gentle conditions or a classic 'brafougne' or Mediterranean storm. In the Period Gaffer A group gunning for the Rolex Trophy, the Herreshoff design cutter Scud is holding sway ahead of Marga, a Liljegren design (1914) which relished yesterday's Mistral, and the P Class Corinthian.

In Gaffer B, Eva (Fife 1906) has the edge over the elegant New York Class30 Oriole (Herreshoff 1905) and the venerable Lulu (Rabot Caillebotte 1897). Among the Period Marconi As, it's the Sparkman&Stephens design Blitzen, much loved by Simon Le Bon and launched in 1938, which is dominating proceedings, ahead of Recluta the newcomer to Les Voiles helmed by German Frers, and the 1939 Bermudan yawl Varuna. Of the Period Marconi B rigs Jour de Fête (Paine 1930) is ahead of the 8mR Anne Sophie (Aas 1938) whilst Stormy Weather (Stephens 1934) and Skylark (Sparkman&Stephens 1937) are effectively being backed both ways. In Period Marconi C, Andale (Nicholas Potter 1951), Sonda (Mc Gruer 1951) and Rainbow III (Fife 1927) are absolutely neck and neck. Amongst the Grand Tradition yachts Cambria (Fife 1928), Naema (Mylne 1938 replica) and the 15mR The Lady Ann are really clashing swords against Sumurun (Fife 1914) and Halloween, (Fife 1926).

In Classic Marconi A, the sloop Lys (Sparkman &Stephens 1955) was outpaced in the big breeze by the ketch Stormvogel, (1962 Giles - Van de Stadt - Illingworth) whilst Lionel Péan, at the helm of Hermitage secured two podiums. Amidst the Bs, the Illingworth&Primrose design Outlaw, launched in 1963 for the Admiral's Cup, is well ahead of Sagittarius (Sparkman&Stephens 1972). In Classic Marconi R the Dutch crew on Encounter are in front of Il Mor and Ikra. Josephine and Jap (Fife 1898) are currently reigning supreme in the Guest group.

And the Modern boats...

140 Modern yachts are racing at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez under the IRC rating in groups B, C, D, E and F. All the boats have raced every day, equating to 3 races validated. In IRC B - North Sails Trophy: Prétexte, The Kid and Music have one victory apiece and the Nacira 47 Pretexte is leading in the overall provisional ranking. In IRC C, 27 thoroughbreds measuring 13 to 15 metres are competing for the BMW Trophy. With two wins and one second place, Nanoq is crushing it in this group, with Tom Slingsby nailing the strategy and Prince Frederick of Denmark at the helm; Daguet3, MathildeM, Arobas2 are battling for the runners up spots. In IRC D the British Cap 31 North Star 2 has racked up two race victories. Behind them, it's anyone's game with two races to go. In IRC E, Adrien Follin and his Sun Fast 33 The Surfrider are excelling. One race win and a bag of mixed results means that the First 31.7 Eden or the First 310 Marjolan have a chance of taking home some prizes too. Finally, for the IRC Fs, armed with two wins, the Swiss Tofinou Jolt is keeping her main rivals, the Tofinou 9.5 Pitch and Outsider, at arm's-length by earning two victories.

And on land...

The very colourful and wonderfully festive crew procession took place tonight with the crews on every boat invited to get into fancy dress and parade carnival-like through the old port accompanied by a jazz orchestra. A jury was on site to award prizes for the most creative, the most original and the most joyful crews, the victor naturally winning a case of local wines equal in weight to that of their captain. Needless to say, the event's always a real favourite among the big crowds.

Twinning of the Yacht Clubs

The Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez, organiser of Les Voiles, will formally twin with the Yacht Club de Gstaad tomorrow at 10:00 hours. For the past 10 years, the young yet prestigious Swiss yacht club, in association with the Nautique, has been organising the Centenary Trophy, and this twinning ceremony between the two clubs will form an even closer bond between them so they can share ideas and flesh out the exchanges between members.

Quotes from the boats:

Bruno Troublé, helmsman on Olympian, winner of the Centenary Trophy
"It reminded me of the America's Cup. We took the win against Peter Isler, after an epic finale where we were absolutely neck and neck. He left me a little space at the mark and I slid under his transom and when he tacked we were ahead. I remained in a quartering wind, making a series of tack changes, but he was never able to overtake. We had a lot of fun!"

Today's partner: Besserat de Bellefon

Nathalie Doucet, President of Besserat de Bellefon

For the third edition in a row, the Besserat de Bellefon champagnes are partnering Les Voiles. As such, the Maison d'Epernay is proudly flying its maritime-inspired blue and white hues in Saint Tropez.

"After a year blighted by Covid, we're rediscovering the joie de vivre and the joy of sharing wonderful times all together in Saint Tropez. The DNA of the Maison Besserat de Bellofon enjoys a maritime inspiration, our colours serving as a reminder of the nautical universe. Besserat de Bellefon represents a French way of life. The yachting universe, a way of enjoying the sea in all her glory, is an ethos in perfect harmony with our brand. Les Voiles is a friendly, sharing venue. Our overseas importers are rediscovering us here in the festive atmosphere of Les Voiles' village and it's a very strategic showcase for us. We share so many values with the admirable boats racing here which, like our wines, are coloured by the passing down of knowledge, heritage and ancestral professions..."

2021 Programme

Week 1: Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, Modern and Classic

  • Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 September: registration for all classic yachts and modern yachts up to 18.28m
  • Monday 27 September: regattas for modern yachts
  • Tuesday 28, Wednesday 29 September, Friday 1, Saturday 2 October: regattas for modern and classic yachts
  • Thursday 30 September: Challenge Day-10th anniversary of the Gstaad Yacht Club Centenary Cup
  • Saturday 2 October: Prize Giving (Week 1)

Week 2: Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, Maxi Yachts

  • Sunday 3 and Monday 4 October: registration for all modern yachts above 18.29m, Wally, IRCA, Maxi yachts
  • Tuesday 5, Wednesday 6, Thursday 7, Friday 8, Saturday 9: races
  • Saturday 9 October: Prize Giving (Week 2)

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