On the eve of the third running of Les Voiles de St. Barth, April 2-7, the palm-fringed port of Gustavia, St.Barthlemy quickly filled with an impressive array of race boats: ocean-racing maxis including the 90-foot Rambler and the Swan 112, Highland Breeze; classic beauties such the Olin Stephen-designed Dorade and the Fife-built yawl Mariella; a trio of IRC 52s, multi-hulls including the 66 Gunboat Phaedo, and two large racing classes with a mix of Melges, J/boats, and a mix of 40-footers, including the hot-off-the-press Carkeek 40, Decision.
Over 60 boats are registered for this years edition, up fromwith a large number of returning entries, proof that the regatta has filled the need for spirited competition towards the end of the winter season a time when tourism typically begins to wind down in the Caribbean. Though that was hard to tell yesterday, at the islands tiny airport, as the steady stream of small commuter planes landing were filled with a duffle bag-wielding collection of sailors from the ranks of the Americas Cup, round-the-world-ocean races, and Olympic competition, that included Gavin Brady (Vesper), Scott Vogel (Rambler), Bouwe Bekking (Nilaya), Cam Lewis (Paradox), Charlie McKee and Ross MacDonald (Mayhem), Tony Rey, Jeff Madrigali, and Nacho Postigo (Powerplay), and Dee Smith (Decision).
But its not just the professionals that flock to Les Voiles de St. Barth, the regattas program and mix of courses also appeals to a competitive group of amateur and family racers that hone their skills on the growing circuit of Caribbean regattas that take advantage of this sailing paradise.
While not the easiest of destinations to reach some U.S. west coast sailors logged 16+ hours in transit, while others from Europe only slightly less the island of St Barths itself is a welcome reward at the end of the road: a turquoise blue, crystal-clear sea, pristine white sand beaches, and an array of fabulous restaurants just payoff for a long days journey.
Francesco Mongelli, navigator onboard Jim Swartz IRC52 Vesper, is here racing in St Barths for the first time. The Italian sailor, who sails primarily in Europe, has been racing with the Vesper crew since last October, and was clearly keen to have touched down in this French paradise, Its a mix of all the best sailing places, together with perfect weather and good food. Having spent the afternoon in a tender carefully checking out the coastline and charted (and uncharted) rock outcroppings, Mongelli added, Its pretty similar to Porto Cervo, the difference is that there you more or less know where everything is, and the charts are accurate. You cannot take the same risk here that wed take in Porto Cervo.
Racing will run from Tuesday, April 3 Saturday, April 7 and will feature a mix of Olympic triangles, short coastal courses, and a 20-30 nautical mile round-the island race. The fleet will be split into seven classes: Maxi (> 21 meters), IRC52 (former TP52s that have been optimized for the IRC rule), Spinnaker I + II, Non-Spinnaker (racer/cruiser), Classic (vintage/traditional), and Multihull. Thursday is a layday at Nikki Beach, with lunch and a full afternoon of activities, including a paddleboard competition.
New this year, Les Voiles will offer real-time race tracking with 2D visualization via the internet. Waypoint-Tracking (www.waypoint-tracking.com) developed the system in close collaboration with ISAF. The site will allow enthusiasts to follow the daily racing action live or to replay at a later time.
Many of the competing boats are moored stern-to at the Quai General de Gaulle, site of the Race Village, where all of the daily breakfast and post-race activities and music take place. This evening, skippers and tacticians were on hand for the Skippers Briefing led by Loic Ponceau, Race Committee Chairman, and organizers Francois Tolede, Luc Poupon, and Annelisa Gee. Following that was Les Voiles St. Barth Opening Ceremony, where Bruno Magras, President of the Collectivit of St. Barth, welcomed more than 500 sailors to the weeklong event.
A regular and enthusiastic competitor in the Caribbean, Sir Peter Harrison was named the godfather or patron of this years Les Voiles. Harrison, owner of the 115-foot Farr-designed Sojana, told the crowd, As a visitor from England to this beautiful French island, one of the most beautiful in the West Indies, Im thrilled to be asked to the patron of Les Voiles. Bon vent Les Voiles de St. Barth, and good luck, everyone!
Also sailing on Sojana is Lionel Pan, who is also back for his third Les Voiles. He said, Obviously there are plenty of good reasons to be here, and to come back every year with the same enthusiasm: this place is made for sailing. In a very short time, Les Voiles de St. Barth has become the place to be, very much like Saint Tropez in the Mediterranean. And the word is spreading around. Shortly there will be a waiting list to be a part of the event!
The weather forecast for the next few days calls for light winds, though the breeze is expected to increase throughout the week. Racing is scheduled to start tomorrow, Tuesday, April 3, two miles northwest of Sugarloaf Rock off Gustavia; one race is scheduled with a start time of 12noon.
By Norma Trease
Emails are already flying back and forth from yachts, to skippers, owners, race crew, the Race Committee, to hotels on island and everything in between, just a short week in advance of the always breathlessly anticipated Saint Barths Bucket, March 22-25, 2012. Soon, yachts, owners and crew will be descending on this verdant little slice of Caribbean heaven, eager to share the tremendous excitement and pure sailing joy that is Bucket Racing.
Just announced by the Race Chairman Peter Craig is a spectacular fleet of more than 40 vessels, representing builders and designers worldwide. Once again, the fleet will be split into three classes: Les Gazelles, Les Grandes Dames, and Les Elegantes.
Needless to say, there will be a huge variety in the fleet, which this year will range from 27 to 62m LOA. He has published a detailed description of the various factors involved in the devilishly complicated task of calibrating the classes, so for more details, please do check St. Barths Bucket
|Les Elegantes des Mers|
|Adela||Schooner||Pendennis Shipyard||Dykstra & Partners||55m|
|Bequia||Ketch||Brooklin Boat Yard||Stephens||28m|
|Meteor||Schooner||Royal Huisman||Dykstra & Partners||52m|
|This is Us||Schooner||Holland Jachtbouw||Hoek||42m|
|William Tai||Ketch||Royal Huisman||Hood||40m|
|Les Grandes Dames des Mers|
|Andromeda la dea||Ketch||Perini Navi||Perini Navi||47m|
|Antara||Ketch||Perini Navi||Perini Navi||47m|
|Blue Too||Ketch||Alloy Yachts||Holland||34m|
|Clan VIII||Sloop||Perini Navi||Holland||45m|
|Fidelis||Ketch||Perini Navi||Perini Navi / Holland||56m|
|Ganesha||Sloop||Fitzroy Yachts||Dubois NA||39m|
|Helios II||Sloop||Perini Navi||Holland||45m|
|Parsifall III||Ketch||Perini Navi||Holland||54m|
|Les Gazelles des Mers|
|Endeavour||Sloop||Camper & Nicholson||Thomas Sopwith||40m|
|Hanuman||Sloop||Royal Huisman||Dykstra & Partners||42m|
|Hetairos||Ketch||Baltic Yachts||Dykstra / R/P||67m|
|Lady B||Sloop||Vitters Shipyard||Dubois||45m|
|Ranger||Sloop||Danish Yachrs||Burgess & Stephens||42m|
|Velsheda||Sloop||Camper & Nicholson||Nicholson||38m|
Everyone has a soft spot for one repeat Bucket boat or another, and back this year will be fleet favourites Antara, Andromeda La Dea, Axia, Parsifal III, Ranger and Sojana to mention but a few. A couple of newer beauties will be making their second Bucket appearances including Huismans Twizzle, and Hanuman; joined by Hoek-designed Marie, who fired up the crowds last year with their spectacular air shows of historic WWII planes. Making Bucket debuts this year are Holland Yachtbouw schooner Athos, at 62m the largest Bucket Boat 2012; and of course, it wouldn’t be a Bucket without a couple of brand-new Perini Navis, Clan VIII and Fidelis.
So, Bucket fans worldwide, prepare yourselves for the best week of the year coming up very soon, an annual treat for racing fans, and lovers of beautiful yachts alike. So it’s Bon Voyage and A Bientot until we see you next in Saint Barths!
The 4th RORC Caribbean 600, starts at 1100 on Monday 20th February. There isn’t a single hotel room left near Antigua Yacht Club, as competitors fly in to the magical island of Antigua from all four corners of the world – Falmouth Harbour is filled to the brim with astounding yachts.
Niklas Zennström’s JV72, Rán, and George David’s RP90, Rambler, are the hot favourites for the RORC Caribbean Trophy, but the two highly impressive yachts are almost hidden in Falmouth Harbour. Rán were out practicing today and Navigator Steve Hayles reports that conditions were a bit lighter than usual, but he expects 15-20 knots of trade winds for the race with their weather routing predicting that they could finish the race in 48 hours, may be less.
RORC member, Stan Pearson has lived and sailed the sublime waters around Antigua for over 20 years. He was one of the creators of the RORC Caribbean 600 and will be racing this year on Adela, the 181′ twin masted schooner:
“I can’t remember ever seeing Nelson’s Dockyard and Falmouth Harbour with so many impressive yachts but I know why they are here; there is nowhere in the world quite like Antigua and the ’600 is a real celebration of all that the Caribbean has to offer. The sailing is just fantastic; constant trade winds, warm water and air temperature in the high 20′s provides brilliant sailing, but this is a tough race. The course has a lot of corners and there is a lot of activity for the crews. Looking at the fleet, there are going to be some great duels going on, it is going to be a very competitive race.”
For the first time, a Volvo Open 70 will be competing in the RORC Caribbean 600. Some might suggest that the canting keel carbon fibre flyer could have been designed for this course. Ernesto Cortina’s Gran Jotiti has a highly talented Spanish crew and could well be a contender for line honours and an overall win.
IRC Zero has 16 entries and may well be the class to watch for the overall winner. George David’s Rambler 100 is the trophy holder and George David’s all-star crew will not be giving it up without a fight.
With a combined water line length that would soar 500ft above the Eiffel Tower, there are some truly amazing yachts in IRC Zero. The 214′ ketch Hetairos is an impressive sight. The crew of 36 have been out practicing all this week and on board there are enough sails to cover a full size football pitch. Sojana is expected to have a Superyacht duel with 124′ Pernini Navi, P2, owned by businessman and philanthropist, Gerhard Andlinger. Sojana was on mark laying duty today. The only laid mark of the course is the North Sails mark, off Barbuda. No doubt the crew, will be using the exercise to practice the first 45 miles of racing.
In the Spirit of Tradition class Adela will line up against Windrose. This will be the first time these magnificent yachts have raced against each other offshore, however Adela did get the better of Windrose in The Superyacht Challenge inshore regatta. A close battle with these two powerful yachts fully off the leash is a mouth-watering prospect. Past RORC Commodore, Andrew McIrvine and a team of 11 RORC members including current Commodore, Mike Greville, have chartered the 145ft Windrose.
The multihull record for the RORC Caribbean 600 has not been beaten since the inaugural race in 2009. The 63′ Trimaran, Paradox, skippered by Olivier Vigoureux says the six crew on board are out to ‘beat the current record’. The American, French and British crew members have raced in the Figaro Race, Transat Jacques Vabres, America’s Cup and Mini Transat.
Anders Nordquist’s Swan 90, Nefertiti, has an international crew including Rolex Middle Sea Race winner, Christian Ripard from Malta. They should have a close battle with Wendy Schmidt’s Swan 80, Selene, and Irish entry, RP78, Whisper.
There are a huge variety of yachts racing in IRC One, including Hound, skippered by Hound from Maine USA. The 60′ classic will be competing in the Caribbean 600 for the first time with a family crew of avid racers. Hound has competed in the last 8 Newport-Bermuda races, winning her class twice.
Ondeck’s 40.7 Spirit of Venus is chartered to the Royal Armoured Corp Offshore Racing Team. The majority of the 11 strong crew are part of the Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank Regiment which returned from Afghanistan last spring.
Lt Col Paul Macro RTR: “Soldiers have to work together as a team, under time pressure, when cold, wet and tired, in difficult and even dangerous conditions. The adventurous team spirit required by a successful offshore racing crew is the same as that required by the crew of a tank or any other armoured vehicle.”
There are four Class40s competing. Close duels are expected right through the fleet, but a hard fought and close encounter is expected in this class. Trade wind sailing provides perfect conditions for Class40s, with long reaches and downwind legs, these pocket rockets are capable of surfing at speeds of up to 25 knots. Class40s from America, Austria, France and Great Britain are taking on the 600 mile Caribbean odyssey; Tim Fetch’s Icarus Racing, Christophe Coatnoan’s Partouche, Andreas Hanakamp’s Vaquita and Peter Harding’s 40 Degrees, co-skippered by Hannah Jenner. The Class40s will be level-racing under their own rules. First to finish will claim the Concise Trophy; a full barrel of English Harbour rum.
IRC Two includes the smallest yacht in the fleet, Bernie Evan-Wong’s Mumm 36, High Tension. Antiguan dentist, Bernie has competed in all four RORC Caribbean 600 races, however last year, High Tension did not finish the race.
“It is definitely a case of unfinished business,” said Bernie. “We have actually used our downfall to modify the rig, so we have made something good out of the incident. Like many Antiguans, I am amazed how this race has developed since 2009, I have been sailing in the Caribbean for over 50 years and what has been really missing is a well-run, exciting offshore race. The RORC Caribbean 600 has provided that and made my dreams come true.”
Unequalled in the Caribbean, Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour Antigua is a hallowed place for sailors young and old. The remarkable streets and celebrated Georgian buildings chronicle over 300 years of maritime history.
The dockyard is a unique setting, which commands admiration and this January, a fitting yachting regatta will take place in these esteemed surroundings.A dazzling array of the world’s most prestigious sailing yachts will attend The Superyacht Challenge Antigua.
A rare occasion to celebrate sailing, for a truly impressive guest list, which is now fully committed to the event.
Adela –181’ Twin Masted Schooner incorporating every conceivable modern yacht system with a graceful and classic profile both on deck and throughout a sumptuous interior. A predecessor of the J-class America’s Cup, combining exceptional performance with the charm and elegance of a golden era.
Drumfire — 80’ Bermudan Sloop, which won the 2011 Superyacht Cup Palma. A classic design with exceptional performance both inshore and offshore. The smallest yacht at the regatta can punch well above its weight. Superb craftsmanship throughout with flush decks and the latest in sail control systems, offer exceptional sail-handling ability.
Marama — 100’ Ketch with a unique personality, starting life as an abandoned project before being transformed into a distinctive yacht of functional rather than fashionable design. The interior has the feel of a modern penthouse, the deck and rig lay out are honed for speed. A truly individual endeavour.
Marie – 180’ Ketch nominated for the 2011 Robb Report ‘Best of the Best’ custom megayachts, combining classic aesthetics and contemporary design. The hull and exterior styling is reminiscent of the Golden Age of Yachting, yet offering all the spacious comforts and amenities of a 21st century yacht, a real downwind flyer.
Rebecca – 140’ Ketch the largest ketch to be built at Pendennis to date and without doubt one of the finest looking, modern sailing yachts in the world. Stylish, eye-catching with power and grace under sail with a light and elegant interior including a sole made from antique Heart Pine salvaged from a mill built in 1711.
Sojana — 115’ Ketch holder of the Round Antigua Record and the Lord Nelson Trophy, the magnificent yacht is as luxurious cruising as it is speedy on the racecourse. Below decks, there is a wealth of dark mahogany paneling, with gold-plated fittings and lavish fabrics. The latest in hi-tech sails, push-button winches and sleek lines have made Sojana a highly successful racing yacht of unquestionable pedigree.
This Is Us – 141’ Twin Masted Schooner, a glorious creation with low freeboard and dramatic overhangs, designed to offer an exhilarating ride. Full of power and beauty, this head-turning yacht is a truly modern classic with a sumptuous interior. However, carbon spars and rigging deliver exceptional sailing performance. A contemporary yacht of immense character intended to deliver awe-inspiring Caribbean adventures.
Timoneer – 147’ Ketch offering complete comfort for ocean cruising. A classic profile with balanced overhangs and a sweet sheer. The beautifully designed award-winning interior boasts a wealth of hand-polished cherry wood, contributing to a relaxed and traditional atmosphere. An exceptional conception, offering passion, creativity and craftsmanship designed for remote seafaring adventures.
Virago – 100’ Sloop winner of the 2011 St. Barths Bucket Regatta. Built by Nautor’s Swan, as a high performance racer cruiser, Virago competes at grand prix sailing events the world over. The undoubtedly luxurious design is complimented by sophisticated engineering to provide an extraordinary power to weight ratio. Given the fine fayre of warm trade winds with an accompanying seas state, the yacht is capable of speeds in excess of 20 knots. In the right conditions, probably the fastest yacht at the regatta.
Windrose – 152’ Schooner made headlines around the world after breaking the Transatlantic crossing record twice. With low freeboards, dashing sheer and long sweet overhangs, Windrose is a favourite among classic connoisseurs. However, her traditional appearance belies hidden technological advancements. This magnificent schooner captures the spirit of the early 20th century’s Golden Age of Sail, whilst sacrificing little in the way of speed, sail handling and luxury.
A significant number of highly prestigious yachts have strongly expressed their interest to take up the invitation to compete including; Elena, Hyperion, Nefertiti, P2 and Thalima.
The Superyacht Challenge Antigua will strive to deliver an exceedingly enjoyable occasion for all of the participants. Promoting fair sailing, good companionship and life-long memories.
In time-honoured tradition, the victor will simply receive a keg of rum and the kind-hearted admiration from an astonishing selection of yacht owners and their crew.
Among the 30-strong fleet preparing to compete in the Transatlantic Race 2011 in late June and early July, there are at least as many variations on the theme of traversing 2,975 nautical miles of ocean stretching from the start in Newport, R.I., to the finish at The Lizard on the coast of Cornwall in Southwestern England. For some, sailing across the Atlantic in this race, co-organized by the Royal Yacht Squadron, New York Yacht Club, Royal Ocean Racing Club and Storm Trysail Club, is about the chance to sail into the history books, while for a younger generation of sailors it is about building a foundation for future success in the sport.
A growing contingent of younger competitors is seeking sailing opportunities beyond the inshore dinghy programs typically offered at yacht clubs, high schools and colleges. The young sailors making up the Oakcliff All American Offshore Team (AAOT) on the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy’s (USMMA) IRC 65 Vanquish and the German team on the Andrews 56 Norddeutsche Vermögen Hamburg are two groups who are taking advantage of the Transatlantic Race 2011 to expand their skills and hopefully build reputations as the next wave of capable ocean racers.
The German team is organized by Hamburgischer Verein Seefahrt e.V., an organization founded in 1903 in Hamburg with the express goal of maintaining seagoing vessels and training young people, both physically and temperamentally, to become skilled mariners. The German crew looks to be the youngest in the race, with an average age of 22.5, but has experience that belies their years as all have offshore experience from racing long and short distances as well as making passages on the Mediterranean, Baltic and North Seas.
“This specific team never sailed together before,” said Eike Holst whose third Transatlantic Race will be his first as skipper. “We all knew each other and almost everyone sailed together somehow but never in this constellation. This is caused by the structure of our club. For example, me and my navigator, Max Wilckens, sailed together exactly in these positions in the 2010 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race, finishing second in our division, and we sailed together with one other crewmember, Katrin Hilbert, in the 2009 Rolex Fastnet Race when Max was one of the watch officers and I sailed as bowman.”
Holst selected the team to undertake the Transatlantic Race 2011 “with good advice of Max,” and noted that while most of the crew participated together in an ISAF Survival at Sea Seminar in March as well as in “teambuilding meetings” during the winter, the first time they all sailed together was in April. When Norddeutsche Vermögen Hamburg, launched in 1999, departs with the 15 other boats during the second start (June 29), Holst and his crew will have spent close to three weeks in Newport making their final preparations for the race.
“Probably we’ll be the youngest crew in the race this year and we’re really curious what the race will bring,” said Holst. “In long distance racing everything is possible, so let’s see what a young crew will achieve with an ‘old’ boat.”
Learning of the German entry in the Transatlantic Race 2011 was all the motivation Ralf Steitz, President of the USMMA Sailing Foundation, needed to form the Oakcliff AAOT earlier this year. Steitz brought his long-held desire to establish a youth-driven ocean racing movement to fruition with the backing of other leaders on the U.S. sailing scene, and, once the program was announced, saw 250 applications pour in over four weeks from sailors anxious to seize the opportunity. The average age of the 14 Oakcliff AAOT members who will race aboard Vanquish is 23.75, and, like the young German team, with just a few short months to prepare they will get a crash-course in working as a cohesive unit during their participation in Storm Trysail Club’s Around Block Island Race and the Annapolis to Newport Race prior to making the third start (July 3) of the Transatlantic Race 2011.
“I really enjoy sailing offshore,” said Nate Fast (Noank, Conn.), who will celebrate his 20th birthday two days before starting the race and is the youngest member of Oakcliff AAOT. “I did the 2008 Bermuda Race, which was my introduction to the high level and complexity of offshore sailing. Being the youngest means I have to work that much harder, but that will probably help me because I’ll be trying to prove myself. Offshore sailing is a lot of fun and a great experience and I hope to continue with it after this race.”
Both the American and German teams qualify as youth entries in the Transatlantic Race 2011, meaning that at least 50% of the crew is age 25 or younger on the date of that yacht’s start in the race. In addition to respective class honors, the two teams will vie for the Venona Trophy, which will be awarded to the highest placing youth entry.
“Of course we want to win this trophy!,” said Holst. “But it’s going be really hard work for us. The Oakcliff AAOT has a really young but very professional crew (some of them are sailing in the RC44 circuit regularly) and for sure the faster and newer boat. Crossing the finishing line in front of them would be great but probably as hard as beating them by corrected time. Of course we also have quite a lot of experience in offshore sailing but in a different way. The focus in our club lies on good seamanship and education for becoming skilled mariners but this doesn’t imply that we’re becoming professional offshore sailors. But besides that we’re having regular contact with Oakcliff AAOT and are looking forward to meeting them and having fun together in Newport.”
More about the Transatlantic Race 2011
The Transatlantic Race 2011 charts a 2,975 nautical mile course from Newport, R.I., to Lizard Point, South Cornwall, England. Pre-start activities will take place at the New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court clubhouse in Newport, while awards will be presented at the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Cowes Castle clubhouse on the Isle of Wight. Three separate starts – June 26, June 29 and July 3 – will feature 30 boats ranging from 40 to 289 feet in length. In addition to winners in seven classes (IRC Class 1 Racer, IRC Class 2 Racer, IRC Class 3 Racer/Cruiser, IRC Class 4 Racer/Cruiser, Classic, Class 40, and Open), whichever yacht finishes the course with the fastest elapsed time will set the benchmark for a new racing record from Newport to Lizard Point, to be ratified by the World Speed Sailing Council. Rolex watches will be awarded to the record holder and the overall winner (on corrected time) under IRC.
The Transatlantic Race 2011 is also the centerpiece of the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series (AORS), which includes the Pineapple Cup – Montego Bay Race, RORC Caribbean 600, the Annapolis to Newport Race, Rolex Fastnet Race, Biscay Race and the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Of the seven races in the AORS, three races, including the TR 2011 must be completed to qualify for a series victory. Each race is weighted equally in overall series scoring with the exception of TR 2011, which is weighted 1.5 times. All entered yachts are scored using their two best finishes in addition to the TR 2011. Awards for the AORS will be presented in November, 2011, at the New York Yacht Club’s Annual Awards Dinner in Manhattan.
For more information, visit www.transatlanticrace.org
TR 2011 Roster of Entries
Yacht Name, Skipper, Hometown
Ambersail, Simonas Steponavicius, Vilnius, Lithuania
Beau Geste, Karl Kwok, Hong Kong, China
British Soldier, Lt. Col. Nick Bate, Falmouth, Cornwall, U.K.
Carina, Rives Potts, Essex, Conn., USA
Concise 2, Ned Collier-Wakefield, Oxford, U.K.
Cutlass, Nick Halmos, Palm Beach, Fla., USA
Dawn Star, William N. Hubbard III /William N. Hubbard IV, both New York, N.Y., USA
Dragon, Michael Hennessy, Mystic, Conn., USA
ICAP Leopard, Clarke Murphy, New York, N.Y., USA
Jaqueline IV, Robert Forman, Bay Shore, N.Y., USA
Jazz, Nigel King, East London, U.K.
Kamoa’e, Eric LeCoq, Bridgeport, Conn., USA
Maltese Falcon, Elena Ambrosiadou, Monaco
Norddeutcshe Vermoegen Hamburg, Eike Holst , Hamburg, Germany
Nordwind, Hans Albrecht, Munich, Germany
Ourson Rapide, Paolo Roasenda, Vedano al Lambro, Italy
Persevere, Bugs Baer/Colin Rath, Madison, Conn. / Darien, Conn., USA
Phaedo, Lloyd Thornburg, St. Barthelemy
Prodigy, Chris Frost, Durban, South Africa
PUMA Ocean Racing mar mostro, Ken Read, Newport, R.I., USA
Rambler 100, George David, Hartford, Conn., USA
Sasha, Albrecht Peters, Hamburg, Germany
Scho-ka-kola, Uwe Lebens, Hamburg, Germany
Shakti, Christoph Avenarius / Gorm Iver Gondesen, Hamburg, Germany / Flensburg, Germany
Snow Lion, Lawrence Huntington, New York, N.Y., USA
Sojana, Peter Harrison, U.K.
Sumurun, Bob Towbin, New York, N.Y., USA
Vanquish, USMMA Oakcliff All American Offshore Team, Kings Point, N.Y., USA
Varuna, Jens Kellinghausen, Hamburg, Germany
Zaraffa, Huntington Sheldon, M.D., Shelburne, Vt., USA
The first day of racing at the 2nd edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth dawned with 25 knots of tropical tradewind breeze and showers sweeping over the picturesque French island located midway down the Caribbean chain. The regatta’s fleet of maxis, racing and cruising yachts, multi-hulls and classics – 48 confirmed on race day – set off on a race course around the nearby archipelago, and met with plenty of wind and bumpy seas, especially on the islands’ exposed eastern side.
You certainly couldn’t have asked for a prettier race course, which today sent fleets on jaunts of either 16-, 22-, or 25-nautical mile jaunts. Most intriguing was the trip around the northern tip of St. Barth and through the nearby archipelago, which in a typically French way makes one ready for a meal with names such as Ile Chevreau (baby goat), Ile Fregate (bird), Ile le Boulanger (the baker), Ile Fourchue (fork), Grouper et Petite Groupers (fish), Le Boeuf (beef), and Le Pain du Sucre (sugarloaf).
Today’s later start at 1300 did nothing to diminish the wind and sea, as the first two classes off – Maxis and Multihulls – with eleven boats, started in 22 knots and encountered two meter seas and were sent on a 25-nautical mile course. George David’s Rambler 100 with Ken Read as skipper, got away at the pin end of the starting line and lead Hugo Stenbeck on Genuine Risk up into the outer harbor to an offset turning mark. Once around, Rambler set a huge asymmetric spinnaker and was on her way for the day.
On the eastern, and windward, side of the island the big boats reveled in the conditions which eventually topped out above 30 knots – Genuine Risk, with their combined crew Swedish/ American crew, recorded 30 knots of boat speed surfing downwind through the islands.
Also racing in the Maxi class was the 86’ CNB sloop Spiip, owned by Robin de Jong, who is making his way westward to Tahiti with the boat. Onboard Spiip is Bruno Trouble, well known for creating and overseeing the Louis Vuitton Challenger Series (for the America’s Cup) that originated in 1983. Trouble is racing at the regatta for the first time, and he said, “Les Voiles de St. Barth reminds me a lot of the early days of the Nioulargue with boats from all over the place taking part. Things are going to really build and it is just great, it really reminds me of the first Nioulargue!”
In the Racing Class, the crew work aboard Jim Swartz’s Vesper looked well-honed as the team traded tacks with Peter Cunningham’s Farr 60 Venomous (CAY) up the first short beat. Back on the quay, Venomous’ tactician Tony Rey recounted the day, “We had some great sailing – St. Barth’s is such an awesome place to sail, every time you turn around an island, or a piece of land, the view just gets better and better. It’s just that the race course is a minefield because the wind twists and turns up the corners and the crevices – but it’s a fascinating place to sail! We also had the added challenge that our instruments went down, so we were guessing on our wind speed and direction, and guessing at our boat speed for part of it too, which turned us into good seat-of-the-pants sailors.”
Before scores were tabulated, though Rey suspects, “We think we were probably 2nd or 3rd, we’re pretty sure Vesper beat us handily, because downwind you just can’t stay with a boat like that. We could have sailed better for sure, we left a few seconds on the race track, but generally we’re thrilled, it was a great day of sailing!”
In the 24-boat Racing Cruising class, the Swan 60 Fenix closely led Jereon Hin’s First 50 Black Hole (NED) after the first upwind beat. This class has a gamut of boats including two all-women entries, Annie O’Sullivan’s Diamonds Are Forever (UK), and Henneke Stegweg’s iLost (NED). As well, there are two Moorings 50.5 charter boats with two crews from Oakville, Ontario, Canada, headed up by Andre Beese and Patrick Festing. Both crews are comprised of friends and fellow Etchells sailors, who were originally headed to Antigua to race when a friend suggested they race at Les Voiles de St. Barth.
The Classics class, while low on numbers with just five boats, were high on style points with the 76’ W-class White Wings, the 80’ Fife yawl, Mariella, the 60’ dark-hulled gaff-rigged yawl Kate from St Kitt’s, and the 26’ Friendship sloop La Sirene, gracing the line.
Carlo Falcone, from Antigua, is a frequent competitor with Mariella in both classic and offshore races around the world, which he, more often than not, wins. He enjoys sailing in St. Barth because it has, he says, “more European style than other parts of the Caribbean.”
The yacht was designed by American naval architect Alfred Mylne, and built by Fife in Scotland in 1938. As Falcone says, “The beauty of this boat is the mix of the two. Mariella is well sailed and immaculately maintained, and Falcone says, “I believe the more you use the boat the better it is. But it’s never-ending work – not buying the boat, but keeping it. They say, ‘the owners are just taking care of the boat until the next one.’” His regular crew is a mix of family and friends including his daughter Sylvia, his long-time navigator, 89-year old Henry Pepper (Marblehead, Mass), and crew from Italy, Australia and Dominica. Les Voiles de St.Barth is a way to prepare the boat for this summer’s classic yacht series in New England.
With a relatively new event, one may wonder what goes into the thinking for the course on day one. Following this morning’s skipper’s briefing, the, Les Voiles Race Committee Principal Race Officer, Jean Coadou offered some insight, “There were three main elements: the weather forecast, looking at the strength and direction of the wind around all of the islands. Also it was important with such a large fleet to avoid any boats crossing paths. And first and foremost, the enjoyment of sailing was a key factor. We try to ensure that the competitors encounter all the different points of sail, upwind, downwind and reaching. The idea is to come up with three hours of exciting racing each day; that is why the courses are around 30 miles in length for the fastest boats and 16 miles for the smaller craft.”
Key information: Les Voiles de St. Barth is being hosted from April 4 – 9 2011 by the St. Barth Yacht Club
Yacht Name Sail Design LOA Skipper Status
GBR 115 FARR 115 Peter HARRISON /Marc FIDZGERALD
888 SWAN 112 RS/GPR 112′ ALBERT KEULARTS
FRA 8686 CNB 86 86′ ROBIN DE JONG
RAMBLER 100 USA 25555 READ Ken
8390 DUBOIS/MC CONAUGHY 97′ HUGO STENBECK
750 OPEN 750 24′ JAN VANDEN EYNDE
FRA 27917 Farr 36,7 DEREDEC Christian
USA 45454 Farr 45 DEMARCHELLIER Patrick
GRB 1513L GRAND SOLEIL 43′ WILLEM WESTER
SPEEDY NEMO SBH 26 MAGRAS Raymond
TP 52 54′ JAMES SWARTZ
GBR 60006 FARR DESIGN 60′ PETER CUNNINGHAM
MAE-LIA MAGRAS Raphael
SOLANO FRA 34625
Yacht Name Sail Design LOA Skipper Status
US2 W CLASS 76′ DONALD TOFIAS
ES5 MYLNE 60′ Walwyn
3 FRIEND SHIP SLOOP R WILSON 26′ DAVID PERTEL
464 YAWL/FIFE 80′ CARLO FALCONE Pre-entry
Yacht Name Sail Design LOA Skipper Status
GBR 9660R SWAN 60′ MORITZ BURMESTER
123 Beneteau 45 VELASQUEZ Robert
GER 150L FIRST 50 50′ JEROEN HIN
88 DUFOUR 425 GL 43′ REY PASCAL
FINOT BENETEAU 47.3 ALAIN CHARLOT
FRA 491 REQUIN 33 MELISSA RIMBAUD
FRA 479 REQUIN 33 FOX MOWGLI
BERRET 50.5 ANDRE BEESE
X-YACHT 34 MAGRAS Raphael
BERRET 50.5 PATRICK SMITH
DUFOUR 34′ RAYMOND MAGRAS
51952 BALTIC 39 39′ MAX IMRIE
SUN ODYSSEY 54 DS 54′ HENRY ALBERT
FRA37407 GRAND SOLEIL 40′ PHILIPPE HERVOUET
IVB 612 X-YACHT 60′ NICO CORTLEVER
US 50007 SWAN 48′ JACK DESMOND
FRA 34625 LATINI 52 FELCI 52′ FREDERIC RIALLAND
DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER
GRB 1007L ELAN 37′ ANNIE O’SULLIVAN
GBR 9949 T FIRST 40.7 41′ KEN ACOTT
HARMONY 42 42′ HANNEKE STEGWEG
USA 1 J 95 31′ THOMAS MULLEN
WILD DEVIL ISLAND WATER WORLD
NM 1993 KIWI 35 35′ BEN JELIC
TANGRA 413 REQUIN 35′ QUERE Pre-entry
Yacht Name Sail Design LOA Skipper Status
399BC GUNBOAT 66′ PAUL HAND
COULOMBEL 40′ ERICK CLEMENT
SEACART 30′ HERVE DE MARJOLIE
GBR 565 40′ JASON GARD
BLUE CAT VAN PETEGHEM 40′ CHAYER
CATAMARAN MY CAT 26′ CONSIDERE CLAUDE
Virago a performance Nautor Swan sailing yacht wins the 2011 St. Barths Bucket Regatta overall for the 25th Anniversary St. Barths Bucket Regatta.
|Results: GRAND DAMES||(Course #7 19.6 nm)|
|Race 1||Race 2||Race 3||Total|
|Results: ELEGANTES||(Course #7 19.6 nm)|
|Race 1||Race 2||Race 3||Total|
|THIS IS US||9||3||6||18||6|
|Results: GAZELLES||(Course #6 22.6 nm)|
|Race 1||Race 2||Race 3||Total|
|SONG OF THE SEA||15||16||14||45||16|
A beautiful slideshow courtesy of Cory Silken of the 40 strong fleet of Superyachts with spectacular St. Barths as the backdrop.
George David’s maxi yacht, Rambler 100, crossed the finish line in Antigua in the early hours of Wednesday morning in an elapsed time of 1 day 16 hours 20 minutes and 2 seconds.
Subject to official confirmation, Rambler 100 has broken the monohull race record set by race rival, Mike Slade’s ICAP Leopard by nearly four hours.
Two of the world’s most impressive racing yachts have been locking horns over 600 miles of high-speed action in a fight to the finish. Competing against each other for the first time and battling it out to snatch the record for the third edition of the RORC Caribbean 600.
The Rambler crew contained the entire compliment of the Puma Ocean Racing team which will be competing in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race, tired but elated, Puma skipper, Kenny Read commented dockside in Antigua:
“That was a lot of fun but hard work for a while, you do something like sail around the world and that is almost easy compared to this, because there is no time to take any sleep, you’re taking so many corners and turns but it is also a gorgeous course, it’s a dream come true type of event. I am glad we came and that George invited me. Probably the most memorable part of the course was at night with a full moon at the top of St. Maarten, big breeze and massive breaking waves, it was huge fun and really cool, we came out of their doing 26 knots, it has been a real adventure and a this course and Rambler 100 is a whole new dimension for sailing.”
Rambler 100′s George David, an avid sailor and member of the New York Yacht Club, has been sailing with Kenny Read for 17 years.
“Rambler 100 is quite a handful, it’s like a Volvo 70 on steroids and this is a big fast race, which favours us,” commented David. “It is part of the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series, the RORC Caribbean 600 has been a great race as part of that series. We never took this win for granted, we have carried out some optimisation towards the IRC rating and we really didn’t know how we would perform, as this is the first time that the boat has been raced to be IRC competitive. Leopard is a powerful boat and they are a good team that has been sailing together for a number of years.
Thank you to the RORC and the Antigua Yacht Club, a lot of people have put a great deal of effort into making this a great race, I think this race is going to attract a lot of competitors, we have a record fleet this year and I can only seeing it growing, I think we will be back next year.”
IRC Overall Provisional Results
1. USA25555 Rambler 100 JK 100 George David
2. CAN84248 Vela Veloce Southern Cross 52 Richard Oland
3. GBR115L Sojana Farr 115 Peter Harrison
4. AUS5299 Jazz Cookson 50 Chris Bull
5. GBR1R ICAP Leopard Farr 100 Mike Slade Mike Slade/Clarke Murphy
6. IRL5005 Lee Overlay Partners Cookson 50 Adrian Lee
7. GBR22N Aegir Carbon Ocean 82 Brian Benjamin
8. GBR4321R Oystercatcher XXVIII Humphreys 54 Richard Matthews
9. NED46 Tonnerre de Breskens 3 Ker 46 Piet Vroon
10. LTU1000 Ambersail VO 60 Simonas Steponavicius
11. US60006 Venomous Carroll Marine 60 Derek Saunders
12. USA60271 Ocean’s Seven² Fauroux 104′ OSML Ltd JP Chomette
13. NED001 Windrose Of Amsterdam Dijkstra 40m Schooner Andrew McIrvine