It was no surprise to anyone keeping an eye on Phaedo3, Lloyd Thornburg’s high-tech, high-speed MOD70 lime green racing trimaran (Michel Desjoyeaux’s ex-Foncia), that this speed demon won the 2015 New Year’s Eve Regatta in Saint Barth, setting race and course records.
The 21st annual New Year’s Eve Regatta—an informal parade around the island—took place as usual on the last day of the year. With a fleet of sailboats of all sizes, from the smallest, Mowgli Fox’s Melges 24 Boost N Sail, to the largest, Helios, a beautiful 148ft Perini Navi, as well as Raphael Magras’ 34ft Maelia, Raymond Magras’ 34ft Speedy Nemo, and Alain Charlot’s 48ft AronnaX. As the solo multi-hull, Phaedo3 was racing against the clock, setting a new record time of 1h 5m, perhaps the fastest anyone has sailed around the island.
Mark Del Giudice, who sailed as helmsman aboard Helios, organizes the race along with Annalisa Gee, in close collaboration with the Saint Barth Yacht Club and the Port of Gustavia, headed by director Ernest Brin.
“Phaedo3 started last, at 1pm, and was able to catch up with most of the boats. Seeing the fleet well ahead of us on Helios, we chose not to go around Forchue and tried to finish with Phaedo3, which crossed the line 45 seconds in front of us making for a spectacular finish,” says Del Giudice.
“We’d been practicing for about five days,” explains Phaedo’s Thornburg. “We love this event and taking out local sailors along with my co-skipper Brian Thompson and four of our core crew. We have a single-minded purpose: Sailing and racing. It gets people passionate when they see us out there every day. We didn’t hold back, reaching a top speed of 39.25 knots in this regatta. The New Year’s Eve Regatta is a special island tradition, and it’s fun to see how fast we can do it.”
Del Giudice points out that stiff weather conditions limited the size of the fleet to just ten boats. “There was a smaller turnout of larger sailing yachts due to predicted high winds. The wind speed at the start was between 18-22 knots with two- to three-foot seas on the leeward side of the island. The winds increased to 22-26 knots with seas of ten feet passing Gouverneur and Saline, and gusts up to 25-27 knots and seas of 12- to14-feet passing Toiny.”
A torn spinnaker on Puffy was the only damage to speak of, in spite of the muscular winds and high seas.
“The trophy presentation took place on the main dock between rain showers, with all in attendance having a great time,” concludes Del Giudice. The Collectivity of Saint Barth sponsored a champagne toast and, as in previous years, the registration fees collected from the participating sailboats were donated to the Saint Barth Yacht Club in support of its sailing school.
Ellen Lampert-Gréaux lives in Saint Barthélemy where she is editor-in-chief of Harbour Magazine.