26/09/2016, Saint-Tropez (FRA,83), Voiles de Saint-Tropez 2016, Day 1, 15 m

For the first day of racing in this 18th edition of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, the three dedicated race zones, Nioulargue for the Modern yachts, Pampelonne for the Wallys and the bay for the 15 m JIs, served up an orderly swell and glorious sunshine. With most of the Classic yachts not setting sail until tomorrow, the big players from the Modern and Wally classes were keen to show what they were made off, as demonstrated by a particularly impressive Rambler. Racing in their very own championship, four rather special gaff riggers were invited to race off Portalet once again, their unique silhouettes really standing out against the carbon rigs of the big Maxis, setting the tone for this wonderful blend of styles and genres so exclusive to Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez.


15 m JI: The Lady Anne if you please?

The crews on the 15 mJIs have been itching to get underway in Saint Tropez! Indeed, Les Voiles is the final act in their annual championship and the four Fife designs are keen to compete in as many races as possible this week, hence the unusual step to allow these four Classic yachts, Mariska (1908), Tuiga (1909), The Lady Anne (1912) and Hispania (1909), to get going a day early. With a 1.2-mile course on offer to them at the far end of the bay, they had to contend with a light easterly breeze and a short chop between Sainte Maxime and Saint Tropez. Two races were duly validated, each of the four protagonists sailing their own races at this early stage. The British on The Lady Anne proved to be very inspired, securing two brilliant bullets. Mariska, the current leader of the annual 15 m JI championship had to battle hard to hold onto its slender lead over main rival, the Yacht Club de Monaco’s flagship, Tuiga. Posting two second places, it’s mission accomplished tonight for Mariska. However, Christian Niels’ men must now keep an eye on Richard Le May’s crew on The Lady Anne, who are currently on course for a spectacular comeback…


Wally, the Centos save their rating

The 16 large Wallys kicked off this 18th edition of Les Voiles with an extremely technical 24-mile coastal course offshore of Pampelonne that was set in line with an established ENE’ly breeze of around twelve knots. Picking up to 14 knots and more for the noon start, the wind began to drop away from that point, creating havoc for the rankings as the more powerful boats, like the giant Better Place, had less and less breeze to fill their sails with every passing mile. However, the Centos, Galateia and Magic Carpet Cubed ultimately managed to save their rating by holding onto the pressure for a little longer than the weightier 80 footers.



Modern craft: A quick coastal sprint for starters

180 Modern craft, split into 5 IRC groups, enjoyed a ‘Saint Tropez Special’ during today’s coastal courses. Indeed, the large IRC A and B boats raced around a big 19-mile triangular course off Nioulargue, whilst the smaller IRC C, D and E boats battled for supremacy over a 14-mile course, with the finish decided at the Portalet Tower. The easterly wind led to bracing conditions and some almighty scrambles at each passage mark. Making light of the easterly swell, the big maxis in the wake of the compelling Rambler, were quick to make the finish, pinning their hopes on the wind dying at the back of the fleet so as to compensate for their measurement handicap in the provisional overall ranking.



Each year, the organisation responsible for Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez puts in place an exceptional surveillance plan on the water so as to ensure that the races run smoothly and safely. In this way, the different race zones for the yachts are identified and clearly marked out by inflatable buoys, with no fewer than 14 ribs ‘patrolling’ the three race rounds.


The Yacht Club de France’s Autumn Cup; the winners in corrected time:

Gaff rig group:

1- Eva (Fife 1906)

2- Viola (Fife 1908)

3 Nin (Quernel 1913)

Spirit of Tradition group

1- Pitch – Tofinou 9.50

2- Team42 – Tofinou 9.50

3-Minx – Tofinou 9.50

Classic group

1- Maria Giovanna (Olin Stephens 1969)

2- Il Moro di Venezia (Frers 1976)

3 Ikra (Boyd 1964)

Marconi +16.5m group

1- Rowdy (Herreshoff 1916)

2- Blitzen

3- Sevenseas of Porto (Crane 1935)


A yacht of distinction:

Spartan, a survivor at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez.

A venerable yacht of some 106 years of age, she is making her debut at Les Voiles. Penned by the Wizard of Bristol, legendary yacht designer Nathanael Greene Herreshoff, and built at the HMCo (Herreshoff Manufacturing Company) in Bristol, Rhode Island, Spartan is a 55-foot gaff rigged sloop. More commonly known as a New York Fifty, she’s a New York Yacht Club one-design from the 55-foot class dating back to 1913. Just nine of these Herreshoff fifty-footers were built from 1912-14, Spartan’s lack of bowsprit adding to her rarity.

She was restored from 1981-1989 by Ed McClare, Ben Philbrick and Andy Giblin at the request of her then owner, Allan Pease, near Mystic Seaport. A lack of funds meant that work halted and the boat was exhibited at the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Mystic. Subsequent work led to her purchase by two enthusiasts chosen by Allan Pease. The boat hit the water again in 2013 after an 18-year salvage! (Thanks to Jacques Taglang)


Quotes from the boats:

Lionel Péan – “S”

“A very fine day’s racing in the sunshine. The slight easterly swell didn’t bother us too much. The crew really performed well, especially in the start phase, where we were just behind the Maxis Rambler and Leopard initially, before later battling it out with them. The course served up all the different conditions and points of sail, which delighted the crew and our guests. We finished third in elapsed time.”


Sébastien Audigane, Mariska

“It was a good day for Mariska in the end. The Lady Anne sailed a blinder with some great starts. We managed to stay in the game, but we’re going to have to watch out for the English now in the overall ranking…”


Tuesday’s weather forecast: Sunny and warm in the bay, with 8 to 19 knots of ESE’ly wind forecast at midday…


Today’s partner: BMW

Since 2013, the German car manufacturer BMW and the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez have enjoyed a special agreement with regards to Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. Thorsten Mattig, head of international sponsorship at BMW, is delighted by this partnership: « Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez is the best possible venue for the Modern and the Classic to come together, where timeless aesthetics are at one with design and high-tech. The desire to win and team spirit also play a key role, along with a passion for yachting and mutual trust. These are values that BMW is happy to support, as they are essential for our brand. »  Throughout the week, test drives are being organised for the public, behind the wheel of a BMW M4 convertible and a BMW i8 Protonic Red Edition…. Alongside this presentation of their latest models, BMW has chosen to celebrate a class of yacht where high-tech assets are paramount: the Wallys. The BMW Trophy will reward the best Wally at the end of the week’s racing. The brand’s ambassadors, Jochen Schümann, Markus Wieser and Loïck Peyron will be out in force at Les Voiles, with the two former sailors skippering the new Club Swan 50. Of note is the exhibition on Tuesday 27 September, at the Pearl Beach Club, which showcases a 1979 BMW M1 painted by Andy Warhol.


Partners to Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez









Saturday 24 September – Sunday 25: Registration and inspection

Monday 26, Tuesday 27, Wednesday 28, Thursday 29 (J. Laurain Day, Challenge Day), Friday 30 September and Saturday 1 October: Coastal course, 1st start 11:00am



Sunday 25 and Monday 26 September: Registration and inspection

Sunday 25 September: finish of the Yacht Club de France’s Coupe d’Automne from Cannes

Tuesday 27, Wednesday 28, Thursday 29 (J. Laurain Day, Challenge Day, Club 55 Cup, GYC Centenary Trophy), Friday 30 September and Saturday 1 October: Coastal course, 1st start 12:00 noon


Prize-giving for everyone

Sunday 2 October, from 11:00am


Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez, President: André Beaufils Principal Race Officer: Georges Korhel On the water organisation: Philippe Martinez On shore administration and logistics: Emmanuelle Filhastre Registration: Frédérique Fantino Communication: Chloé de Brouwer Website: www.lesvoilesdesaint-tropez.fr Facebook: Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez official Twitter: @VoilesSTOrg


Press Relations:

Maguelonne Turcat


Gilles Martin-Raget, www.martin-raget.com

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