The list of potential competitors is like the who’s who in Catamaran racing, starting with Champion of France Emmanuel Boulogne, who won the Saint Barth CataCup in 2008 with his teammate Tangy Kervyn.
“There are 24 teams who have indicated they want to come,” says Jeff Ledée, one of the event organizers of the November race, along with Thierry Lhinares, Vincent Jordil and Hélene Guilbaud. Other potential competitors include Enrique Figueroa, the four-time champion from Puerto Rico, as well as acclaimed French sailor Franck Cammas, and the French Olympic duo of Jean-Christophe Mourniac and Franck Citeau.
Along with the Nautical Center of Saint Barth and the Saint Barth Yacht Club, with support from the Collectivity of Saint Barthélemy, the non-profit association, Saint Barth Multi-Hulls, re-launched the CataCup for the first time in 2008: it had taken place for three consecutive years, 1992-1994, before it was interrupted in 1995 by hurricane Luis. Everyone involved in the organization does so on a volunteer basis, and the event is affiliated with the French Sailing Federation.
“We would like to see it develop into the most important event in the West Indies for sports catamarans,” adds Ledée. To do so, the association is searching for sponsors to help bring competing boats from Europe and Puerto Rico (in 40’ sea containers), and provide lodging and meals to the participants. In addition to the pro racing, the event also involves local sailors and kids, with St Barth Yacht Club’s Optimist races, and windsurfing competitions from the Nautical Center of Saint Barth.
“If all the big names really come, we might be able to talk about holding an official world championship here,” says Ledée, on the beach in St Barth, looking at the clear blue sky and fabulous bay of St Jean, where the events take place. “We have all it takes in Saint Barth.” For additional information: www.stbarthcatacup.com
Ellen Lampert-Gréaux lives in Saint Barthélemy where she is editor-in- chief of Harbour Magazine, and has been a regular contributor to All- At-Sea since 2000. She also writes regularly about entertainment design and technology for Live Design magazine, and about Caribbean architecture for MACO, a Trinidad-based lifestyle magazine.