Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Les Voiles de St Barth Preview

J/109 women crew in St Barts(Gustavia, St Barts)- The Caribbean racing season, which kicked off with the Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Series in mid-January, now heads to the Les Voiles de St. Barth in Gustavia, St. Barth’s main port, on April 14-19.

Now in only its fifth year, Les Voiles de St. Barth has become a key stop on the Caribbean racing calendar, attracting 70 boats from Europe, the United States, New Zealand and Australia.  Six classes are taking part, the Spinnaker class stands out with no fewer than 35 boats, between 32 and 60 feet in length, that are among the most competitive boats in the Caribbean. They come to St. Barth fully prepared for racing and are often sailed by internationally renowned sailors.

The infinite beauty of the islands offers countless opportunities for technical and tactical race courses for all competitors. The cocktail so elegantly organized by the organizers brings together the delights of yachting and the incomparable assets of the island. This is without any doubt one of the reasons why Les Voiles is successful, as they have really understood and included what seasoned competitors are looking for, bringing together the enjoyment of the sea and the finer side of life ashore.

J/120 sailing St Barts regattaSeveral J/Teams will be participating.  Top of the totem pole may be Jim Madden’s beautiful grey-blue J/125 STARK RAVING MAD with a strong crew hailing from Newport Beach and San Diego, California.  They are sailing in the biggest class in the regatta- the 35 boat Spinnaker Class.  Two J/120s are sailing, the old EL OCASO has now been renamed SUNSET CHILD and will be sailed by Marcus Cholerton-Brown.  The other custom 120 is JAGUAR skippered by Ben Jelic.  The “newest kid on the block” has to be Eddy Chalono’s J/111 J-BOSS, they will be looking forward to the around the island race where they have the ability to surf/plane for extended periods along the eastern and northeaster face of the island.  Finally, the J/109 VOILES au FEMININ will be skippered by well-known Frenchwoman Sophie Olivaud, skippering her boat with an all women crew.

To get a good feel for the convivial atmosphere at Les Voiles de St. Barth, check out this sailing video here.   For more Les Voiles de St Barth sailing information