The 2013 edition of Les Voiles de St Barth broke the event’s record in numbers, with 62 sailboats of various sizes racing the week of April 8-13. With winds up to 20 knots, the racing was tough for some, with torn sails and broken masts. One casualty was St. Maarten sailor Frits Bus, skipper of the Melges 24 Island Water World. Bus was heading toward the top spot in his class until a broken mast left him in second place, behind rivals Budget Marine/Gill.
Les Voiles takes place right on the heels of The St Barth Bucket, barely giving the island a chance to breathe between regattas. But the landscape of the race is different: the Bucket fleet of 36 boats—almost all over 100ft— disperses, and while a few stay around for Les Voiles, it’s not the same kind of regatta with a majority of the boats much smaller and from around the Caribbean, including St Barth.
But there were some big beauties in the Maxi and Maxi/Racing Class. For example, Jim Swartz’s TP52 Vesper won all five races for the Racing Maxi Class, taking home the handsome RM028 Special Edition ‘Les Voiles de St. Barth’ watch presented by Richard Mille, the main sponsor of the race. In winning, Swartz remarked: “This week has been pretty typical: constant wind, 15-17 knots; predictable but shifty, with challenging and nice waves on the back side of the island. Kind of a sailor’s paradise; the race committee does a great job, the people are terrific.”
Selene, a Swan 80, was awarded a titanium RM 028 Automatic dive watch from Richard Mille, having beaten Whisper and Idea of London (and the Swan 100 Varsovie, which retired from the regatta after damaging its headstay on the first day) in the Maxi Class. Other winners include Heroina in the Classics, Paradox in Multi-Racing, L’Esperance in Non-Spinnaker, Music in Spinnaker 1, Lazy Dog in Spinnaker 2, and Credit Mutuel Martinique Premiere in Spinnaker 3.
The fifth edition of Les Voiles de Saint Barth will be held on April 7–12 2014. For more information and full results, visit: www.lesvoilesdesaintbarth.com
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.