When the 2010 St Barth Cata-Cup sets sail on November 19-21, a full roster of 43 teams of two, from around the world, will compete in this increasingly popular event. Re-launched in 2008, after a hiatus since 1994, the Cata-Cup is now run by a non-profit association, Saint Barth Multi-Hulls, in collaboration with the Nautical Center of Saint Barth and the Saint Barth Yacht Club, with support from the Collectivity of Saint Barthélemy. Everyone involved in the organization works on a volunteer basis, and the event is affiliated with the French Sailing Federation.
"We were overwhelmed with inquiries and had to close the list. We wanted to stop at 40 but ultimately took 43," says Hélene Guilbaud, one of the Cata-Cup organizers along with Jeff Ledée, Thierry Lhinares, and Vincent Jordil. "We didn't just want competitors from France, so we put quotas on geographical areas," Guilbaud adds, noting that there are boats coming from France, Finland, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St Barth, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Puerto Rico, Sweden, Poland, and St. Martin.
Although last year's winners will not be on hand to defend their title, leading catamaran racers will ply the waters of the Bay of St Jean. These include Enrique Figueroa, the four-time champion from Puerto Rico, Patrick Demesmaeker, from the Royal Belgium Sailing Club, and Emmanuel Boulogne, the French F18 world champion and winner of the 2008 Cata-Cup. Miguel Danet, a local St Barth sailor who has competed twice in the Ag2r, will also participate with St Barth resident Julien Darmon.
The Cata-Cup covers the costs of bringing the competing boats to St Barth in 40-foot containers, and provides lodging and meals for 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. Since its re-launch in 2008, the St Barth Cata-Cup has made great strides in becoming one of the leading multi-hull events in the region.
For information visit: stbarthcatacup.com