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Thread: 15 to 20 Is Plenty

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    15 to 20 Is Plenty



    The ninth edition of Les Voiles de Saint-Barth Richard Mille started with a splash today, welcoming 53 teams in the regatta’s seven classes.

    The entire fleet enjoyed the first day’s racing in perfect easterly trade winds between 15 – 20 knots and big swell on the coastal courses – between 28 and 29 nautical miles – with a start and finish right outside of Gustavia port.

    For the much-anticipated Maxi 1 Class, George Sakellaris’ Maxi 72 Proteus struck first, and is off to defend his overall win at last year’s event. However, if today’s racing is any indication, that will not be an easy task as Proteus and Sorcha, the JV 72 skippered by Peter Harrison, Richard Mille’s CEO (of Europe, Middle East and Africa), match raced their way around the course.

    “We had an incredible battle,” said Sakellaris. “A duel worthy of match-racing from start to finish! It was a blow to him, a blow to us. We are very happy to have won this time.”

    Two Maxi entries were last-minute scratches. Yves Montanari’s La Bête broke their bowsprit on the delivery from Antigua, and Althane (Maxi 2) withdrew because of transom damage when it struck the dock when returning from sailing over the weekend.












    CSA 1

    Puerto Rico’s Lazy Dog, a Melges 32 skippered by Sergio Sagramoso, a frequent Les Voiles class winner, returned to their place on top of the leaderboard over first time participant Albator, the NMD43 skippered by Philippe Frantz.

    Currently suffering at the hand of ratings is TP52 Conviction skippered by Steve Travis, relegated to seventh at the end of today. “We will have to make no mistake and finish with a considerable lead to hope to win,” said Frederic Laffitte, the mainsail trimmer on the American boat. “Today, we lost time because of a sailing problem. Our genoa exploded on the end of the first leg, just before the mark. We recovered well, but for us, obviously not enough.















    The 2018 edition boasts a record number of entries for the Multihull Class, and today’s conditions perfectly suited these two- and three-hulled flying machines. Just like in CSA 1, the ratings game created some surprises.

    In CSA Multihull, the Multi50 French Tech Caraïbos led by Gilles Lamire (winner of The Transat Bakerly 2016) finished well ahead in real time but after correction sits in fifth place. “No matter, racing in the turquoise waters of St. Barth today was a real treat,” said the skipper.

    In first place is Christian Guyader, the skipper of Guyader Gastronomie, who will race the boat in November on the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe. “We had a very bad start, probably one of the worst we’ve ever had,” he said. “Up close, we suffered a little, but we clung to our goal to finish in real time with the big boats. It was great; especially as we made a few speed spikes at more than 20 knots.”








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    Buffett And Fresh Conditions Treat St, Barts Sailors




    After an epic start off the Port of Gustavia for the second day of racing at Les Voiles de Saint-Barth Richard Mille, the fleet went on a wild ride up the southeast coast.

    With winds gusting upward of 25 knots, the fleet of 53 teams battled it out in frantic surf. At the end of the day’s races, which included a 23-mile course for the CSA 3 Classes, a 32-mile loop for the CSA 1 and 2 Classes and then a 39-mile course for the Maxi 1, Maxi 2, OMA and CSA Multihull, the fatigue was evident.

    In these upwind conditions, the crews played leapfrog and while downwind they flirted with top speeds while holding on tight and hoping for nothing to break. “It was sporty!” summed up Thierry Berry (teammate aboard Gordon’s, the Baltic 50 Swiss Jurg Koning), on his return to the dock, echoing the word of the day.











    Maxi Class

    The conditions played no favorites today, impacting the amateur and professionals. Notable is Peter Harrisson’s 72-foot Maxi Sorcha, which exploded three spinnakers in less than 20 minutes in the first half of the course on Race 1, leaving the field open for his most formidable opponent, George Sakellaris’ Proteus.

    “We are very happy with our day,” said Sakellaris, the defending champion in the Maxi 1 Class. “We sailed well and made few mistakes, which was not easy given the conditions, and that’s good because usually when we make a mistake, the others make us pay for it.”

    While Michael Cotter’s 94-foot Maxi Windfall began the day in first in the Maxi 2 Class, they fell victim to their close competitor Dutch Verder and Van Nieuwland’s Aragon. “We already battled together last year for the top spot, and it is a safe bet that this will happen again this year,” said one of the owners of the Aragon, the Marten 72.

    Perhaps, unless Ambersail comes to play spoil sport. In fact, the VOR60 of Lithuanian Arvydas Paunksnis clearly sails well in the big breeze and long runs and he will certainly not miss his chance if it presents itself.











    CSA

    No fleet escaped unscathed, whether in equipment or crew. Onboard Conviction, the TP52 skippered by American Steve Travis, one of the team members injured his shoulder while he was at the top of the mast. Nevertheless, his crew shone today by finishing with a 30-minute lead over their next competitor.

    “We did not see the others today. We pushed the boat hard and we made extraordinary speeds upwind. At times, it was a little much to manage to keep the boat on its feet but we did well, “said the skipper from Seattle who along with his crew, finished the race first on corrected time.

    Today’s performance gave them an impressive jump in the standings today, moving from seventh to third place overall. “We’ll have to hold on and make no mistake to beat Albator and Lazy Dog,” said Travis, impressed by Sergio Sagramoso’s Melges 32’s and Frantz’s impressive performance.

    “The conditions were fantastic today!” Richard Eames on board Whistler in CSA 3. The Whistler team is currently sitting in third place and optimistic about making the podium in their fifth Les Voiles de Saint Barth. “We had to be very focused on the attitude of the boat, especially downwind but it made the navigation very exciting. Downwind we were flying at unbelievable speeds.“














    Multihulls

    In the Multihulls, again the conditions were as much a competitor to face, causing breakages that led to retirements. One victim. Gilles Lamiré’s Multi50 La French Tech Rennes St-Malo, withdrew due to a mainsail issue. “It’s a shame but the good news is that the problem is now fixed and we will try to catch up tomorrow,” said the skipper Cancalais, winner of The Transat bakerly 2016.

    Despite another strong performance by American Lloyd Thornburg’s Phaedo, a Gunboat 66, they remain in second overall. Sitting in first is Guyader Gastronomie, skippered by Christian Guyader.

    “In the type of conditions we had today, a boat like Phaedo is better suited than us because it manages to go fast upwind in a rough sea. The latter has made the navigation chaotic but the great downwind runs have been fabulous, “said Guyador’s Arthur Le Vaillant, who will be found at the start of the next Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe next November at the helm of a Class40.

    “Right before the finish we had quite a fright, “Le Vaillant said. “The boat climbed very high on a hull and we were all afraid to capsize, but all is well now. We finished and it was a great day.”

    Jimmy Buffett Surprise Concert

    The sailors quickly forgot their aches and pains after a hard day of hiking in the big waves once singer Jimmy Buffett announced a surprise concert this evening. Buffett, this year’s US ambassador, treated the regatta to live music dockside in the Race Village.

    A Look Ahead

    Racing begins at 10 am tomorrow for all classes. If conditions are favorable, Jean Coadou, principal race officer, and Luc Poupon, race director will make the call to send the Maxi Classes (1 and 2) then the Multihulls (OMA and IMRR) on a 47-mile course between the islands of St. Barth and Tintamarrein to vie for a new award: The Richard Mille Record Trophy.

    The new trophy will be awarded to the first Maxi and Multihull boat to finish the distance course. Their race will also be scored as one race within regatta, with the ratings and corrected time to apply.


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  3. #3
    Looks like St Barth is rebounding nicely!

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    The Long And Short Of It : Different Courses For Different Horses




    While the Maxis and Multis were off flying around the islands on a 49-mile hunt to win line honors for the inaugural Richard Mille Record Trophy, the CSA fleets battled it out in two 12-mile races.

    The top boats across the three CSA fleets are either tied on points in CSA 1 and 3 or within 2 points in CSA 2 after their first two-race day in the regatta.

    Richard Mille Record Trophy Winners



    This is the first year for the Richard Mille Record Trophy that rewards the fastest Maxi and Multihulls. The 49-mile course took the fleet up near Tintamarre, Saint Martin. Today’s race also counts in the overall Les Voiles series for the Maxis and the Multihulls.










    Rambler 88 stretched her legs and quickly pulled a horizon job on the fleet, finishing the race in 3:01.58, more than 28 minutes ahead of the Maxi 72 Proteus. Rambler 88 also won the day on corrected time. Proteus remains in first overall for the Les Voiles series, two points ahead of Rambler.


    “It feels great to win,” said George David, Rambler 88 owner. “We had a pretty good squall over Saint Martin at one point, but it was a great day sailing. Our boat needs to have distance to get up to speed, and this course was well suited for us. Even better today to win both the new trophy and to win the race on corrected time.”



    In the Multihulls, La French Tech Rennes St-Malo (IMRR), the Multi 50 trimaran skippered by Gilles Lamiré, took line honors and the trophy, finishing the course in 3:27.24.
    “We are very happy,” the French skipper said. “The race was beautiful, with incredible scenery. Winning this record is very rewarding for us. I think this is the type of challenge that will attract other boats. It adds a real plus on the sporting level.”
    all images © Christophe Jouany









    CSA 1



    Only a half point separates the top three boats as Conviction continues its strong run, tied at 10 with the Melges 32 Lazy Dog out of Puerto Rico, and a half point behind is Albator from France.
    Upon seeing today’s results, Steve Travis, owner of Conviction happily called out to his crew still on board. “Hey all, 1 and 1 today,” to the response of cheers and high fives from the team. “How can you say anything other than nice?” he asked back about their regatta so far. “And then last night we got to see a Jimmy Buffett concert, I mean how can you top it?”


    Albator’s tactician Aymeric Arthaud enjoyed the two-race day. “The courses were relatively short with close VMG and VMG headings. On the first race, we had a good start and pretty good upwind,” he said. “In our class, there is really a good fight!”


    While Meg Reilly and her Hermes / Ocean Racing Team may be in 9th place, they are enjoying a series of firsts. “It is the first time we are doing Les Voiles, and it’s the third day for this crew on the boat,” said Reilly. “And some people are just starting to get used to it. Today we flew our masthead kite for the first time with this crew, and we had a clean hoist clean jijbe, clean hoist and a clean douse, so that was really exciting.”


    Reilly and skipper Morgan Watson run a sailing charter program. “We have new crew each time, so it’s a judgement call to balance them having a really good experience, and keeping people safe. But, we also don’t want to be embarrassed by the big boys in this tough fleet. But each day we take it up a notch and get closer.”













    CSA 2
    The battle is on between Ventarron and Blitz as two points separate them (5, 7), and there is no doubt Blitz’s owner-driver Peter Corr has his sights set on earning the top spot before the week is out.
    “It was a good first race today. We won that race, and it’s good competition but the corrected times are tough,” Corr said. “We like the tactical courses the best, but overall the competition is great. There are not many slackers here.


    “In the type of conditions we had today, a boat like Phaedo is better suited than us because it manages to go fast upwind in a rough sea. The latter has made the navigation chaotic but the great downwind runs have been fabulous, “said Guyador’s Arthur Le Vaillant, who will be found at the start of the next Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe next November at the helm of a Class40.
    “This is such a beautiful regatta, I love coming every year. This is the first time we’re sitting in second, so we are gunning for first. That is what makes sport sport.”




    CSA 3
    Credit Mutuel – PTO, a Jeanneau 3200 owned by Claude Granel and Marc Enig sits in the top spot today thanks to a first-place finish in the second race. They are tied at six points with Team Island Water World, the Melges 24 owned by Fritz Bus. Water World is the smallest entry in Les Voiles but as a local he and his team are extremely comfortable in the big breeze and swell that’s been on order this week.
    Louis-Christian Derussy, skipper of Kimbe Red! thoroughly enjoyed their day. “We had two beautiful squalls that brought wind up to 30 knots, which let us take full advantage of the power of the boat (a Dufour 34). We are here with a new crew, and thoroughly enjoying ourselves. There is a good fight between the two local crews, Speedy Nemo and Maëlia Caisse d’Epargne Cepac Antilles, and us. They are very friendly and welcome us with open arms. We are loving it here at Les Voiles de Saint-Barth!”


    A Look Ahead
    Thursday is the signature “Day Off” for the Les Voiles de Saint Barth Richard Mille participants. Fun and games will begin around noon at Nikki Beach. Friday, racing resumes at 10 am.
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    Things Freshen Up For Finale




    In Saturday’s final act for Les Voiles de Saint-Barth Richard Mille, the 25 – 27 knot winds with gusts in the low 30s and big seas, took their place on center stage to create a spectacular finish for the 9th edition.

    The Maxi and Multihull classes raced 28 miles, while CSA 1 and 2 covered 22 miles, and CSA 3 fought it out over a course of 18 miles. These robust conditions were helpful to some and complicated life for others, resulting in some major changes in the standings. Yet at the end, there were seven great winners that sailed to glory.














    The Maxis & Multis

    If this fifth and final day of competition for Les Voiles de Saint-Barth Richard Mille 2018 started a little later than planned due to waiting out a few isolated rainstorms, it kept its promise for serious battles all along the way.

    The weather conditions did not inhibit the enthusiasm of those boats for which today was all-to-play to determine the final victors. One good example is the incredible duel that took place between Proteus and Sorcha in the Maxi 1 class. These two 72-footers jockeyed back and forth from the beginning to the end of the race, finally finishing less than a minute apart.

    The advantage went to George Sakellaris and his crew aboard Proteus, adding their name for the third consecutive time to the winner’s circle for Les Voiles. Adding to the thrill of victory, Proteus also won the Richard Mille Maxi Cup (see below). Rambler 88 finished the day’s race in third, and cemented their second place overall.

    The combat was also pretty intense in the Maxi 2 class, and especially between Aragon and Windfall; at the start of today’s racing they had an equal number of points.

    “A sense of déjà vu,” noted Olivier Douillard, tactician aboard the Marten 72 belonging to the Verder and Van Nieuwland famliies, who found himself in exactly the same situation as during the 2017 edition, and hoped that this time the game would be his to win.

    No such luck. The victory ultimately went one more time, to Irishman Michael Cotter and his Windfall team, after an incredible day of racing.

    Same story, with even more drama, for Flow in the OMA class: in this case all of the boats were possible contenders for the podium as they left for the starting line. They had to wait for the last moment and the final calculations for the winner to be decided. Flow edged out R-Six, and Nala captured third place.

    In OMA, Guyader had the top spot locked up, with Phaedo and Morticia battling it out to determine second and third overall. Thanks to the Gunboat 66’s first place finish in the race, they edged out the modified Sea Cart 30 to take home the silver.












    Suspense Right To The End

    The same scenario played out for the CSA 3 class where it was up to Crédit Mutuel-PTO and Team Island Water World to see who would finish on the top step of the podium. Despite a wrong turn on the course and a broken halyard, Credit Mutuel-PTO led by Claude Granel and Marc Emig took the advantage at the finish line. The end standings tied the two boats at 14 apiece, but their final bullet gave them the needed edge.

    “It was disappointing for us, but the rules are the rules, and they stipulate that in case of a tie, it’s the last race that counts,” said Team Island Water World’s Frits Bus, with a note of regret as he would have liked to have won in the CSA class, like he had on his Melges 24 twice in prior editions.

    “He really gave us a hard time this week,” relates Emig, who is proud that he and his team won their fourth victory in Les Voiles de Saint Barth, equaling the number of wins as Rambler.

    The tension was considerably less palpable in the CSA 2 and CSA 1 classes where Ventarron and Conviction, respectively, had already confirmed their victory before the last round, and each ended the day cementing their string of first-place finishes.

    The day’s intense conditions impacted more than a few boats. Gordon’s and Speedy Nemo both retired following problems with their spinnakers, and ‘Les Voiles Presque au Féminin,’ called it a day after their number-one sailor fell into the sea (recovered safely).

    Saturday’s incredible conditions put the perfect finishing touch on an incredible week of competitive racing, leaving the sailors smiling and with plenty to talk about as they enjoyed the awards ceremony and fireworks display before adventuring off to explore the Saint Barth nightlife.




    Looking Ahead to 2019

    Not surprisingly, all of the crews present this year are already talking about returning for the 10th edition of Les Voiles de Saint Barth Richard Mille. The organizers announced they moved the regatta one week later, April 14 – 20 so it takes place during the Caribbean low season. This decision will help our sailors in two ways: more availability to housing and in the marina, and most important, this means low-season rates, which reduce by 30 percent or more. See you next year!

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