No stranger to Les Voiles de Saint-Barth, American George Sakellaris and his Maxi 72, Proteus, swept to victory for the third consecutive year in the ninth annual edition of Les Voiles, sailed April 8-14. Sakellaris also went home with the RM 60-01 Regatta Flyback Chronograph, a navigational watch provided by Les Voiles’ title sponsor Richard Mille.
Stu Bannatyne, tactician aboard Proteus, said conditions were pretty challenging on the last day when they found themselves in a duel with Sorcha. “I admit that at times it was a little stressful. To unfurl the spinnaker in 30 knots of wind, that can be a little risky. At the finish line, we were just one minute apart. That’s the kind of finish we like. We really gave it our all. It was hard, and important to find a good balance between speed and being prudent. At the end of the day, we took first place and we are enormously satisfied. For my part, it’s my fourth victory at Les Voiles de Saint-Barth and the third aboard Proteus. This edition was really perfect. What we will remember the most are the good weather conditions and the great courses for the Maxis.”
It was also a really close call in the CSA 3 class, where the last day was a duel between Crédit Mutuel–PTO and Team Island Water World to see who would stand atop the podium. In spite of a broken halyard and a wrong turn on the course, the win went Claude Granel and Marc Emig of Crédit Mutuel–PTO. This gave them the class win, even though both boats finished the regatta with the same number of points.
“This is disappointing for us, but the rules are the rules, and in the case of a tie, it’s the last race that counts,” said Team Island Water World’s Frits Bus, who has won this CSA class in the past with his Melges 24.
With 53 boats on the starting line this year, organizers François Tolède and Luc Poupon are already looking forward to the tenth anniversary of Les Voiles, with new dates of 14-20 April 2019, which moves the regatta into low season. This means housing and other costs are lower for participants, and the organizers expect a large crowd as they are inviting every boat and every crew that has sailed in Les Voiles to date to return and compete once again.
For complete news about Les Voiles and all winners, visit: www.lesvoilesdesaintbarth.com
Ellen Lampert-Gréaux lives in Saint Barthélemy where she is editor-in-chief of Harbour Magazine.