It was touch and go for a few weeks after hurricane Irma hit the island of St Barthélemy… would the island’s infrastructure be ready for an event such as the St Barth Cata-Cup, and where would the 90+ sailors stay? In the end, the organizers decided to take the plunge and announced that the race would he held as planned on the weekend of November 16-19, with 47 teams of two on the start line. It proved to be a glorious event and a great boost for the spirit of the island.
A weekend of suspense, a weekend of surprises! For this 10th anniversary of the event, all of the former winners were there to defend their titles. Among them were French sailors Franck Cammas and Matthieu Vandame (ODP 1), winners of the 2013 Cata-Cup, who sailed brilliantly throughout the four days, almost winning again this year, only to see their victory go to the Greek duo, Lordanis Paschalidis and Konstantinos Trigkonis (Relwen), as their competitors made an error on the final day. Cammas and Vandame missed one of the race buoys and were disqualified by the committee after they crossed the finish line.
Other strong competitors included Argentineans Cruz Gonzales Smith and Mariano Heuser (Eden Rock Villa Rental) and Belgians Patrick Demesmaeker and Olivier Gagliani (Les Perles de Saint-Barth) who finished second and third respectively. Turenne Laplace, and his brother Patrick Laplace (West Indies Sails) were the first local team to cross the finish line and were 12th in the overall ratings.
For Paschalidis, victory in the Cata-Cup has eluded him until now. They finished fourth in 2012 and sixth in 2016.
“I had participated in St. Barth Cata-Cup twice with my friend Gustaf Dyrssen and both times, we just missed the podium. This year, by coming with my regular F18 teammate, I definitely had an eye on first place. Today, we reached our goal. I am extremely happy. It was a great pleasure to come face-to-face with folks like Franck Cammas and Patrick Demesmaeker, both incredible vice world champions for the F18 class,” Paschalidis said.
Penny Wyon and Jan Hedmann Jensen from Denmark (Le Journal de Saint-Barth) won first mixed team and placed 15th overall: “We are very happy. Yet it wasn’t easy. We had a little bit of an issue the first days of the race as we had a hole in the boat. As a result, at the end of each race, we finished with ten liters of water in one of the floats. That was quite a handicap. Luckily, this morning we were able to fix the problem and naturally we did much better. We finished 12th in the tour around the island today. We had a great time. We had already raced in the St. Barth Cata-Cup twice before, and it was superb, but this time was really perfect. A perfect paradise!”
For additional information and all results, visit: stbarthcata cup.com
Ellen Lampert-Gréaux lives in Saint Barthélemy, where she is editor-in-chief of Harbour Magazine.