For its 8th edition, this unique Les Voiles de St Barth Regatta, taking place in a festive tropical environment, is a top-notch sporting event with a flawless organization, thanks to main sponsor Richard Mille, offering onshore and offshore pleasures to locals and visitors, not to mention, obviously, to the competitors who are impatiently attending this inescapable adrenaline rush every year.
Near 70 teams are expected in Gustavia for the 8th edition of Les Voiles de St Barth, taking place from the 10th to the 15th of April 2017. Among them, a fortnight of Maxis, around 40 Spinnakers, half a dozen of Multi (multihulls) and a handful of Melges 24. Former winners, advanced sailors or newbies will attempt to claim victory, revenge, or simply a first unforgettable Caribbean sailing experience.
The Maxis, a delightful mix between performance and luxury
In the Maxi class, these 100%-carbon speed demons are performed to beat records and/or to pile up world tours, but these luxury yachts are also designed to for crusing and racing: the eclectic fleet will thus ensure close confrontations and sometimes unexpected surprises. For starters, we can name Rambler 88, whose American owner George David fell in love with Les Voiles already 6 years ago, and has won 4 noticable victories. Facing him, Selene with American owner Tim Anderson, is also regularly present on the winners’ podium. They will have to compete with Plis Play, a promising competitor, coming to Gustavia for the first time, but preceeded by and dreaded for her reputation and numerous victories in other regattas.
The Spinnakers, title-holders re-enter the play
It is unquestionably the most numerous category, and the competition promises to be tough. Fomo, with American Lloyd Thornburg, former winner of the Multi race in 2015; Sorcha, 2nd in 2015, then 3rd in 2016 in the CSA 0 category; Powerplay, led by Peter Cunningham, IRC winner in 2012; but also Lazy Dog, Eärendil, Crédit Mutuel… But even if these names are whispered as favorites, the die is not cast yet, as some new entrants, like Fortunata or Earlybird, are determined to play their best cards and become part of the legend.
The Multihulls, an eclectic fleet
Catamarans or trimarans, 30 or 66 feets, vintage or brand new, all options are sure to please every taste among the multihull experts. A special attention can be allocated to Fujin, with skipper Greg Slyngstad, winner of the Sint Maarten Heineken Regatta, having won 3 on 4 races, is determined to excel in St Barts too. Beware R-Six though, winner of the Multihulls Cup 2016 and 2nd at the Sint Maarten Heineken Regatta, right behind Morticia, who will also be part of the competition to confirm the performance of her new foils. Let’s see how these recent and new boats will behave while facing Triple Jack, the oldest yacht of the fleet, who, at 38 years, won the Nanny Cay Cup and the Voiles de St Barth in 2016, with 3 victories out of 3 runs.
Melges 24, an ensured suspens
Among this fleet too, the battle will be remarkable. Team Island Water World, title-holder, comes back this year with the firm intention to confirm and to keep it. This sailboat is more than familiar with the subject, as much as it perfectly knows the specificities of the St Barth’s waters. Still, it will be a tight competition with GFA Caraïbes, 2nd of the 2015 and 2016 races with skipper Nicolas Gillet, willing to establish himself for his 3rd coming.
In short, this edition promises to be as much tough than exciting! More informations on the official website