LES VOILES DE ST TROPEZ 2016

 

Now in its 18th year Les Voiles de St Tropez is the gran finale of The Mediterranean Regatta season. Organised by André Beaufils and his team at The Société Nautique de Saint Tropez , it is the gathering of 4,000 of the world’s great and the good in the sailing world, the goliaths and the goddesses of the global yachting circuit. Where beauty and brawn collide in a hedonistic melting pot of sun, sailing and Sancerre induced amnesia. The Café de Paris and the Hotel Sube bustle and burst with sailors and spectators day and night. The quayside is hive of activity with everyone as keen to catch a glimpse of the gleaming bright work of a J-Class cap rail as they are the glamorous entourage. The atmosphere is positively electric!

 

At the end of September 300 Modern and classic yachts came together in the bay of St Tropez although they differed greatly in classes, courses and number of days racing. The modern fleet is fast, furious and intensely competitive especially within the Wally Yachts, The J-Class Yachts : Velsheda, and Lionheart and The 15 M JI Fleet: Tuiga, Lady Anne, Hispania and Mariska. The increasing number of participants in the New York Classes NY 30, NY 40 and NY 50 make this also a very interesting group to watch.

 

screenshot-2016-12-17-23-59-56Within the classic yacht fraternity there was still much to play for in the final event of the season, with a great turn out from the Grand Tradition Class. The spectacular 55 metre gaff rigged schooner Elena of London designed by “ The Wizard of Bristol” Nathanael Herreshoff dominated the scene as she jostled playfully with Cambria , Moonbeam IV and Moonbeam III, around the bay. It was Moonbeam IV that effortlessly took podium in this class taking the Rolex Trophy whilst the 23 metre Fife built in 1928 Cambria fought gallantly to keep up. Cambria has recently returned to the Med and for this event had a previous owner on board as a guest so it was a special trip down memory lane for all of the crew.

 

Competing also in the category Grands Tradition for the Rolex Trophy – was Eleonora (replica of Westward); as well as much-awaited newcomer Naema. Puritan, designed in 1931 by John G. Alden also made a long awaited return to Les Voiles. Smaller in size, the schooner, Kelpie of Falmouth, 23 Metres LOA was the eldest, built in 1928. Kelpie of Falmouth, was found and painstakingly restored by Charlie Wroe, Captain of classic schooner Mariette and is used as the accompanying race boat to this majestic Mother ship.

 

As for the gaff rigged cutters, Herreshoff was honoured by the elegant fleet of New York 30’s – Linnet owned by Patrizio Bertelli , CEO of Prada and Oriole. NY40 Chinook, and class newcomer, NY50 Spartan who took podium on more than one occasion that week, joined NY40 Rowdy again this year. For the third consecutive year the prestigious 15m JI class played out the last leg in their annual championship. Additional races for Hispania, Mariska, The Lady Anne and Tuiga took place on the Monday and Thursday, in addition to those races from Tuesday to Saturday, open to all the classics.

 

Race by day, party by night. Once again the spectacle of Les Voiles was present on water as on land inviting Tropéziens and the public to participate in the event both around the port and in the village. The highlight of the shore-based entertainment is the crew fancy dress parade on the Thursday night. The jury, poised on a platform in front of the port side cafes was composed of Tropéziens – representing the town hall and the shopkeepers, even some yacht captains. The jury itself was well disguised.   The party continued at the Place de Lices, with different activities notably the famous “rugby”, the mechanical bull, arm wrestling and the notorious tug-of-war.

 

The highly enjoyable evening of boules on the Wednesday back in the heart of The Place des Lices was a great night out and the game was played competitively and enthusiastically. Favoured by the classic guys and girls, owners and crew came together as one and they wiled the night away with chilled bottles of rose and the odd Cuban cigar. On the water rivalries forgotten for the night.

 

The Crew Party had a large turnout for the Savoyarde feast and rock band later in the week. Crew danced until the early hours in the heaving pit to smoke effects and flashing lights along to legendary tunes such as R & B favourite “Mustang Sally”.

 

Survival of the fittest is the name of the game in sailing events in an already crowded regatta calendar. Trust me I should know! 18 years later Les Voiles de St Tropez still evokes a mood of endless summer, good racing, warm breeze and unrivalled attendance. Chapeau SNST.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following four days of racing the results were the following in the principal classes:

 

IRC.A

  1. LEOPARD
  2. VELSHEDA
  3. “S”
  4. LIONHEART

 

GRAND TRADITION

  1. MOONBEAM IV
  2. MOONBEAM III
  3. HALLOWE’EN

 

EPOQUE AURIQUE

  1. SPARTAN NY50
  2. OLYMPIAN
  3. CHINOOK NY40

 

EPOQUE MARCONI

  1. ROWDY NY40
  2. ENTERPRISE
  3. SEVEN SEAS OF PORTO

 

12M JI

  1. TUIGA
  2. HISPANIA
  3. MARISKA
  4. THE LADY ANNE

 

 

COUP DU COEUR (Crush boat)

SPARTAN NY50

 

 

DON’T MISS A BEAT OR A BULLETIN!

Beware – 2017 dates for Les Voiles de St Tropez have been moved, check out the season and Sign-Up now to access my FREE International Regatta Calendar 2017-2018 for Vintage, Classic and Modern Classic Yachts and to receive The Regatta Bulletin: news, views, images and highlights from my journey around the world. www.alicewiddows.com

Alice C I’ A Widdows is a Regatta Manager on the international classic yacht circuit providing yacht management, logistics and shore support on the classic yacht regatta circuit.  A keen yachtswomen and self – confessed island hopping addict, preferably by boat. Meet our Classic Yachting Columnist. www.alicewiddows.com

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