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Saint Barth New Year’s Eve Regatta

Lloyd Thornberg (with trophy) and crew celebrating their win in the 23rd annual New Year’s Eve Regatta aboard the Gunboat 66 Phaedo. Photography Rosemond Gréaux
Lloyd Thornberg (with trophy) and crew celebrating their win in the 23rd annual New Year’s Eve Regatta aboard the Gunboat 66 Phaedo. Photography Rosemond Gréaux

Winner in 2011 and 2015, Lloyd Thornberg once again took top honors in the Saint Barth New Year’s Eve Regatta, a parade of sailboats around the island on December 31 each year.

Two hours before the staggered starts, strong rains battered the island, yet the sailors were not discouraged from setting sail. At 11am the first boat, Speedy Nemo, crossed the start line, followed by the others until the last to set off, Lloyd Thornberg’s orange catamaran Gunboat 66 Phaedo at noon. This is the same beautiful boat with which Thornberg won this regatta in 2011, while in 2015 he sailed to victory with another boat, the high-speed, lime green MOD70 trimaran Phaedo³, which has set all kinds of speed records under Thornberg’s tenure.

Under cloudy skies and winds from the east at 10 knots, with gusts up to 15 knots, the sailors didn’t face too many challenges, but a boat like the 96ft German Frers Symmetry sails better with more wind, having completed this course in two hours on a previous outing, it took almost four hours this time around. Even Phaedo, which won in 2011 with a time of 2h 6m 13s, took 3h 01m 55s this time. The regatta record of 1h 32m 07s set in 2004 by the 147ft Visione still stands, and seems almost impossible to beat.

Organized by the Saint Barth Yacht Club in collaboration with the Port de Gustavia, this year’s edition featured six boats of various sizes.

Results: 1st Phaedo; 2nd Maelia; 3rd Speedy Nemo; 4th Anna Christina; 5th Simple Harmony; 6th Symmetry.

Benoit Meesemaecker (left) sailor and president of the St Barth Yacht Club, and Captain Ross Kleiman (right), sailing on Symmetry during the 2017 New Year’s Eve Regatta, a parade around St Barth to ring out the old year, and herald in the new! Photography Rosemond Gréaux
Benoit Meesemaecker (left) sailor and president of the St Barth Yacht Club, and Captain Ross Kleiman (right), sailing on Symmetry during the 2017 New Year’s Eve Regatta, a parade around St Barth to ring out the old year, and herald in the new! Photography Rosemond Gréaux

ST BARTH: SAILING INTO SPRING
First up is the St Barth Bucket, a prestigious invitational regatta for sailboats over 100ft in length. Setting sail on March 15-18, the Bucket has close to 30 entries confirmed including three beautiful J Class boats. www.bucketregatta.com

Following The Bucket is Les Voiles de St Barth on April 8-14, with sailboats of all sizes in a variety of classes. The organizers have announced that French television personality Alessandra Sublet and American music star Jimmy Buffett are the ambassadors of the regatta this year, as both are strong supporters of the island (Buffett also served as patron of the race in 2011). www.lesvoilesdesaintbarth.com/us 

The final event of the season is the arrival of the Ag2r La Mondiale, with teams of two sailors on identical 10-meter Figaro Beneteau boats racing across the Atlantic. Boats leave France April 22, and are expected to arrive in St Barth mid-May.

 

Ellen Lampert-Gréaux lives in Saint Barthélemy where she is editor-in-chief of Harbour Magazine.

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