Over 70 boats were on the starting line for the sixth edition of Les Voiles de Saint Barth, with four days of spirited racing from Wednesday, April 13 through Saturday April 18 (Thursday was the official day off).
In the Maxi 1 class, the anticipated battle between Ramber 88 and Comanche sort of fizzled with Rambler winning three out of four races on corrected time, and owner David George taking home the coveted RM 60-01 Chronographe Flyback Regatta watch presented by the event’s principal sponsor, Richard Mille. In real time, Comanche may be the faster of the two boats, but the 100-footer belonging to Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze Clark was handicapped by its CSA rating of 1.737. Even with expert sailor Ken Read at the helm, Comanche came in fourth in the class, with Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente second and Bryon Erhart’s Lucky third.
“I think we sailed very well to rating, and we are just a click off Comanche,” reports David. “Of course, they have the big-boat edge and get in front, and that tends to help a little bit, but I am impressed by how fast we are. In fact, I’m very impressed. This boat is wicked quick, and I think we’ll do even better in the future. I don’t count us out for records, including the one for the Transatlantic Race 2015 this summer, which we hold already, with Rambler 100, a previous boat.”
The other boat that made its mark is Phaedo3, the Mod70 trimaran (formerly Frenchman Michel Desjoyeaux’s Foncia) that dominated the multi-hull class. Owner Lloyd Thornburg sailed this impressive high-tech beauty to four straight victories. Phaedo3 also set a new speed record for Les Voiles, sailing the 42 miles between Saint Barth and the small island of Tintamarre (close to Saint Martin) and back in just 1 hour and 53 minutes, with winds between 16 to 20 knots. For the mono-hulls, Comanche sailed it in 2 hours, 33 minutes and 4 seconds, while Odin made it in 3 hours, 38 minutes and 7 seconds. These records now give future editions of Les Voiles times to race against.
Sadly in multi-hull class, Eduardo Perez’s Gunboat G4, Timbalero III, capsized on Saturday, sailing at a speed of 25 knots. More bark than bite, fortunately none of the crew was injured.
With over 70 boats and almost 1,200 sailors aboard, 2015 marked the largest edition of Les Voiles to date. Many of the owners have promised to come back next year for the seventh edition, which will set sail on April 11-16 2016.
Ellen Lampert-Gréaux lives in Saint Barthélemy, where she is editor-in-chief of Harbour Magazine.