Sunday, April 16, 2017

J/105 SOLSTICE Leads Class @ Les Voiles de St Barth

J/88 sailing St Barth regatta (Gustavia, St Barthelemy) – Perfect Caribbean conditions offered the backdrop for the stacked competition that took to the starting line for day one of racing at Les Voiles de St. Barth.  The 65 boats, split into nine classes, were sent on coastal courses, ranging from 24 to 31 nautical miles, tracing the western and northern coast of the island, all starting and finishing in the port of Gustavia in St. Barth.

Event newcomers, Jordan and Shannon Mindich’s J/105 SOLSTICE, with Bruce Stone skippering, shook up the competition in CSA 4, taking the lead after day one from last year’s class winners Credit Mutuel.

“We felt pretty good about our general speed and performance,” said Nicole Breault, a USA Women’s Match Race Champion, who calls the tactics onboard SOLSTIE. “This is my first time here and it’s spectacular, warm and really beautiful. I’m not that familiar with sailing on handicap, so we’re trying to sail like there are no other boats out there and just keep the boat going.”

J/88 sailing St Barth RegattaFor the second day of racing, it was not just a different day, but also a very different story from a weather perspective. Shiftier breeze and a change in the direction and design of the race course, in comparison to the day before, forced many competitors to shift gears and that dynamic yielded a mixed bag of results for the event’s nine classes. The fleet of 65 boats battled while navigating the rocky coast and its strong currents on courses, between 26 and 32 nautical miles, around the eastern side of the island.

“It was tough today because the wind was very erratic, initially blowing between 15 and 17 knots and then dropping off to around eight and ten knots,” said Hervé Hejoaka who helms Crédit Mutuel, which dropped from second to third place in CSA 4 after today. An event veteran, the team won its class here last year. “From there it became difficult to advance the boat because of the state of the sea and especially the large surf on the east side of the island. We fought like crazy and during the descent toward the Grenadines, we chose to stay close to the coast because it was smoother. This allowed us to climb back up a bit.”

Their top competitors, the J/105 SOLSTICE, stole a march on them by placing 2nd on the day to lead the class by one point over PASCO’s JAGUAR, a Salona 38.

In CSA Racing 3 Class, the two J/122s are having quite a battle.  After the second day of racing, Pamala Baldwin’s LIQUID is sitting in 2nd place with a 4-2 record for 6 pts and tied with them is sistership BETTER THAN/ EL OCASO with a 3-3 record.  These two boats are having quite a battle and everything will be up for grabs over the next two days.  For more Les Voiles de St Barths sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.