Hamilton, Bermuda, June 21, 2012 – ‘Lilla’, the big red Briand 76 (IRL7600) owned by Simon and Nancy De Pietro of Cork, Ireland and Mattapoisett MA, sailed a fast straight-forward Newport Bermuda Race and won Class 13 in the Cruiser Division. ‘Lilla’ also took first place in the whole Cruiser Division and will be presented with the Carleton Mitchell Finesterre Trophy for first place.
‘Lilla’ led classmate ‘True’, a J-160 owned by Howard Hodgson of Ipswich MA by 1 hr 17 min on corrected time for the win in class and division. ‘True’ was second in both Class 13 and the division. Third place in the Cruiser division went to ‘Odyssey’ a Swan 55 sailed by Glenn Dexter from Halifax NS.
And there is Icing on the cake for ‘Lilla’. In 2011 she raced in the Marion to Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race and set the 645-mile course record from Marion MA to Bermuda at 68:58:45. That performance last year and her top finish in the Newport Bermuda Race earn her the Bermuda Ocean Cruising Yacht Trophy presented by SAIL Magazine. This special combined competition trophy goes to the captain who has the best performance in consecutive Newport Bermuda and Marion Bermuda races. ‘Lilla’ sailed from Newport this time— a 10-mile shorter course in 63:17:13, some 5 hours and 41 minutes faster.
“The only problem we had,” said navigator Nancy De Pietro, “was getting water to the forward head and shower. The water tank we were using was aft, on the port side [That was the high side on the long port tack all the way down from Newport] and the pump had trouble because it was sucking air up there.”
“The one great thing about sailing on this type of boat is that we get to shower after coming off of every watch,” said Simon De Pietro with a smile.
Not having water for showers would have been a crisis for this cruiser crew… all good friends and family. It was an international crew with sailors from Ireland, the Dutch West Indies, England, Canada, South Africa and the USA. ‘Lilla’ has a comfortable 3-cabin layout and is used for charter as well as offshore racing.
In addition to doing the Bermuda Races, she has also done the Caribbean 600. She is an aluminum yacht with just 8.5-foot draft. She does not go to weather well but on a reach her waterline works and she is good and fast. The De Pietros thought of entering the St. David’s Lighthouse Division but needed to be able to use the power winches.
‘True’ a 53 foot J-160— also in Class 13— finished an hour behind ‘Lilla’ Her navigator Richard Casner of Dedham MA said, “The conditions were perfect for ‘True’ we had entered as a non-spinnaker boat and we think that paid off. We were right next to the Swan 60 ‘Lady B’ when she set a chute and we were able to walk away from her. The double headsail rig we used was just right for this boat in this race.”
The Newport Bermuda Race had 6 divisions and 17 classes. The Cruiser division had 30 entries. More than 100 prizes will be awarded Saturday evening on the lawn of Bermuda’s Government House. His Excellency Mr. George Fergusson the Governor of Bermuda will present the prizes along with Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Commodore John Brewin and the Cruising Club of America Commodore Dan Dyer.
Going into Monday evening, LLwyd Ecclestone’s ‘Kodiak’ crew was hopeful of winning the St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy, the most coveted of the three main Newport Bermuda Trophies awarded to the corrected time winner of the large amateur division. Then came ‘Carina’ to steal the show.
It looks as though, Based on provisional results, Rives Potts’ McCurdy and Rhodes 48-foot ‘Carina’ (Westbrook CT) won Class 3 and the silver scale model St. David’s Lighthouse Trophy for first in the Division and probably more loot to boot. ‘Carina’ with Potts at the helm won the same first place trophy in the 2010 race and in 1970 ‘Carina’ won it under Richard Nye. This ties ‘Carina’ with ‘Finisterre’ as the boat with the most lighthouses on her trophy rack. ‘Finisterre’ won three in a row under Carleton Mitchel 1956, 1958 and 1960.
‘Carina’ finished at 6:16PM in Bermuda and had a corrected time of 45:08:16. The US Naval Academy’s new Navy 44 ‘Defiance’ was second in Class 3 behind ‘Carina’ and also second in the St. David’s Lighthouse Division. Her corrected time was 45:42:50. The US Naval Academy’s older Navy 44 Class 2 boat, ‘Swift’, was first in her class and third overall for the division with a corrected time of 46:09:04. It was a pretty tight race with just 26 corrected minutes between these top two boats in the division after a 635-mile sleigh-ride.
For Potts and crew, this is his second St. David’s Lighthouse win in a row. “We had a fantastic race,” Potts said. “ Pretty straight forward. We powered through the stream and then played two big shifts down the rhumbline further south. We gybed twice and then tacked twice for the finish when the wind got lighter and went forward. We finished under a light #1 headsail.” These gybes and tacks were more than most of the other boats in the race made and probably helped ‘Carina’ win overall.
“The boat just got back from a circumnavigation and racing in the world’s top races three weeks ago. My son and nephew did a great job of getting ‘Carina’ ready for Bermuda. In a race like this, preparation is one key to winning. Crew work is another and we had a family based crew working together.” Potts added.
The crew of ‘Carina’ is made up of four fathers and five sons. One of the fathers, Bud Sutherland, is Rives Potts’ brother-in-law and his son Rives Sutherland is the Captain of ‘Carina’ who took her on her global trek.
Change happened overnight in the Double-Handed Division, too. Perennial double-handed winner Hewitt Gaynor (Fairfield CT) slipped his J120 Mireille into first in Class 15 and first in the division. Joe Harris (South Hamilton MA) who sailed such a fast race in his Class 40 ‘Gryphon Solo2’ was alone on the leader board Monday. Harris had an elapsed time of 60:20:26 while Gaynor’s was 74:12:34. On corrected time, ‘Mireille’ beat ‘Gryphon Solo2’ by roughly 4 hours.
The provisional Gibbs Hill Division winner is ‘Shockwave’ a Reichel/Pugh 72 skippered by George Sakellaris of Farmington MA. Sakellaris will win the silver replica of the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, a top prize along with the St. David’s Light. ‘Shockwave’ took double silver snatching the North Rock Beacon Trophy, the third important prize for the IRC corrected time winner, which is a silver replica of the 1960-1990 North Rock Light Tower that once warned mariners of the rocky approach to Bermuda from the North.
‘Med Spirit’ sailed by Michael D’Amelio (Boston, MA) in the Open Division is the other winner that seems clear under the provisional results for the Royal Mail trophy. Six boats started in this division that featured boats from 40 feet to 100 feet in length. Their common denominator was moveable ballast, either canting keels or water ballast. The 3 Class 40 boats all had water ballast and were fully crewed so they did not qualify to sail against the 3 Class 40’s that went double-handed in Class 15.
The Wally 100 ‘Indio’ under Mark Fliegner (Monaco) came second. ‘Donnybrook’, in her maiden race skippered by Jim Muldoon (Washington DC) had to retire with damage to her daggerboard and daggerboard trunk. Under corrected time only about 5 hours separated the winning 100-footer and the bottom Class 40.
‘Spirit of Bermuda’, the Bermuda Sloop Foundation sail-training vessel, was the sole entry in the new Spirit of Tradition Division. She finished Monday night at 11:20 ADT.
By John Rousmaniere
As of 1800 Sunday, six boats have finished the race, each of them breaking an elapsed time course record. In finishing order, they are Rambler (Class 10), Bella Mente (Class 10), Shockwave (Class 10), Team Tiburon (Class 10), Med Spirit (Class 16), and Kodiak (Class 8). Shockwave and Kodiak are the current corrected time leaders in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division and St. David’s Lighthouse Division, respectively. Med Spirit is the current corrected time leader in the Open Division.
First to finish Rambler, a 90-foot Reichel/Pugh sloop owned by George David (Hartford, Conn.), broke the course record decisively, averaging 16.06 knots down the 635-mle course in a time of 39 hours, 39 minutes, 18 seconds. She clipped 9 hours off the previous course record set in 2004 by Morning Glory, which averaged 13.06 knots for Open Division boats and 14 hours from the ‘Official’ Record. Med Spirit set the new Open Division record of 45 hours, 26 minutes, 28 minutes… three hours faster than the previous record.
Sailors had vivid descriptions of high-speed, extremely rough conditions on the long, fast reach that prevailed from start to finish. Scott King, Team Tiburon, reported that after starting under a spinnaker, once the boat cleared the Narragansett Bay entrance buoys the crew set a double-headsail rig with a topsail over a jib. They then took in and shook out reefs in the mainsail as the conditions warranted, with one or two sailors always working the mainsheet.
Team Tiburon sailed Wizard a 74-foot sloop designed by Reichel/Pugh and chartered by Mark E. Watson III, a Bermuda business CEO. They covered 385 miles in her first 24 hours in the race, averaging almost 17 knots. “She felt slow when the speed dropped to 11,” King said. “I’ve been in boats where 11 knots was not even part of the plan.”
King said the water was always rough, with some waves 8 feet or higher and water constantly on deck, pushing sailors around. The Gulf Stream crossing was not as rough as he expected, he said, but it was spectacularly beautiful.
“Just before we entered the Stream we saw a long streak of phosphorescence in the water, as though a full moon was out and shining right down on it.” The phosphorescence disappeared when the boat charged into the main body of the Gulf Stream, but reappeared. “Dolphins were torpedoing through all this, right in front of us,” King said.
As they neared Bermuda on Sunday morning, Team Tiburon sailed into a series of rain-squalls with stronger winds that pushed the boat to over 20 knots as she crossed the finish line off St. David’s Head.
Dateline: 07:09:18 ADT Bermuda: George David’s 90ft maxi Rambler has smashed the 635 mile Newport Bermuda race record, clipping a massive 14 hours off the previous best time set 10 years ago by Roy Disney’s Pyewacket. The new record now stands at 39hr, 39 minutes, 18 seconds (subject to ratification) – an average speed of 16knots.
A delighted George David said. “These were perfect conditions. The most exciting moment was when we hit 26 knots. I’m so pleased with our performance. We have reduced the record by 25% – Not bad for a boat that is now 10 years old. This Rambler is the best boat I have ever owned!”
Rambler not only slashed the race record, her crew also spanked their rivals, with Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente crossing the lighthouse line 1 hour 43 minutes behind, followed 3 minutes later by Shockwave skippered by George Sakellaris.
On corrected time however, Shockwave beat Rambler by 33 minutes, followed by Belle Mente in 3rd and Team Tiburon 4th. Two yachts in class 10 are still racing.
There are 166 entries competing in the race, including four Bermuda boats.American entry, Ragana, withdrew from the race at the weekend after experiencing mechanical breakdown en route to Newport.Mr Osmond, a veteran of 15 Newport Bermuda Races, said preparations for this year’s race have so far gone as planned.
“Everything is going along quite smoothly fortunately for the committee which consists of 46 people who have been working for two years on this event,” he said. “All the pieces have come together and everybody has been working very hard.”
Bermuda Race vice-chairman and past RBYC Commodore Les Crane added: “I think registration is going very smoothly and John Osmond who is the race chairman has done a fabulous job putting all this together.“We’re registering the boats ensuring all the paperwork is complete and that everyone is in compliance with the rules that allow them to race.“The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club work closely with the Cruising Club of America who are partners in this race and we’re up here to ensure everyone understand what to expect when they get to Bermuda.”There are a number of social events that will take place in the final lead up to the start of the race, not the least of which is the ever popular Gosling’s Rum Newport Shipyard Crew Party.“We will have a great Bermudian party sponsored by Gosling’s at Newport Shipyard on Wednesday night,” Mr Crane said. “There will be Dark & Stormies and music and it will be a lot of fun.”The 2012 Newport Bermuda Race commences June 15 and concludes several days later in St David’s. The RBYC Anniversary Regatta presented by Butterfield Group will be sailed in the Great Sound on Friday, June 22nd.
Entry List for Newport to Bermuda 2012
|ANGEL||Ctm 84||CD||Edward T. Anderson|
|ATTITUDE||Beneteau 423||CD||Shawn Dahlen|
|BLUE||C&C 51xl||CD||Daniel Epstein|
|CALUSA||Sabre 386||CD||Peter H. Holmes|
|CAPELLA||Sabre 452||CD||David Millet|
|CETACEA||Hinckley SW 59||CD||Christopher J. Culver|
|CHASSEUR||Little Harbor 54||CD||Gregory G. Smith|
|CHECKMATE||Alden 44||CD||Frank J. Flores, Jr.|
|CONTINGENCY||Oyster 53||CD||Christopher C. Darby|
|CRACKERJACK||Cambria 40||CD||Alan H. Krulisch|
|DEFIANCE||Swan 56||CD||Peter B. Noonan|
|FEO||Joshua Ketch||CD||Eric P. Best|
|GLORY||Tartan 4700||CD||William Slattery|
|GRACE||First 40.7||CD||Jack Ives|
|HAERLEM||Swan 55||CD||Hendrikus PLM Wisker|
|INISHARON||F&C 44||CD||James D’A. Murphy|
|ISOLA||Baltic 52||CD||Howard Eisenberg|
|KANGAROO IV||Sabre 425||CD||Harvey E. Cohen|
|LADY B||Swan 60||CD||John P. Madden Jr.|
|LIBERTY CALL||Hallberg Rassy 43||CD||Matthew G, Pilon|
|LILLA||CNB Briand76||CD||Simon De Pietro|
|MOONDANCE||Swan 56||CD||Michael V, Johnson|
|OCEAN WANDERER 1||Montevideo 43||CD||Erwin Wanderer|
|ODYSSEY||Swan 55/57||CD||Glen V Dexter|
|PILGRIM||Alden 44||CD||Mark Rice|
|POESKE||Beneteau First42||CD||Richard Donn|
|SHINDIG||Pea39||CD||Kevin G, Flannery|
|SKY||Swan 53||CD||Barrett Raymond|
|TRUE||J/160||CD||Howard B. Hodgson, Jr.|
|WISCHBONE||Oyster 53||CD||Jeffrey S. Wisch|
|ALIBI||J120||DH||Gardner L. Grant, Jr.|
|AMHAS||Class 40||DH||MacKenzie Davis|
|AVATAR||Ranger 37||DH||John Kedzierski|
|CHOUCAS||Sunfast 36||DH||Frederic Cosandey|
|DRAGON||Class 40||DH||Michael Hennessy|
|GRYPHONSOLO2||Akilaria RC2||DH||Joseph S. Harris|
|KIVA||Hinckley SW 51CB||DH||Mark Stevens|
|MIREILLE||J120||DH||E. Hewitt Gaynor|
|NEXT BOAT||Morris 45||DH||Mark Ellman|
|OAKCLIFF RACING||Ker 11.3||DH||Jeffrey A. MacFarlane|
|PENGUIN||Pearson 35||DH||Steven H. Dane|
|RESOLUTE||J122||DH||D. Scott Miller|
|RUSE||Swan 44mkII||DH||William Marsh|
|SAILOR BANDIDO||Quest 33||DH||Christopher A. Palabrica|
|SEABISCUIT||J46||DH||Nathan C, Owen|
|VALOUR||Peterson 37||DH||Ernie Messer|
|WHISPER||Hinckley 48||DH||Thomas J. Vander Salm|
|AVRA||Ctm 40||GHL||George Petrides|
|BELLA MENTE||72′ Mini Maxi||GHL||Hap Fauth|
|CLEM||Swan 56||GHL||Jaime Olazabal|
|DEFIANCE||Marten 49||GHL||Hamnett P. Hill|
|DRAGONFLY||J/130||GHL||Colin A. McGranahan|
|MEANIE||R/P 52||GHL||Thomas Akin|
|PANDORA||C&C 115||GHL||Peter J. Bromley|
|PTARMIGAN||Ker 43||GHL||Lawrence F, Dickie|
|RAMBLER||Ctm 90||GHL||George David|
|RIMA2||RP 55||GHL||John G. Brim|
|SHOCKWAVE||Mini Maxi||GHL||George Sakellaris|
|SNOW LION||Ker 50||GHL||Lawrence S, Huntington|
|STARK RAVING MAD||Swan 601||GHL||James C. Madden|
|TEAM TIBURON||R/P 74||GHL||Mark E. Watson III (USMMA)|
|TEMPTATION-OAKCLIFF||Ker 50||GHL||Oakcliff Sailing Santry Arthur|
|UXORIOUS IV||Swan 62||GHL||Colin J. Buffin|
|DONNYBROOK||Andrews 80||Open||James P. Muldoon|
|ICARUS||Class 40||Open||Amanda Mochrie|
|INDIO||Wally 100||Open||Mark Fliegner|
|MED SPIRIT||Welbourn 92||Open||Michael DAmelio|
|TOOTHFACE||Akilaria Class40||Open||Mike Dreese|
|TRANSPORT COHÉRENCE||Class40||Open||Benoit Jouandet|
|ACTAEA||Hinckley B40||SDL||Michael M, Cone|
|AIRBORNE IV||Beneteau 50||SDL||William B. Greenwood III|
|AKELA III||Swan 43||SDL||Djoerd Hoekstra|
|AURELIUS||Bestevaer 76||SDL||Daniel van Starrenburg|
|AURORA||Tartan 41||SDL||Andrew F. Kallfelz|
|AVENIR||C&C 41||SDL||Joseph Murray|
|BACCI||Swan 53||SDL||Lorenzo Vascotto|
|BANDANA||Swan 47||SDL||Charles F. Benson|
|BARLEYCORN||NYYC Swan 42||SDL||Brendan J Brownyard|
|BARRA||Morris 486||SDL||Bruce M. MacNeil|
|BEAGLE||J/44||SDL||Philip H. Gutin|
|BELLE AURORE||Cal 40||SDL||Doug Jurrius|
|BLACK WATCH||Ctm 68 Yawl||SDL||Joseph C. Robillard|
|BOMBARDINO||Santa Cruz 52||SDL||James and Macrae Sykes|
|BRETWALDA 3||Rogers 46||SDL||Bob Pethick|
|BRIGAND||Ctm 50||SDL||Sean D. Saslo|
|CANNONBALL||Swan 68||SDL||Charles A. Robertson|
|CARINA||Ctm 48||SDL||A. Rives Potts, Jr.|
|CHARLIE V||J/44||SDL||Norman H. Schulman, MD|
|CHRISTOPHER DRAGON||J/122||SDL||Andrew Weiss|
|CONVICTUS MAXIMUS||Farr IRC 42||SDL||Donald W. Nicholson|
|CRAZY HORSE||Frers Comp 45||SDL||Patrick T. Walker|
|CYGNETTE||Swan 441||SDL||William J. Mayer|
|DAWN STAR||Baltic 46||SDL||William N. Hubbard III|
|DECISION||Carkeek HP 40||SDL||Stephen Murray|
|DEFIANCE||NAVY 44||SDL||Bryan Weisberg|
|DOGSLED||Kaufman 47||SDL||Todd Forrest Barnard|
|DORADE||S&S Custom||SDL||James A. Hilton|
|DREAMCATCHER||Swan 48 S&S||SDL||Stephen Kylander|
|FEARLESS||Farr 395||SDL||Shaun J. Ensor|
|FINESSE||J42||SDL||Newton P.S. Merrill|
|FLYING LADY||Swan 46||SDL||Phillip S. Dickey MD|
|GLIDE||J42||SDL||C.Tanner Rose, Jr|
|GOLD DIGGER||J/44||SDL||James D. Bishop|
|GRACIE||McCurdy & Rhodes||SDL||Stephan A & Simon W Frank|
|GREAT SCOT||J35||SDL||Darren Garnier|
|GREY GHOST||Zaal 38||SDL||Philip P. Parish|
|GRUNDOON||Columbia 50||SDL||James A. Grundy|
|HAKUNA MATATA||Cal 39 TM 1-147||SDL||Christopher J. Andrews|
|HIRO MARU||Swan 43 Classic||SDL||Hiroshi Nakajima|
|HOT TICKET||King 40||SDL||James E. Hightower|
|ILLUSION||Grand Soleil 45||SDL||Ralph F. Racca|
|ISLA||New York 32||SDL||Henry S. May, Jr.|
|JACQUELINE IV||Hinckley SW 42||SDL||Robert Forman|
|KODIAK||Ctm 65||SDL||Edwin Llwyd Ecclestone|
|LAPIN||Beneteau First 4||SDL||Christopher J. Clark|
|LINDY||Peterson 38||SDL||David G. Dickerson|
|LIR||Swan 45||SDL||John A. McNamara|
|LORA ANN||Express 37||SDL||Richard T. du Moulin|
|MAGIC||Santa Cruz 52||SDL||Kenneth Laudon|
|MATADOR||J133||SDL||Dale E. McIvor|
|MISCHIEVOUS||Ctm 65||SDL||Albert J. Fitzgibbons III|
|MISTY||J40 WK||SDL||Fred Allardyce|
|MOLTO BENE||Beneteau First 4||SDL||Richard Ewing|
|MOONSHINE||Tartan 4100||SDL||Dennis J. Ziemba|
|MORGAN OF MARIETTA||Centurion 42||SDL||Colin G. Golder|
|MORPHEUS||Schumacher 50||SDL||James D. Gregory|
|MUSICA||Aerodyne 38||SDL||Cliff T. Haddox|
|NASTY MEDICINE||Corby 41.5||SDL||Dr Stephen J. Sherwin|
|NICOLE||Cal 40||SDL||Thomas C. duPont|
|OLD SCHOOL||Farr 395||SDL||J Ganson Evans|
|PASSION4C||Bill Tripp 56||SDL||Stefan Lehnert|
|PATRIOT||Nautor Swan||SDL||Richard J. Isted|
|QUEST||Cambria 40||SDL||Dennis W. Powers|
|RAGANA||Cape Fear 38R||SDL||Darius Peleda|
|REGATTA||Carter 41||SDL||Constantine G. Koste|
|RELATIVITY||First 50||SDL||Hall Palmer|
|ROCKET J. SQUIRREL||Swan 39||SDL||L, Otorowski|
|ROCKET SCIENCE||J120||SDL||Rick F. Oricchio|
|RUNAWAY||J/44||SDL||Lawrence R. Glenn|
|SELKIE||McCurdy & Rhodes 38||SDL||Sheila McCurdy|
|SHAZAAM||J42||SDL||Roger B. Gatewood|
|SHINNECOCK||J120||SDL||James C. Praley|
|SINN FEIN||Cal 40||SDL||Peter S. Rebovich, Sr.|
|SLIDE RULE||First 44.7||SDL||Scott Bearse|
|STORMY PETREL||Leadership 44||SDL||Jack Neades|
|SWIFT||NAVY 44||SDL||Steve Jaenke|
|TEMPTRESS||IMX-45||SDL||Robert W. Kits Heyningen|
|TRIPLE LINDY||Swan 44 MKll||SDL||Joseph Mele|
|VAMP||J/44||SDL||Leonard J. Sitar|
|WANDRIAN||Taylor 41||SDL||D. William Tucker|
|WAZIMO||Aerodyne 38||SDL||Barrett Holby|
|WHITE RHINO||Swan 56||SDL||Collin J. Marshall|
|WIDOW MAKER||C&C 44||SDL||George Bauer|
|WINDBORN||J120||SDL||Richard W. Born|
|ZEST||Hinckley SW42||SDL||Brian E. Swiggett|
|ZION||Aerodyne 38||SDL||Timothy P. Maney|
|ZOE II||First 40||SDL||Francois Brassard|
|SPIRIT OF BERMUDA||Ctm 86||SPIRIT||Scott Jackson|
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.
When the third annual Les Voiles des St. Barth gets underway this April 2-7, there will be more that meets the eye than the simply stunning panoramic views of the colorful French West Indies island that hosts the event and the expansive blue Caribbean ocean that surrounds it. Competitive sailors and, for that matter, local residents and visitors alike will have the privilege of also indulging in the indelible impressions left by the aesthetically unmatched designs of some of the world’s finest yachts participating as well as the passion of their owners.
Among the 60+ entrants registered to date is what many call the world’s most famous yacht of all time: the 52’ (15.8 metre) yawl Dorade. Purchased in 2010 by Matt Brooks (San Francisco, Calif.), Dorade was designed by the late Olin Stephens and originally launched in 1930. She influenced nearly all developments in yacht design for the next three decades and was hugely successful in distance racing, taking overall victory in the 1931 Transatlantic race and the 1931 and 1933 Fastnet races, among others. Now, Brooks, who has spent the last year overseeing a refit and major restoration of Dorade, is utilizing Les Voiles de St. Barth as a platform for both yacht and crew preparation, with the goal of entering Dorade in her first major modern ocean race this summer: the Newport to Bermuda Race, in which she finished second in both 1930 and 1932.
“We are assembling and training a crew with the right skills, chemistry and experience to race Dorade and win,” said Brooks, who is a world champion in the Six Meter class as well as an accomplished mountain climber and world record-holding jet pilot. “We also are toughening up Dorade herself, readying her for the kind of long-range sailing she hasn’t seen in decades, keeping in mind that while she may be game, she is also an 80-year-old lady.”
Dorade will sail in the Classics division against such other standouts as Kate, an Intel 60 (18.2 metre); Cruinneag III, a 63’ (19.4 metre) ketch, and Marie Des Isles, a Gran Shpountz 65 (20 metre). Among Dorade’s crew will be John Burnham, an IOD World Champion and Shields ClassNational Champion; legendary Bermudian sailor Buddy Rego; Jesse Sweeney, Dorade’s navigator and a member of the Camper Emirates Team New Zealand’s meteorology team for the Volvo Ocean Race; and Jamie Hilton, a two-time 12 Meter World and North American Champion, who also was a member of Brooks’s team when it won the 2011 Six Meter World Cup.
“St. Barth is a legendary destination and a beautiful place to sail, and we are expecting great wind, great camaraderie among the competitors, and a good test of the new and improved Dorade,” said Brooks.
Another remarkable yacht that will be seen in St. Barth is the Hoek 115’ (35.2 metre) Firefly, the recently launched prototype for the new one-design F Class. The superyacht was designed to hold her own against larger (130’/39.7 metre) J Class yachts and sports some similarities such as a towering rig and long bow and stern overhangs to those massive yachts, which were built in the 1930s and have experienced a rebirth.
According to her designers, Firefly is a perfect mix of classic lines and retro-design details, optimizing her for the Spirit of Tradition classes hosted by some regattas, but at Les Voiles de St. Barth she will depend on her high-performance racing characteristics to prevail against eight other yachts thus far signed up in Maxi class (yachts 75’/22.86 metres and longer).
“The concept is to have a beautiful, classic-looking boat with a modern underbody, using the latest technologies in deck gear and rigging solely for use as a racing boat and/or daysailer,” said Mark van Gelderen, who supervised Fireflys nine-month building process and has been the captain since she splashed in June of 2011. Having headed straight to the Med to compete in a handful of maxi events, Firefly was further optimized to improve performance before heading to the Caribbean.
“We have a relatively young crew combined of professional sailors, very good amateurs and friends of the owner,” added van Gelderen, who will be skippering and driving together with the owner. “Within the crew we have Olympic, Volvo Ocean Race, big boat and dinghy experienced sailors a great combination of very motivated guys!”
Van Gelderen also explained that St. Barth will offer a great place for guests and crew to be entertained when not participating in racing. “There are beaches, great restaurants, shopping and peace and tranquility, all within close proximity,” van Gelderen said. “It’s the perfect combination.”
While three other Maxi Class boats — the 112′/34 metre Baltic Nilaya, the 112′/34 metre Swan Highland Breeze, and the 115’/35 metre Farr Sojana — are nicely matched size-wise to Firefly, no one is quite sure how they or five smaller Maxis in the class are going to compare speed-wise. Certainly all eyes will be on the 90′ (27.4 metre) Reichel/Pugh Rambler, which won the inaugural Les Voiles de St. Barth and has been brought out of retirement by its owner George David (Hartford, Conn.) after its successor, Rambler 100 (which won last years Les Voiles de St. Barth with David steering) lost its keel and capsized in the 2011 Fastnet.
“These races invariably start a mile or two off Gustavia (the main harbor and capital of St. Barth), which means in any kind of a northeasterly trade it is a shifty first leg to a weather mark just outside the harbor,” said David, who most recently finished second overall and second in class with Rambler at the 2012 RORC Caribbean 600. “Then there are a couple of miles reaching either way across the south side of the island, so it’s a parade after that first weather mark, and you don’t want to get there second. Our ride last year, Rambler 100, got us there first every time with boat lengths to spare. It wont be so easy in the 90 footer.”
David noted that 15 of Ramblers crew sailing in the Les Voiles de St. Barth were present at the now-famous Fastnet incident, and a majority of them have sailed in the last two runnings of this regatta.
In addition to the Classic and Maxi classes at Les Voiles de St. Barth, there will also be a Racing Class with divisions for Spinnaker, Non-Spinnaker, 52-Footers, and Multihulls. Other notable entries include the Tripp 75 Blackbird, the Carkeek 40 Decision, the X 65 Karuba 5, and the Irens 63 trimaran Paradox.
With a Tuesday (April 3) through Saturday (April 7) schedule that includes four days of intense racing and a lay day on Thursday (April 5), the regatta kicks off on Monday, April 2, with opening ceremonies and cocktails at the festive Race Village on the Quai General de Gaulle overlooking Gustavia Harbor, where the event is headquartered. Lay day events planned for Nikki Beach include lunch and a surprise sporting challenge for all crews. Evening activities include off-site parties as well as post-racing bands and entertainment in the Race Village.
Organizers unveiled the official limited edition Les Voiles de St. Barth 2012 poster by well-known St. Barth artist Antoine Heckly. Only 300 posters will be printed, with the original artwork to be auctioned off during the crew party –hosted by the real estate agency, Sibarth — at Shell Beach on Wednesday, April 4. Proceeds from this auction will be donated to FEMUR (Foundation for Emergency Medical Equipment) to fund the purchase of a CT scanner to be installed in the new Radiation Center in the island’s Hopital de Bruyn.
It has been a busy 24 hours at the Antigua Yacht Club. At dawn on the fifth day of the RORC Caribbean 600, only three yachts were still at sea vying to complete the course before tonight’s Prizegiving celebrations and all of the class winners are now provisionally decided. The bar at the Antigua Yacht Club has been in full swing, buzzing with stories between the crews and songs in a myriad of different languages.
Team Selene skippered by Benjamin Davitt finished yesterday morning. The Swan 80 sailed an excellent race to claim third place overall and will lift the prestigious Swan Caribbean Challenge Trophy later this evening.
Without doubt, the closest racing for this year’s event was in IRC One. Colin Buffin’s Swan 62, Uxorious IV, was first to finish, but the team did not celebrate a class win. Buffin and his young team knew that Amanda Hartley’s Swan 56, Clem, was extremely close to eclipsing their corrected time. Just over three and half hours passed before Clem crossed the finish line to win the class by just 21 seconds on corrected time. There were ecstatic scenes dockside as the Spanish crew of Clem celebrated their class win. The entire crew of Uxorious IV including Colin Buffin sportingly applauded their rivals. Amanda Hartley spoke of their win.
“‘We had no idea until we crossed the line and turned on our phones which went crazy with people calling in from Spain. By our calculation we thought we had lost out by five minutes. We got stuck at Guadeloupe for four hours and we could only sit and watch Uxorious get away. We are obviously extremely delighted and really appreciate Colin and his team coming over to give us such a lovely welcome back to Antigua.”
Jaime Torres’ Puerto Rican First 40, Smile And Wave, finished shortly after midnight last night to claim third in IRC One.
Scarlet Logic, co-skippered by Ross Applebey and Tim Thubron, finished the RORC Caribbean 600 shortly after 2300 last night. The Oyster 48 has been vying for the overall win for the last two days. In the end Scarlet Logic missed out, but the team had put in an incredible effort and have been rewarded with a convincing win in IRC Two. Scarlet Logic has the best corrected time in IRC One, Two and Three and as a result will be awarded the fantastic prize of a week’s accommodation at the luxurious Inn at English Harbour.
“Fantastic, elated but bloody tired,” admitted Tim Thubron, co-skipper of Scarlet Logic. The weather lined up nicely for us and we were aware that we were in with a chance of beating the big, well funded professional teams and that really spurred us on and made us push even harder. A lot of credit must go to the whole team, especially Ross Applebey. Scarlet was immaculately prepared and we hardly had a single breakage, however we did need to drop the main to replace a sail slide. The job was done and the main back up in eight minutes, that to me says it all.”
There was joy and pain for both IRC Canting Keel and the Class40s. Ernesto Cortina’s Volvo 70 Gran Jotiti finished the race in just over two days. The Spanish team is racing the yacht formerly known as Telefonica Black in the last Volvo Ocean Race. Ernesto spoke about his team shortly after finishing. “This has been a great experience, even though our result was badly affected by a lot of sail damage. Many of the sails are tired from thousands of miles of racing. However, the crew have been a joy to sail with and this race is helping us build for the future. Gran Jotiti’s aim is to create a world class amateur Spanish offshore sailing team and we have learnt a lot through this race.
Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50, Privateer, showed exceptional pace and boat handling throughout. Unfortunately the American team failed to start correctly and accepted a 10% penalty from the race organisers resulting in Gran Jotiti being declared winner of IRC Canting Keel.
The Class40s turned into a battle royale between Christophe Coatnoan’s Partouche and Christof Petter’s Vaquita. The two Class40s were locked in a heroic tacking duel for the final push to the finish line, a 40-mile beat from Redonda to the finish in Antigua.
Vaquita crossed the line just after sunset beating Partouche by a slender margin, just 15 minutes in a race lasting over 3 days. However, Vaquita failed to start the race correctly and to the Austrian crew’s disappointment, the class win was awarded to Partouche: “It was a tough race and we had a couple of moments that really slowed us down,” commented Christophe Coatnoan who raced two-handed with Eric Calmard. “We picked up a fishing float after Nevis without realising and we probably lost 8 miles before we knew it was there. Later at Guadeloupe, I had to dive into the water to free Partouche from yet another fishing buoy. The race was an excellent test for our new design especially for our sails as I think we used every one of them during the race.”
Vaquita’s Andreas Hanakamp commented: “Obviously we are disappointed to have been penalised but we were delighted with our performance. Partouche is a brand new Finot design, whilst Vaquita is a 2006 Akilaria. The RORC Caribbean 600 is a testing race course and a very tough race, exactly what we needed to prepare for our main competition of the season, The Atlantic Cup later this year.”
The latest competitor to finish the RORC Caribbean 600 is Bernie Evan-Wong’s Mumm 36, High Tension. Falmouth Harbour exploded with noise as the smallest yacht in the race tied up right outside the Antigua Yacht Club. Thunderous blasts from megayachts, superyachts and foghorns literally shook the dock as the whole of the sailing community in Falmouth heralded the arrival of local hero Bernie and his crew.
“I said we would be here tonight but I always like to be early for appointments,” joked the Antiguan dentist. “It was a hard but satisfying race and the beat from Redonda to the finish seemed to take forever. We could see Antigua but it just didn’t seem to be getting any bigger, however a few miles out a massive rain squall hit and veered the wind favourably for us to speed our way to Antigua. After last year’s dismasting, I think maybe someone was looking out for us!”
Tonight the RORC Caribbean 600 Prizegiving Ceremony will take place at the Antigua Yacht Club. The two yachts still racing are Igor Zaretskiy’s, First 40.7 Coyote II and the RACYC Offshore Racing Team – White Knight’s Spirit of Venus. Both are expected to make tonight’s party, which should be a momentous occasion.