Love is in the air

07/10/2017, Saint-Tropez (FRA,83), Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez 2017, jour 7

Featuring a series of superb races every day of what proved to be a packed week for all the series, Modern, Wally and Classic boats, summery weather with a constant breeze, the good humour of nearly 4,000 sailors, partners committed to supporting and preserving the spirit of Les Voiles and a unique combination of festivities and on-the-water action… the 2017 edition of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez can this evening crown its champions with the certainty that yachting in all its international glory has once again been celebrated in style. President Beaufils’ teams have worked wonders yet again, on shore of course, by accommodating skippers and owners alike, and especially on the water. Indeed, every single day, from the far end of the bay in Cavalaire or Les Issambres, they organised race after race in a fair and varied manner, offering the sailors the opportunity to really unleash the potential of their machines, whatever the sea and wind conditions, with the unique backdrop of the bay of Saint Tropez. In this way, each of the 19 competing groups can crown some fabulous champions this evening after a fantastic week of competition contested in virtually every type of breeze.
Who could ask for more?
Mariska plays for time: the winner of who loses wins Today’s sailing was really just for fun for Christian Niels and his men (and wife) on Mariska, who had already sealed the deal for final victory yesterday, whatever happened today. As it turns out, in the building breeze of this sumptuous afternoon in Saint Tropez, her adversaries made a gallant last stand and it was in fourth position that the 1908 Fife design finished the last race of Les Voiles 2017. Tied on points with The Lady Anne, today’s winner, Mariska is declared outright winner of the event, pocketing the highly prized Rolex Trophy thanks to the number of races won (three!). Following on from her victories in Palma and Monaco, Mariska wraps up her stellar season with a grand slam! On studying the definitive results in each of the numerous groups of classic yachts, it’s worth noting the victories of the much loved ‘stars’ of Les Voiles, namely Moonbeam III in the Grand Tradition category, Spartan and Linnet (Gaff-rigged Epoque), Rowdy, Cholita and Cippino II among the elegant period Marconi-rigs and Maria Giovana II in the “Invités” or Guest Class…
A hold-up among the TP 52s A total of four races were validated by each of the 5 IRC groups, which gather together the cream of the racers from the Mediterranean, France, Italy, Britain and Germany. The upshot of this was a slew of fierce jousting sessions with victory in the prestigious Edmond de Rothschild Group Trophy an absolute must in the series at Les Voiles. The fine battle between the TP 52s in IRC C proved to be short-lived for one of the main contenders for victory, Renata, which got slammed with two OCS. Her main rival, Laurent Camprubi’s Alizée leapt at the chance and managed to get the better of her rivals in the last two races of the week. It was Gérard Logel’s Arobas that rounds off the podium in this eminently sporty group.  Lyra king of the road Two windward-leeward courses were on offer for this final day of racing among the majestic Wallys, which were already credited with four races. The wind filled in gradually off Pampelonne providing the futuristic giants with all the fuel they need to really strut their stuff. Tied on points this morning with the Wallycento Magic Carpet3, the Wally 107 Open Season, with Olympic sailor Jochen Schuman aboard, had to post a faultless performance at the front of the fleet today to remain in contention. Things looked hopeful initially after the crew bagged second place on the first course. However, the giant’s hopes faded in the second race with the breakage of a genoa halyard, depriving the team of its major weapons. And so it is that the Wally 77 Lyra, after an irreproachable performance today, punctuated by one victory and one second place, managed to outsail the favourites and add her name to the winners’ list at Les Voiles, ahead of Open Season and Magic Carpet3.
He came, he saw, he conquered It may be surprising to some that local boy and America’s Cup sailor Franck Cammas competed at Les Voiles for the very first time this year. To do so, he opted to sail with some of his boys from Team France on a steed that was very familiar to him, Babsy, a VOR 70, sistership to his Groupama IV, winner of the Volvo Ocean Race in 2012. An insatiable competitor, Franck snatched victory in the large IRC A category, right from under the noses of the giants Cannonball, the brand new Maxi 72 and her three race wins, and George David’s record-thrasher Rambler. Babsy, whose stellar crew included Lionel Péan – together with Franck on the same boat for the very first time and the only two French winners of the crewed round the world race the Whitbread/Volvo – Charlie Dalin and Noé Delpech, really made the most of the predominantly windy conditions and managed to limit the damage in the lighter phases.
The J Classes and the Fifes in 2018 The J Class association has announced its race programme for 2018. It comprises a points-based championship boasting four major meets in the West Indies and then the Mediterranean. Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez will round off this hotly-disputed championship, which we hope will gather together a large number of the 9 sublime J Classes still racing, namely Endeavour, Hanuman, Lionheart, Rainbow, Ranger, Shamrock V, Velsheda, Topaz and Svea.. It is sure to be a major attraction for Les Voiles, which played host to up to 3 such craft a few years ago. As for the fabulous Fife yachts that sport the famous Dragon label, this universally recognized and respected emblem will be celebrating their 130th anniversary at Les Voiles 2018.
News in brief A lesson in calm from the Jury at Les Voiles Yves Léglise, President of the International Jury at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez recalls his first participation some 10 years ago. “We had to deal with no fewer than 98 protests back then. This year, perhaps thanks to the mild weather and doubtless as a result of the utmost professionalisation of the crew, there was a total of just… 6 protests.
Quotes: Franck Cammas – Babsy: “Our VOR 70 loves the breeze and just shone every time she had pressure in her sails. The short course format seldom favours us as we have to really anticipate our manoeuvres and the short legs don’t enable us to really power up and play on the inertia. However, we played our game well against the very big boats. I’ve really enjoyed what has been a very recreational week in Saint Tropez. I relished sailing here and I’ll have lost of wonderful images to take home with me. I’ll be back!”
Sébastien Destremeau – Ikra “It’s always a fabulous experience to sail a 12 m JI, especially so in fleet configuration against four other 12-metre boats. We really had a ball. We lament our rather average performance though, despite one race victory. The competition has evolved a great deal and we have to work harder still in order to up our game. Sailing at Les Voiles is magical. I thought about it often during my Vendée Globe and I realise how lucky I am to be the skipper of a yacht that was behind the creation of such a fine event…”
Today’s partner: Tahiti Partner to the Société Nautique for several years now thanks to one of its members, Maurice Chauvin, Tahiti Tourisme enables a wealth of exchanges between events, highlighted by the hosting of a Tahitian crew during Les Voiles, as well as the presence of Georges Korhel, Les Voiles’ Principal Race Officer at the Tahiti Pearl Regatta. Following on from Olympic sailor Billy Besson in 2016, it is André Beaufils, President of the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez who was the patron of the 2017 edition in Tahiti. A big hit at Les Voiles this year is the Tahitian boutique and notably the sale of its famous black pearls, as well as the much appreciated local entertainment and the raw fish tastings this Saturday evening.

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