Sunday, April 20, 2014

Les Voiles de St. Barths Update

(Gustavia, St Barths)- Les Voiles has continued to grow in each of its five editions, both in entry numbers and shoreside activities, and many competitors have been heard to say that organizers have figured out the perfect racing/shoreside formula. Racing begins Tuesday and on Thursday, the now traditional lay day on St. Jean Bay, competitors will enjoy lunch at Nikki Beach.

With many in the 70 boat fleet returning from prior Les Voiles editions, the international fleet is drawn from across the Caribbean (St. Barth, St. Maarten, Anguilla, Martinique, Antigua, BVI, Puerto Rico) as well as the U.S., Canada, the U.K., The Netherlands, France, Spain, Malta, Sweden, Australia and Ireland.

No one knows yet how the Spinnaker division will be further divided into classes, but White Rhino, chartered by Steve Cucchiaro (Boston, Mass.), is hoping to have a good run against their competitors.

“Affinity (with my brother Bob aboard) will be very difficult to beat if we sail against them, and there is a good chance of that,” said White Rhino’s tactician Jack Slattery (Marblehead, Mass.), who in the years since twice being named a Collegiate All-American has worked his way into demand as an afterguard pick for various grand-prix racing programs. We are one of the longest boats in the division but not the quickest. But either way, we are going for placing.” Among the notable crew on White Rhino are Cucchiaro’s son Connor Cucchiaro, Slattery’s wife Dru, Mark Laura (main sheet), Stu Johnstone (strategist), Cam Lewis (mast), Brian Thomas (trim) and Larry Rosenfeld (navigator).

On the first day, Gustavia’s Quai General de Gaulle was abuzz with competitors. With nine classes separated into four starts, the fleet was sent off in a light southeasterly breeze of about 8-10 knots, sailing courses of 21nm. The light breeze made for a long day for most, though no one was complaining given the otherwise ideal conditions. With the breeze forecast to build throughout the week, all boats will have a chance to revel in their best conditions.   For more Les Voiles de St Barths update