Les Voiles: Reasons to play
Published on February 3rd, 2022
Within the DNA of Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille lie remarkable boats, high-caliber crews, challenging race courses over incredible Caribbean blue water, and ideal weather conditions. But that’s just on the water.
Conceived in 2010 by François Tolède and Luc Poupon, Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille also delivers its signature classy yet casual ambience and variety of entertainment on land, capable of appealing to the sailors, their family and friends, and the island locals. It’s an event for which there are, at least, 10 good reasons to want to discover it, or to return.
1. Open and ready for guests
If, for two years, the planet has been facing a health crisis of exceptional magnitude, the island of Saint-Barthélemy continues to manage well in the face of the pandemic. Although conditions may change, the tourist season is in full swing, as evidenced by numerous reports of celebrity sightings, who are enjoying the French island’s charm.
Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille is scheduled from April 17 to 23, 2022, and bars and restaurants, shops and tourist attractions are ready to welcome sailors and their guests.
2. An exceptional location, a professional organization
Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille has established itself as a major event in the Caribbean. The regatta attracts at least 15 nationalities each year, nearly 800 sailors and the most spectacular boats on the planet with many Maxis and Gun Boats, including the mighty Comanche. Skippered by Mitch Booth, Comanche and crew just smashed the RORC Transatlantic Race record and plans to tackle Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille as part of its Caribbean race calendar.
“Saint-Barth is an incredible playground for sailing and Luc Poupon and his team offer superb courses around the island and its islets, promising to vary the pace. Regardless if some of the shorter courses will require multiple maneuvers, which are not necessarily to Comanche’s advantage, we can’t wait to participate,” said Booth.
3. High-level competition
Booth, an Australian with two Olympic medals and multiple World Championship titles, is just one example of the sailing “stars” who can’t wait to return to Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille. From offshore racing specialists, Olympic medalists, world championships and the America’s Cup, current and past crew lists read like a “who’s who” of sailing.
Terry Hutchinson, Jonathan McKee, Loïck Peyron, Stu Bannatyne, Ken Read, Andy Beadsworth, Pierre Casiraghi, Saskia Clark, Pete Cumming, Jean-Pierre Dick, Marc Emig, Simon Fisher, Michael Giles, Andy Green, Phil Harmer, Peter Harrison, Sir Peter Harrison, Sir Richard Matthews, Sean Clarkson, Mike Sanderson, Maxime Sorel and so many others have already taken part in the race. The 2022 edition already has some surprises in store.
4. A race integrated into the Caribbean Maxi Challenge
After launching an Offshore circuit in the Mediterranean in 2016 and then an Inshore circuit in 2019, the International Maxi Association (IMA) has announced a new program in the Caribbean: the Caribbean Maxi Challenge. Open to all Maxis over 60 feet, it includes four prestigious events, including Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille.
5. An eco-responsible regatta
Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille continues its commitment to make the event as clean, ethical and responsible as possible focused on two objectives: to preserve the paradise that is their island but also to set an example. As such, the regatta’s goal is to become zero plastic. Cocktails and coffees are served in eco-friendly cups, exclusive use of biodegradable materials and installation of multiple water stations within the race village are just a few steps taken.
6. The right balance of festive and competition
The island of Saint-Barth strikes the perfect balance of European sophistication with relaxed island charm. Long white sand beaches, a turquoise sea, luxurious hotels and elegant villas, restaurants offering a rich and varied taste palette.
These ingredients, combined with Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille’s intense racing on water and relaxed atmosphere in the centrally located Race Village, the lively “Crew Party” on a magnificent beach, or the famous “Day off” festivities in a festive atmosphere, make it a “must-attend” on every racer’s (and their family and friends’) calendar.
7. An event open to as many people as possible
Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille is open to Maxis (under the IRC gauge), Spinnakers (under the CSA gauge), Multihulls (IMRR and OMA) and the Melges 24. Racing Charter boats are still available for teams interested in experiencing the Saint Barth magic.
8. Varied courses
Race Director Luc Poupon has more than 30 different courses that vary between 15 and 47 miles, each promising to challenge and reward the teams with spectacular scenery requiring keen tactical decisions. Each morning, Poupon chooses the race courses (1 – 2 races are scheduled each day) based upon wind direction, sea state and the forecast to ensure the fight on the water is close and interesting, both for the sailors and for the spectators.
9. Turnkey logistics
The Sevenstar team, logistics partner of Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille, is available to teams to transport their boat to and from the United States, Europe, Australia or Asia to the Caribbean. Turnkey services include assistance to obtain spare parts, containers or to transfer parcels by air freight.
The regatta also offers a complimentary concierge service to support interested competitors around transport, on-site logistics and accommodations. We are able to share preferential rates. The objective of the organizers is thus to be able to meet all the expectations and needs of the crews and their companions so that relaxation remain the key words before, during and after the event.
10. The Richard Mille Maxi Cup and the Richard Mille Trophy
Created in 2018, the Richard Mille Maxi Cup rewards the winner of the overall Maxi classification, a class mixing carbon racing beasts and luxury racing yachts. The Richard Mille Record Trophy rewards the winner of the regatta’s distance race – a 40ish-mile race course set between the islands of Saint-Barth and Tintamarre. The challenge is open to the fastest classes, in this case Maxi, Spinnaker 0 and Multihulls.