Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez is 20!

05//2018, Saint-Tropez (FRA,83), Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez 2018, Jour 6

That means it’s already been two whole decades since the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez began offering those who love beautiful sails, a rare and unique moment each year, in the run-up to autumn, devoted to the many, many delights of high-quality regattas. Lasting one week, with 300 boats, Classic and Modern craft alike, over 4,000 sailors will once again celebrate the sea as only they know how, both on land and on the water, with the same spirit of sharing and sociability initiated by Patrice de Colmont, creator of the Nioulargue, of which Les Voiles is the modern-day heir. From 1999-2019, the history of Les Voiles has been coloured by one highlight after another, and this upcoming anniversary edition, is evidently more competitive and more spectacular than ever before. Boasting a dazzling line-up in all the dedicated rounds, from sublime sailboats that are often centenarians, to futuristic prototypes, Maxi yachts or Wallys, a new resolutely sailor-oriented village, and land-based festivities that the crews themselves will make all the more glorious, the event really has it all. Furthermore, with the arrival tomorrow, Sunday, of the classic yachts from Cannes, within the context of the Yacht Club de France’s Autumn Cup, the party can truly commence with the same passion as there is every year.

A shipshape event!
To celebrate this anniversary edition in style, the race village for Les Voiles, the veritable nerve centre of the ‘onshore’ activity’, has undergone a makeover, as well as taking on a new identity. Indeed, Tony Oller and his teams from the “Nautique” have taken the maritime theme to a whole new level by recreating the interior of a galleon. Frames, mastings, woodwork… the village lives and breathes the sea this year, inspiring one and all to head offshore! “The whole thing is built in an eco-friendly manner”, stresses Tony Oller. “Every plank will be reused for the next 3 editions at least.” Spanning 2,700m2 and encompassing various floors, the village is this year hosting some 23 exhibitors, all of them connected to a maritime activity. Based in its usual spot behind the harbour master’s office, it once again features an elevated section across two floors to the East so as to accommodate the event’s VIP area, which enjoys an exceptional panoramic view across the race zone and the port. Another new feature is the site of the SNST’s reception area and the registration office, which is located right at the entrance to the village.
A first-rate appetizer, the Yacht Club de France’s Autumn Cup Forming a physical bond between the Cannes’ “Régates Royales” and “Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez”, the Yacht Club de France’s Autumn Cup heralds the start of festivities for Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. 30 to 40 yachts, split into four classes under the aegis of the International Mediterranean Committee (C.I.M.), will set sail from Cannes tomorrow at 10:00 hours bound for ‘party central’ in Saint Tropez. Their arrival on the far side of the bay of Saint Tropez and Portalet with all sails aloft after a 21-mile sprint is always a unique moment and a sign of the beautiful images and the fine competition to come over the next week.  Period yachts, classic yachts, spirit of tradition yachts, 6mRs, 8mRs and 12mRs are all accepted. The Autumn Cup is organised by the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez under the leadership of the Yacht Club de France, using the technical resources of the Yacht Club de Cannes for the race start in Cannes. The prize-giving will take place from 19:30 hours tomorrow, Sunday.
The old faithfuls in attendance as ever Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez is also synonymous with a certain number of competitive markers. Indeed, each year the prestigious trophies whet the appetites of competitors, captain and boat owners alike. In this way, the BMW Trophy will inspire the fabulous Wallys, whilst the Loro Piana Trophy will encourage the superyachts to give their all in the IRCA category for boats in excess of 27 metres. With regards the Classic yachts, it’s the Period Marconi Bs, which have this year been selected to compete for the prestigious Rolex Trophy. A very fine opportunity to shine a spotlight on these classic craft measuring between 15 and 17 metres in length, which bear the signatures of some of the most renowned naval architects of the 20th century. There will be 18 of them competing this year. 5 IRC Classes will enable the racers on the Mediterranean circuit to settle their accounts after a long sports season, whilst no fewer than 6 groups will give the classic yachts a chance to compete on an equal footing according to their respective rigs.
And a word about the newcomers… The appeal of Les Voiles doesn’t lie. In fact, year on year, the event certainly enjoys its share of fresh encounters and newcomers. Alongside Ester (1901 Mellgren design), one of the year’s great ‘discoveries’ will obviously be the face-to-face with Sumurun, a 1914 Fife design. This absolutely exceptional 35m Marconi yawl is one of the last large Fife cruising yachts still afloat. She’s just completed a remarkable two-year restoration at the Guip yard in Brest and will be putting in her very first tacks in the bay of Saint Tropez during Les Voiles. In the gaff rig category, this year’s newcomer is an amazing 120-year-old ketch rig. She is none other than the imposing 34m Nicholson design Black Swan and she will be making her debut in the waters of Saint Tropez.
A packed week of competition, glorious sunshine and a generous breeze. Is it the 20th anniversary effect? Well, it promises to be a sunny week in Saint Tropez with plenty of breeze to boot. Predominantly from the West, the wind will make for a bracing sprint for the classic yachts arriving in Saint Tropez, with colour and spectacle guaranteed.

PROGRAMME MODERN YACHTS Saturday 28, Sunday 29 September: Registration and inspection Monday 30 September, Tuesday 1, Wednesday 2, Thursday 3 (J. Laurain Memorial Day, Challenge Day), Friday 4 and Saturday 5 October: Inshore races, 1st start 11:00 hours CLASSIC YACHTS Sunday 29 and Monday 30 September: Registration and inspection Sunday 29 September: arrival of the Yacht Club de France Autumn Cup feeder race from Cannes Tuesday 1, Wednesday 2, Thursday 3 (J.Laurain Memorial Day, Challenge Day, Club 55 Cup, GYC Centenary Trophy), Friday 4 and Saturday 5 October: Inshore race, 1st start 12:00 hours Prize-giving for everyone Sunday 6 October, from 11:00 hours

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