Shockwave and Bella Mente (Photo by George Bekris)

Shockwave and Bella Mente (Photo by George Bekris)

By Talbot Wilson

Three boats had finished the 2014 Newport Bermuda Race by late Monday afternoon

— Shockwave, Bella Mente, Caol Ila R

George Sakellaris’ big white Richel/Pugh mini-maxi Shockwave crossed the finish line off Bermuda’s St. David’s Lighthouse Monday morning at 5:34 race time EDT (6:34AM local time). Her elapsed time was 63:04:11. Bella Mente, Hap Fauth’s 72 foot Judel/Vrolijk mini-maxi, followed by seven minutes with her time at 63:11:25. The two had battled head to head within sight of each almost continuously for over 635 miles.

Shockwave heading for a dawn finish off St David's Lighthouse. Photo Barry Pickthall/PPL

Shockwave heading for a dawn finish off St David’s Lighthouse. Photo Barry Pickthall/PPL

Caol Ila R, Alex Schaerer’s 68 foot Mills IRC racer, crossed third at 8:33 local time, three hours behind Shockwave at 66:03:52.

Based on preliminary ORR results, Shockwave stands first on corrected time in the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Division, Bella Mente is second and Caol Ila R is third.

The next boat on the course, the US Naval Academy TP52 Constellation, is expected to finish more than 16 hours after the leader on Monday night. The remainder of the fleet is caught in the fickle winds of a frontal zone, waiting for the system to drift east-southeast and weaken. The picture is not pretty for boats still on the course. Light conditions will prevail through Wednesday and maybe longer.

Robbie Doyle sailed his 12th Newport Bermuda Race as the “stratitician” on board George Sakellaris’ Shockwave.

Doyle said, “Different guys called different things for the general strategy. The navigator made a lot of big calls. We had to hunt to find the (Gulf) Stream… we never found the 4 knot real road to Bermuda. It had broken up before we got there. Forecasters had predicted it might, but they suggested we might get there before it would start to dismember. The Stream was really breaking up pretty quick.”

“We got a knot and a half out of it.” He continued, “The stream came around (motioning to indicate a southwest to northeast direction to southeast direction) and what happened is that this part (flow) stopped and decided it was going to reconnect itself eventually and just become a smooth stream. We got through it.”

When asked about the cold core eddy predicted below the flow, Doyle said, “We caught that eddy, but it was only a knot and a half of current; still nice because we had it for 40 nautical miles. It wasn’t the three knots we had fought to get to that point for.“

Congratulations to George Sakellaris and the team aboard Shockwave for winning line honors in this year’s race. The win adds to Shockwave’s growing list of recent victories, highlighted by their division win in the 2012 Newport-Bermuda Race, the 2013 Montego Bay, and the 2014 RORC Caribbean 600 Race. Originally launched in 2008 as Alpha Romero 3, Shockwave continues her winning ways.

George Sakellaris, owner of the first to finish yacht Shockwave celebrates with Gosling's Dark 'n Stormy drink with his crew on arrival at the Royal Bermuda YC dock. Photo Barry Pickthall/PPL

George Sakellaris, owner of the first to finish yacht Shockwave celebrates with Gosling’s Dark ‘n Stormy drink with his crew on arrival at the Royal Bermuda YC dock. Photo Barry Pickthall/PPL

Commander’s Weather
1) Frontal zone is located from 35/65w to 33n/70w to Savannah early this morning
a) This front will continue to drift ESE and weaken

2) An expanding area of light winds will develop along and N and S of the frontal zone
a) The shower and squall activity will be diminishing this morning and will become at most isolated this afternoon and tonight
b) The nice SW winds in Bermuda will become much lighter late today and tonight

3) By Tue morning, the frontal zone will be located from 35n/60 30w to 33n/65w to a weak low near 32-33n/74w
a) Light NE-E winds north of the front and very light SW-W winds south of the front
b) Shower/squall activity will be at most isolated and possibly non-existent

4) Wed will see the light wind conditions continuing
a) The frontal zone will be drifting N with light SW and S winds also spreading slowly north during the day

For scratch sheets, crew lists, and other information about the boats, go to Race Documents & Rules.

Twenty-nine of the two Newport Bermuda Lighthouse Divisions’ entries are also sailing the 25th Onion Patch Series, a tough triathlon of offshore racing. These Onion Patch racers have just sailed the NYYC 160th Annual Regatta presented by Rolex in Newport and will form the core of the June 27nd RBYC Anniversary Regatta which now has 32 entries. The RBYC Anniversary Regatta is open to all IRC or ORR rated yachts over 25 feet in Bermuda. Anniversary Regatta entries close at noon on June 25th. Information is online at www.onionpatchseries.com and at www.rbyc.bm.

www.BermudaRace.com — carries Newport Bermuda Race rules, news, videos, photos, history, and expert advice. Race news is also posted on the Newport Bermuda Race 2014 Facebook page and on Twitter at @BdaRace.

HIRO MARU and the Class 1 St. David's Lighthouse Division Start 2014 (Photo by George Bekris)

HIRO MARU and the Class 1 St. David’s Lighthouse Division Start 2014 (Photo by George Bekris)

It Was a Little Messy, but the Bermuda Race Fleet has Started

Spirit of Bermuda Starts off the Race for 2014 (Photo By George Bekris)

Spirit of Bermuda Starts off the Race for 2014 (Photo By George Bekris)

By John Rousmaniere

If it was more fun for  spectators than the sailors, the reason was the sea breeze that inched toward the starting line until it finally dominated the northerly.Newport. RI, June 20, 2014, 7 PM.  Who would have thought that spinnakers would be flown at the starts of two Newport Bermuda Races in a row?  The race did not gain its well-known nickname, “The Thrash to the Onion Patch,” because it’s a downwind sleigh ride, like the Transpac.  The 2012 start was a fast run before a fresh northerly for every one of the 165 boats in every class.  This year was a little more complicated for the 164 starters. As the five divisions in 14 classes got going over a period of two and one-half hours, the first half of the fleet in seven starts got away in a leftover northerly breeze under spinnaker.   Not so the last seven.  Like a typical summer day on Long Island Sound, the mouth of Narragansett Bay was full of confusion.

Some of the Class 2 fleet St. David's Lighthouse Division Start 2014  (Photo by George Bekris)

Some of the Class 2 fleet St. David’s Lighthouse Division Start 2014 (Photo by George Bekris)

(Photo by George Bekris)

(Photo by George Bekris)

The afternoon’s winners appear to be the boats that started early, Classes 1, 2, and 3–the smaller and medium-size boats in the St. David’s Lighthouse Division.  With the light to moderate northerly on their stern, they tacked downwind to the buoy marking the outer reaches of Brenton Reef, and carried their chutes around the mark and onto the southeasterly course to Bermuda. When the southwester filled in like a light summer blanket, all they had to do was raise the jib, douse the spinnaker, and tack onto starboard, meanwhile holding the same course.

Newport_Bermuda_2014_george_bekris_June-20-2014_-1-001

One of the biggest of those winners may be Sinn Fein, the Cal 40 that’s always sailed well by Peter Rebovich, Sr., and his crew of family and friends from Raritan Yacht Club, in New Jersey.  The two-time winners of the St. David’s Lighthouse Division (in 2006 and 2008), they’ve been preoccupied by other concerns since the 2012 race: rebuilding their boat after she was nearly destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Today they set the spinnaker promptly and effectively, found the right apparent wind angle, and pulled away. When last seen, Sinn Fein was on the far horizon, closehauled in the seabreeze and racing to Bermuda near the head of a clump of at least 50 other smaller boats. The Pantaenius tracker at 3 p.m. (about two hours after the Class 1 start) showed Sinn Fein slightly behind William Klein’s CC 40, Glim. We’ll know when we see later tracker readings (being sure to remember the 4-hour time delay) and a get a sense of the wind and wave conditions as the big fleet gets out into the Atlantic.

(Photo by George Bekris)

(Photo by George Bekris)

But at least everybody’s racing, and headed toward the Gulf Stream, where (the forecasters are telling us) they may find more to worry about than a shifty wind—such as squalls and big seas that could turn this race into a real thrash.The boats that started an hour or so later than Class 1 had any number of troubles as the seabreeze slowly pushed away the northerly. At one moment a Class 6 medium-size St. David’s Lighthouse boat with a red spinnaker up and pulling well on port tack was less than 25 yards abeam of another Class 6 boat with a green and yellow chute pulling well on starboard tack.  A few minutes later, the seabreeze reached the starting line in the mouth of Narragansett Bay just as Class 8 (large St. David’s boats) was making its final approach—some running in the dying northerly, others beating in the slowly building southerly.

(Photo by George Bekris)

(Photo by George Bekris)

 

For More Photos of the Newport Bermuda Race visit George Bekris Photography HERE 

 

 

– See more at bout the race at: http://bermudarace.com/little-messy-bermuda-race-fleet-started/#sthash.aMUaHBGw.dpuf

 

 

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.

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Big Booty (Photo by George Bekris)

Big Booty (Photo by George Bekris)

Ran In Onion Patch (Photo by George Bekris )

Ran In Onion Patch (Photo by George Bekris )

With the completion of the 156th New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex, racing in the stage one of the 2010 Onion Patch Series ended Sunday afternoon. The first race each day of the two-day regatta in Newport, Rhode Island counted for the series.
 
On Saturday Hap Fauth’s Belle Mente took the lead on Saturday in the 22-boat fleet. Ran, the JV72 sailed by Niklas Zennstrom which has won the Fastnet and Sydney-Hobart races, came second for the day only twenty-one seconds per mile behind the leader. Vanquish, the former Money Penny now owned by the US Merchant Marine Academy and co-skippered for the series by Bermudian Buddy Rego and Russell Lucus of New Jersey was third.
 

Sunday racing was delayed until almost 3:00PM, the starting-time limit for the day, but the IRC and Onion Patch sailors did manage to get in one race to complete the Onion Patch schedule. Ran took first place in that race by nine seconds per mile over Belle Mente. They were followed by the US Naval Academy’s TP52 Invictus.

Bella Mente Tied In Onion Patch with Ran (Photo by George Bekris )

Bella Mente Tied In Onion Patch with Ran (Photo by George Bekris )

 
Overall provisional results after Stage One put Belle Mente 1-2 and Ran 2-1 in a tie with three points each. Sforzando, a Kerr 55 sailed by Clayton Deutsch, sits in third following consistent fourth place finishes in both races.
Stage Two of the Onion Patch Series, the Newport Bermuda Race, starts Friday June 18th in Newport. The classic ocean race is organized by the Cruising Club of America and the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.
Scoring for the 2010 Onion Patch Series was modified for races 1 and 2, the first race of both Saturday, 12 June and Sunday, 13 June, of the NYYC Annual Regatta. The scoring was based on a formula that converts corrected time into a time on distance number, a seconds/mile number. The competitors are ranked in order of the fastest seconds/mile to the slowest seconds/mile. Low numbers are faster. Points are awarded according to the two-race ranking and these points will be used in the compilation of the overall scores in the series.

Series Chairman Charles Tatem explained the reasoning behind the change. “Primarily due to safety concerns,” he said, “the New York Yacht Club decided to sail the IRC classes on two adjacent courses. The sixty plus IRC yachts ranging in size from 36’ to 90’ will be divided into six classes. In the past, the NYYC has run all IRC & Onion Patch boats on one course. This put many boats of different sizes and speeds in mark roundings at the same time. This created potentially dangerous situations.”
 
The Onion Patch committee also felt that forcing the wide range of boats to sail on the same circle, and for the first race of each day, the same length course (which also required it to be very short for the faster boats) compromised the racing for the fleet in general, particularly those not competing in the Onion Patch.
 
This year, twenty-two of the sixty IRC entries are also entered in the Onion Patch. After a lengthy discussion with US-IRC Director Luiz Kahl, the committee decided that scoring could be done equitably for the range of Onion Patch boats by dividing their corrected time by the course distance, resulting in a ranking of sec./mi. that would indicate each boat’s performance in that race. In theory, if everyone sailed exactly to their rating, they would all have an identical sec/mi number. This method of comparative scoring has been used at the US-IRC Nationals to compare the class winners for the overall award and worked very well.
 
Boats enter the Onion Patch series individually to compete for the Henry B. duPont Trophy or form three-boat teams to race for both the Onion Patch Trophy and the Henry B. duPont Trophy.
 
The Onion Patch results, photos, news Notice of Series and much more are posted at  http://www.onionpatchseries.com/.

by Talbot Wilson

Sforzando, skippered by Clay Deutsch (Photo by George Bekris )

Sforzando, skippered by Clay Deutsch (Photo by George Bekris )

Les Voiles de Saint Barth Fleet

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

They wanted it and they got it! After the pleasure of the strong contrasts of the first day of the very first edition of the Voiles de Saint Barth, where they found the wind they were looking for and some demanding conditions, the 23 crews taking part really wanted to get going again this morning. They quite simply wanted to be out on the water as soon as possible to line up at the start between the Sugar Loaf and Saint-Jean Island, so they might enjoy another day of sailing, which they knew would prove to be exceptional.

With the promise of a well-established easterly trade wind blowing at twenty knots or more being fulfilled, as soon as the starting gun was fired a little after eleven this morning local time, the tone was set and the crews had to do their best with the sail choices they had made to get the most out of their boat in the breeze. The final buoy in the harbour entrance in Gustavia saw some real acrobatics out on the water, when the wind strengthened from the nearby hillsides to send some off course and others to come to a sudden standstill. With everyone hiking out, and with the seaspray flying, the whole fleet soon disappeared, moving well away from the coast heading for Nègre Point. The sea was whipped up by the powerful trade wind into a choppy mess, and as they approached Coco Island and the Soube Rocks, the waves built to reach almost three metres in some places. Nothing could disturb however the serenity of the big boats racing, led over this first stretch of the 35-mile long course by the amazing all-woman crew of the Class W 76 “White Wings”. “Rambler” and “Sojana”, were fully satisfied in these conditions, which were able to reveal their full potential. They kept within a few lengths of each other, accompanied by “Puffy”, the Swan 45 belonging to Patrick Demarchelier, which could really take advantage of these conditions and the incredible J 122 “Lost Horizon” which came here from Antigua. Today’s course led the fleet in what were spectacular conditions around the whole island and its rocky isles, before finishing in beauty with a long downwind run windward of Forked Island…

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

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

Interview with Loïck Peyron:
Why did you decide to come and sail here?
You can’t explain it. It just seemed the obvious thing to do; St. Barts is a picture postcard location. I usually only end up in the West Indies at the finish of a transatlantic race, and with all the tiredness that has built up, I normally want just one thing and that is to go home as soon as I can. This week, I can really enjoy my stay. There’s the wind, blue seas, and some fine boats… Hardly anything has in fact changed since the last time I was here ten years or more ago. Just a few more big boats. It’s a fantastic place. We’re really fortunate to be able to sail in the Caribbean.

Does this event, the Voiles de Saint-Barth offer you a break in your calendar?
The timing is just perfect for me. I’ve just had a really great time and have been through a great adventure. It was a fabulous period in my life being with one of the best sailing teams in the world with Alinghi just a few weeks ago. This week I’m taking a little break. And I’ll soon be starting the new season on small, very fast catamarans with the Oman Sail team in the framework of the Extreme 40 Championship in Europe, and on the D35s on the Swiss lakes.

Oman Sail seems to be very dynamic?
There’s a lot going on with Oman Sail. I’m lucky to have been with them for over a year now. Oman has a real maritime history and it’s interesting to see them finding this past again with their nautical traditions. The Oman sailors are keen to learn. It’s time for me to share my modest experience.

So here you’re taking part aboard Sojana…
Sojana is a very elegant monohull, which belongs to a very elegant gentleman with a nice personality.

I’d already seen the boat in Saint-Tropez and now I’m discovering her from the inside; I like the way she sails so smoothly without any pressure. Peter Holmberg is at the helm. He was also a helmsman for Alinghi. So there are two former helmsmen from Alinghi aboard Sojana. Everything is very serious on board, as with such a big boat any mistake is serious. You really need to pay attention to every little detail. I’m in charge of trimming at the mizzen mast, and I work in close collaboration with the helmsman. The whole crew has a very high level. We’re battling it out with a real racing boat, Rambler, and it’s a huge challenge. With a little more wind, 20 knots, we hope to be able to get up there with them.

What do you think about the Voiles de Saint-Barth?
The setting is magnificent. If the Voiles de Saint-Barth didn’t exist, someone would have to invent it. It’s in place now and they have intelligently brought together all sorts of boats. It’s fascinating watching them all sailing together. Everything that makes sailing so interesting can be found here and the concept has a great future ahead of it.

What they said:
Jacques Vincent (Sojana): “The English speakers on board and there are a lot of them, were amazed by the course, which was much more varied and interesting than during the Bucket regatta. The boats are able to show what they can do in the strong trade wind, and Sojana has shown off her superb qualities in every point of sail. We were up to eighteen knots under gennaker. The heavy swell on the windward side of the island did not worry us at all, as our hull seems to cope very well with these conditions. The atmosphere on board is very calm. It’s one of the characteristics of the boat’s owner, Peter Harrison. We have a top class guest on board, a certain Loïck Peyron, who is in charge of trimming at the mizzen mast…”

White Wings With An All Women Crew (Photo by Christophe Jouany / Les Voiles de Saint-Barth)

White Wings With An All Women Crew (Photo by Christophe Jouany / Les Voiles de Saint-Barth)

Tania Thevenaz (White Wings): There are three French speakers in this all-woman crew aboard the big classic yacht, White Wings, one from Quebec and one from Switzerland, and the blonde sailor Tania Thevenaz: “We are very close in terms of performance and quality to our sistership Wild Horses. Yesterday we did not make any mistakes in wind conditions that were at the limit for us. It was a challenge that the girls rose to, in spite of manoeuvres being tough in the powerful trade wind. We really enjoyed ourselves on these varied courses, which enable us to visit all the hidden secrets of the island. We’ve really got into the “Voiles de Saint-Barth” and we’re going to continue to improve throughout the week…”

Peter Holmberg (Sojana): I was one of the first skippers that Luc Poupon contacted to take part in the Voiles de Saint-Barth. It seemed like an interesting concept to me. I wanted to lend a hand to get the event going. I’m pleased to be here.

Each island has its own race and St. Barts seems to me to be a major sailing festival, an occasion, which brings together all sorts of different yachts, which is a very good thing for our sport.

We selected a very fine team with Peyron and some top notch racers. Yesterday we didn’t make any mistakes. The longer the race, the more chance we have. We’re in a pattern of strong trade winds, which is good for Sojana.

The Voiles de Saint-Barth seems to have found its footing. The Committee has come up with some great courses. The starts were clear and safety came first out on the water… I’ll give them a very high score. Back on the island, there was a very relaxed atmosphere last night with some nice music. Once again it was a great success.

St. Barts has grown very wisely. It has kept its personality. St. Barts is unique, a special place. It is magnificent here with some really friendly people. I’ve seen a lot of changes on some islands, as these islands are where I come from, and I can say that the development of St. Barts has been carried out very intelligently.

Richard Mille, Headline partner to the Voiles de Saint Barth commented . “The organisers of the Voiles de Saint-Barth can be proud of many things, not least the fact that they managed to convince and charm Richard Mille to join up as a partner to this first edition. Designed in Brittany, it is in Breuleux, near la Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland that the designs by this technical enthusiast come to life. Bringing together efficiency, artistic design and manufactured using a process and materials that are really special, Richard Mille watches, which are all finished by hand, enabled high class watchmaking to enter the 21st Century. Richard Mille watches are rare objects, the result of careful work to reach the absolute peak of excellence and to achieve the total perfection that their designer is looking for. Objects which you live, and you feel sensually, they bring along in harmony the latest hi-tech materials to satisfy not only a quest for beauty but also absolute comfort, offering a very light feel. Work on the shapes, the choice of materials and showing patience and taking his time, Richard Mille inspects them himself to approve them, refusing the slightest blemish to ensure these unique watches please a demanding and knowledgeable clientele. Far removed from the industrial processes, Richard Mille, who chose to name one of his creations “Les Voiles de Saint-Barth”, occupies a niche market for exceptional timepieces. ”

 

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

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

Groupe Classic (CLA) après 2 courses
1: “Wild Horses”, Donald Tofias ( (Classic / Etats Unis D’am) 2 points
2: “White Wings”, Faraday Rosenberg ( (Classic / Etats Unis D’am) 4 points
3: “Duende”, Randy West ( (Classic / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 6 points
4: “Kate”, Philippe Walwyn ( (Classic / Grande-Bretagne) 9 points
Groupe Multicoques (M2K) après 2 courses
1: “Escapade”, Greg Dorland ( / Etats Unis D’am) 2 points

Groupe Racing (RAC) après 2 courses
1: “Lost Horizon”, James Dobbs ( (J 122 / Antigua) 2 points
2: “Puffy”, Patrick de Marchelier ( (Swann 45 / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 4 points
3: “Malachite”, Pierre Mancy ( (A 40 / C V de St Quentin) 8 points
4: “Black Hole”, Jeroen Hin ( (First 40.7 / Great Britain) 9 points
5: “Lancelot”, John Shanholt ( (First 40.7 / Etats Unis D’am) 10 points

Groupe RACING CRUISING (R_C) après 2 courses
1: “L’esperance”, Robert Velasquez ( (First 45 F5 / Antilles Hollan) 2 points
2: “Speedy Nemo”, Raymond Magras ( (Dufour 34 / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 4 points
3: “Pocket Rocket”, David Cullen ( (J 109 / Irlande) 6 points
4: “Thula”, Max Imrie ( (Baltic 39 / Etats Unis D’am) 9 points
5: “Lil’e”, Tanguy Fox ( (Requin / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 10 points
6: “Corban”, Daniel Harper ( (Swann 42 / United States O) 11 points
7: “Iznogoud”, Christophe Baudoin ( (Surprise / Ctre Nautique de St Barthelemy) 15 points
8: “Baladin”, Raphael Magras ( (Feeling 30 / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 16 points
9: “Ormeau”, Alain Charlot ( (Oceanis 473 / Club de Voile du Lac D’orient) 17 points
Groupe SUPER YACHT (SUP) après 2 courses
1: “Rambler”, George David ( (Maxi / Etats Unis D’am) 2 points
2: “Sojana”, Marc Fitzgerald ( (Farr 115 / Great Britain) 4 points
3: “Moneypenny”, James Schwartz ( (Swann 601 / United States O) 6 points
4: “Nix”, Nico Cortlever ( (X 612 / Suisse) 8 points

Puffy (Photo by

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

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

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

A date on the calendar that is designed to last….

They were waiting for this and the St. Barts Yacht Club has done it. “They” are all those, who love elegant boats, who come to this place, where the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean come together, offering ideal sailing conditions with steady, strong breezes, turquoise seas and brilliant, warm sunshine. The friendly welcome and hospitality of St. Barts are well known. All that needed to be done was to offer a sporting challenge to encourage racers to turn up in large numbers from North America, but also from Europe, New Zealand and Australia.  A challenge, which would allow those who love sailing an opportunity to enjoy the privilege of weaving their way around in the magic waters of the island of St. Barts.

Patron of this first edition of the “Voiles”, the photographer Patrick Demarchelier, who lives on the island, is forgetting for one moment the world of fashion to escape aboard his Swan: “I’ve been enjoying sailing in these waters for a long time. I am of course delighted that is now possible to organise an event, bringing together all the attractions of the island and the surrounding waters. “The Voiles de Saint-Barth” is clearly a wish come true, a dream being fulfilled you might say, for those, who sail in the waters of Newport, Antigua and even the Solent, who are coming here to do battle in the sunny trade winds. This first edition looks like being a huge success in every way and I do not doubt for a moment that the “Voiles de Saint Barth” will become a regular date in amongst the leading events and unmissable regattas of the international yachting calendar.”

For many years, the French sailor, Lionel Péan has been at the helm of Sojana, belonging to the British owner Peter Harrison. The big Farr-designed ketch has been a regular at yachting events in the Mediterranean and in Central America since 2003 and Lionel Péan is pleased to be in charge of Sojana this week in these waters that he knows so well and that he considers to be the most attractive you can find anywhere in the yachting world. “When the trade wind is blowing steadily in strength and direction, which looks like being the case this week, there are many possibilities open to the Race Committee for setting up tactically interesting races. There’s going to be some fine racing and that is something I enjoy…especially when we’re in warm waters,” Lionel concluded with a smile.

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

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

Various courses in the trade wind
“The high-pressure area will guarantee that we’ll be in a trade wind that is steady in strength and direction” Luc Poupon, race director, appears to be very relaxed as he knows the island and the moods of the wind gods well.  Indeed, the trade wind has been blowing strongly from the north east since the start of the week and looks like lasting throughout the regatta, “veering a little bit easterly in the middle of the week”.  So we can look forward to everything going without a hitch and the race directors have already drawn up no fewer than twenty different courses along the coast and around St. Barts, with the aim of ensuring a fair fight between the five classes taking part.  Their choice will determine what sort of challenge the thirty crews will face this week. “There aren’t really any traps in the courses we have chosen” added Luc Poupon. “It takes a very long period of trade winds for any current phenomena to appear around the points. Our races are based around the islands and rocks. The sailors know the local phenomena in our waters, with wind shadows and acceleration around the headlands. However, they will have to be careful to avoid the shallows, and therefore keep away from the temptation of getting close to the beaches.”  The longest course is 32 miles and the shortest 15.  It will of course be the strength of the wind that will determine each morning the course for that day. Luc Poupon and his team reserve the right to send the smaller boats on a shorter course, if the bigger boats are able to keep up high averages and cover the course at high speed.

 

Peter "Spike" Doriean (Photo by Movistar / Volvo Ocean Race)

Peter "Spike" Doriean (Photo by Movistar / Volvo Ocean Race)

The American, Kenny Reed, skipper of the Maxi Puma turned up this morning aboard Rambler, but was clearly shocked by the tragic loss of Peter ‘Spike’ Doriean, who died in an accident Monday 5th April, apparently after slipping over and falling to the floor in his bathroom in Saint-Martin. The 90-foot Reichel-Pugh designed Rambler (ex-Alfa Romeo I) is one of the stars that people are looking forward to seeing at the Voiles de Saint-Barth. Kenny Reed stated that his crew were very distressed, but that it was the will of Spike’s close ones that his memory should be honoured by them taking part in the event. So it is with great sadness and with their friend and fellow crewman on their minds that the sailors on Rambler will be taking part in this first edition of the “Voiles de Saint Barth”.

Peter “Spike” Doriean, a well known Australian sailor and extremely talented professional crewman died in an accident yesterday in his hotel in Saint-Martin. Aged 38, he had taken part in many top class international races. Trimmer on Movistar in the 2005-2006 Volvo Ocean Race and member of the News Corp team in 2001-2002, he was also a regular in the TP 52 circuit on Audi Q8, in the America’s Cup and took part in several Sydney-Hobart races.

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

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