They wanted it and they got it! After the pleasure of the strong contrasts of the first day of the very first edition of the Voiles de Saint Barth, where they found the wind they were looking for and some demanding conditions, the 23 crews taking part really wanted to get going again this morning. They quite simply wanted to be out on the water as soon as possible to line up at the start between the Sugar Loaf and Saint-Jean Island, so they might enjoy another day of sailing, which they knew would prove to be exceptional.
With the promise of a well-established easterly trade wind blowing at twenty knots or more being fulfilled, as soon as the starting gun was fired a little after eleven this morning local time, the tone was set and the crews had to do their best with the sail choices they had made to get the most out of their boat in the breeze. The final buoy in the harbour entrance in Gustavia saw some real acrobatics out on the water, when the wind strengthened from the nearby hillsides to send some off course and others to come to a sudden standstill. With everyone hiking out, and with the seaspray flying, the whole fleet soon disappeared, moving well away from the coast heading for Nègre Point. The sea was whipped up by the powerful trade wind into a choppy mess, and as they approached Coco Island and the Soube Rocks, the waves built to reach almost three metres in some places. Nothing could disturb however the serenity of the big boats racing, led over this first stretch of the 35-mile long course by the amazing all-woman crew of the Class W 76 “White Wings”. “Rambler” and “Sojana”, were fully satisfied in these conditions, which were able to reveal their full potential. They kept within a few lengths of each other, accompanied by “Puffy”, the Swan 45 belonging to Patrick Demarchelier, which could really take advantage of these conditions and the incredible J 122 “Lost Horizon” which came here from Antigua. Today’s course led the fleet in what were spectacular conditions around the whole island and its rocky isles, before finishing in beauty with a long downwind run windward of Forked Island…
Interview with Loïck Peyron:
Why did you decide to come and sail here?
You can’t explain it. It just seemed the obvious thing to do; St. Barts is a picture postcard location. I usually only end up in the West Indies at the finish of a transatlantic race, and with all the tiredness that has built up, I normally want just one thing and that is to go home as soon as I can. This week, I can really enjoy my stay. There’s the wind, blue seas, and some fine boats… Hardly anything has in fact changed since the last time I was here ten years or more ago. Just a few more big boats. It’s a fantastic place. We’re really fortunate to be able to sail in the Caribbean.
Does this event, the Voiles de Saint-Barth offer you a break in your calendar?
The timing is just perfect for me. I’ve just had a really great time and have been through a great adventure. It was a fabulous period in my life being with one of the best sailing teams in the world with Alinghi just a few weeks ago. This week I’m taking a little break. And I’ll soon be starting the new season on small, very fast catamarans with the Oman Sail team in the framework of the Extreme 40 Championship in Europe, and on the D35s on the Swiss lakes.
Oman Sail seems to be very dynamic?
There’s a lot going on with Oman Sail. I’m lucky to have been with them for over a year now. Oman has a real maritime history and it’s interesting to see them finding this past again with their nautical traditions. The Oman sailors are keen to learn. It’s time for me to share my modest experience.
So here you’re taking part aboard Sojana…
Sojana is a very elegant monohull, which belongs to a very elegant gentleman with a nice personality.
I’d already seen the boat in Saint-Tropez and now I’m discovering her from the inside; I like the way she sails so smoothly without any pressure. Peter Holmberg is at the helm. He was also a helmsman for Alinghi. So there are two former helmsmen from Alinghi aboard Sojana. Everything is very serious on board, as with such a big boat any mistake is serious. You really need to pay attention to every little detail. I’m in charge of trimming at the mizzen mast, and I work in close collaboration with the helmsman. The whole crew has a very high level. We’re battling it out with a real racing boat, Rambler, and it’s a huge challenge. With a little more wind, 20 knots, we hope to be able to get up there with them.
What do you think about the Voiles de Saint-Barth?
The setting is magnificent. If the Voiles de Saint-Barth didn’t exist, someone would have to invent it. It’s in place now and they have intelligently brought together all sorts of boats. It’s fascinating watching them all sailing together. Everything that makes sailing so interesting can be found here and the concept has a great future ahead of it.
What they said:
Jacques Vincent (Sojana): “The English speakers on board and there are a lot of them, were amazed by the course, which was much more varied and interesting than during the Bucket regatta. The boats are able to show what they can do in the strong trade wind, and Sojana has shown off her superb qualities in every point of sail. We were up to eighteen knots under gennaker. The heavy swell on the windward side of the island did not worry us at all, as our hull seems to cope very well with these conditions. The atmosphere on board is very calm. It’s one of the characteristics of the boat’s owner, Peter Harrison. We have a top class guest on board, a certain Loïck Peyron, who is in charge of trimming at the mizzen mast…”
Tania Thevenaz (White Wings): There are three French speakers in this all-woman crew aboard the big classic yacht, White Wings, one from Quebec and one from Switzerland, and the blonde sailor Tania Thevenaz: “We are very close in terms of performance and quality to our sistership Wild Horses. Yesterday we did not make any mistakes in wind conditions that were at the limit for us. It was a challenge that the girls rose to, in spite of manoeuvres being tough in the powerful trade wind. We really enjoyed ourselves on these varied courses, which enable us to visit all the hidden secrets of the island. We’ve really got into the “Voiles de Saint-Barth” and we’re going to continue to improve throughout the week…”
Peter Holmberg (Sojana): I was one of the first skippers that Luc Poupon contacted to take part in the Voiles de Saint-Barth. It seemed like an interesting concept to me. I wanted to lend a hand to get the event going. I’m pleased to be here.
Each island has its own race and St. Barts seems to me to be a major sailing festival, an occasion, which brings together all sorts of different yachts, which is a very good thing for our sport.
We selected a very fine team with Peyron and some top notch racers. Yesterday we didn’t make any mistakes. The longer the race, the more chance we have. We’re in a pattern of strong trade winds, which is good for Sojana.
The Voiles de Saint-Barth seems to have found its footing. The Committee has come up with some great courses. The starts were clear and safety came first out on the water… I’ll give them a very high score. Back on the island, there was a very relaxed atmosphere last night with some nice music. Once again it was a great success.
St. Barts has grown very wisely. It has kept its personality. St. Barts is unique, a special place. It is magnificent here with some really friendly people. I’ve seen a lot of changes on some islands, as these islands are where I come from, and I can say that the development of St. Barts has been carried out very intelligently.
Richard Mille, Headline partner to the Voiles de Saint Barth commented . “The organisers of the Voiles de Saint-Barth can be proud of many things, not least the fact that they managed to convince and charm Richard Mille to join up as a partner to this first edition. Designed in Brittany, it is in Breuleux, near la Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland that the designs by this technical enthusiast come to life. Bringing together efficiency, artistic design and manufactured using a process and materials that are really special, Richard Mille watches, which are all finished by hand, enabled high class watchmaking to enter the 21st Century. Richard Mille watches are rare objects, the result of careful work to reach the absolute peak of excellence and to achieve the total perfection that their designer is looking for. Objects which you live, and you feel sensually, they bring along in harmony the latest hi-tech materials to satisfy not only a quest for beauty but also absolute comfort, offering a very light feel. Work on the shapes, the choice of materials and showing patience and taking his time, Richard Mille inspects them himself to approve them, refusing the slightest blemish to ensure these unique watches please a demanding and knowledgeable clientele. Far removed from the industrial processes, Richard Mille, who chose to name one of his creations “Les Voiles de Saint-Barth”, occupies a niche market for exceptional timepieces. ”
Groupe Classic (CLA) après 2 courses
1: “Wild Horses”, Donald Tofias ( (Classic / Etats Unis D’am) 2 points
2: “White Wings”, Faraday Rosenberg ( (Classic / Etats Unis D’am) 4 points
3: “Duende”, Randy West ( (Classic / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 6 points
4: “Kate”, Philippe Walwyn ( (Classic / Grande-Bretagne) 9 points
Groupe Multicoques (M2K) après 2 courses
1: “Escapade”, Greg Dorland ( / Etats Unis D’am) 2 points
Groupe Racing (RAC) après 2 courses
1: “Lost Horizon”, James Dobbs ( (J 122 / Antigua) 2 points
2: “Puffy”, Patrick de Marchelier ( (Swann 45 / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 4 points
3: “Malachite”, Pierre Mancy ( (A 40 / C V de St Quentin) 8 points
4: “Black Hole”, Jeroen Hin ( (First 40.7 / Great Britain) 9 points
5: “Lancelot”, John Shanholt ( (First 40.7 / Etats Unis D’am) 10 points
Groupe RACING CRUISING (R_C) après 2 courses
1: “L’esperance”, Robert Velasquez ( (First 45 F5 / Antilles Hollan) 2 points
2: “Speedy Nemo”, Raymond Magras ( (Dufour 34 / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 4 points
3: “Pocket Rocket”, David Cullen ( (J 109 / Irlande) 6 points
4: “Thula”, Max Imrie ( (Baltic 39 / Etats Unis D’am) 9 points
5: “Lil’e”, Tanguy Fox ( (Requin / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 10 points
6: “Corban”, Daniel Harper ( (Swann 42 / United States O) 11 points
7: “Iznogoud”, Christophe Baudoin ( (Surprise / Ctre Nautique de St Barthelemy) 15 points
8: “Baladin”, Raphael Magras ( (Feeling 30 / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 16 points
9: “Ormeau”, Alain Charlot ( (Oceanis 473 / Club de Voile du Lac D’orient) 17 points
Groupe SUPER YACHT (SUP) après 2 courses
1: “Rambler”, George David ( (Maxi / Etats Unis D’am) 2 points
2: “Sojana”, Marc Fitzgerald ( (Farr 115 / Great Britain) 4 points
3: “Moneypenny”, James Schwartz ( (Swann 601 / United States O) 6 points
4: “Nix”, Nico Cortlever ( (X 612 / Suisse) 8 points
A date on the calendar that is designed to last….
They were waiting for this and the St. Barts Yacht Club has done it. “They” are all those, who love elegant boats, who come to this place, where the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean come together, offering ideal sailing conditions with steady, strong breezes, turquoise seas and brilliant, warm sunshine. The friendly welcome and hospitality of St. Barts are well known. All that needed to be done was to offer a sporting challenge to encourage racers to turn up in large numbers from North America, but also from Europe, New Zealand and Australia. A challenge, which would allow those who love sailing an opportunity to enjoy the privilege of weaving their way around in the magic waters of the island of St. Barts.
Patron of this first edition of the “Voiles”, the photographer Patrick Demarchelier, who lives on the island, is forgetting for one moment the world of fashion to escape aboard his Swan: “I’ve been enjoying sailing in these waters for a long time. I am of course delighted that is now possible to organise an event, bringing together all the attractions of the island and the surrounding waters. “The Voiles de Saint-Barth” is clearly a wish come true, a dream being fulfilled you might say, for those, who sail in the waters of Newport, Antigua and even the Solent, who are coming here to do battle in the sunny trade winds. This first edition looks like being a huge success in every way and I do not doubt for a moment that the “Voiles de Saint Barth” will become a regular date in amongst the leading events and unmissable regattas of the international yachting calendar.”
For many years, the French sailor, Lionel Péan has been at the helm of Sojana, belonging to the British owner Peter Harrison. The big Farr-designed ketch has been a regular at yachting events in the Mediterranean and in Central America since 2003 and Lionel Péan is pleased to be in charge of Sojana this week in these waters that he knows so well and that he considers to be the most attractive you can find anywhere in the yachting world. “When the trade wind is blowing steadily in strength and direction, which looks like being the case this week, there are many possibilities open to the Race Committee for setting up tactically interesting races. There’s going to be some fine racing and that is something I enjoy…especially when we’re in warm waters,” Lionel concluded with a smile.
Various courses in the trade wind
“The high-pressure area will guarantee that we’ll be in a trade wind that is steady in strength and direction” Luc Poupon, race director, appears to be very relaxed as he knows the island and the moods of the wind gods well. Indeed, the trade wind has been blowing strongly from the north east since the start of the week and looks like lasting throughout the regatta, “veering a little bit easterly in the middle of the week”. So we can look forward to everything going without a hitch and the race directors have already drawn up no fewer than twenty different courses along the coast and around St. Barts, with the aim of ensuring a fair fight between the five classes taking part. Their choice will determine what sort of challenge the thirty crews will face this week. “There aren’t really any traps in the courses we have chosen” added Luc Poupon. “It takes a very long period of trade winds for any current phenomena to appear around the points. Our races are based around the islands and rocks. The sailors know the local phenomena in our waters, with wind shadows and acceleration around the headlands. However, they will have to be careful to avoid the shallows, and therefore keep away from the temptation of getting close to the beaches.” The longest course is 32 miles and the shortest 15. It will of course be the strength of the wind that will determine each morning the course for that day. Luc Poupon and his team reserve the right to send the smaller boats on a shorter course, if the bigger boats are able to keep up high averages and cover the course at high speed.
The American, Kenny Reed, skipper of the Maxi Puma turned up this morning aboard Rambler, but was clearly shocked by the tragic loss of Peter ‘Spike’ Doriean, who died in an accident Monday 5th April, apparently after slipping over and falling to the floor in his bathroom in Saint-Martin. The 90-foot Reichel-Pugh designed Rambler (ex-Alfa Romeo I) is one of the stars that people are looking forward to seeing at the Voiles de Saint-Barth. Kenny Reed stated that his crew were very distressed, but that it was the will of Spike’s close ones that his memory should be honoured by them taking part in the event. So it is with great sadness and with their friend and fellow crewman on their minds that the sailors on Rambler will be taking part in this first edition of the “Voiles de Saint Barth”.
Peter “Spike” Doriean, a well known Australian sailor and extremely talented professional crewman died in an accident yesterday in his hotel in Saint-Martin. Aged 38, he had taken part in many top class international races. Trimmer on Movistar in the 2005-2006 Volvo Ocean Race and member of the News Corp team in 2001-2002, he was also a regular in the TP 52 circuit on Audi Q8, in the America’s Cup and took part in several Sydney-Hobart races.
All those who love fine yachting races in the wonderful setting of the Caribbean will have their eyes firmly focused on St. Barts from today when the first edition of the Voiles gets underway.
Since 1992 and the now legendary Loulou’s regatta, never has the sailing community on the island been so involved.
With the support of all the local bodies and the business community they are working to enable these turquoise waters once again to offer superb racing in the sunshine for the pleasure of sailors, who have come from all over the world.
Thirty beautiful yachts and almost 200 sailors have turned up for this maiden event, which is set to become a regular on the Caribbean racing calendar.
Wind, sunshine, a festive and relaxed welcome, in conjunction with some serious race organisation are the ingredients which François Tolède of the St Barts Yacht Club and his 45 volunteers are counting on to ensure that skippers and owners continue to enjoy themselves.
This return of sailing to St. Barts is in itself quite an event, explained François Tolède.
From this first year we want to please sailors and partners and ensure that the organisation goes smoothly, as they will be our best ambassadors to other yachtsmen. The island magic is already working ashore.Everything is planned out on the water, in particular in terms of safety, so that the event is a happy one both at sea and back on shore…
The first warning signal planned for 11.00am local time (5.00pm GMT).
|HAMILTON II||GBR 117L||BRIAND/CNB||115′||____________|
|DSK||ITA 490||SWAN 90 FD/||90|
|LONE FOX||20 m|
|JUNO||Nat Benjamin||20 m|
|WILD AT HEART||HKG 1382||JOD 35||35|
|MALACHITE||USA 2008||ARCHAMBAULT 40||40′|
|LEE OVERLAY PARTENERS||COOKSON /FARR||50|
|SONODIA III||ARCHAMBAULT 40||40|
|PUFFY||USA 45454||SWAN 45||45|
|LOST HORIZON||J 122|
|SONIS OF AYR||GBR 370L||SANTA CRUZ 37||37′|
|SPIRIT OF MINERVA||GBR 865||FARR 65||65′|
|BLACK HOLE||BENETEAU 40.5||40|
|NIBULA||B 666||SYDNEY 47/ FARR||47|
|LOS B||SWAN 65||65|
|VANILLE||FRA 16261||FIRST 300 SPIRIT||30|
|POCKET ROCKET||GRN 7777||J 109||34.4|
|ESPERENCE||123||BENETEAU 45F5||45 ‘|
|KARIBUNI JHONNY BEGOOD||NED 22||TRIMARAN||45 ‘|
|TRI 60||VAN PETEGHEM|