FINAL DAY OF RACING
Stakes are High Going into Final Day of Racing
Lighter breeze resulted in a shakeup in the rankings today at Les Voiles de St. Barth, with many new teams taking the win in their class for the first time this week. The regatta’s 65-boat fleet started the race off the port of Gustavia and headed up the western side of the island on one of two courses between 17 and 20 nautical miles.
Seven of the event’s nine classes competed on the longer course, which took boats up around three small islands (Île Fourchue and Îles Pele and Boulanger) between St. Barth and St. Maarten, including CSA 0 where Lloyd Thornburg’s FOMO got its first bullet of the week, moving the team up to second place overall, one point behind Peter Harrison’s Sorcha, which has held the lead since the beginning of the regatta.
“We knew it was going to be light as normally you get one day at Les Voiles that is really challenging and light,” said Owner/Driver Thornburg adding that the team was really happy with their start and hung in with the bigger boats up to the first mark. “It took us a while to get to the windward mark, but after that we had a pretty good downwind leg. Things started getting really funky up around Île Fourchue. There were boats on kites, and we were on a massive reach, and some boats were on jibs, and we were all in the same place. Sorcha was ahead but then got parked and we all came back and brought the breeze to her. We had a great race.”
Like with FOMO, the conditions played into Plis Play’s favor, with the team finishing with a decent lead on the rest of the Maxi 2 Class and moving up from fourth to third overall, with only a two-point gap between the team and class leader, Windfall.
“Today was a complicated race and we have a heavy boat, which means that we have to work a lot harder in the light air,” said Plis Play Navigator Jan Santana. “We were on the right side of the course at every point today and right where the wind was. Today it was better to be a lucky sailor than a good sailor, but if you can be lucky and good then you’re really at the top.”
CSA 2’s Oystercatcher XXX1, Maxi 1’s Prospector, Multihull’s Triple Jack and CSA 4’s Touch2Play Racing also took the lead for the first time this week, moving up to overall positions of first, second, second and third, respectively.
“Our particular boat performs well in light air, so that made a big difference for us today,” said Rob Butler, owner and driver of Touch2Play Racing, adding that CSA 4 Class and the Melges 24s were the only classes racing on the shorter course of the day, which took them up to a mark rounding south of Île Fourchue.
“It was really important to be the first boat to the shore and to tack and stay close to the shoreline the entire time upwind to the mark. On the downwind leg we were pretty conservative and it worked pretty well for us today.”
A lot is at stake as competitors go into the final day of racing tomorrow, Saturday, April 14.