Antoine Albeau in top spot
The first edition of the Saint Barth Fun Cup was held January 27th-29th, bringing windsurfing into the galaxy of nautical events organized on this tiny French island. Launched by three French champions of the sport: Arnaud Daniel, Lionel Motière, and Antoine Questel (a St. Barth native ranked 12th worldwide and third best in France), the event comprised of slalom races in St. Jean Bay, and a long-distance run from the waters of Grand Cul-de-Sac back to St. Jean.
Intentionally scheduled in January, the Saint Barth Fun Cup could become an official warm-up for those competing in the world championships, before they go off to the first big races later in the year. The new event also allows participants to earn points in the French Sailing Association (FFV) ratings for long-distance races. The roster of competitors also included 19-time world champion Antoine Albeau of France, and the Hawaii-based Kevin Pritchard, a former world champion.
Albeau proved his world-champion status by winning five of the six races over three days to easily secure the top spot. Second was Taty Frans from Bonaire, with Antoine Questel coming third much to the delight of his fans on the beach. Weather conditions were picture perfect with sunny skies and winds gusting up to 29 knots. “St. Barth is a good wintertime place for the Europeans to train, and especially for local champion Antoine Questel,” says Pritchard. “He lives in a perfect spot for training, and maybe now more people will come here to train with him.”
With such a top-level roster for year one, this race has started on a strong footing and the champs say they are already planning to return next year – including Albeau, who has a new title to defend in St. Barth.
Ellen Lampert-Gréaux lives in Saint Barthélemy where she is editor-in-chief of Harbour Magazine. She writes regularly about entertainment design and technology for Live Design magazine, and about Caribbean architecture for MACO, a Trinidad-based lifestyle magazine.