On Thursday, the 47 teams of the 10th annual St. Barth Cata-Cup set sail on a serious note for the first day of competition, as the race committee took advantage of winds of eight to twelve knots from the south-southeast for a first tour of the island.
As a result of the conditions, it was necessary to be highly observant and show finesse in these kinds of conditions and the favorites immediately proved excellence, confirming their status. The winning trifecta of the day? In order: Iordanis Paschalidis – Konstantinos Trigkonis (Relwen), Pierre Le Clainche – Antoine Joubert (designaffairs – 001), and Franck Cammas – Matthieu Vandame (ODP 1).
On day one, the competitors of the St. Barth Cata-Cup were ready for the first race as planned at 2:30pm, setting off for a 20-mile sail around the island of St Barthélemy. Positioned next to the committee boat and with perfect timing, Pierre Le Clainche and Antoine Joubert (designaffairs – 001) took an early lead in the fleet. Impeccably negotiating all of the traps on the course, and especially the tricky passage around Grenadin, they led the race for quite a while, until they were overtaken in the final 100 meters by the Greek duo, Iordanis Paschalidis and Konstantinos Trigkonis (Relwen). “It’s frustrating to have been ahead for 99% of the race, and to be passed at the very end,” noted the helmsman from Vanne once back on shore. “Leading at the point of St Jean, we found ourselves between the Greeks on one side, who took advantage of a little more wind further off the coast, and on the other side the Cammas- Vandame duo who were gaining speed, but we managed to control that attack.
But for the Greeks, we should have been a little more aggressive and placed ourselves between them and the finish line. We did not do enough to protect our lead, but that’s easier to say with a little hindsight,” added his teammate, a little disappointed but aware that they have already established themselves as one of the teams to beat this week. “Pierre and Antoine really sailed well and we really worked hard to stay on their heels. Finally, we closed the gap in the last lengths, with pure speed. It was a great race and the conditions were great in the end. At the start, we were a little afraid of confronting large dead zones, yet the wind remains constant throughout,” commented Iordanis Paschalidis, who won the Prix designaffairs – 001 and confirmed his presence among the serious pretenders for the title.
Some favorites luckier than others
“We are not celebrating yet as we know the competition will be tough right up to the end, especially with all-around sailors as experienced as Franck Cammas and Matthieu Vandame, for example,” adds the Greek competitor. The winners of the 2013 edition of St. Barth Cata Cup also showed their stuff on the first afternoon, in spite of a slight lack of speed. “I think we sailed well, and were in good spots at the right time but when we were side by side with other boats we noticed we were not among the fastest. We got a good start but ran into some issues but at the end of the day we finished okay, in third place, especially as like some of the other boats, at the start we went after a buoy that wasn’t part of the race, and made our route a little longer,” explains the helmsman of ODP 1, who was lucky to only go a little out of his way, while others went a little father, such Emmanuel Boulogne and Tanguy Kervyn. In the confusion, the tandem sailing for St Barth Assurances, winners of the very first edition of the St. Barth Cata-Cup in 2008, actually lost their spinnaker, as it exploded before the race.
“This kind of accident is infuriating, especially when it happens ten minutes before the start. It’s hard to start the regatta with a forfeit. It will be complicated for us to catch up,” admits Emmanuel, who quickly replaced his sail to be ready to be on the starting line for the next race, today 9:30am.
Markku Harmala, helmsman for SBYC: “We are very happy to have finished among the first 15 boats, We come to race without any ambition to win, but it’s great to sail against the best racers for on the international F18 circuit, and we had great results as we usually finish in the middle of the roster. We hope that we continue to do as well! While waiting, this is great for our moral, especially after the passage of hurricane Irma on our island. We have been working so hard since the month of September to get the island back on its feet, and this race is a great source of oxygen for us. Is it an advantage to be a local team? Without a doubt but not today as the wind was mostly from the south, an orientation pretty rare, in Saint-Barth.”
Fredrik Karlsson, helmsman for Paraboot: “What a day! It was really fun and very interesting. We stated between Demesmaeker and Paschalidis, and evidently were quickly overtaken. After that we made several errors but at the end of the course, between Pain de Sucre and Colombier, we succeeded in passing 10 boats in order to finish in 16 th place, so that’s why we are smiling this evening. And I would like to say something, for us, the two best regattas in the world are the Stockholm Archipelago Raid, in our country of Sweden, and the St. Barth Cata-Cup. Everyone should know that!”
Charles Tomeo, helmsman for Marla: “Today, we had a great time out on the water. The start was very interesting. Many of the boats made a mistake and went toward a marker that they didn’t have to take into account. But not us. We made two good tacks to get to the first buoy, and that kept us in the race. Then, Dalton (Tebo) worked really hard, especially in the light, unstable wind on the leeward side of the island. In the end, we finished fifth. This was a great result and that give us confidence for the rest of the race.”
Olivia Beguelly, a partner at designaffairs – 001: “Design Affairs has been a partner of the St. Barth Cata-Cup since 2009. Johannes Zingerle, president of the firm, is a fanatic of sailing, and is happy to support an event such as this one. This is even more the case this year, as it is a special anniversary for the regatta, and also because in the context of after Irma, things are a little different. But this gives us the chance to share some good times together, including with the various partners, even if during this time of recovery we are extremely busy.
by Saint-Barh Cata-Cup