All you need is Voiles
– Races for all the groups in a combination of light airs and Mistral.
– Last day tomorrow, flavoured by a final for many groups, 12 m JIs, Wallys…
– Mariska drives the point home for the 15 m JIs…
Amidst the Mistral and a zone of high pressure, today those competing in Les Voiles benefited from one of those little weather miracles that seem to love colouring play in Saint Tropez. Indeed, in a little window between the morning’s gale and the later calms, a gentle breeze enabled the three Race Committees, Wallys in Pampelonne, Modern boats offshore and the Classics in the bay, to launch the day’s racing, adding another race to the scoreboard for each of the groups concerned. It was competition time again today then and the helmsmen and women and the sailors had to really be on top of their game in terms of both strategy and tactics to perform well in the capricious breeze. After the bracing wind of the start of the week, the bay of Saint Tropez was all about finesse and feeling at the helm this Friday.
The Finals in prospect…
From the sound of canon fire to bagpipes to sea shanties… each day the return to the dock of all the sailors competing in Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez is punctuated by these good-humoured demonstrations, reinforced by the joy at having shared another wonderful day’s sailing and racing. Skilfully inserted into the programme around the Mistral by the Race Committees, the different leader boards are shaping up nicely. The rivalry among the 12 m JIs in Saint Tropez is epitomised by the duel between Sovereign and France. Baron Bich’s cherished 12 mJI triumphed today and remains in the hunt for final victory tomorrow, Sovereign currently with the edge.
Always a top-flight competition, the 14 sumptuous Wallys racing over towards Pampelonne opted today for a short course, hugging the coast. Open Season, the Wally 107, just managed to secure the bullet in elapsed time, but slipped down to third place in corrected time, to the benefit of Lyra, a Wally 77, and above all Magic Carpet3, which posted a stellar result today, drawing level with Open Season in the provisional overall ranking. As such, tomorrow will once again prove decisive in the bid for final victory and the BMW Trophy. Lyra is now lying in third place.
Suspense reigns among the 15 M JIs this evening in the battle for the Rolex Trophy. Mariska managed to control The Lady Anne, which is formidable the moment the wind drops below 10 knots as it did today. The 1908 Fife won this Friday’s race, definitively stamping her authority on the 2017 edition of Les Voiles.
A ‘Guest’ Class
Reconciling 130 years of yachting at the same event requires both imagination and rigour from the organisers of Les Voiles. This rigour is expressed in the classification of yachts that are as similar as possible, in order to guarantee a degree of sporting equity on the water. Inevitably, this isn’t the easiest of tasks when naval architects the world over have, for the past century and a half, tried to outdo each other’s creative talent to design the fastest yachts of their time. Between the Epoques, Marconi rigs, gaff rigs and Spirit of Traditions, certain iconic yachts sadly no longer fall within the rule laid out in Les Voiles’ Notice of Race, which solely authorises the participation of those classic yachts measuring in excess of 11 metres. As such, in order to honour the presence of masterpieces as sublime as Dainty (Wesmacott 1922) and her 8.12 metres of grace and elegance, Alcyon, the beautiful 9.38m gunter rig or Djinn, the 8.90m gaff cutter, a specially named “Invité” or “Guest” ranking has been instituted at Les Voiles and this year groups together 9 splendid craft.
The fuse on gaff cutters
On gaff cutters and schooners, above the lower mast, or main mast, comes the topmast, which carries the topsail, namely the sail that sits over the top of the fore-and-aft mainsail. This relatively light wooden spar, also serves as a fuse in the event of excessive pressure, which can lead to a dismasting. Just such an incident has unfortunately occurred several times this week at Les Voiles, the scale and the technical and human consequences of which have been greatly reduced by the breakage of this top mast. Though subsequently proving to be a little bit of a handicap while racing, it has of course served its purpose by preventing the mast from falling. Happily, secured at the top of the mast by ropes, this broken spar on various competitors’ boats has led to no collateral damage at Les Voiles.
News in brief
The face of Les Voiles
Playing host to no fewer than 4,000 sailors for 10 days and registering some 300 boats is a feat that the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez pulls off in style each and every year to ensure the success of Les Voiles. The teams of André Beaufils, entrusted to Frédérique Fantino on this occasion, work well in advance of the main event registering the countless requests to participate from all over the world. “In Saint Tropez, each request is a case,” she explains, “which requires special and continuous attention in order to satisfy the owners’ demands as best we can.” These requests are naturally studied in meticulous detail according to their specific features, the type of yacht, Modern or Classic, the demands made by the skipper-owners and so on… before confirmation is given. Berths in the port are also the subject of hot debate, everyone obviously wanting to be at the heart of the little port in France’s Var region. Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, in contrast to other regattas, authorises daily modifications to the crews, the number of sailors being ‘chartered’ by their owners, who are keen to enable the magic of the moment to be shared by their clients and friends. As such, the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez puts in place a team of at least ten people in the village who, each day, are in charge of recording the new crew entries aboard each of the different boats. A long, painstaking, full-time job for these wonderful ladies at reception.
The Yacht Club de France delivers
Celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, the Yacht Club de France – of which the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez is one of the associated clubs – has a most important mission: promoting sailing in all its forms. Founded in 1867 by Napoleon III, it has played a passionate part in the development of a sector in which France, the second largest maritime force in the world, has become a master, both in the construction of pleasure craft and the practice of sailing at the highest level.
The jubilee book is out now: “Une histoire du yachting français” (A history of French yachting), under Jacques Taglang: Frédéric Delaive, Louis Pillon, Dominique Gabirault, Antoine Sézérat, François Chevalier and Eric Vibart. Photographer: Laurent Charpentier.
Square format, 30 x 30 cm, generously illustrated, 312 pages, cloth cover and jacket.
BMW – partner to Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez
Since 2013, the German car manufacturer BMW and the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez have had an agreement centring on Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. Thorsten Mattig, head of international sponsorship at BMW, is delighted by this partnership: “Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez is the venue par excellence where the Modern and the Classic combine, and where timeless aesthetic meets design and high technology. The desire to win and team spirit play such a fundamental role here, as does a passion for yachting and fraternal camaraderie. These are the values that BMW is happy to support, as they are of vital importance for our brand.” In addition to showcasing its latest models, BMW has chosen to celebrate a class of yachts that is particularly committed to high technology, the Wallys. The BMW Trophy will reward the best Wally at the end of racing.
Partners to Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez
GROUPE EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD
LES MARINES DE COGOLIN
L’ESPRIT VILLAGE DE SAINT-TROPEZ
CHEVALIER TORPEZ (LES VIGNOBLES DE SAINT TROPEZ)
SUN 7 GRAPHIC
Saturday 30 September – Sunday 1 October: Registration and inspection
Monday 2, Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4, Thursday 5(J. Laurain Day, Challenge Day), Friday 6 and Saturday 7 October: Coastal course, 1st start 11:00am
Sunday 1 and Monday 2 October: Registration and inspection
Sunday 1 October: finish of the Yacht Club de France’s Coupe d’Automne from Cannes
Tuesday 3, Wednesday 4, Thursday 5 (J. Laurain Day, Challenge Day, Club 55 Cup, GYC Centenary Trophy), Friday 6 and Saturday 7 October: Coastal course, 1st start 12:00 noon
Prize-giving for everyone
Sunday 8 October, from 11:00am
Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez, Commodore: André Beaufils
Principal Race Officer: Georges Korhel
On the water organisation: Philippe Martinez
On shore logistics: Emmanuelle Filhastre
Financial management: Delphine Reusse
Registration: Frédérique Fantino
Communication: Chloé de Brouwer
Facebook: Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez official
Tel +33 (0)6 09 95 58 91
Gilles Martin-Raget, www.martin-raget.com