Intensity at Les Voiles de Saint-Barth
Published on April 13th, 2018
Saint-Barth (April 13, 2018) – Postcard conditions continue for the 9th edition of Les Voiles de Saint Barth Richard Mille as competition resumed for the seven fleets after Les Voiles’ signature Day Off. On the menu in the 18-22 knot breeze: a 30-mile course for the Maxis and Multihulls, a 22-mile course for CSA 1 and 2 and an 18-mile loop for CSA 3. As in previous days, the conditions were ideal and the fight was intense.
Proteus, a Maxi 72, sits comfortably in first, four points ahead of Rambler 88, and nine points ahead of Sorcha. According to Proteus’ owner George Sakellaris, the start got a bit hectic. “Several boats got too close to each other, but we managed,” he said. “Which is good because then you have your own wind and get to race your own boat, especially in this fleet. A lot of these boats are great boats and they have great teams.”
Giving a nod to Rambler, he said, “they are a great team and great competitors and we love it. It elevates the sailing.”
Windfall, a SW 94 Carbon, and Aragon, the Marten 72 continue their battle royale for 1 -2. Windfall’s navigator and tactician earned the win today according to owner Michael Cotter. “We were able to hit the layline one of the big islands out there and didn’t have to tack, so it saved us a good minute.”
Asked about his plan for tomorrow: “Well, to beat Aragon, simple as that,” he said with a laugh. “But seriously, they are a very good team, especially downwind and in the medium air, so we’re hard-pressed to keep ahead of them.”
Tomorrow will tell the tale for who will join these two on the podium tomorrow as Ambersail, Simple Harmony and Nina are within three points of each other.
In the IMRR, Guyader has a comfortable lead in first, but the battle for second and third will come down to Saturday’s final day. In a three-way tie at 14 points sit Morticia, a modified SeaCart 30, the smallest catamaran racing in Les Voiles; Phaedo, the Gunboat 66, and the Multi 50 La Tech Rennes St-Malo.
“We sailed well,” said Maxime Sorel, teammate of La Tech Rennes St-Malo. “Some of the crew didn’t know the boat so we started the regatta a bit slowly. But we are in the hunt today, which is not bad with the rating is quite severe.”
In the Offshore Multihull, another podium battle ensues. Three points separate (11, 12, 14) Flow, a Gunboat 60; R-Six, a Melvin & Morelli design, and Nala, the HH66 Melvin & Morreli.
The lure of great competition brought Jim Vos’s Nala to Les Voiles, and they have been loving the close racing, fleet camaraderie and of course, winning yesterday’s Day Off Tug-o-War. Their goal today was to bring the win from land to the water, according to Anthony Kotoun. The pep talked worked, as Nala took the win, moving them into third overall.
Across CSA 1, Conviction continued its string of bullets despite ripping through two jibs today. “We were lucky as the last jib barely held together. We were cringing during the tacks,” said Steve Travis, Conviction’s owner/skipper.
The Melges 32 Lazy Dog took second place today and sits in second overall; and Albator, the NMD 43 is in third with 14.5 points.
The CSA 2 fleet kept the jury busy as five protests were filed as a result of a particularly aggressive start. Bob Hillier, racing on board Blitz described it as, “there was a lot of breeze, with a short line, and the boats were pressing it pretty hard. Basically, everyone ended up with no place to go. But, it’s racing and everyone is fighting for every inch in this fleet.”
Ultimately, the protest results didn’t impact overall standings much, as Ventarron and Blitz, remain 1-2. Rob Butler’s Touch 2 Play moved into third overall thanks to their second-place finish today.
This year, Saint Barth-resident Sophie Olivaud Durand, skipper of Les Voiles presque au Feminin Tiru groupe EDF, is racing a chartered Grand Soleil 39. It’s a bit larger than her original boat that is sitting in Saint Martin with a cracked keel, another Hurricane Irma victim. Her attitude puts into perspective why racing in this edition means so much.
“We are quite happy even if we are in the last place,” Olivaud Durand said. “Our team did not train this year as we have been focused on rebuilding the island after the hurricane. That’s why the mere fact of being able to race is already a win for us.”
The jib issues carried through from CSA 1 to 3, as Patrick Bernier, co-skipper of Speedy Nemo and Saint-Barth local, said, “The day was a little complicated for us because we tore our genoa while doing very well. Fortunately, we were able to finish because we had a second jib on board, but we lost a lot of time.
“Overall, we are quite happy with our navigation and the performance of the boat. The first three boats in our class are a bit untouchable given the format of the course, but we fight to get fourth place and we will give everything for that!”
Team Island Water World, Credit Mutuel – PTO, and Whistler went 1-2-3 today, matching their standings overall.
The ninth edition is planned for April 8-14, 2018.
Source: Laura Muma