Anniversary edition: 20 years
4 October 2019
Over to the sport!
- Glorious conditions for another race to be validated in each of the groups
- Wally: Galateia excels across the board
- Wallyno-Lorina among the Maxis; maximum uncertainty
- The jewels of Les Voiles: the “Guest” group
A star-studded Saint Tropez!
As with every edition of Les Voiles, anniversary edition or not, sailing’s stars from all manner of backgrounds on all manner of boats, flock to compete at Saint Tropez.
Among this year’s celebs are Thierry Peponnet, Jochen Schümann and Tom Whidden, Jean-Pierre Dick and the illustrious American helmsman Peter Holmberg, Patrizio Bertelli, boss of the Luna Rossa challenge, Michel Desjoyeaux, Simon Le Bon, Nicolas Berenger, Yvan Bourgnon, Brad Butterworth, as well as Dee Caffari, Sébastien Audigane, German Frers, Philippe Monnet, Lionel Péan, Loïck Peyron, Christopher Pratt, Marcel van Triest, Bruno Troublé, and writer Yann Quéffélec to name but a few!
Following yesterday’s flamboyance, marked by a succession of challenges between all manner of craft, capped off by the exuberance of the crew procession, it was back to the sport and the racing today and the wind gods agreed to toe the line. Indeed, from noon, the breeze picked up more and more across all three race circuits from the far side of the bay for the Classics, to the outskirts of Cavalaire for the Modern boats and other Wallys. In this way, some 4,000 sailors were able to bring their talent and inspiration to bear in a vast range of conditions. Courses spanning twenty miles or so for the largest craft were quickly devoured, everyone racing according to their measurement handicap so that they could all get the best out of their boat and fill the bay with sport and spectacle. Les Voiles at its best!
Galateia triumphs among the Wallys
Setting off on a big looped circuit of around twenty miles towards Cavalaire, the powerful Wallys powered upwind to meet today’s expected SW’ly wind. David Leuschen’s WallyCento Galateia sailed an absolute blinder on a tumultuous W’ly swell, which gave the crews a good old shake-up at times, overpowering Magic Carpet3 not just in elapsed time, by just 3 minutes, but also in corrected time. The Wally 77 Lyra also excelled, snatching second place in the race ahead of the Wally 101 Y3K. After her victory in the first race, she’s now leading the provisional overall ranking, ahead of Galateia which is back in contention for ultimate victory.
Velsheda by a nose
There’s a almighty duel between two of the giants racing at Les Voiles: the massive J Class Velsheda (Nicholson 1933) against George David’s Rambler 88, a Juan K design with a penchant for records! First across the line in elapsed time, with a Leopard3 (Farr 100) in fine fettle just a few boat lengths astern, Rambler took the win by just 28 minutes. It was not enough to take the win in corrected time however and it was Velsheda that triumphed today.
The Mini Maxis shaken but not stirred
There was another bitter battle at the top of the leader board in the IRC A 4 category of Mini Maxis. Measuring 72-feet, they are considered by many to be real warships given how efficient and demanding they are. Jim Schwarz’ Vesper ultimately won the duel against Sir Peter Ogden’s Jethou. Originating in Utah, the skipper of the former is eager to stir up this category and is once again bringing a James Bond theme into play here in Les Voiles, ensuring that every boat he owns has a name inspired by a 007 character.
Solte back on top after the Club 55 Cup
Suffering defeat yesterday against the 12mR Ikra during the Club 55 Cup, today the Swan 53 Solte made good her revenge by taking the lead in a highly competitive group of IRC Bs, which includes no fewer than 35 fast racer cruisers measuring 14 to 17.50 metres. The French Grand Soleil 50 Mad IV is waiting in ambush however, which bodes well for a stellar final tomorrow.
A clincher beckons for Wallyno and Lorina
The group of IRC A 3s is relishing a merciless battle between Wallyno (Wally 60) and Lorina, the Swan 601. The two Maxis are in contact as the umpires begin to tot up the results of the Mediterranean Maxi championship (IMA) in readiness for the final decisive day of racing. However, with all eyes on the duel, the Italian Mylius 80 Twin Soul B is reaping the benefits this evening after securing today’s race win ahead of her two fierce rivals.
The group of jewels
Among the numerous groups, classes, class measurements and rigs navigating the waters of the bay at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, there is one rather unique group which has been christened the ‘Guests’ for practical reasons. Boasting 6 truly exceptional craft, they are regulars at Les Voiles but their length is such that they don’t fit into any particular measurement, except that they are all marvels of 20th century marine architecture. Dainty for example is the smallest yacht at Les Voiles with her 8.12m waterline. Launched in 1922, this pretty Westmacott-designed Bermudan sloop made a clean sweep of the prizes in the thirties. Just a tad longer with a waterline of 10.24m, Joséphine is a Bermudan IOD penned by the Danish master of the metre boats Bjarne Aas. There isn’t a lot more to say or write about Alcyon 1871, a wonderful gunter rig from Marseille, which measures 9m on deck, but features a LOA of 23m!! Some great adversaries for her are Maria Giovanna II (Olin Stephens 1963) and Windhover (Luke 1904), two swift Bermudan cutters, along with Djinn, the only gaff cutter of the group (Annemans 1934), which is currently topping this very exclusive leader board.
Loro Piana Trophy
The Loro Piana brand is a family history that dates back over 6 generations. Initially, the family sold woolen fabric before creating the Lanificio Fratelli Lora e Compagnia in the second half of the 19th century, specialising in woollen garments. It wasn’t until 1924 and Pietro Loro Piana that the top-of-the-range fashion company that we know and love today came into existence. The Italian company, which celebrates nature, outdoor life, movement and freedom through the most exclusive cashmere pieces, has made sailing its favourite sport, marrying into the values of the art of living. In this way, Pier Luigi Lorio Piana owned the Super Maxi My Song. The brand also partners numerous Maxis yacht regattas in the Med. Present at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez since 2017, Loro Piana awards a Trophy to the winner of the IRC A group for craft in excess of 20 metres. It’s all to play for in 2019!
Crew night at La Ponche
It’s an eagerly awaited highlight for the 4,000 international sailors that race the 300 yachts competing at Les Voiles: crew night! The venue, La Ponche, a legendary spot beside the sea in Saint Tropez, this Friday evening, at dusk. Catering: a giant tartiflette (a dish with potatoes, bacon and cheese) from France’s Savoy region, with the wines of Chevalier Torpez and brewer Montaner, and musical accompaniment of course!
Saturday 5 October: Inshore races, 1st start 11:00 hours
Saturday 5 October: Inshore races, 1st start 12:00 hours
Prize-giving for everyone
Sunday 6 October, from 11:00 hours
3 October 2019
Anything goes on a Thursday
- Ikra wins the Club 55 Cup
- Olympian takes the Centenary Trophy
- Galatea outpaces Magic Carpet3
- The crew parade; carnival Saint Tropez-style!
The now legendary origin of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez is the Nioulargue, an event devised by a handful of seafaring gentlemen gathered around Patrice de Colmont, following what was a rather innocuous bet at the time between two yachts, the 12mR Ikra and the American Swan Pride. 20 years on from the revival of the event under her new name of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, the course for this epic sprint to the Nioulargue mark was opened today within the context of the Club 55 Cup, by the very same Ikra, helmed by top French racer Nicolas Bérenger, and another Swan, this one 53-feet, by the name of Solte. Victory went to the 12mR, at ease in the shifty breeze that coloured play on this beautiful summer’s day in the bay.
Challenges of all kinds
Keeping up the Nioulargue tradition, no fewer than sixty or so crews stepped up to the challenge on this historic course today. Among them were clashes between two generations of 12mR, French Kiss (Philippe Briand 1985) against France (André Mauric 1970). An adversary in the Epoque Marconi group, Emilia (Costaguta 1930) laid down the gauntlet to La Spina (Baglietto 1928) in an elegant and stylish face-off between Bermudan sloops in excess of 20 metres. More futuristic was the challenge between Ryokan 2, the Wally 80 and Lyra, a Wally 77, with almost identical potentials. Of the multi-yacht challenges with very different profiles was a clash between the Verdier design The Kid (JP 54) against Black Pepper, Black Legend, Tewa and Black Soul. Fjord III, the Frers Bermudan cutter challenged Jour de Fête, which boasted one Michel Desjoyeaux as crew (Paine-Burgess 1930). Equally appealing was Lorina against Wallyno by way of a dress rehearsal for the final for these two Maxis, an account due to be settled later this week within the context of Les Voiles!
Ikra makes the Club 55 Cup winners’ list once more
Winning the Trophy twice before, in 2003 and 2004, the 12mR Ikra scored a hat-trick today in this 2019 edition. Indeed, in this tumultuous sprint between Portalet, Nioulargue and Pampelonne, in a light breeze with a bracing chop, she gained the upper hand against her challenger, the Swan 53 Solte. Following this clash of the titans, the crews succumbed to tradition and cheerfully dined at Patrice de Colmont’s, at the Club 55, their heads beneath the tamarisks and their feet in the sand, delighting in the Provençal and Mediterranean fare.
To the wire for Olympian in the Centenary Trophy!
At the instigation of the Yacht Club de Gstaad, some 25 centenarian yachts of all sizes and rig-types competed for this 9th edition of the Gstaad Yacht Club Centenary Trophy. In line with the pursuit race principle agreed by the competitors, each yacht set sail shortly after 13:00 hours from the Portalet Tower in a moderate SE’ly breeze on a 17-mile course to the Nioulargue mark and back. It was Lulu, a gaff cutter penned by Texier in 1897, with her LOA of 11.43m, which was the first to be warped, followed 11 minutes later by Viola (Fife 1908). It was the majestic Moonbeam IV (Fife 1914) that brought up the rear of this fleet of centenarians some 37 minutes later. After 2 hours of sheer heaven out on the racetrack, Olympian, the William Gardner design P Class launched in 1913, bagged the Trophy, just a hair’s breadth ahead of Viola, which has hitherto been untouchable on the Mediterranean circuit this year, and Chips, the other P Class penned by Burgess. “We were less than 2 metres behind!” lamented Yvon Rautureau, “having led the whole race!”… Even in a friendly, a racer remains a racer…
The Wallys for the love of the sport!
A fabulous 17-mile course in the sunshine, breeze and gentle waves… the temptation proved too great for all the Wallys at Les Voiles, who made the most of the start line put in place by the organisation. Embroiled in a thrilling race for glory, the formidable Galatea (Wallycento) also shook up today’s hierarchy by getting the better of Magic Carpet Cubed which is so used to triumphing in these azure waters.
The Maxis join the fray!
And not to be outdone, a fair few of the competing Maxis also decided to challenge one another in this non-point-scoring race. Just five minutes after the centenarian yachts, 9 Maxis slipped under Portalet: E1 (VOR 70), Lady First (Mylius 60), Pelotari (V68), Wallyño (Wally 60), Leopard (Farr 100), Twin Soul 8 (Mylius 80), Lorina (Swan 601) and Mefi (60 OPen).
Crew parade: Egyptians, pirates and superheroes!
Revived a few years back, the procession of crews seems to attract more and more crews year on year. In essence, each boat is invited to parade along, in costume, from the harbour master’s office to the far end of the port of Saint Tropez, following the dockside. Nearly twenty crews played the game this evening, dancing to their own tune in every sense, clad as anything from pirates to Egyptians and even superheroes. Presenting themselves in front of the jury at the end, the winner will be announced at the Sunday prize-giving with the victors set to receive a handsome prize of the captain’s weight in local wine (Chevalier Torpez).
An extraordinary yacht:
Out on the race zone during today’s Challenge Day, the Italian 12mR La Spina is a Baglietto design dating back to 1928. She was the first Twelve in the Med and the only Italian one right up to 1983. Restored in Naples by a boat owner with a passion for authenticity, La Spina hit the water again in Spezia for a series of Mediterranean races. It was the Marquis Franco Spinola who decided to have the boat built. Vincenzo Baglietto was the chosen architect-builder, whose family yard, founded in 1854 in the tiny fishing village of Varazze, some 30km to the west of Genoa, is still in existence and remains one of the most famous boatyards in Italy, for a long while specialising in wooden construction. Vincenzo, who was 38 at the time, had just returned from Glasgow, where he obtained a degree in naval engineering. Though he had no experience of 12 Metre boats, he must have kept a close eye on those elsewhere in Scotland, and he’d already cut his teeth on other Metre boats having crafted one 6mR and two 8mR boats, all three of them winners of some prestigious races. And that’s not all. In fact, the 8mR Italia, gold medallist at the Olympic Games in Kiel, was his 1936 creation.
Silence we’re filming!
Season II of the British series “Riviera” is currently being filmed in Saint Tropez. Les Voiles is serving as a backdrop to the ‘Hitchcock-style’ plot which has already thrilled over 20-million spectators since 2017. Over 120 technicians are participating in the production and filming of scenes along Saint Tropez’s stunning coastline and also at sea.
Riviera is a televised British series created by Neil Jordan and broadcast since 15 June 2017 on the Sky Atlantic channel. Riviera Season II is riding the crest of an extraordinary wave of success from the first season as a thriller based in the sunny climes of Saint Tropez with the spectacular competition of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez as its setting. The series is being filmed in several iconic sites around the port of Saint Tropez with the precious support of the organiser of Les Voiles, the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez.
Distribution: Julia Stiles, Lena Olin, Dimitri Leonidas, Roxane Duran…
Friday 4 and Saturday 5 October: Inshore races, 1st start 11:00 hours
Friday 4 and Saturday 5 October: Inshore race, 1st start 12:00 hours
Prize-giving for everyone
Sunday 6 October, from 11:00 hours
29 September 2019
They believe they can sail...!
- Pitch, Sonda, France and Blitzen, prize-winners of the Yacht Club de France’s Autumn Cup
- The Modern boats kick off proceedings tomorrow. With Wallys, Maxis and Prototypes… more than 150 Hi-Tech sail boats are set to hit the bay
- Les Voiles, the clincher in the Mediterranean Maxi Inshore Challenge
Summer continues to reign across the bay in France’s Var region, despite the arrival mid-afternoon of the 35 yachts competing in the Yacht Club de France’s Autumn Cup, by way of a competitive prelude to what promises to be a wonderful anniversary week at Les Voiles. Racing from Cannes to Saint Tropez, it was the perfect opportunity for spectators to get a foretaste of the upcoming races as the large gaff schooners and speedy cutters, some dating back to the thirties, burst onto the race zone. Snatching victory in their respective categories, Pitch (Tofinou 9.5m), Sonda (8mR), France (12mR) and Blitzen (sloop) celebrated their wins in style whilst nearly 4,000 sailors continued with their final preparations and the inauguration of the race village, which has been entirely revamped prior to the first races tomorrow for all the Modern yachts, split into 5 IRC groups, together with the powerful Wallys. In line with tradition, the Classic yachts will hit the racetrack on Tuesday, completing the line-up for this magical event.
The Yacht Club de France’s Autumn Cup
Anticipating a shifty wind at midday, those competing in the Autumn Cup set sail from the bay of Cannes at 10:15 hours this morning on a 23-mile sprint to Saint Tropez. The SW’ly breeze forced them onto a beat, a point of sail relished by some of the yachts. It was the Tofinou 9.5 Pitch skippered by Patrice Riboux that dominated her Esprit de Tradition category, an achievement matched by Eric Leprince’s Sonda among the Marconi rigs of less than 15 metres in length, Jacques Kade’s Blitzen for boats over 15 metres, and Pierre Bausset’s France, which outpaced Il Moro di Venezia among the 12mRs.
The Modern boats get down to business tomorrow
Tomorrow, Monday, the fleet of Modern yachts, IRC boats and Wallys are raring to get going with their last competition of the season. Indeed, Saint Tropez is synonymous with a settling of accounts as it hosts the grand finale for a number of series, including the latest new race created under the aegis of the International Maxi Association, the Mediterranean Maxi Inshore Challenge, where either Wallyno and Lorina are lined up to take the win at the end of this week at Les Voiles.
Among the newcomers to the legendary port in southern France are two new yachts sure to create a stir: the V68 Pelotari (20m), launched in late June and designed in collaboration with the architect Mark Mills, and the GS80 Essentia (24m), designed by Ceccarelli Yacht Design and Engineering, which is making her race debut here. The V68 Pelori is a development of the V62 Supernikka, winner of 3 Mini Maxi Rolex World Championships. The fully carbon boat is unique in that her retracting keel reduces her draught from 4.20m to just 2.90m.
The Italian yard Del Pardo, builder of the famous Grand Soleils, is launching a new range entitled Grand Soleil Custom. Essentia is the first of these, designed by Ceccarelli. Measuring 25.95 metres in length and built from carbon fibre, she embodies the Grand Soleil’s speed and seaworthiness, as well as boasting a supreme standard of equipment. She’ll certainly be one to watch at Les Voiles…
As it tracks eastwards, a small low-pressure system is set to sweep the coast of the Var region with WNW’ly winds of 16 to 18 knots.
28 September 2019
A 20-year love story!
Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez is 20! That means it’s already been two whole decades since the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez began offering those who love beautiful sails, a rare and unique moment each year, in the run-up to autumn, devoted to the many, many delights of high-quality regattas. Lasting one week, with 300 boats, Classic and Modern craft alike, over 4,000 sailors will once again celebrate the sea as only they know how, both on land and on the water, with the same spirit of sharing and sociability initiated by Patrice de Colmont, creator of the Nioulargue, of which Les Voiles is the modern-day heir. From 1999-2019, the history of Les Voiles has been coloured by one highlight after another, and this upcoming anniversary edition, is evidently more competitive and more spectacular than ever before. Boasting a dazzling line-up in all the dedicated rounds, from sublime sailboats that are often centenarians, to futuristic prototypes, Maxi yachts or Wallys, a new resolutely sailor-oriented village, and land-based festivities that the crews themselves will make all the more glorious, the event really has it all. Furthermore, with the arrival tomorrow, Sunday, of the classic yachts from Cannes, within the context of the Yacht Club de France’s Autumn Cup, the party can truly commence with the same passion as there is every year.
A shipshape event!
To celebrate this anniversary edition in style, the race village for Les Voiles, the veritable nerve centre of the ‘onshore’ activity’, has undergone a makeover, as well as taking on a new identity. Indeed, Tony Oller and his teams from the “Nautique” have taken the maritime theme to a whole new level by recreating the interior of a galleon. Frames, mastings, woodwork… the village lives and breathes the sea this year, inspiring one and all to head offshore! “The whole thing is built in an eco-friendly manner”, stresses Tony Oller. “Every plank will be reused for the next 3 editions at least.” Spanning 2,700m2 and encompassing various floors, the village is this year hosting some 23 exhibitors, all of them connected to a maritime activity. Based in its usual spot behind the harbour master’s office, it once again features an elevated section across two floors to the East so as to accommodate the event’s VIP area, which enjoys an exceptional panoramic view across the race zone and the port. Another new feature is the site of the SNST’s reception area and the registration office, which is located right at the entrance to the village.
A first-rate appetizer, the Yacht Club de France’s Autumn Cup
Forming a physical bond between the Cannes’ “Régates Royales” and “Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez”, the Yacht Club de France’s Autumn Cup heralds the start of festivities for Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. 30 to 40 yachts, split into four classes under the aegis of the International Mediterranean Committee (C.I.M.), will set sail from Cannes tomorrow at 10:00 hours bound for ‘party central’ in Saint Tropez. Their arrival on the far side of the bay of Saint Tropez and Portalet with all sails aloft after a 21-mile sprint is always a unique moment and a sign of the beautiful images and the fine competition to come over the next week.
Period yachts, classic yachts, spirit of tradition yachts, 6mRs, 8mRs and 12mRs are all accepted. The Autumn Cup is organised by the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez under the leadership of the Yacht Club de France, using the technical resources of the Yacht Club de Cannes for the race start in Cannes. The prize-giving will take place from 19:30 hours tomorrow, Sunday.
The old faithfuls in attendance as ever
Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez is also synonymous with a certain number of competitive markers. Indeed, each year the prestigious trophies whet the appetites of competitors, captain and boat owners alike. In this way, the BMW Trophy will inspire the fabulous Wallys, whilst the Loro Piana Trophy will encourage the superyachts to give their all in the IRCA category for boats in excess of 27 metres. With regards the Classic yachts, it’s the Period Marconi Bs, which have this year been selected to compete for the prestigious Rolex Trophy. A very fine opportunity to shine a spotlight on these classic craft measuring between 15 and 17 metres in length, which bear the signatures of some of the most renowned naval architects of the 20th century. There will be 18 of them competing this year. 5 IRC Classes will enable the racers on the Mediterranean circuit to settle their accounts after a long sports season, whilst no fewer than 6 groups will give the classic yachts a chance to compete on an equal footing according to their respective rigs.
And a word about the newcomers…
The appeal of Les Voiles doesn’t lie. In fact, year on year, the event certainly enjoys its share of fresh encounters and newcomers. Alongside Ester (1901 Mellgren design), one of the year’s great ‘discoveries’ will obviously be the face-to-face with Sumurun, a 1914 Fife design. This absolutely exceptional 35m Marconi yawl is one of the last large Fife cruising yachts still afloat. She’s just completed a remarkable two-year restoration at the Guip yard in Brest and will be putting in her very first tacks in the bay of Saint Tropez during Les Voiles.
In the gaff rig category, this year’s newcomer is an amazing 120-year-old ketch rig. She is none other than the imposing 34m Nicholson design Black Swan and she will be making her debut in the waters of Saint Tropez.
A packed week of competition, glorious sunshine and a generous breeze.
Is it the 20th anniversary effect? Well, it promises to be a sunny week in Saint Tropez with plenty of breeze to boot. Predominantly from the West, the wind will make for a bracing sprint for the classic yachts arriving in Saint Tropez, with colour and spectacle guaranteed.
Fotos: Copyright Saint Tropez Societe Nautique, LesVoiles de Saint Tropez, all rights reserved