Jean-Charles Decaux's J ONE  leading the Wally fleet (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Jean-Charles Decaux’s J ONE leading the Wally fleet (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

 

Dramatic showdowns have been set up for the final races at the 2014 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. Verdicts in three classes will be decided during tomorrow’s decisive day: true proof of the close nature of the racing. All classes sailed a coastal course today with around seven knots from the north at the start, building to a 12-15 knot north-easterly midway through the race.

The Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship is living up to its pre-event billing as the tightest and most competitive in its five-year history. Heading into today’s critical coastal race, just two points separated the leading three teams.

Consistency, sound decision-making and taking only calculated risks are credited as the determining factors in such a tight championship. Andres Soriano’s Alegre, three-time runner-up, is proving the most reliable performer. “It’s going to be a very competitive week. One mistake and that’s that,” promised Soriano ahead of the competition. Today Alegre assumed impressive control of the 25-nm long coastal race after rounding the first mark well ahead of her rivals. Her lead remained unthreatened for the remainder of the race, which took yachts south to Mortoriotto, back up the coast into the Maddalena Archipelago and a brief glimpse of Bomb Alley, before turning north to Monaci and the run home.

ROBERTISSIMA III  trying to catch up with leader ALEGRE (Photo  by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

ROBERTISSIMA III trying to catch up with leader ALEGRE (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Robertissima III, the Italian-crewed boat (and former Rán 2, last year’s winning yacht), has enjoyed a terrific week and today claimed second place. She trails Alegre by three points ahead of tomorrow’s two scheduled windward/leeward races, and Alegre’s crew know from bitter experience that such a margin is vulnerable. “We’ve been playing averages. It would have been nice to have put more points between ourselves and Robertissima ahead of the final day, but these two boats now have a jump on the fleet,” said Alegre’s Olly Cameron. “We can’t let them [Robertissima] get away. We need to be cautious [tomorrow] and keep it close.”

The learning curve for Robertissima owner Roberto Tomasini Grinover and his crew has been steep but one they are mounting at impressive velocity. “We are an inexperienced team in this class. Less than a year ago, we were here looking at the 72-ft boats and said how wonderful they were,” explains tactician Vasco Vascotto. “It’s a dream to be part of this class – it is not only about great boats but top class teams. We want to be very competitive.”

Niklas Zennström’s Rán crew started the week as the defending champion and have experience in making dramatic comebacks in Porto Cervo, but today’s sixth place on his new Rán 5 has all but ended the crew’s chances of a fourth title in five years. A new champion is all but guaranteed after 2012 victor Bella Mente also struggled in today’s coastal race, leaving Hap Fauth’s crew in fourth.

Wally Form
Engaging competition and a dramatic final day is also offered by the Wally class. Four-time winner, Claus-Peter Offen and Y3K are tied on points with defending champion Jean-Charles Decaux and his J One crew. And one point behind lies Magic Carpet 3. Y3K performed better of the three teams today, finishing in third while J One claimed fourth and Owen-Jones’s Magic Carpet 3 had to settle for sixth.

“The Wally class is very strong,” explains Offen, President of the International Maxi Association, “with the two Wally Centos (Magic Carpet 3 and Open Season) and many other well-sailed yachts, it will not be easy for Y3K to win the Wally title back, but we are working on it.”

J-Class report
The only certainty in the J-Class is that a new champion will be crowned. Velsheda has failed to finish higher than third all week, leaving a three-way battle between Rainbow, Lionheart and Ranger for the title. The week’s largest boat, the 43.7m Lionheart holds a slender one-point advantage over Rainbow, three-time winner Ranger is a further point adrift.

Elsewhere, bullets today have handed Firefly (Supermaxi), Lupa of London (Mini Maxi Racing/Cruising) and Highland Fling (Maxi) insurmountable leads in their respective classes.

Racing ends tomorrow. Up to two windward/leeward races are scheduled for the Mini Maxi Rolex Worlds fleet, the J-Class and Wally, while the remaining classes will sail a coastal course.

A full review of the 25th edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup will be available tomorrow.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup
The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) and the International Maxi Association (IMA). Rolex has been title sponsor since 1985.

 

Mini Maxi Bowmen Calling the start (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Mini Maxi Bowmen Calling the start (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

2014 MAXI YACHT ROLEX CUP – PROVISIONAL RESULTS DAY 4
Place, Boat Name, Boat Owner, Races; Total Points

Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship
1. ALEGRE (GBR), Alegre Yachting Ltd., 1.5-1-3-4-(5)-1.5; 11
2. ROBERTISSIMA (CAY), Roberto Tomasini, 6-2-1-(5)-2-3; 14
3. RÁN 5 (GBR), Niklas Zennstrom 4.5-3-2-2-(7)-9; 20.5

Mini Maxi R/C
1. LUPA OF LONDON (GBR), Jeremy Pilkington, 1-1-2-1; 5
2. BRONENOSEC (RUS), Alpenberg S.A., 4-2-1-2; 9
3. AROBAS (FRA), Gerard Logel, 2-4-3-3; 12

Maxi Racing
1. HIGHLAND FLING XI (MON), Irvine Laidlaw, 1-1-1-1; 4
2. ODIN (CAY), Tom Siebel, 2-2-2-2; 8
3. BRISTOLIAN (GBR), Bristolian Marine Ltd., 4-4-3-3; 14

J-Class
1. LIONHEART (GBR), Stichting Lionheart Syndicate, (4)-1-2-2-1; 6
2. RAINBOW (NED), SPF JH2, 2-3-1-1-(4); 7
3. RANGER (CAY), R.S.V. Ltd., 1-2-(4)-3-2; 8

Supermaxi
1. FIREFLY (NED), Eric Bijlsma, 1-1-2-1; 5
2. INOUI (SUI), Marco Vögele, 2-2-1-2; 7
3. VIRIELLA (ITA), Vittorio Moretti, 3-3-3-3; 12

Wally
1. Y3K (GER), Claus Peter Offen, (3)-2-1-3-2; 8
2. J ONE (GBR), Jean Charles Decaux, 1-(3)-2-2-3; 8
3. MAGIC CARPET 3 (GBR), Sir Lindsey Owen Jones, 2-1-(5)-1-5; 9

Complete results may be found here

The fleet getting to Mortoriotto rock under spinnaker (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

The fleet getting to Mortoriotto rock under spinnaker (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

 

CAOL ILA AND STIG CROSS TACKING (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Enthusiasm was in abundance at the 2013 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup as a gathering of the finest sailors, most passionate owners, and inspiring yachts met in Porto Cervo, Sardinia for the pinnacle rendezvous of the annual Maxi yacht racing calendar.

Velsheda's Classic Low Freeboard Awash (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

“The two things which make the event unique are the racecourses and the participants,” explained Riccardo Bonadeo, Commodore of event organizers Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS). “The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup from the very beginning has always been the event of excellence for ocean-going boats. And the environment is perhaps the most spectacular and technical in the world.”

“This is the pre-eminent regatta. Everyone is training for it for the whole season. It’s where everyone comes together,” explained Niklas Zennström, owner of the highly successful Mini Maxi Rán 2. “It’s the one we all want to win.”

Inoui Spinnaker flys (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

37 yachts, divided into six classes, contested a myriad of challenging racecourses organized during the weeklong event on the Costa Smeralda. While conditions throughout the 24th edition of this pre-eminent competition were light, the Race Committee was able to successfully organize a gripping week of racing.

Fast and fascinating

The Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, sponsored by Rolex since 1985, has always been the showcase and proving ground for a fleet of contrasting yachts, and a chance for designers and owners to meet and draw inspiration for future projects. “I’m always looking for the latest, newest technology and something that’s a bit different to what other people are doing,” admitted Lord Irvine Laidlaw, owner of the 82-ft Highland Fling. A sentiment and quest echoed by many in attendance.

Many owners are using advances in technology to drive the design of faster boats; an idea at the forefront of Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’s mind when he commissioned Magic Carpet 3, a 100-ft yacht designed to answer his quest for a boat that would be comfortable and sail fast whether cruising or racing. Line honours success at the Giraglia Rolex Cup was an early indication of the boat’s speed potential compared to his previous yacht. “It’s much faster. It is much more fun, much more exciting. It feels like a racing boat and that’s what we wanted,” explained Owen-Jones. “Paradoxically, it is a much better cruising boat because of its extra width, which gives people air and space and makes it a very stable cruising platform.

Magic Carpet 3 on Day 3 (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

Owen-Jones had firm ambitions for Magic Carpet 3. “We’ve written our name five times on the wall next to the door to the Yacht Club (Costa Smeralda), the idea of putting it there a sixth time, which I think would be a record for any name, is a terribly exciting idea.”

Jean Charles Decaux – J-ONE Despite the presence of Magic Carpet 3 and Sir Charles Dunstone’s Hamilton, whose crew included both British Olympian Ian Walker and Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran fame, the Wally Class was dominated by Jean Charles Decaux’s J-One, which won four of the seven races. “Consistency, focus and great teamwork is the magic combination and we are very happy to be the winner again after six years,” explained Decaux. “We are the oldest boat in the fleet and smaller compared to the new ones. We really had to make no mistakes, or at least fewer mistakes than our competitors.”

 

Spinnaker Drop on the J Class Rainbow (Photo by Rolex.Carlo Borlenghi)

Elegance Personified

While eyes feasted on some of the newer boats, the J-Class offered purists with an eye-catching reminder of yesteryear. Of the four J-Class yachts entered at the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Shamrock and Velsheda are restorations of yachts launched over 80 years ago, while Rainbow and Ranger are design replicas of original boats destroyed for metal during the Second World War.

Those competing in the J-Class were not intent on solely distracting photographers. “We enjoy close racing and have to be very mindful dealing with equipment that is incredibly valuable and doesn’t respond that quickly. However, none of us want to simply nurse the boats around the course. We want to push it in the gap, that’s the challenge,” revealed Velsheda’ s Tom Dodson.

Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup (Photo by Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi)

 

 

 

 

 

HETAIROS 66m (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Always one of the most eye-catching and momentous events in the international sailing calendar, the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup is an astonishing line up of design, power and prowess. The 24th edition of the event – the world’s most important meeting of Maxi yachts – will take place from 1-7 September. This annual rendezvous held in Porto Cervo, Sardinia is organized by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) and the International Maxi Association (IMA). Rolex has been title sponsor since 1985.

The stage is set for a dramatic week of sailing with an impressive fleet of yachts all upwards of 60-feet (18.29-metres) in length preparing to grace the alluring but often uncompromising waters of Sardinia’s La Maddalena Archipelago. Competition will take place in different categories, including Mini Maxi, Maxi Racing, Maxi Racing/Cruising, Supermaxi and Wally.

Stig chases Bella Mente (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

The highly competitive Mini Maxi Class – yachts measuring from 60-79 ft – is experiencing something of a golden age; the fleet is closely matched, highly competitive and increasingly popular. This year marks the fourth running of the Mini Maxi Rolex World Championship. The defending champion is Hap Fauth’s 72-ft American entry Bella Mente. Last year, the new launch narrowly defeated Niklas Zennström’s 72-ft Rán 2, winner in 2010 and 2011. The level of competition is even greater this year. Andres Soriano is expected to arrive with his recently launched 72-ft Alegre (GBR), the freshest Mini Maxi design. His former 68-ft Alegre is now owned by Alexander Schaerer and is continuing to excel as Caol Ila R. Other forecast entrants like George Sakellaris’s Shockwave, Sir Peter Ogden’s Jethou and Alessandro Rombelli’s Stig are all equally capable of upsetting the form book.

Mini Max class 2012 start (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

Rivalries will be renewed throughout the competing fleet. The Wally class always reserves dramatic action. This year looks particularly appetising. Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones’s Magic Carpet crew – perennial winners in Porto Cervo – will be racing for the first time on Owen-Jones’s new Wally Cento Magic Carpet 3. The line honours winner at June’s Giraglia Rolex Cup features experienced former Olympic medallist Jochen Schümann as skipper. Meanwhile Claus-Peter Offen’s 100-ft Y3K from Germany will hit the water after recent modifications in an effort to maintain her remarkable run of success in Porto Cervo.

Belgian Filip Balcaen’s 112-ft Nilaya has dominated the Supermaxi class – reserved for yachts measuring in excess of 100-ft – over the past two years. The Class is typically the most diverse, attracting yachts built for both luxurious cruising and competitive sailing. Last year, the event set a new record with the appearance of the gigantic 216-ft Hetairos, the largest boat to ever feature in the competition.

For further details on the 2013 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the event’s rich history, a dedicated Press Kit is available to download here and will shortly be available in other languages. An accompanying photo story provides a visual presentation of the event.

EVENT PROGRAMME

Sunday, 1 September

YCCS Welcome Reception
Inspections, registration and briefing

Monday, 2 September

Race (s)

Tuesday, 3 September

Race (s)

Wednesday, 4 September

Race (s)

Thursday, 5 September

Lay day or resail

Friday, 6 September

Race (s)
Rolex Crew Party

Saturday, 7 September

Race (s)
Final Prize Giving

Mini Max fleet (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

GENUINE RISK, Sail No: USA 8390, Owner: Hugo Stenbeck, Home Port: Kings Point, NY, USA, Design: Canting Keel Maxi, Division: IRC 1 (Photo by Rolex / St. Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery )

GENUINE RISK, Sail No: USA 8390, Owner: Hugo Stenbeck, Home Port: Kings Point, NY, USA, Design: Canting Keel Maxi, Division: IRC 1 (Photo by Rolex / St. Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery )

    

Topping off three days of sun-drenched racing in the International Rolex Regatta, over 700 sailors on 77 teams mixed it up today on Pillsbury Sound, completing distance courses that explored the cays and islands off St. Thomas, where the event has been hosted for 38 years by St. Thomas Yacht Club. Big guns, such as Boewe Bekking, Gavin Brady, Ed Baird, Steve Benjamin, Richard Clarke and Chris Larson were in abundance aboard the keelboats that competed, but it by no means took the calling cards of professional sailors to guarantee victory—or a good time—in the eight classes, which included two for IRC, four for CSA, and one each for IC 24s and Beach Cats.

“This has been one of the best groups of boats and sailors we’ve ever had,” said Regatta Director Bill Canfield. “Sailors came from around the globe, and each class had a good number of boats with impressive depth of competition.” Canfield explained that the largest keelboat competing was the 90-foot Genuine Risk, the recent Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race winner, with Hugo Stenbeck (SWE) steering, while the smallest were 24-footers. (Melges 24s sailed in a CSA Spinnaker class that was populated by sport boats, while IC 24s came in numbers large enough to earn their own One-Design circle.) Ages ranged from in the single digits to mid 70s, and included newcomers, returning veterans and everything in between.

With today’s two victories to add to an already perfect score line, Willem Wester’s (SUI) Grand Soleil 43 Antilope made an impressive showing in the nine-boat IRC 2 class, earning Wester a Rolex timepiece as prize. (Timepieces were also awarded to IRC 1 class, the top performer among CSA Spinnaker classes and IC 24 one-design class.)

“This was our first time to this part of the world,” said Wester, who has won Cowes Week the last two years aboard Antilope and sailed with a crew from Belgium and Holland that included veteran Volvo Ocean Race skipper Bouwe Bekking, who called tactics, and Olympian Philippe Bergmans, who steered. “The whole atmosphere here was fantastic, with the Race Committee setting some wonderful courses; Bekking is a bit of a slave driver (laughs), but a nice one, and he raised the level of the team.” 

Bekking gave credit to good starts, letting the crew do its work and keeping a cool head during the challenge of negotiating Friday’s “town races” to and from Charlotte Amalie; Saturday’s distance races skirting the south coast of St. John island; and today’s exceptionally intriguing “Pillsbury” courses set between St. Thomas and St. John. “I’d say by far, it is the best of the events I’ve sailed in the last couple of years,” said Bekking.

Antilope’s closest competitor, Phil Lotz’s (Newport, R.I.) Club Swan 42 Arethusa, fell to third today with two fourth-place finishes, while James Hudleston’s (St. Petersburg, Fla.) Oceanis 44 Three Harkoms snagged second, just one point ahead, on merit of a 3-2 today.

Prizegiving at the St. Thomas Yacht Club, and the winners are Left to right: Mark Plaxton, Ben Beer, William Bailey, Jeff Price, Willem Wester and Lionel Schürch, Rolex Geneva (Photo by Rolex / St. Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery)

Prizegiving at the St. Thomas Yacht Club, and the winners are Left to right: Mark Plaxton, Ben Beer, William Bailey, Jeff Price, Willem Wester and Lionel Schürch, Rolex Geneva (Photo by Rolex / St. Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery)

For Ed Baird (St. Petersburg, Fla.), being a seasoned professional didn’t take anything away from his experience here.  The winning skipper from the 2007 America’s Cup (Alinghi) crewed aboard Richard Oland’s (New Brunswick, CAN) Southern Cross Vela Veloce while Canadian Olympian Richard Clarke steered. The team finished second in IRC 1 class, conceding to Jim Swartz’s (Park City, Utah) TP52 Vesper/Team Moneypenny, which won all but one of six races.

 “It’s the first time either Richard (Clarke) or I have raced here,” said Baird. “We’ve both sailed all over the world but never with so many islands and rocks in close proximity; it was challenging, not knowing what the wind would be doing around the next corner. “

Baird described the top-three boats in his class, all 52 footers, as “locked in battle” the whole regatta. “Vesper (with New Zealand’s America’s Cup veteran Gavin Brady replacing Jim Swartz on the helm today) had a speed advantage, especially upwind, so they could usually sneak out to a strong position and stay ahead, but we went back and fourth with Interlodge (Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s entry from Newport, R.I.)”

Vesper and Interlodge have both sailed this event before,” said Brady, “so when we’d gain a little near the shore, they’d come back at us, maybe using some local knowledge they had. We figured that by the end of the regatta, we’d be really ready for next year!”

Though their expectations in CSA Spinnaker 3 class were modest in the beginning,Timothy Molony’s (New Orleans, La.) Southern Yacht Club team aboard Wild at Heart proved unbeatable in the end. Only on day one were they not at the top of the scoreboard, but today was to still be a test with only two points separating them and Kike Gonzalez’s (San Juan, PR) J/80 Otrakosa, which wound up second overall. 

“We won both of today’s races by exactly two minutes and 25 seconds, which is pretty remarkable,” said Molony, who counts this as his first time to race in the islands. “We ended up with one second and five firsts, while Otrakosa had one first and five seconds.” (Paul Davis’s St. Thomas entry Mag 7 took third overall.)

“We’ve all sailed together since we were kids, so it’s like a family quarrel when we call tactics,” joked Molony, who chartered Wild at Heart from a company in Germany “that took care of everything and perfectly prepared the boat.” 

It was a young William Bailey (St. Thomas), skippering Team INTAC JV, who won the Rolex timepiece in the 16-boat IC 24 class. The high school senior, age 18, endured 17 around-the-buoys races that were reserved especially for this hotly contested one-design class and counted among his crew 2010 College Sailor of the Year (from Yale) Thomas Barrows, a fellow St. Thomian. 

Before racing the last six races today, Bailey knew he had to stay in the top three as much as he could. A bad start in the first race buried him, but he calmly scratched back to win handily, then continued with a string of finishes that were fourth or better.

“It still hasn’t hit me yet,” said Bailey, who was duly impressed when he was told he’d be awarded the newest model of the Rolex Explorer, which accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary on his famous ascent of Mt. Everest in 1953.

Second-place finisher, a full 24 points behind, was Fraito Lugo’s (Ponce, PR) Orion, followed by Chris Cuerreri’s (St. Thomas) Soggy Dollar BVI in third.

Team Intac TEAM INTAC, Sail No: IVB 39, Owner: William Bailey, Home Port: St. Thomas, VI, USA, Design: IC 24, Division: One Design (Photo by Rolex / St. Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery)

Team Intac TEAM INTAC, Sail No: IVB 39, Owner: William Bailey, Home Port: St. Thomas, VI, USA, Design: IC 24, Division: One Design (Photo by Rolex / St. Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery)

From day one, Mark Plaxton’s (Tortola, BVI) Melges 32 Team INTAC/CROWLEY established his lead in the six-boat CSA Spinnaker 1 class. After posting two victories today, he showed nothing higher than a second-place finish in his six-race score line, which also kept Andrea Scarabelli’s (St. Maarten, AHO) Melges 24 Budget Marine and David West’s (Tortola, BVI) Melges 32 Jurakan in second and third, respectively, for the entire event.

Plaxton was awarded the Rolex watch as the top performer among the CSA spinnaker classes and was philosophical about it. “I was a Junior A hockey player from Canada where I learned ‘stick on ice, head up and pass the puck.’ Basically, that means it’s not about the watch or winning, it’s about peace, love and boat speed and helping out the next generation.” (It is no coincidence that William Bailey’s winning IC 24 team of young sailors shared the same boat name.)

Things sorted out just fine today for Calvin Reed’s (Tampa, Fla.) Beneteau First 40.7 Elandra of Hamble, yesterday’s leader in CSA Spinnaker 2 class. With finish positions of 2-2 they fended off who they considered their #1 competition, Richard Wesslund’s (Miami, Fla.) J/120 El Ocaso, which slipped to third place overall after posting a 5-4 today. Rising from fourth place yesterday to second place, with a 1-3 today, was Jaimie Torres’s (San Juan, PR) Beneteau First 40 Smile and Wave.

In the 10-boat CSA Non-Spinnaker class, James Dobbs’ (Antigua) Lost Horizon turned in a 1-2 today to tie on point score (10) with Tony Sanpere’s (St. Croix, USVI) J/36 Cayennita Grande but win the class after tie-breaking rules were applied.

Lost Horizon was definitely the sleeper of the regatta, arriving with an incomplete crew and adding to it to finish third overall after the first day of racing. On the second day, the team managed to rise through the ranks to second overall behind Cayennita Grande then top them in the finale. Bernardo Gonzalez’s (Dorado, PR) Beneteau First 35s5 Bonne Chance, maintained its third from yesterday.

In Beach Cats, with nine boats competing, Jorge Ramos’s (San Juan, PR) Hobie 16 Universal had only to finish today’s two races to win his class’s five-race series. He not only finished the races but also won them both, just as he had won his two previous races—by huge margins. “We are happy that the fleet was bigger this year,” said Ramos, considered to be one of the top five cat sailors from his country. “There was some attention lost for a few years, but now we are hoping that the class will build again and this regatta will become a primary focus for us.” Giving Ramos a run for his money with a 2-2 today was last year’s winner John Holmberg (St. Thomas), also sailing a Hobie 16, Time Out, with his 12-year-old son Kai. In third was Teri McKenna’s (St. Thomas) Hobie 16 Island Girl.

The International Rolex Regatta, considered the “Crown Jewel” of the traditional spring Caribbean regattas, is the third of the four-part Caribbean Ocean Racing Circuit (CORC), which also includes major regattas in St. Croix, Puerto Rico and Tortola. Sailors are treated to a mix of short-course and long distance races that take place off St. Thomas Yacht Club and along the waterfronts of St. Thomas and St. John. Parties are legendary, including a Saturday evening reggae party at Yacht Haven Grande marina, which adds exotic flair to the activities. 

The International Rolex Regatta has been hosted by St. Thomas Yacht Club since 1974, making it the oldest regatta in Rolex’s portfolio of international sailing events. Rolex is known for sponsoring famous offshore and grand-prix events such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Rolex Fastnet Race, Giraglia Rolex Cup, Rolex Middle Sea Race, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship.

A.H. Riise, Official Retailer of Rolex watches in the U.S. Virgin Islands, takes an active role in sponsorship of the International Rolex Regatta.  The St. Thomas shop is one of the largest in the Caribbean and is located on the historic waterfront of downtown Charlotte Amalie.

FINAL RESULTS

International Rolex Regatta 2011

Day 3

IC 24 (One Design – 16 Boats)
1. Team INTAC JV, IC 24, William Bailey , St. Thomas, VI, USA – 6, 3, 3, 1, 1, 3, 2, 1, 6, 2, 4, 1, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, ; 51
2. Orion, IC 24, Fraito Lugo , Ponce, PR, USA – 5, 2, 7, 2, 11, 8, 1, 2, 5, 3, 7, 3, 9, 4, 2, 3, 1, ; 75
3. Soggy Dollar BVI, IC 24, Chris Cuerreri , St. Thomas , USVI – 2, 8, 2, 12, 3, 4, 4, 7, 1, 12, 9, 4, 2, 1, 3, 2, 6, ; 82

CSA Spinnaker 1 (CSA – 6 Boats)
1. Team INTAC/CROWLEY, Melges 32, Mark Plaxton , Sea Cows Bay, Tortola, BVI – 1, 2, 2, 2, 1, 1, ; 9
2. Budget Marine/GILL , Melges 24, Andrea Scarabelli , Cole Bay, St. Maarten, AHO – 3, 1, 4, 1, 2, 4, ; 15
3. Jurakan, Melges 32, David West , Road Town, Tortola, BVI – 2, 3, 1, 4, 4, 3, ; 17

CSA Spinnaker 2 (CSA – 11 Boats)
1. Elandra of Hamble, Beneteau First 40.7, Calvin Reed , Tampa, FL, USA – 3, 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, ; 12
2. Smile and Wave, Beneteau First 40, Jaime Torres , San Juan, PR, USA – 6, 3, 1, 3, 1, 3, ; 17
3. El Ocaso, J 120, Richard Wesslund , Miami, FL, USA – 4, 1, 3, 2, 5, 4, ; 19

CSA Spinnaker 3 (CSA – 6 Boats)
1. Wild At Heart, JOD 35, Timothy Molony , New Orleans, LA, USA – 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, ; 7
2. Otrakosa, J 80, Kike Gonzalez , San Juan, PR, USA – 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, ; 11
3. Mag 7, J 27, Paul Davis , Charlotte amalie, VI, USA – 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, ; 21

CSA Non-Spinnaker (CSA – 10 Boats)
1. Lost Horizon, J 122, James Dobbs , Falmouth, ANT – 5, 1, 1, 1, 2, ; 10
2. Cayennita Grande, J 36, Antonio Sanpere , Christiansted, VI, USA – 2, 2, 2, 3, 1, ; 10
3. Bonne Chance, Beneteau First 35s5, Bernardo Gonzalez , Dorado, PR, USA – 1, 3, 3, 2, 3, ; 12

IRC 1 (IRC – 6 Boats)
1. Vesper, TP 52, James Swartz , Park City, Utah, USA – 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, ; 7
2. Vela Veloce, Southern Cross 52, Richard Oland , Saint John, NB, CAN – 3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, ; 14
3. Interlodge, JV 52, Austin and Gwen Fragomen , Newport, RI, USA – 1, 4, 4, 3, 3, 2, ; 17

IRC 2 (IRC – 9 Boats)
1. Antilope, Grand Soleil 43, Willem Wester , Breskens, Zeeland, NED – 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, ; 6
2. Three Harkoms, Oceanis 44, James Hudleston , St. petersburg, FL, USA – 2, 4, 2, 4, 3, 2, ; 17
3. Arethusa, Club Swan 42, Phil Lotz , Newport, RI, USA – 3, 2, 3, 2, 4, 4, ; 18

Beach Cats (Portsmouth – 9 Boats)
1. Universal, Hobie 16, Jorge L Ramos , San Juan, PR, USA – 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, ; 6
2. Time Out, Hobie 16, John Holmberg , St. Thomas, VI, USA – 3, 2, 3, 2, 2, ; 12
3. Island Girl, Hobie 16, Teri McKenna , St. Thomas, VI, USA – 5, 3, 5, 3, 3, ; 19

 

Fleet (Photo by Rolex / St. Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery )

Fleet (Photo by Rolex / St. Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery )

(Photo by Rolex / St. Thomas Yacht Club/Ingrid Abery)

KIALOA V / SPS and PIPE DREAM (Photo by Rolex / St.Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery)

An excursion to downtown Charlotte Amalie is a high point of any proper vacation in St. Thomas. Duty free shops, a colorful outdoor “Vendor’s Plaza” and a working waterfront, complete with cruise ships, ferries and freight boats, unite locals and tourists and create a harmonious blend of sights and sounds. Today, sailors on 77 teams at the International Rolex Regatta made the obligatory trip downtown not by Safari taxi but by boat–actually, their own race boats. The first of today’s two “town races” went from the eastern end of St. Thomas, where the regatta’s host St. Thomas Yacht Club is located, to Charlotte Amalie Harbour, giving spectators an eyeful as they watched from scenic overlooks and other vantage points along the island’s hilly coastline. After a rainbow of spinnakers graced a downwind finish, the fleet turned around and headed back from where they came, counting the return trip as their second race.

“We went with a spinnaker almost all the way to town…like a party!” laughed Kike Gonzalez (San Juan, PR), the skipper of the J/80 Otrakosa, who posted a 1-2 in CSA Spinnaker 3 class for second place overall. “Mag 7 (a J/27 skippered by St. Thomian Paul Davis) was winning, but in the last 15 minutes of the race we made the right decision, and we were able to pass them.” Back at the dock, Gonzalez had calculated that he would be at the top of the scoreboard and pointed out Timothy Molony’s (New Orleans, La.) Wild at Heart as a good upwind design that he’d have to watch for, along with Mag 7, tomorrow. When overall scores were posted, however, Wild at Heart proved itself more of an immediate threat than Gonzalez had thought. Its score line of 2-1, the reverse of Otrakosa’s, was also good for three points and the fleet lead as well, after tie-breaking rules were applied. (Mag 7 finished third overall.)

 

 Kyle Smith, a crew member aboard Wild at Heart, explained before racing this morning that his fellow crew mates were all from Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans. “We don’t have big expectations,” he said humbly, “because it’s a chartered boat and this is our first time to race it in the islands.”

In CSA Spinnaker 1, Mark Plaxton’s (Tortola, BVI) Melges 32 Team INTAC/CROWLEY finished 1-2 today to lead, leaving second to Andrea Scarabelli’s (St. Maarten, AHO) Melges 24 Budget Marine and third to another Melges 32, David West’s (Tortola, BVI) Jurakan.

“Budget Marine is always, always a boat to think about on the race course,” said Ben Beer (St. Thomas), crew aboard INTAC/CROWLEY. “It’s difficult, however, because we can’t race boat-for-boat with them because of their smaller size, and we have to race boat-for-boat with the other Melges 32. It’s a balance of racing the boat next to you and watching the other boats in the fleet—if you’re not careful, you can fight the battle but lose the war.”

Beer added that he is involved in developing a plan to entice the large group of Melges 32s in the States to put Caribbean racing, including the International Rolex Regatta, on their one-design class racing schedule. “The class is highly competitive, it’s a technical boat–fast, well sailed–and we would get our own one-design start. I mean, look around; it doesn’t matter if you are sailing an IC 24 or a TP52, it’s the best sailing in the world here.”

Other Classes

In CSA Spinnaker 2 class, two Floridians hold first and second place in the 11-boat fleet: Richard Wesslund’s (Miami) J/120 El Ocaso has five points after finishing 4-1 today, while Calvin Reed’s (Tampa, Fla.) Beneteau First 40.7 Elandra of Hamble also has five points, on merit of a 3-2.

interlodge

Interlodge (Photo by Rolex / St.Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery)

Three TP52s took podium positions after cumulative scores were tabulated in the six-boat IRC 1 class. Jim Swartz’s (Park City, Utah) Vesper/Team Moneypenny holds three points over the five posted by Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s (Newport, R.I.) Interlodge. (Richard Oland’s Canadian entry Vela Veloce, in third place, also accumulated five points.)

Antilope, Willem Wester’s (NED) Grand Soleil in the nine-boat IRC 2 class, is leading after winning both races today. In second, with finishes of 3-2 is Phil Lotz’s (Newport, R.I.) Club Swan 42 Arethusa.

Bernardo Gonzalez’s (Dorado, PR) Beneteau First 35s5 Bonne Chance is leading the 10-boat CSA Non-Spinnaker class after posting a 1-3 today, worth four points, while Tony Sanpere’s (St. Croix, USVI) J/36 Cayennita Grande is in second, also with four points, after finishing 2-2.

The IC 24 One- Design class, with 16 boats, added one more short distance race to its schedule today after finishing the “town races.” Jorge Santiago’s DonQ Cristal, leads with 12 points, but both the second- and third-place finishers share the same point score. They are Chris Cuerreri’s (St. Thomas) Soggy Dollar BVI and William Bailey’s (St. Thomas) Team INTAC JV.

In Beach Cat class, Jorge Ramos’s (San Juan, PR) Hobie 16 Universal posted a 2-1 to lead a nine-boat fleet.

Vesper (Photo by Rolex / St. Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery)

Vesper (Photo by Rolex / St. Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery)

Racing continues tomorrow (Saturday) with as many as eight windward/leeward races for the IC 24s, while all other classes will sail a combination of island and/or distance races on the south side of St. John. Sunday features as many as six races for IC 24s and two races for all others on Pillsbury Sound. Racing starts at 10 a.m. each morning.

The International Rolex Regatta is the third of the four-part Caribbean Ocean Racing Circuit (CORC), which also includes major regattas in St. Croix, Puerto Rico and Tortola. Sailors are treated to a mix of short-course and long distance races that take place off St. Thomas Yacht Club and along the waterfronts of St. Thomas and St. John, and those lucky enough to win the top classes here can also take home a Rolex watch as a prize. Parties are legendary, including a Saturday evening reggae party at Yacht Haven Grande marina, which adds exotic flair to the activities.

The International Rolex Regatta has been hosted by St. Thomas Yacht Club since 1974, making it the oldest regatta in Rolex’s portfolio of international sailing events. Rolex is known for sponsoring famous offshore and grand-prix events such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Rolex Fastnet Race, Giraglia Rolex Cup, Rolex Middle Sea Race, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship.

Harbor Start Of Class IRC 2 (Photo by Rolex / St. Thomas Yacht Club/Ingrid Abery)

Harbor Start Of Class IRC 2 (Photo by Rolex / St. Thomas Yacht Club/Ingrid Abery)

PROVISIONAL RESULTS

International Rolex Regatta 2011

Day 1

Place, Yacht Name, Type, Owner/Skipper, Hometown, Results, Total Points

IIC 24 (One Design – 16 Boats)
1. Team Maximus – DonQ Cristal, IC 24, Jorge Santiago , Ponce, PR, USA – 3, 1, 8, ; 12
2. Soggy Dollar BVI, IC 24, Chris Cuerreri , St. Thomas , USVI – 2, 8, 2, ; 12
3. Team INTAC JV, IC 24, William Bailey , St. Thomas, VI, USA – 6, 3, 3, ; 12

CSA Spinnaker 1 (CSA – 6 Boats)
1. Team INTAC/CROWLEY, Melges 32, Mark Plaxton , Sea Cows Bay, Tortola, BVI – 1, 2, ; 3
2. Budget Marine/GILL , Melges 24, Andrea Scarabelli , Cole Bay, St. Maarten, AHO – 3, 1, ; 4
3. Jurakan, Melges 32, David West , Road Town, Tortola, BVI – 2, 3, ; 5

CSA Spinnaker 2 (CSA – 11 Boats)
1. El Ocaso, J 120, Richard Wesslund , Miami, FL, USA – 4, 1, ; 5
2. Elandra of Hamble, Beneteau First 40.7, Calvin Reed , Tampa, FL, USA – 3, 2, ; 5
3. Pipe Dream, Sirena 38, Peter Haycraft , Road Town, Tortola, BVI – 1, 6, ; 7

CSA Spinnaker 3 (CSA – 6 Boats)
1. Wild At Heart, JOD 35, Timothy Molony , New Orleans, LA, USA – 2, 1, ; 3
2. Otrakosa, J 80, Kike Gonzalez , San Juan, PR, USA – 1, 2, ; 3
3. Mag 7, J 27, Paul Davis , Charlotte amalie, VI, USA – 3, 3, ; 6

CSA Non-Spinnaker (CSA – 10 Boats)
1. Bonne Chance, Beneteau First 35s5, Bernardo Gonzalez , Dorado, PR, USA – 1, 3, ; 4
2. Cayennita Grande, J 36, Antonio Sanpere , Christiansted, VI, USA – 2, 2, ; 4
3. Lost Horizon, J 122, James Dobbs , Falmouth, ANT – 5, 1, ; 6

IRC 1 (IRC – 6 Boats)
1. Vesper, TP 52, James Swartz , Park City, Utah, USA – 2, 1, ; 3
2. Interlodge, JV 52, Austin and Gwen Fragomen , Newport, RI, USA – 1, 4, ; 5
3. Vela Veloce, Southern Cross 52, Richard Oland , Saint John, NB, CAN – 3, 2, ; 5

IRC 2 (IRC – 9 Boats)
1. Antilope, Grand Soleil 43, Willem Wester , Breskens, Zeeland, NED – 1, 1, ; 2
2. Arethusa, Club Swan 42, Phil Lotz , Newport, RI, USA – 3, 2, ; 5
3. Three Harkoms, Oceanis 44, James Hudleston , St. Petersburg, FL, USA – 2, 4, ; 6

Beach Cats (Portsmouth – 9 Boats)
1. Universal, Hobie 16, Jorge L Ramos , San Juan, PR, USA – 2, 1, ; 3
2. Time Out, Hobie 16, John Holmberg , St. Thomas, VI, USA – 3, 2, ; 5
3. Island Girl, Hobie 16, Teri McKenna , St. Thomas, VI, USA – 5, 3, ; 8

Shamrock VII , Cayennita Grande and Bonne Chance

Shamrock VII , Cayennita Grande and Bonne Chance (Photo by Rolex / St.Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery)

 

Rolex St Thomas Yacht Club ( Photo by Rolex/ St. Thomas  Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery)

Rolex St Thomas Yacht Club ( Photo by Rolex/ St. Thomas Yacht Club / Ingrid Abery)

Thirty eight years ago the first International Rolex Regatta took place in St. Thomas and so began an annual tradition that endures to this day. The three-day event, which starts tomorrow, has increased its participants over last year, with 77 teams signed up in IRC, CSA (Spinnaker and Non-Spinnaker), IC 24 and Beach Cat classes. The gamut of keelboat sizes runs from 90 feet (the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy’s canting keel Maxi Yacht Genuine Risk, chartered by Sweden’s Hugo Stenbeck and competing in IRC) down to 24 feet (three feisty Melges 24 sport boats competing in CSA Spinnaker 1 class and 16 “homegrown” IC 24s sailing in their own one-design class). Likewise, there are plenty of established teams with “rock star” crews from the top end of the international sailing spectrum and heaps of lesser knowns with otherwise enormous talent from around the globe, surrounding islands, and St. Thomas itself.

Genuine Risk (Photo by George Bekris)

Genuine Risk (Photo by George Bekris)

 IRC and CSA Fleet Racing

Certainly one of the best known names here is Bouwe Bekking (DEN), who will be calling tactics on the Grand Soleil 43 Antilope in IRC 2 class. Bekking has five around the world races under his belt (most notably as skipper of the 2008/09 Volvo Ocean Race entry Telefonica Blue, which finished third), and has also won the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race once and the Cape Town to Rio Race three times.

Antilope is owned by Willem Wester (SUI), who will serve as navigator onboard, and though it is Antilope’s first time to compete in the International Rolex Regatta, Bekking says its core team has been together for several very successful years. As for other recognizable names on the crew, he says, “they are all well known back home. On the international scene; however, our helmsman Philippe Bergmans has two Olympics under his belt in the Laser class, and another crew member Bert Schandevyl sailed in the last Volvo on Delta Lloyd and sails on heaps of good boats.”

For all of his accomplishments, Bekking says this regatta is as important as any other, and he doesn’t have a particular win that he considers his “Holy Grail.” “I like to win even when it is a Wednesday night race; you are only as good as your last result,” said Bekking.

IRC 2 class will also get a show from the likes of Peter Corr’s (St. Thomas) new Warwick 82 Aiyana, which will have Steve Benjamin (South Norwalk, Conn., USA) aboard as tactician. Phil Lotz’s (Newport, R.I.) Swan 42 Arethusa, who won here two years ago, practiced against Aiyana today and was impressed. “They had good speed and a symmetrical chute, so it will be interesting,” said Lotz, explaining that “with Arethusa using an asymmetrical chute, we won’t be sailing the same angles downwind.” He also had good things to say about Pat Eudy’s (Charleston, S.C., USA) Lutra 42 Big Booty. “Big Booty is a good boat; it’s always right there. We sailed against them at the US-IRC Nationals and two years ago here.” Among the other contenders is Tea Ekengren-Sauren’s (FIN) Swan 45 Blue Nights.

Battling with Genuine Risk in IRC 1 class will be Richard Oland’s (CAN) Southern Cross 52 Vela Veloce, which won last year and will have America’s Cup skipper Ed Baird (St. Petersburg, Fla., USA) calling tactics and Richard Clarke (CAN) steering. Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s (Newport, R.I., USA) IRC 52 Interlodge gave them a run for the money last year, up until the last race which they lost by a hair, so the challenge is on. Bill Alcott’s chartered Swan 601 Aquarius will also be on the starting line along with Jim Swartz’s (Edgartown, Mass., USA) Vesper/Team Moneypenny and Ron O’Hanley’s (Boston, Mass.) Cookson 50 Privateer. The Privateer team was so intent on doing this regatta that they sailed the boat down from Florida last week and will deliver it back immediately after the event is over.

 

After class splits were determined this afternoon, CSA Spinnaker 1 class shook out to include three Melges 24s, two Melges 32s and a Henderson 30. “It’s nice to have sport boats all in one class,” said Kevin Rigley (BVI), headsail trimmer on fellow BVI sailor Dave West’s Melges 32 Jurakan. “Our boat speeds are faster on the 32s, but with the handicaps, racing against the 24s is always tight. The 24s might favor lighter conditions (he predicts 12 knots, max 15 over the next three days), but in anything over 15 knots and under 10 knots we might have the edge.”

CSA Spinnaker 2 class features everything from Peter Haycrafts’s (Tortola, BVI) Sirena 38 Pipe Dream to Tony McBride’s (GBR) Beneteau First 50 Bigamist and Sergio Sagramosa’s (San Juan, PR) Grand Soleil 54 Lazy Dog, while CSA Spinnaker 3 class will see plenty of action from the two J/27s Mag 7, skippered by Paul Davis (St. Thomas), and No Sea Dem, skippered by Christopher Hardin (St. Thomas); Robert Read’s (Seekonk, Mass.) J/40 Nepenthe; and Kike Gonzalez’s (San Juan, PR) Otrakosa, among others.

In CSA Non Spinnaker class, Antonio Sanpere (St. Croix, USVI) holds all the cards as defending champion and perhaps the best prepared of the entrants. The crew of his J/36 Cayennita Grande returns with him each year, but there are new faces on the race course for 2011. An all-woman sailing team, GirlsforSail, will step up to the plate, with Annie O’Sullivan (GBR) skippering. Once a buyer for Woolworth’s, O’Sullivan quit that job after seeing famous yachtswoman Ellen McArthur speak and started a company that encouraged women to sail. “It was ten years ago when not many would have asked me to race, and women weren’t given the same chances as men, so I said ‘I’ll have to do it myself,’” said O’Sullivan, who has since skippered her GirlsforSail team on three Atlantic crossings and to victories in such events as Antigua Race Week.

 Other classes

The IC 24 class, the largest with 16 entries here, is hugely popular here in St. Thomas, in large part because the one-design class was developed locally as a way to increase inter-island competition with a fun, easy boat to own and sail. The resulting hybrid of a J/24 hull and Melges 24-style deck did the trick, convincing hordes of talented island sailors to give up whatever they had sailed before and join the class, which at the International Rolex Regatta typically features lead changes on every leg and at every mark rounding on short courses set close to shore. Top IC 24 skippers from St. Thomas include Verian Aquilar on Green Boat, Chris Cuerreri on Soggy Dollar, Paul Stoeken on Island Sol, and Mike Williams on Red Dog. But the fiercest competition will come from off-island from no  less than four Puerto Rican teams, including eight-time winner at this event, Fraito Lugo (Ponce), skippering Orion.

In Beach Cat class, defending champion John Holmberg and his 12-year-old son Kai have proven in recent regattas that they still have what it takes to repeat last year’s performance here. Sailing Hobie One Canobie, the duo will match up with other local Hobie 16 teams Island Girl, skippered by Teri McKenna, and Chancletero, skippered by Mike Williams, while Mark Chong’s (St. Thomas) Blame it on Rhea, Pedro Colon’s (PR) Furia Roja and Jason Siska’s (Fox River Grove, Ill., USA) Puma round out the fleet with Nacra 20, Hobie 20 and Prindle 20 teams, respectively.
 

Race Formats and Schedule

First up on the three-day race schedule are tomorrow’s colorful “town races” that start at St. Thomas Yacht Club and finish in Charlotte Amalie Harbour at lunchtime before starting again around 1 p.m. for a return to the yacht club.  Visitors and residents alike will be able to catch the spectacle from vantage points around the island, including Marriott Frenchman’s Reef, where a bird’s eye view of multi-colored spinnakers can be had.  Racing will continue on Saturday with as many as eight windward/leeward races for the IC 24s, while all other classes will sail a combination of island and/or distance races on the south side of St. John. Sunday features as many as six races for IC 24s and two races for all others on Pillsbury Sound. Racing starts at 10 a.m. each morning.

The International Rolex Regatta is the third of the four-part Caribbean Ocean Racing Circuit (CORC), which also includes major regattas in St. Croix, Puerto Rico and Tortola. Sailors are treated to a mix of short-course and long distance races that take place off St. Thomas Yacht Club and along the waterfronts of St. Thomas and St. John, and those lucky enough to win the top classes here can also take home a Rolex watch as a prize. Parties are legendary, including a Saturday evening reggae party at Yacht Haven Grande marina, which adds exotic flair to the activities.

The International Rolex Regatta has been hosted by St. Thomas Yacht Club since 1974, making it the oldest regatta in Rolex’s portfolio of international sailing events. Rolex is known for sponsoring famous offshore and grand-prix events such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Rolex Fastnet Race, Giraglia Rolex Cup, Rolex Middle Sea Race, Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship.

.

Big Booty (Photo by George Bekris)

Big Booty (Photo by George Bekris)

Sojana (Photo by Christophe Jouany  / Les Voiles de Saint-Barth)

Sojana (Photo by Christophe Launay / Les Voiles de Saint-Barth)

An enthusiastic Ken Read (Newport, R.I.) got the 2011 sailing season off to a resounding start on board the new Maxi Yacht Rambler 100 in the Caribbean 600. The American skipper, who leads the Puma Ocean Racing project, has just won the event, leaving his rival Leopard 3 a long way behind and in so doing also grabbing the race record. Winner of last year’s inaugural running of the Les Voiles de St. Barth as skipper of George David’s (Hartford, Conn.) 90-footRambler, Read was naturally entrusted with the helm of Rambler 100 (the former Speedboat) when David took command of it earlier this year. Very excited by Rambler 100’s performance so far, Read is looking forward to the race program that lies ahead in the coming weeks. The second edition of the Les Voiles de St. Barth is next on the schedule (April 4-9), and with a mere mention of Read’s victory at the 2010 event, he admits without hesitation that he took advantage of “the best conditions ever experienced in my whole career….”

The prospect of once again facing their main rival Leopard 3 (owned by Great Britain’s Mike Slade) at Les Voiles de St. Barth–in closely fought contests on a variety of windy courses–is something that Read and David are extremely happy about. The Americans will bring along the whole of Read’s Puma Ocean Racing team, comprised of 15 top class professional sailors that will join seven other experienced crewmen to sail the powerful carbon Maxi Yacht.

“Don’t change a thing!,” said Read about the Les Voiles des St. Barth format, which features short daytime race courses that will have Rambler 100 and Leopard 3 facing off for the first time with that type of racing. “Rambler 100 and Leopard 3 are two huge monsters,” he said, explaining that both boats are entered in the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series, which reaches its climax in June with the 2011 Transatlantic Race from Newport, Rhode Island to The Lizard (UK). “They are record-breaking boats designed for long ocean races and major offshore courses; however, for our crew, it is vital to be able to compete in inshore races like those that will be held in St. Barth. Our battle against Leopard 3 will be very demanding for the crews and fascinating to watch, as we will be alongside each other for a lot of the time and it is bound to offer a maximum level of excitement.”

The Caribbean 600 represented an intermediate format for Ken Read and his crew, and it very quickly turned to the advantage of Rambler 100, which led the way from start to finish in what were typically Caribbean conditions, with strong trade winds windward of the islands and tricky currents, particularly at night. “Sailing along at 26 knots under the stars, we had some great moments aboard Rambler 100, a boat that offers a completely new dimension to racing,” concluded Read. Peter Harrison’s (Great Britain) 115-foot Farr-designed Sojana, which stood out in the Les Voiles de St. Barth last year and will be back again this year, also took part in the Caribbean 600 alongside Genuine Risk, the 90-foot Dubois design that has registered for the Les Voiles de St. Barth for the first time and may also thwart the favorites’ plans.

“In St. Barth, each day is different,” said Read. “The race committee has done an excellent job coming up with courses around the islands that are spectacular and at the same time very demanding from a tactical perspective, as they mean we have to sail at every point of sail. The Les Voiles de St. Barth is also physically very tiring, as the strong regular winds that sweep across the islands at this time of year allow us to get the most out of the boat, implying frequent sail changes with each change of tack. Technically, this is a really interesting event, which is a fantastic complement to the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series.”

Key information:

With one month to go until the start of racing, the Les Voiles de St. Barth has registered no fewer than 49 yachts, divided according to their size and class in the following five divisions:

SUPER / MAXI YACHT : A Maxi yacht refers to a prototype yacht or one that is produced in limited numbers measuring at least 69’ in length: 8 boats registered

CLASSIC: Classic Yachts or traditional boats are boats that are at least 35 years old and fit into various categories: 5 boats registered

RACING: This division brings together racing monohulls designed specifically for coastal or offshore races: 15 boats registered

RACING-CRUISING : The Racing Cruising division includes chiefly series boats, fitted out for cruising as well as for racing: 17 boats registered

RACING- MULTIHULLS: This division includes racing multihulls, be they trimarans or catamarans, with a length between 30 and 60 feet and which are very light and fast: 4 boats registered

The Les Voiles de St. Barth officially begins on Monday, April 4, 2011 with the traditional registration process and the opening of the Voiles Village, Quai du Général De Gaulle in Gustavia. At 1300 hrs (local time) the next day (Tuesday, April 5), the Race Directors, under the leadership of Luc Poupon, will signal the start of racing on some exciting and varied race courses set up according to the weather conditions. Racing continues Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, with Thursday, April 7 set aside as a lay day, with a full list of festive events lined up, allowing the crews to rest and enjoy themselves along with the people of St. Barths. The closing evening on Saturday, April 9 will include the prize-giving
ceremony.

Sojana and Moneypenny (Photo by Christophe Jouany  / Les Voiles de Saint-Barth)

Sojana and Moneypenny (Photo by Christophe Launay / Les Voiles de Saint-Barth)

Entries

LEOPARD 3
 GBR 1R FARR 100′ MIKE SLADE Pre-entry
 
SOJANA
 GBR 115 FARR 115 Peter HARRISON /Marc FIDZGERALD Pre-entry
 
BELLA PITA
 US 53560 TRIPP DESIGN 75′ JIM GRUNDY Pre-entry
 
HIGHLAND BREEZE
 888 SWAN 112 RS/GPR 112′ ALBERT KEULARTS Pre-entry
 
SPIIP
 FRA 8686 CNB 86 86′ ROBIN DE JONG Pre-entry
 
RAMBLER 100
   100′ GEORGE DAVID Pre-entry
 
MARAMA
   100′ GERARD NAIGEON Pre-entry
 
GENUINE RISK
 8390 DUBOIS/MC CONAUGHY 97′ HUGO STENBECK Pre-entry
 
Racing
Yacht Name   Sail Design LOA Skipper Status
 
 
REGIS GUILLEMOT.COM
 FRA 96 POGO 40 S2 40′ REGIS GUILLEMOT Pre-entry
 
PANIC ATTACK
 750 OPEN 750 24′ JAN VANDEN EYNDE Pre-entry
 
NOVUS ACRA
 GBR 150 L BENETEAU F 50 50′ TONY MACBRIDE Pre-entry
 
BLACK HOLE
  SANTA CRUZ 37 37′ J. Hin Pre-entry
 
FIFI
 FRA 2114 X55 55 G;MARTIN Pre-entry
 
LANCELOT
 FRA 25597 BENETEAU 31.7 32 SERGE MAZARIO Pre-entry
 
TECHNOMARINE
 FRA 27917 Farr 36,7 DEREDEC Christian Pre-entry
 
OCEAN WARRIOR
 SA 3625 CLASS 40 40′ LENJOHN VAN DER WEL Pre-entry
 
PUFFY
 USA 45454 Farr 45 DEMARCHELLIER Patrick Pre-entry
 
ANTILOPE
 GRB 1513L GRAND SOLEIL 43′ WILLEM WESTER Pre-entry
 
LOST HORIZON
 ANT 104 J 122 40′ JAMES DOBBS Pre-entry
 
MONNEYPENNY
  TP 52 54′ JIM SWARTZ Pre-entry
 
VENOMOUS
 GBR 60006 FARR DESIGN 60′ PETER CUNNINGHAM Pre-entry
 
SPIRIT OF JUNO
 GBR 8653 R FARR 65 65′ RORY FAULKNER Pre-entry
 
SONIC OF AYR
 GBR 370 L SANTA CRUZ 37 37 RYAN BROOKES Pre-entry
 
Classic
Yacht Name   Sail Design LOA Skipper Status
 
 
WHITE WINGS
 US2 W CLASS 76′ DAVID TOFIA Pre-entry
 
DUENDE
 10200 Herreshoff 43 43 D.Randy West Pre-entry
 
KATE
 ES5 MYLNE 60′ Walwyn Pre-entry
 
CARA MIA
 SUI 4405 SWAN  41′ PATRICK NICHOLAS Pre-entry
 
Racing Cruising
Yacht Name   Sail Design LOA Skipper Status
 
 
FENIX
 GBR 9660R SWAN  60′ MORITZ BURMESTER Pre-entry
 
L’ESPERANCE
 123 Beneteau 45 VELASQUEZ Robert Pre-entry
 
VANILLE
 16286 FIRST 300 SPIRIT 30′ PHILIPPE HERVE Pre-entry
 
COSTA MESA
 88 DUFOUR 425 GL 43′ REY PASCAL Pre-entry
 
ORMEAU
  FINOT BENETEAU 47.3 ALAIN CHARLOT Pre-entry
 
MR. WALKER
 FRA 491 REQUIN 33 MELISSA RIMBAUD Pre-entry
 
LIL’E
 FRA 479 REQUIN 33 FOX MOWGLI Pre-entry
 
BEESE
  BERRET 50.5 ANDRE BEESE Registered 
 
MAE-LIA
  X-YACHT 34 MAGRAS Raphael Pre-entry
 
FESTING
  BERRET 50.5 PATRICK SMITH Registered 
 
SPEEDY NEMO
  DUFOUR  34′ RAYMOND MAGRAS Pre-entry
 
CORBAN
 97133 SWAN 42 HARPER Daniel Pre-entry
 
TARA II
  SUN ODYSSEY 54 DS 54′ HENRY ALBERT Pre-entry
 
SPLENDIDO
 FRA37407 GRAND SOLEIL 40′ PHILIPPE HERVOUET Pre-entry
 
NIX
 IVB 612 X-YACHT 60′ NICO CORTLEVER Pre-entry
 
AFFINITY
 US 50007 SWAN  48′ JACK DESMOND Pre-entry
 
SOLANO
 FRA 34625 LATINI 52 FELCI 52′ FREDERIC RIALLAND Pre-entry
 
DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER
 GRB 1007L ELAN 37′ ANNIE O’SULLIVAN Pre-entry
 
COYOTE 2
 GBR 9949 T FIRST 40.7 41′ KEN ACOTT Pre-entry
 
iLOST
  HARMONY 42 42′ HANNEKE STEGWEG Pre-entry
 
SHAMROCK VII
 USA 1 J 95 31′ THOMAS MULLEN Pre-entry
 
Racing Multihull
Yacht Name   Sail Design LOA Skipper Status
 
 
PHAEDO
 399BC GUNBOAT 66′ PAUL HAND Pre-entry
 
KARIBUNI PINEL
  COULOMBEL 40′ ERICK CLEMENT Pre-entry
 
BIANCA
  SEACART 30′ HERVE DE MARJOLIE Pre-entry
 
SPIRIT 
 GBR 565  40′ JASON GARD Pre-entry

Genuine Risk At Start Of Bermuda Race (Photo by George Bekris )

Genuine Risk At Start Of Bermuda Race (Photo by George Bekris )