The permanent miracle of Les Voiles!

03/10/2017, Saint-Tropez (FRA,83), Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez 2017, jour3

The magic of Les Voiles cannot be summed up by the highly elegant, good-humoured parade of the world’s most beautiful classic and modern yachts. Indeed, to truly thrill the 4,000 international sailors present in the bay, this recipe must be warmed by the sultry climes of Saint Tropez that never fail to resist the wintery continental chill. This was exactly what was on today’s menu, with generous sunshine and bracing wind joining forces to produce the amazing spectacle that is so unique to Les Voiles, when the hundred-year-old rigs merge with the more futuristic designs. As such, the Race Committee was absolutely right to send all the Modern boats, as well as the large Wallys, on a long coastal course towards Cavalaire, whilst the Classics escaped the bay, bound for Les Issambres. The well-established breeze and increasingly heavy seas proved little obstacle to the sailors and it was no surprise to see the fastest boats returning with all sail aloft at the start of the afternoon. RamblerMy Song and Babsy were first home in IRC A, Magic Carpet3 and Galateia among the Wallys, with the subsequent arrival of the Bermuda sloops and cutters, The Blue PeterStormy Weather and Galvana among the Classics…
The Cammas effect The VOR 70 Babsy, ex Puma, sistership to Groupama IV, holds little secret for Franck Cammas. With powerful support from Lionel Péan, his men, Charlie Dalin and the bulk of Team France, the skipper of the French entry in the last America’s Cup enjoyed champagne sailing today. Third in elapsed time, the crew managed to stick with the American Maxi Rambler to take the win in corrected time. Spectre, the British 60-foot Frers-design completes today’s podium. There was an equally superb battle in each of the 5 IRC groups, with just minutes between the fifty-something footers; James Blackmore’s Swan 53 taking the bullet in IRC B.
Magic Carpet3 magical on home waters The Wally Cento Magic Carpet3 has made Saint Tropez her port of registry so winning here has a very special flavour, as evidenced by the smiles that stretch from ear to ear tonight on each of the faces of the 26 crew members. It was a battle royal on the racetrack today, with gusts of over 27kts recorded at La Fourmigue. Stellar sail changes kept this 100-footer powered up throughout, giving her the speed record for the leg with 25.6kts! This consistent performance was enough to get the better of Open Season and cross ahead of the other Wallycento Galateia just before the finish line after an epic duel. Meantime, in a debut performance, the brand new Tango really made an impression and is likely to be mixing it up with the best of them in the very near future.
The 12 m JI hooked on Les Voiles. Among the strong line-up of metre boats sailing at Les Voiles, we cannot fail to mention the 12 m JIs, which competed in the America’s Cup from 1958 to 1987. Wind, sea and a great course to Les Issambres really whetted the sailors’ appetites. Sovereign got off to the best start, gallantly holding onto her lead as far as the edge of the bay. Ikra, clearly very at ease in wind gusting to 24 knots and more, snatched control of the fleet and held off France right the way to the finish line. The tone is set then, with the intensity of the racing set to build and build throughout the week.
Rough handling for the 15-metre yachts With the SW’ly wind gusting to nearly 30 knots at the entrance to the bay, the 15-metre yachts, all a hundred years old or more, weren’t treated with quite the respect they deserve. Vying for the Rolex Trophy, Hispania (Fife 1909) paid the price in the gale and laments mast damage tonight. In the name of prudence, the crew on Mariska opted to retire from the race, leaving Tuiga to take victory in this second race, seriously reshuffling the cards in the battle for the top of the leader board.
News in brief Alexia Barrier to race in the Vendée Globe A familiar face at Les Voiles, Imoca sailor Alexia Barrier has scored a hat-trick at Les Voiles! Here in Saint Tropez, her Figaro Bénéteau is sailing in IRC, helmed by Romain Gaillant. She herself is helming Nada, a 6 m JI Fife from 1930. The third piece of news, which she’ll be proudly announcing tomorrow, is the launch of her very own Vendée Globe 2020 project. “My first partner, Pitchoune du monde, which funds orphanages in Asia, has declared that it will be backing me in this adventure,” she explains. “The company’s president couldn’t understand why there weren’t any women at the start of the last Vendée Globe. On this premise, we’ve decided to put the power of singlehanded offshore racing at the service of this cause benefiting orphaned children. As such, it is a project based around sport, adventure and humanitarian aid. We’ve opted to purchase an older generation boat at the end of this year, with work starting on the construction of a new boat in early 2018. (Former winner of the race), Vincent Riou is assisting me with the sporting aspect and the organisation. The Route du Rhum 2018 will serve as my qualifier.”
A native of Quebec at Les Voiles The on-the-water safety is, as we know, one of the main priorities of the organisers of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. Considerable human and technical means are deployed to supervise the races and ensure the sailing rules are adhered by. Among those in charge of this key policing role, Patrick Salvail, a newcomer to the team managed by Philippe Martinez, is unique in that he is from… Quebec! Having already earned the endearing nickname “le caribou” from Georges Kohrel’s team, his good humour ties in perfectly with the spirit of Les Voiles. “I sold my business restoring industrial sites last June and decided to see the world”, he explains candidly. “I looked on the internet for where to find the finest racing and quite spontaneously offered my services volunteering for the team… who’ve accepted me. I’m familiar with the sailing and racing world, having worked on the Transat Québec Saint Malo, but what I see here far exceeds the splendour I have seen before. The atmosphere is extraordinary. However, I’m keeping an eye on my colleagues who, since my arrival, have been trying to lure me with a local drug… Pastis…”
Quotes:  Danny Gallichan, boat captain on Magic Carpet3If you want to race in race configuration, you need muscle, and in this case 26 people are required. However, when cruising, 4 people are enough. There are 4 Wally Centos here and it’s very exciting. We have to work hard on the water and dockside to keep up with the more modern craft. We’re constantly looking to make the boat faster. Each year it becomes harder to progress, but the materials and technologies are evolving so fast that you really need to keep on your toes. We have a huge number of sails aboard, according to the courses and the programmes. There’s a great spirit aboard too. There’s a genuine code of ethics within the Wally family. We want to win, but we’re all friends.”
Charlie Dalin (VOR 70 Babsy) “It’s the perfect day for this boat, which needs strong breeze to show what she’s made of. We sailed very cleanly, without putting in any pointless tacks, making the most of the building wind towards Cavalaire and negotiating the effects of the different sites and headlands to perfection. Sailing with Franck Cammas is a pleasure. You’re constantly learning alongside him. His crew, mixed with that of Lionel Péan, is impeccable.”
Today’s partners…
ROLEX. For the past 20 years, Rolex and the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez have enjoyed a privileged bond. This partnership is characterised by the organisation of two major events in the yachting calendar in France, the Giraglia Rolex Cup and the Rolex Trophy, which has been part of the programme at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez for 11 years. For the 12th edition of the Rolex Trophy, the 15MJ class is being honoured. An iconic category of classic yachts, they still sail today. The Lady Anne, Hispania, Mariska and Tuiga have all punctuated the history of yachting competition around the world.  The values of the Swiss timepiece brand, namely precision, excellence and team spirit, are a reflection of the attitude of the sailors and skippers aboard these cathedrals of sail. Rolex is the title sponsor for around fifteen major yachting events, including the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and the Rolex Fastnet Race, two classics of offshore racing, the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship, a top-flight one-design competition, not to mention the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup and the Rolex Swan Cup, two particularly spectacular maritime gatherings. The brand also supports World Sailing and a host of prestigious yacht clubs around the world, including the New York Yacht Club in the US and the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, England.
Byblos in party mode This year, Byblos Saint-Tropez is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary; 5 decades of inspiration and splendour! In the space of just 5 decades, Byblos and the Caves du Roy have become an absolute legend through their history, the passion of their owners – the Chevanne family – the loyalty of their staff, the specificity of their clientele and the prestige of their partners. Witnesses and precursors of the latest trends, the two establishments positively cultivate the luxury of an art of French-style living. Their timelessness is all part of their charm. Never copied or duplicated, Byblos luxuriates in its 17,000m2 space, reinventing modernity by equipping itself with all the latest technologies whilst retaining its unique and indelible cachet. A new generation of rooms now exists with the same eye for detail and uniqueness. Ever greater and more glamorous, they offer contemporary decoration with an eternal charm, utilising the latest technologies to satisfy the desires of an international clientele familiar with the most beautiful palaces on the planet.
The Jury at Les Voiles Jean-André Cherbonel, NJ (National Judge) FRA Vic De Smedt, IJ (International Judge) BEL Yves Léglise, IJ, FRA, President Walter Mielke, UJ, GER Eugenio Torre, NJ, ITA

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