- Squalls and a race around the whole island of St. Barts to mark the end of an exciting week
- Rambler in homage to Peter
- Wild Horses by 4 seconds!
- The joy of the sailors from St Maarten
After three days of racing on various courses, which were physically and tactically demanding, Luc Poupon and the race directors scheduled a race all the way around the island of St. Barts to close this first highly successful edition of the Voiles de Saint-Barth. A 22-mile long race between the rocks in a trade wind that remained strong throughout the week. In order to ensure that the festive atmosphere of the event was respected, the 23 yachts taking part all lined up on the same starting line at the same time at 1100 hrs to be given the off.
Rambler, thinking of Peter Doriean
As soon as the start procedures got underway, a huge tropical squall meant that the race area and the crews were drenched. A few minutes later, the skies brightened and as is often the case it suddenly went flat calm in the entrance to Gustavia harbour and on the start line. The yachts waited for a while with their sails flapping and the race directors launched the start procedures again, as the trade wind made its presence felt again with an 18-knot easterly blowing. The final clearance buoy set up less than a mile from the start saw a huge traffic jam build up, with the two giants deciding to come in on different tacks, Sojana on starboard and Rambler on the port tack. The tone was set, and this final race of the Voiles de Saint-Barth was underway with the same thrilling competition as on the previous races this week. O, just two hours, the impressive Reichel/Pugh-designed Rambler completed the course that was very tactical because of all the marks. Dominating throughout winning four times in four races, George David’s men remained modest in their triumph, and as they crossed the finishing line they were thinking of the Australian, Peter Doriean, their friend, who recently died in a tragic accident. As the boat’s tactician, the American Ken Read, explained earlier, the best way for the twenty men that make up the crew could pay homage to their team mate was to do their best throughout this event. The big ketch Sojana tried every day to keep up with the fast pace set by the American Maxi. The trade wind also helped her to show her full amazing potential. In vain. The speed difference with the Farr designed boat was simply too great for Peter Holmberg’s men, who included the French sailors Loïck Peyron, Lionel Péan and Jacques Vincent, to hope to achieve a win. However, the gap between the boats was not that huge and today only ten points separated them.
Wild Horses… by 4 seconds!
It was today’s big match after the huge success yesterday of the women on the W 76 White Wings. The one all the crews and spectators at the Voiles de Saint Barth were looking forward to. Would Faraday Rosenberg and her 15 ladies repeat their performance, winning today’s race and in so doing win the event against the sistership, Wild Horses sailed by Donald Tofias and his boys? Everything remained uncertain throughout the 22 theoretical miles of the course around St. Barts. Clearly more and more at ease in their precise choice of route, White Wings once again showed their determination at the start and passed the clearance buoy way out in front of Wild Horses. The two big W 76 boats sped along leeward of the island, and it was in the long tacks in seas that were building that the all-female crew would ease off a little. Enough in any case to allow Tofias to get back in the race. He made a final dash for the finish on the downwind stretch and won by four tiny seconds. So victory went to Wild Horses in this particularly exciting Classic division, which was extremely fascinating to watch with such elegant racing, and with the presence of Kate, the gaff rigger recently built based on designs by Mylne, on the starting line to offer inspiration.
The sailors from St Maarten were just too much!
Robert Velasquez came to the Voiles de Saint-Barth confident in his crew from the Dutch Antilles and in the intrinsic quality of his First 45, having acquired decades of experience sailing around the West Indies. With four wins in four races, he was beaming with joy this evening and he made his pleasure felt, not finding the words to express his sheer enthusiasm, when talking about how kind the wind gods were this week. He triumphs at the top of the rankings in this group which included the largest number of participants at the “Voiles”, not and he never left the slightest chance for Raymond Magras’s valiant Dufour 34 “Speedy Nemo”, which had to make do with being runner up leaving David Cullen’s J 109 “Pocket Rocket” take third place.
The amazing J 122
Battling throughout the week against the splendid Swan 45 “Puffy”, belonging to the event’s godfather Patrick Demarchelier, the fast and daring “little” J 122 “Lost Horizon” skippered by the sailor from Antigua, James Dobbs triumphed this evening by achieving a fourth victory. Neither the strong breeze, not the heavy swell, which was sometimes very messy, nor the squally interludes seem to have affected Dobbs and his men, who found just the right tactics to overcome the power of the Swan and to see the name of their racing machine on the list of winners at this first edition of the “Voiles de Saint-Barth”.
What they said:
Robert Velasquez (L’espérance) : ”Great week! great races! We’ll be back next year! My lads were fantastic and we’re really pleased to have won this first edition of the “Voiles de Saint-Barth”, by in fact winning all the races…”
Karl James (Sojana) : “We had a great fight with Rambler. There were some tough encounters as we rounded the marks. We really enjoyed this week of sailing, with a very fine crew, who enabled us to get the most out of Sojana. Now, I’m moving on to another giant, Ranger, the big J Class boat that will be racing in Antigua against her eternal rival Velsheda…”
Some choice words from Loïck Peyron (Sojana): “2009 was a strange year; for the first time in thirty years, I didn’t sail across the Atlantic! I was awarded the “Red Cap, I’ve been anointed. Now I’m a real sailor!”
Ken Read (Rambler): “This great week of racing does not mean of course that we have forgotten about the loss of our dear friend, Peter Doriean. All the crew showed how professional they were throughout the races. We shan’t forget Peter. Life goes on. Rambler will be continuing to race in the States. As for me, I’ve got a lot of work waiting with the wonderful “Puma Ocean Racing” project.
Marlies Sanders, White Wings : “Our crew was deliberately made up of women. There are sixteen of us in all under the control of our skipper Faraday Rosenberg. There is a fantastic atmosphere on board, with a great team spirit. Everyone helps each other all the time. We have been sailing rather like in a match race against Wild Horses, which is a W76 class that is absolutely identical to ours, except that she is in the hands of the men. So there is real rivalry between us. Our first day was not that great, as we were using it really to train, but we soon found our marks, finishing second in race N°2, and winning yesterday. The final day was therefore decisive, as if we had won it, we would have been on equal points with the boys and we would have won the event because of winning the final race. It almost happened! There’s an extraordinary atmosphere ashore, as it seems that everyone was supporting us and wanted to see us win. This was a fantastic week and we’re already making plans to come back next year.”
They were at the “Voiles de Saint-Barth” :
Loïck Peyron France – Sojana, Oman Sail
Lionel Péan France – Sojana
Jacques Vincent France – Sojana, L’Hydroptère
Peter Holmberg US Virgin Islands – Sojana
Gavin Brady – New Zealand Moneypenny, Malcazone Latino
Frazer Brown – New Zealand – Sojana – Extreme 40 Ecover
Ken Keefe – USA – Moneypenny, America’s Cup
Kimo Worthington – USA Moneypenny, America’s Cup
Ken Read - USA – Rambler, Puma Ocean Racing
Tim Dawson -USA – Rambler
Justin Juggy Clougher – USA – Rambler, Volvo Ocean Race
Craig Alexander- Australia – Duende – Classe 40 Kazimir partner
Justin Slattery – UK – Sojana – Volvo Ocean race
Tania Thevenaz -Switzerland- White wings, Tuiga
Overall rankings at the first edition of the Voiles de Saint-Barth
Classic (CLA) division after four races
1: “Wild Horses”, Donald Tofias ( (Classic / US) 5 points (Race results: 1,1,2,1,)
2: “White Wings”, Faraday Rosenberg ( (Classic / US) 7 points (Race results: 2,2,1,2,)
3: “Duende”, Randy West ( (Classic / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 14 points (Race results : 3,3,3,DNC ,)
4: “Kate”, Philippe Walwyn ( (Classic / Great Britain) 16 points (Race results: 4,DNS ,4,3,)
Multihull division (M2K) after 4 races
1: “Escapade”, Greg Dorland ( / US) 5 points (Race results: 1,1,DNS ,1,)
Racing division (RAC) after 4 races
1: “Lost Horizon”, James Dobbs ( (J 122 / Antigua) 4 points (Race results: 1,1,1,1,)
2: “Puffy”, Patrick de Marchelier ( (Swan 45 / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 8 points (Race results: 2,2,2,2,)
3: “Black Hole”, Jeroen Hin ( (First 40.7 / Great Britain) 15 points (Race results: 3,HTP ,3,3,)
4: “Malachite”, Pierre Mancy ( (A 40 / St Quentin Sailing Club) 17 points (Race results: 5,3,4,5,)
5: “Lancelot”, John Shanholt ( (First 40.7 / US) 20 points (Race results: 4,HTP ,DNS ,4,)
RACING CRUISING (R_C) division after 4 races
1: “L’esperance”, Robert Velasquez ( (First 45 F5 / Antilles Hollan) 4 points (Race results: 1,1,1,1,)
2: “Speedy Nemo”, Raymond Magras ( (Dufour 34 / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 8 points (Race results: 2,2,2,2,)
3: “Pocket Rocket”, David Cullen ( (J 109 / Ireland) 12 points (Race results: 3,3,3,3,)
4: “Lil’e”, Tanguy Fox ( (Requin / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 18 points (Race results: 6,4,4,4,)
5: “Thula”, Max Imrie ( (Baltic 39 / US) 19 points (Race results: 4,5,5,5,)
6: “Corban”, Daniel Harper ( (Swann 42 / United States) 23 points (Race results: 5,6,6,6,)
7: “Baladin”, Raphael Magras ( (Feeling 30 / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 30 points (Race results : 7,9,7,7,)
8: “Ormeau”, Alain Charlot ( (Oceanis 473 / Club de Voile du Lac D’orient) 33 points (Race results: 9,8,8,8,)
9: “Iznogoud”, Christophe Baudoin ( (Surprise / Ctre Nautique de St Barthelemy) 35 points (Race results: 8,7,DNS ,HTP ,)
SUPER YACHT (SUP) division after 4 races
1: “Rambler”, George David ( (Maxi / US) 5 points (Race results: 1,1,1,2,)
2: “Sojana”, Marc Fitzgerald ( (Farr 115 / Great Britain) 8 points (Race results: 2,2,3,1,)
3: “Moneypenny”, James Swartz ( (Swan 601 / United States) 11 points (Race results: 3,3,2,3,)
4: “Nix”, Nico Cortlever ( (X 612 / Switzerland) 17 points (Race results: 4,4,DNS ,4,)
On Friday 4th September in the Hyères Harbour, the French tri-foiler l’Hydroptère claimed a new world sailing speed record over 500 meters with an average speed of 51.36 knots.
In doing so, l’Hydroptère replaces kitesurfer Alex Caizergues’ previous record of 50.57 knots set in Namibia last year.
Skipper Alain Thébault and his crew also smashed the speed record over one nautical mile, increasing it from 43.09 knots to 48.72 knots.
The new claimed record comes nine months after the 60ft trimaran pitchpoled as she decelerated from a claimed peak speed of 61 knots. The capsize caused serious damage to the boat which has since been rebuilt.
Shortly after the record was claimed, the team issued the following statement:
By a 28-knot west wind , Alain Thébault and his crew took full advantage of the flying trimaran’s potential and earned the title of the fastest sailing craft on the planet*. With a top speed of 55.5 knots (103 km/h) and an average speed of 51.36 knots, today l’Hydroptère takes her place in the history of sailing.
After the attempts in 2008, only one day in 2009 was enough for Alain Thébault and his crew, Anders Bringdal, Jean-Mathieu Bourgeon, François Cazala, Damien Colegrave, Stéphane Dyen, Matt Hodgson, Jérémie Lagarrigue, Pierre Trémouille, Gérard Navarin and Jacques Vincent to fine-tune l’Hydroptère and beat this record.
“Today the crew was just majestic for this fantastic record, the true representation of a collective work, an “hydropterian” team very close and determined. The accelerations at over 100 km/h (top speed at 55.7 knots) create intense sensations on board that we have never experienced before. Alain Thébault concludes this first day of trials with the famous sentence from Yoda in Star Wars: “There is no try… It’s do or do not!”. Today we did it!”.
“We should not forget that this record is above all a technological adventure and a team work which could not have been possible without the support of our partners” adds Alain Thébault. “It is, indeed, thanks to my partnership with Thierry Lombard, managing partner of the private banking house Lombard Odier (the foundation year is mentioned in the mainsail), that l’Hydroptère has had the support of a “principal partner” since 2005 and that we started the quest for these records and we could beat them.”
Thierry Lombard is also at the origin of the partnership with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). The Swiss institute brings its support in high-tech matters such as aerodynamics, composite materials, structural behaviour and video-imaging. Today “Official Scientific Adviser for
l’Hydroptère”, the EPFL puts the knowledge of its professors and students, its creativity and calculation power at the flying trimaran’s disposal.
After this tremendous success, l’Hydroptère team is already dreaming of new projects. Sailing at the helm of the boat configured as before for open seas and taking on long distance records is clearly the team’s most immediate challenge. Thus l’Hydroptère is the only sailing boat capable of beating the absolute sailing speed record and of sailing in open seas.
At this moment, the new laboratory model is being built. l’Hydroptère.ch, an experimental platform that will fly over Lake Geneva, will be launched in Spring 2010 and will help developing l’Hydroptère maxi which will circumnavigate the globe.
Three boats to challenge the different oceanic records: the Atlantic, Pacific and around-the-world.
*Subject to ratification from the WSSRC
How is it possible for a 5-ton sailboat to fly between the air and the water at more than 80 km/h using only the force of the wind ? This spectacular and complex challenge brings into play several physical principles and just as many areas of study. The current sailboat serves as an experimentation platform. Its on-board measurement system gives feedback on the behavior of the boat, in particular the stresses it experiences, which in certain zones can be equivalent to a load of nearly 50 tons.
L’Hydroptère will not just set records, but also advance technology related to humans and their environment. Research done to push back limits for the L’Hydroptère project will advance knowledge and lead to developments in applications far beyond sailing, with an impact in numerous other domains. The scientific work done at EPFL involves top researchers, but students also participate in confronting this extraordinary challenge. With its combination of research, passion and adventure, L’Hydroptère will play a unique role in educating a new generation of scientists.