A festive event par excellence, a celebration of yachting and a showcase for over a century of naval architecture, Les Voiles de Saint Tropez is also a sports meet that is highly prized by the top international racers. When the wind joins in, as was certainly the case this week, the spectacle in the bay is simply breathtaking for the highly informed spectators. In this way, over 300 yachts barrelled along this afternoon in a bracing easterly breeze, bound for Le Portalet and the conclusion of the day’s coastal courses open to all classes, Classic, Modern and Wally.
Sailing under masthead spinnaker or topsails, the crews were driving their machines at full bore, all keen to round off this unique week in Saint Tropez at top speed. Though the sun didn’t spoil the racers, there was an abundance of action on the racetrack and all of it of the highest standard.
15m JI: Victory at Les Voiles for The Lady Anne and for Tuiga the title!
The 15m JIs competing in Saint Tropez had their very own competition, which was run within the context of their championship. As such they benefited from their own day of racing on Monday, with a variety of different starts throughout the week. The final meeting of the season after the Balearics, Monaco Classic Week and Portofino, the stakes were high at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez, which was given the honour of deciding between Mariska and Tuiga, tied on points prior to the start of racing. Five races were validated in all, despite the midweek gales. The best of the four, it was The Lady Anne (Fife 1905) who earned the win. Meantime Tuiga (Fife 1909) finished third but ahead of Mariska, securing the lead of the outright 15m JIs championship by just one point. It is worth noting that each of these exceptional yachts had the opportunity to shine, every single one winning a race.
Magic Carpet Cubed out of luck.
From medium wind in the bay, to stronger breeze offshore, a slight chop off Saint Tropez and a long swell at the edge of the bay… all the ingredients were gathered together once again to enable the three Race Committees at Les Voiles to validate one race, with the exception of the Wallys. Indeed, offshore of Pampelonne, one after another they linked together a series of windward-leeward courses spanning around five miles, and a coastal course of 22 miles. Magic Carpet Cubed, dominated the morning’s action, as she did throughout the week, but ultimately she was out of luck at the start of the coastal course, breaking a solent halyard. Forced to retire, she left the way clear for Magic Blue (Wally 94), which secured a huge victory in elapsed time, earning her first place in the overall ranking and the Trophée BMW, which rewards the best Wally of the week here in Saint Tropez. Y3K and Open Season shared the remaining podium spoils.
Namib on a quest for recognition
Designed and built in 1966 by the Sangermani yard, this fine Bermudan sloop originally set her sights on the Giraglia prize. In light of her failure, her first owners quickly abandoned all hope of any sporting ambition on the water. In the early nineties, the boat was left to her own devices before being bought up in 2010. Restored and returned to her former glory, Namib rediscovered an appetite for the Mediterranean race circuit. It proved to be to her advantage in Cannes, a fact sealed when she won one race in Saint Tropez in the Trophée Rolex, which this year awards this elegant group of yachts launched in the seventies.
Orel Kalomeni graced Les Voiles de Saint Tropez in a bid to rub shoulders with the cream of the racers across the Mediterranean and the world, who sail within the highly elitist IRC C group, the latter vying for the Trophée Edmond de Rothschild. This Turkish national has for the past two years equipped the Farr 40 Arcora with a crew of young Turkish sailors, supported by a couple of experienced French racers. The boat arrived at Les Voiles sporting the Turkish IRC champion crown 2015. “We’ve amassed some precious experience here,” explains Orel, and next year we’re aiming to compete in the entire Farr 40 programme…”
Les Voiles and the press
Each year Les Voiles de Saint Tropez plays host to over 200 journalists accredited by Les Voiles’ Press Office. Nearly a third are from overseas and come from 15 different countries. To get on a boat to track the racing out on the water, a fleet of 12 motor boats and five large ribs are placed at the disposal of the Société Nautique and its partner Sillinger. The Press Office, ideally situated in the Village des Voiles, overlooks the port and its Internet connections enable everyone to work in the very thick of the action and in contact with the sailors.
An extraordinary yacht: Solleone Swan 115
The Finnish yard Nautor, which builds the famous Swans, launched its latest flagship back in June, Solleone (heatwave in Italian), a 115 foot (35.2m) Maxi yacht. German Frers fashioned the design to suit the needs of her owner, Leonardo Ferragamo, who wanted a yacht capable of sailing long distances. The boat is equipped with two rudders and a steel keel with a T-shape bulb. The canting keel comes as an optional extra because the Swan 115 is intended to be built with at least four possible iterations. Solleone has sailed throughout the week amongst the IRC A group.
It’s tomorrow, from 11:00am on Sunday, in the Village des Voiles, that the traditional prize-giving ceremony will take place, each of the classes, Modern, Classic, 15m JI and Wally being duly rewarded. Trophée Rolex will be awarded to the winner of the Marconi B group, the Trophée Edmond de Rothschild to the best of the IRC C group, while BMW will crown the Wally champion. A lunchtime apéritif will be served to the crews.