The local council in Saint Barthelemy, the tourist board and the Saint Barth Yacht Club are establishing a new sailing event from Tuesday to Sunday, April 6 to 11, open to classic and modern yachts, superyachts, racing-cruisers, as well as racing multihulls.
Three new partners joined the Voiles de St Barth early this year. Richard Mille Watches has become the headline partner, with the Banque des Antilles Francaises and the St. Barts Hoteliers Association as official partners. Poet and well known seascape artist, Titouan Lamazou (the first winner of the Vendee Globe), has designed the official event poster.
Saint Barthelemy has always included sailing races among its traditions and has made great use of its know-how. The desire to create a special event unique to Saint Barth, with the backing of Francois Tolede, member of the Saint Barth tourist board and in charge of special events at the Saint Barth Yacht Club, is the latest example in a long history of glorious yachting events on the island, ever since the Loulou's regatta, which in the seventies brought together up to 200 sail boats.
Using all the knowledge and expertise it has acquired in welcoming large yachts and racing boats, with a know-how that is recognised with such varied races as the Transat AG2R, the Route du Rose and the St-Barth Bucket Regatta, Saint Barth is organising a week of racing in the best spirit of the sport with the finest yachts that can be found in this part of the world.
"We're looking forward to welcoming the big American yachts, which sail in the Caribbean in the winter months," explained Luc Poupon, the race director. "We are inviting the finest yachts in the world, including the maxi yachts, and racing-cruisers, and we hope that for this maiden event that no fewer than a hundred of the greatest classic and modern yachts will be appearing here."
We can therefore expect the jewels in the crown of the international racing world to be heading for Gustavia at the start of the spring of 2010. "Eighty percent of the sailors will be from a British or American background," added "Lucky" Poupon. "But the boats will be coming from all over the world, from the USA of course, but also from Mexico, South America, and we've even had requests from Poland and Hong Kong. It will really be an opportunity to discover yachts, many of which do not sail in European waters."
So we can be sure that the whole of the Caribbean sailing world will be celebrating at the start of next April. There will be a friendly and festive atmosphere ashore outside of the races and a special village will be set up for the racers and their sponsors. "We are planning a lot of special events ashore, in order for the hundreds of sailors from around the world to have fun together," continued Francois Tolede. "The fact that we are an island means we attract motivated people, who come to Saint Barth for the charms of the island and the beauty of the racing yachts throughout this week."
Specific start areas will be set up according to the size of boat in order to make this a fair contest. "On the leeward side of the island, where the races will start, there are a number of possible courses off Gustavia or around the islands, which means that each class can enjoy a fair competition in the best spirit of the sport," explained Luc Poupon. "The trade winds tend to ease off in April, and we can legitimately hope for a steady easterly of around fifteen knots." Which means we can look forward to some great racing in the sunshine.
The world's finest yachts, from Classic yachts to Maxis, often with top names from ocean racing and regattas at the helm (Peter Holmberg, Russell Coutts), windy races, offering a spectacular show, an atmosphere ashore based around the simple pleasures of life … under the auspices of the photographer, Patrick Demarchelier, the Voiles de Saint Barth will also be bringing together the traditional values of classic yachts and the spectacular modern approach of the newest Racing-Cruisers, to ensure that all those, who love beautiful boats will enjoy this event that the Saint Barthelemy council would like to see become a regular date on the calendar of the international yachting world. For full details and daily program, see www.lesvoilesdesaintbarth.com
Preview submitted by Les Voiles de St. Barth