By Norma Trease
As The Bard said “parting is such sweet sorrow”, and that is exactly the way everyone feels at the end of another fantastic edition of the Saint Barths Bucket. With every hug, every single-double-triple goodbye kiss, every sincere “I love you” a piece of your heart leaves with each friend and sailing companion who departs for their home ports by plane, ferry – or indeed by yacht. Yet we all know that in this world, we will all meet again, whether in another country, surely another regatta, boat show, wedding, or quay encounter in another port town. ‘Tis the nature of our biz! The upshot is that we carry with us, one and all, amazing memories of another Bucket, bigger and better than ever.
Michael Bradfield, owner of the superb Dubois-designed, Royal Huisman built Twizzle, summed it up as well as I ever could. “What a superb and exciting Bucket Regatta. The sailing was varied and challenging and brilliantly planned. The four categories were spot on and the exciting and tight finishes were a testament to the superb rating by Jim Teeters. Peter Craig as PRO and the team did a superb job of promoting a rich and varied regatta with a strong emphasis on safety and good nature. It was a privilege being able to take part.”
With forty seven yachts of this value and calibre, all competing for prizes, glory and bragging rights, racing can sometimes get a little hairy. Yet with the intense professionalism of both permanent and racing crews, once again, Bucket racing in Saint Barths remained safe, and with other than a few protest-enducing close calls, and some gear failure, everything turned out well in the end. However, there were some incidents of the yacht air-kiss variety.
On Day Three of racing, “Round the Island the Other Way”, with the four classes separated into two parallel courses, there were less of the mega-million-dollar-baby pile ups we all gasped at on Day Two. Day Threes’ biggest heart thumping moments happened at the finish line, which went between a marker buoy, and the lovely Burger yacht committee boat, Ingot. Blue Too, who had a great race, coming in 2nd in Class and 3rd place overall, narrowly avoided becoming the filing in a Perini panini. It was an exciting race for Perinis today, as Fidelis, and Parsifal III came across the finish line within inches of each other, and Andromeda also came exceedingly close to the committee boat.
BTW, a sincere “Merci Bucket” must be given to our three graciously loaned committee boats Rena, Krisujen, and Ingot. They are an integral part of Bucket racing, providing excellent hospitality and a great environment for our hard-working Race Committee officers, while also serving as appropriately elegant foils to the superb sailing yachts who pass them twice each day. Thanks very much!
It’s virtually impossible to fairly rate a gigantic fleet of this magnitude and diversity. No one has more data available, or crunches those numbers more assiduously than our ratings guru, Jim Teeters. Yet unfortunately, despite achieving the goal of many excitingly close-to-photo finishes, you can never please everyone in this super knowledgeable and experienced crowd. Amy Laing, who has for many years managed the complexities of the very busy Whisper program, delicately explained their frustrations at the ratings they received this year (which saw them start three from last on Day Three, for instance.) “The racing format needs work!” She further explained, “the size and number of yachts has rendered the objective of an overall winner impossible to fairly determine. The committee should be applauded for running this Bucket Regatta as competitively as it did given the obsolete format. I am sure Peter Craig will solve the format issue and Jim Titters will fairly rate the fleet in the future.” Extremely constructive criticism, and it is obvious that the Bucket racings need to be as varied and flexible as are the entries themselves.
Excellent racing and cruising skipper Dean Maggio, who unfortunately was involved in one of the few protests, looked at it from a historical perspective “this used to be resolved with a case of champagne, but no more! Maybe we could go back to that!” Capt. Johnno Johnson of Antara, always the Bucket host-with-the-most, also shared his frustrations too, “not matter how well we sail- and we’ve had some cracking good sailing here, we simply can’t get ahead of all of these bigger, newer boats. Sure, the owner and guests are having the time of their lives – but we like to at least be in the middle of the fleet.” Antara was this year awarded the Skulduggery Cravat for their always-excellent good humour, and much appreciated hospitality.
The All-Star Crew went to Endeavour - who were so much admired as they decorated the courses daily, and also came in top in the J-Class, with a very respectable 23rd overall. The Vitters Seamanship Trophy was given to Race Committee member Don Gunning, who worked night and day to keep this race safe, and enjoyable for everyone.
Lots of awards going around: Perini Navi Barracuda, took home the always coveted Escargot Cup – whose title is self-explanatory. The Alloy Yacht Award for the top performing Alloy Yacht went to Blue Too. In a charming speech, Alice Huisman presented the Wolter Huisman Memorial Award, given to the yacht or person who best exhibits the ‘spirit of the Bucket’ to Capt. Richard Archer of the Swan Virago, well-known for their competitive spirit, and intense emphasis on safety. The Perini Navi Cup, which had a lot of potential winners in this years bumper-crop, was given to Panthalassa, who had an excellent race, coming in 2nd in Les Grandes Dames class, and 4th overall.
BRAVO, BRAVI, BRAVE to every one of us all lucky enough to part if this always totally awe-inspiring event – or as Don Tofias, that yacht-loving, and Bucket-loving sailorman says “the 2012 edition of the St. Barths Bucket is now complete, and as always – Yachting was the Winner.”
Blogger Norma Trease, one of the most sincere Bucket fans ever, is celebrating her own 25th Bucket Regatta – but who’s counting?
This Is Us
Les Gazelles Winners
Les Grandes Dames Winners
Les Elegantes Winners
This Is Us
Les Mademoiselles Winners
All Star Crew Award
Wolter Huisman Memorial Spirit of the Bucket Trophy
Perini Navi Cup
Vitter’s Shipyard Seamanship Trophy
Don Gunning – Race Committee
Descriptions of Awards
Best Performance by an Alloy Yacht
All Star Crew Award
At each Bucket Event, every yacht is asked to cast a ballot for the yacht crew among the fleet that demonstrates the most professional service in all tasks, while maintaining the best voie de vivre, camaraderie, teamwork and respect among the crew. This is the crew that displays the pinnacle of the profession and has the most fun at it – the yacht that everyone wants to work aboard. Because the award is earned by peer recognition, it has earned serious stature within the marine industry.
Spirit of the Bucket Trophy
This award is presented each year by Alice Huisman, to the yacht that best exemplifies the spirit of the Bucket Regattas. The selection is absolutely subjective, but considers sportsmanship, safe seamanship, best hospitality and overall contribution to the event.
We have created a lot of humor around the premise that “Bribes can get you anything in the Bucket” and this is where the truth comes clear. The Bucket Regatta was really started as a Club of yacht owners who loved nothing more than sailing their yachts well, getting the best out of them, and then sharing great yarns and libation at the end of the day. There are a group of owners who have contributed a lot to the event over the years, from tenders to parties, committee boats, etc. It is this Spirit that sets this event apart from all others. It is in recognition of this Spirit that the Wolter Huisman Memorial Trophy is awarded.
Perini Navi Cup
Perini-Navi Yacht with the best result.
Vitters Seamanship Trophy
Awarded to the yacht that demonstrates the best seamanship and sportsmanship in the interest of promoting safety on the race course. All participants in the Bucket acknowledge that superyachts have serious limitations operating safely in close quarters and therefore, the RC has always valued safety well above performance. This award will recognize the yacht that best demonstrates that understanding. It also goes to prove that nice guys don’t always finish last!!
The Skullduggery Cravat is a perfectly tied Admiralty Noose, framed, with instructions in elegant calligraphy on how to tie a proper, 13 turn noose. This was originally awarded to the owner of SARIYAH in 2002, so his captain, Timothy Laughridge (Bucket Committee) could be hung at the pleasure of the Fleet.
The award was renamed and put forward by the Committee to reinforce the Bucket premise that we are NOT here to promulgate adult behavior. The Cravat will be awarded to the yacht and crew who display the best bucket humor. As a guideline, we again focus on SARIYAH, where one year they spent the evening prior to the last race, slaughtering a down feathered mattress, then they packed the feathers in with their spinnaker so when they set their ‘Chute with the Hawk logo the following day, they not only dusted the horizon with feathers, but left a rubber chicken hanging from their spinnaker pole!!!
Breathtaking photos, results and more on the web site: http://www.bucketregattas.com/stbarths/index.html
By Norma Trease
My mother used to say “if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” The Saint Barths Bucket version of this was heard at the end of today’s very rainy race from Rebecca’s helmsman saying “well, at least we don’t have to wash down – or chamois!” The other upside of this unseasonable – even cold – rain falling in buckets all day was that it brought wind. Albeit the gusty, the fluky, variable winds we saw proved as much a challenge as an asset. So Day One of the Saint Barths Bucket proved to be very interesting indeed, a dramatic start to an always fascinating racing spectacle.
To begin with, this incredible fleet, featuring 47 of the worlds’ most impressive sailing yachts, hailing from every yacht building nation on earth, with a LOA of close to two kilometers in length total is mind boggling to any normal human being, even us hundreds of die-hard Bucketeers. Add in a new, fourth ratings class, and the ever-present discussions which surround the Bucket Ratings System, and the stage is set for a lot of excitement.
Day One as usual featured the ‘Round the Island Race’ clockwise. The races here are based on the pursuit racing theory which has yachts begin at staggered times based on predicted performance, which when figured correctly (as if this were possible with a fleet of this breathtaking diversity), and counting in slightly differing courses for some of the classes – could, or should result in all of the yachts coming across the finish line at the same time. Great concept, and there’s doubt that no one does it better that our ratings guru Jim Teeters, but can you imagine the fear factor in that amount enormous, and hugely valuable fleet of floating assets bearing on the same finish line at the same time? Needless to say, it rarely happens just that way.
Todays’ Bucket racing proved about as good as it gets, despite the unseasonable weather. Most of the yachts had great starts, with many of them right on the money, or bare seconds behind their allotted times. Throughout the race, which was either 20.8 or 24.5 miles depending upon your class, there was some seriously thrilling sailing. The finishes – proving that the years of data crunching behind the Bucket Ratings system actually does produce results – were in a few cases almost too close. The final mark proved a bottle neck, which saw several encounters of the heart-stopping variety, including a couple of clusters of Perini Navis coming within drink-sharing distance of each other. A definitely too intimate meeting of Whisper, Rebecca and Salperton – which came very close to producing the seriously frowned-upon protest – was averted at the last minute by the usual gentlemanly discussion. No T-bones today!
These yachts, although increasingly built to perform on the race course, are still at heart cruising vessels, and invariably, the rarely seen stresses that racing places on the yachts can – and does – cause some damage. Depending on who you spoke to, there were anything from four to eight spinnaker sails shredded, including those on Barracuda and Meteor. Most seriously damaged was the largest yacht in the fleet, the very impressive 67m Baltic Yacht Hetairos, designed by one of hottest current yacht design collaborations possible, Dysktra and Reichel/Pugh. She unfortunately hit a submerged rock and did quite a bit of damage to her keel – yet finished the race to the bitter end.
This was a race where experience really counted. The gorgeous classic 43m ketch Rebecca, which was designed by German Frers, and built at Pendennis Shipyard, has participated in many yacht races worldwide. Their well-rehearsed team, composed of experienced former and current yacht skippers, has brought them onto the winners’ podium at numerous Buckets. They chose the conservative route, carrying up on deck and rigging three different spinnakers, and in the end, although they could have chosen a more aggressive approach, went with a heavier sail, but at least, brought it back on deck safe and sound. From my point of view riding on board as an ‘extra’, the swath she cut through the eleven vessel Elegantes de Mer class, with a start as second-to-last place, and finishing right in the middle provided a fantastic view of the entire fleet as we chased and caught up with most of the yachts on the course today.
The newly formed Mademoiselles de la Mer class, dominated by no less than ten Dubois designed beauties, saw a very excited Ed Dubois chortling over his very first ever Bucket race win on Lady B, snagging both first in class and first over all. Ganesha and Salperton IV came in at 2nd and 3rd place respectively. With the vast quantity of yacht owners they make happy year after year – not to mention the aesthetic satisfaction they bring to their legion of fans worldwide – they deserve lots of prizes. Congrats to him and his great Dubois team!
In Les Grandes Dames, a/k/a the Perini Navi class, there was a battle of titans, as two of the Bucket founder captains, Tim Laughridge and Ian Craddock did guest helmsman duty on Parsifal III and Antara. The light variable winds did not at all favor these elegant, stately beauties, yet that did not stop them from battling mightily all throughout the race course. Capt. Timmy snagged a First in class with some quite aggressive driving. Axia, with her multi-generation family team, their dogged hard work, and long-time Bucket participation, well merited their close 2nd in class. The sleek Panthalassa rounded out 3rd place in Les Grandes.
Adela, another long-time favourite Bucket boat, swept to first in Les Elegantes, with Blue Too and This Is Us chasing them closely. Overall winners were Lady B, Adela, and Mari-Cha III. The newly instituted daily prize givings were well-attended by many still soggy Bucketeers.
The rain stopped just in time for the chamois to be wielded, the champagne popped, and hors d’oeuvres to be prepared for the Yacht Hop, which due to some serious security measures, remained very civilized. Very popular were Bliss, Barracuda and Parsifal III, but as usual – the party winner favours always go to those dancing fools on Antara. Their theme this year was Motown, and they had the sound system, the tunes, the bling and the hairdos to carry it off in style.
The sun is out for Day Two of the Saint Barths Bucket 2012. We’re all looking forward to enjoying another great day out on the water. See you on the race course!
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!
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.
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.
- 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,)
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.