Good food, Good fleet, Good vibe
Published on April 12th, 2022
Saint Barthelemy, a French-speaking Caribbean island known for its white-sand beaches, designer shops, and red tile roofs, will have more than cruise ships to contend with as over 70 teams and more than 1,100 sailors from around the world compete in the 11th edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille on April 18-23.
And after a two-year absence due to the pandemic, the fleet is ready to embrace the island’s signature classy yet casual way.
In the port of Gustavia, home to the central race village, the increasing popularity of the multihull classes contributes to the event’s strong numbers. “This is a trend that was already notable in recent years and continues to grow,” said event co-founder François Tolède. “At 18 strong, the catamarans and trimarans represent a quarter of the fleet.”
Among them are regulars like Greg Slyngstad’s Fujin (Bieker 53), who finished 2nd in the last edition in the ORCmh division; and also Guyader Savéol (TS5) skippered by Gwen Chapalain, double winner of the Multi IMHRR.
“It takes place in an exceptional setting, on an exceptional playground and in an exceptional atmosphere, too,” noted Chapalain. “Personally, it is part of my preparation for the Route du Rhum and I am delighted with the quality of the line-up for this 2022 edition in our category.”
The fight promises to be just as exciting for the Maxis with George David’s Rambler 88 (Juan K 88) that won the event in 2015. It is also a safe bet that Rambler 88 is a major customer for the Richard Mille Record Trophy intended to establish a reference time on a course of about 40 miles between the islands of Saint-Barth and Tintamarre.
The same goes for, among others, Terence Glacking’s Prospector (Mills 68) and Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente (JV 72); or Vesper (JV 72), owned by Jim Swartz, four-time winner of the event between 2011 and 2016.
“It’s by far the best culinary and fun experience in the Caribbean, and sailing there in April is paradise,” says Swartz. “The race committee offers new routes every day that reflect the conditions of the day. We love figuring out the challenges as they unfold and trying our best to succeed with what is thrown at us.”