– Varuna wins the Rolex Trophy
– Kiwi Magic supreme among the 12mRs
– Final curtain for the IRCs; 123 Modern yachts round off their season in the Gulf
– Prize-giving at 11:00 hours tomorrow, Sunday, at La Ponche
Canon fire, bagpipes, English and French sea shanties… the 2,500 or so sailors competing on the Modern and Classic yachts hit the racetrack at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez one last time this morning with beaming smiles, the weather heaven-sent once again. Indeed, it’s been a packed week of the most stunning racing, punctuated by the event highlights which have earned Les Voiles an amazing international reputation over the past 25 years. For a long time to come, the Challenges, the Club 55 Cup and the Centenarians Race will remain etched on the memories of all the participants and the huge crowds both on land and out on the water. Each of the 4 IRC groups and the 8 Classic groups have crowned some very worthy champions, after fending off some stiff opposition throughout the numerous races contested, (4 for the Classic yachts and 5 for the Modern yachts). Enjoying magical, summery conditions, blessed with sufficient breeze to put on a show, one and all were treated to the incredibly rare spectacle of sailboats of all sizes, ages and designs racing at the highest possible level. All the heroes will be celebrating until late into the night, their heads and their hearts filled with images of the sea, the sails, the spray and the laughter, which they will treasure for another year until they return for another wonderful edition of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez in 2024.
Racing right to the wire!
There was a great deal at stake in this last day of racing at Les Voiles among the 8 groups of Classic yachts. As has been the case throughout the week, this morning’s subtle breeze picked up just as action commenced, providing dynamic, full-on racing for the 86 Classic yachts. Pushed along by over 12 knots of breeze, the crews were able to really get the best out of their machines and work them hard, providing the large crowds with some jaw-dropping images of beautiful gaff or Bermudan rigs powering down to the far reaches of the gulf. The wind range favoured the large schooners, Elena and Naema, which performed superbly in elapsed time. However, in corrected time it was the light and pacey 15mRs, which stole both a march and the show.
Varuna 1939 wins the Rolex Trophy
12 fabulous Bermudan yawls were competing for this week’s prestigious trophy, but it was Varuna which utterly dominated the quest for the Rolex Trophy, winning all 4 of the validated races. Comet (Stephens 1946) and Stormy Weather (Stephens 1934) respectively complete the podium.
Spartan outsails the gaffers!
Each group crowns some fine champions, some of which rule supreme, like Encounter (Frers 1976) in Classic Marconi, which groups together 13 Bermudan cutters and sloops. In Epoque Aurique, Spartan didn’t even need to participate in the last race. Indeed, her three race victories saw off some fearsome competition, including Viola (Fife 1908) and the P Class Chips (Burgess 1913). Consistently ranking well, albeit without scoring any bullets, the Sparkman & Stephens Blitzen managed to secure ultimate victory in the Epoque Marconi. Carron II (8 M Fife 1935) and Falcon (Paine 1930), both race winners, were not consistent enough to really threaten her reign.
12M: Kiwi Magic and Nyala top of the leader board
Among the 12mRs, French Kiss rounded off the event in style with a victory in elapsed time, but it was Johan Beach’s Kiwi Magic, which snatched the SNST Trophy. Meantime, in the older 12mRs, Patrizio Bertelli’s Nyala triumphed. However, in line with the Class’s focus on sporting equity, the ten 12mRs sailing together at Les Voiles are split into two separate rankings according to the generation of the build. As such, the 12B group comprises four boats built between 1970 (France) and 1987 (South Australia). The second group, referred to as 12D, gathers together 6 craft built between 1918 (Thea) and 1938 (Eileen).
Tuiga top Big Boat
The greatly admired Big Boats put on a sublime show in the gulf each and every day. Particularly at ease today in a medium wind, Tuiga was a cut above the rest and the deserving winner of the Chateau Saint Maur Trophy, ahead of The Lady Anne and Mariska.
Nanoq, Daguet 2, Daguet 3 and Expresso 3 excel among the Modern yachts
The nervous tension was palpable at the start of the very last race of the 2023 season for a number of the racers. Individual recalls and a general recall placed even greater emphasis on the start phase, which released the fleet onto the racetrack just as the wind shifted round to the north-west and picked up considerably. The 17-mile course was quickly swallowed up, serving up all the different points of sail to reap the benefits of one last dance amidst the magic of the Gulf. 27 thoroughbreds battled for supremacy this week within IRC B as they vied for the North Sails Trophy. Peter Boyd’s Mylius 50 Daguet 2 won by just one boat length ahead of Sergio Sagramoso’s Italian Proto Lady Dog. Mistral Gagnant, a Solaris 50, completed the podium after winning one race and bagging a number of runner-up spots.
The quest for the BMW Trophy was incredibly fierce but, for the third time in a row, victory went to Prince Frederik of Denmark’s Nanoq, who put on quite the demonstration with 3 race wins. Frédéric Puzin and his Ker 46 Daguet 3 were just 1 point shy of the crown. Gérard Logel and his 52-ft Arobas2 complete this highly prestigious podium.
Meantime, IRC D grouped together 35 boats. Yves Ginoux’s Farr 36 Long Rose XI snatched victory in the Suzuki Trophy ahead of Richard Fromentin’s JPK 11 80 Cocody and Frédéric Bouillon’s First 40.7 Wallis.
The largest group of Modern yachts, IRC E, boasts 37 entries. The Marines de Cogolin Trophy goes to Guy Claes and his JPK 10 Expresso3. Pascal Fan and Tibault Garnotel on King of Blue by Sensation, a Figaro 2, is a worthy runner-up, ahead of Jorgen Preuss’s Letto di Petto (Farr 30).
Today’s partners: Barons de Rothschild
Champagne Barons de Rothschild celebrates the 25th edition of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez
“Sailing is something we cherish as it conveys an image that is entirely in line with our values” explains Frédéric Mairesse, CEO of Champagne Barons de Rothschild, which has just joined Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez’s partners club for its 25th edition. Uniting three branches of the family, Champagne Barons de Rothschild perfectly translates the spirit of excellence and the blend of tradition and modernity showcased at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. Represented today by Baron Philippe Sereys de Rothschild (Château Mouton Rothschild), Ariane de Rothschild, wife of the late Baron Benjamin (Château Clarke – Groupe Edmond de Rothschild), as well as Baron Eric and his daughter Saskia (Château Lafite Rothschild), the reputation of the Barons de Rothschild company, created back in 2005, extends across a number of top-level sports, but sailing holds a rather special place, particularly within the Edmond de Rothschild branch, which is inextricably linked to Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. Philippe Sereys de Rothschild was sailing at Les Voiles aboard the Maxi Kealoha, a 90-ft Hoek design.
Located on the Massif des Maures in Cogolin, in the centre of the Gulf of Saint-Tropez, the 19th century Château Saint-Maur Cru Classé lies at the heart of a vineyard spanning some 100 hectares and split into three plots: Saint-Maur, Le Clos Saint-Vincent and Le Clos de Capelune.
Programme 2023 (all results and race information online on Les Voiles website)
Sunday 8 October: Prize-giving for the Modern and Classic yachts
Voiles de Saint-Tropez Partners
ESPRIT VILLAGE A SAINT-TROPEZ
PEPINIERE DU GOLFE
Voiles de Saint-Tropez Official Suppliers
CHAMPAGNE BARONS DE ROTHSCHILD
DOMAINE BERTAUD BELIEU
VILLE DE SAINT-TROPEZ
PORT DE SAINT-TROPEZ
LES MARINES DE COGOLIN
FEDERATION FRANCAISE DE VOILE
YACHT CLUB DE FRANCE
INTERNATIONAL MAXI ASSOCIATION
Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez
President: Pierre Roinson
Principal Race Officer: Georges Korhel
Regatta Secretary: Frédérique Fantino
On-the-water logistics: Gilles Doyen
Communication and Executive Assistant: Chloé de Brouwer
Editorial: Denis van den Brink
Websites: www.lesvoilesdesaint-tropez.fr ; www.societe-nautique-saint-tropez.fr
Facebook: les Voiles de Saint-Tropez Officiel
X formerly known as Twitter: @VoilesSTOrg
Photo credit: SNST / Gilles Martin-Raget
Video: SNST/Guilain Grenier, 6G