Saint-Barth Cata Cup on schedule
Published on October 18th, 2017
No one will soon forget that on the night of September 5 to 6 in 2017, Hurricane Irma, one of the most devastating storms of the century, unleashed its full fury on the island of Saint Barthélemy. In the past weeks, with an enormous display of solidarity, the residents have been actively working toward the island’s reconstruction, with one common goal: that daily life should get back to normal.
Motivated by that shared objective, as well as their energy and courage, the organizers of the Saint-Barth Cata Cup decided to maintain the 10th edition of the event for Formula 18s on November 13-20, 2017. The challenge is huge, but with the support of the sponsors and encouragement from the racers, everyone felt it was important to bring such activities, as well as hope and joy back to Saint-Barth.
“The decision to hold this 10th anniversary edition of the Saint-Barth Cata Cup or not after the catastrophe that the island experienced was not a simple one to make,” explains island-born Jeff Ledée, creator of the regatta and a seasoned sailor.
“At first, we consulted with our sponsors, the Collectivity, the territorial tourism committee… it was primordial for us, the organizers, to have their support. Unanimously, they responded yes, they wished for the event to take place. From there, we had to make sure that we would be able to host the racers from around the world in the best possible conditions, and ensure the safety of the event.”
All systems are now go for the 10th Saint-Barth Cata Cup to take place properly, even if, clearly, it is somewhat of a big gamble.
“In Saint Barth, the residents are working really hard to get the island back on its feet so that life can get back to normal,” said Ledée. “What they hope for is to breathe a little easier as they get farther from this moment that was so difficult for entire population. Of course, it’s not easy as everyone faced serious damage, but everyone wants to move forward. What better than to welcome and/or participate in such a convivial event to soothe our hearts?”
Ledée has been touched by the incredible response of the racers when they were consulted after the hurricane hit, for confirmation of their participation. “Their response was very positive, as well as very supportive. A number of them even offered to come and give a hand in putting the island back on its feet, with or without the Saint-Barth Cata Cup. Everyone wanted to offer their help and we had no doubt that if the event could take place in very good conditions, it would bring a sense of joy and enthusiasm to the entire island!”
There are currently 72 teams registered with 20 on the waiting list.
Franck Cammas, who was skipper of Groupama Team France during the most recent America’s Cup, has indicated his return to the event after two year’s absence, and will sail with his frequent partner, Mathieu Vandame. Cammas has shared his enthusiasm that the race will be held: “Like all the other racers, when the organizers contacted me to see if I was still interested in participating in this rather unusual context, I didn’t hesitate. It’s good to change the course of destiny. It’s a terrific opportunity for everyone to show that in Saint Barth, they are already on their feet.
“This is certainly an ambitious project and we are all aware that while the regatta may not take place with all the usual comfort, it will really be ideal to motivate the troops. It’s not just by chance that all of the teams indicated their presence and that they are all ready to come with a trowel to help rebuild anything that needs rebuilding. Everyone is very happy and motivated to participate in this edition of the Saint-Barth Cata Cup, which will certainly have a different flavor.”
Source: Dominique Ladouceur