Regatta Brief

regatta Luxury Yacht Charter & Superyacht News

60th Giraglia Rolex Cup 2012: St. Tropez, France to San Remo, Italy

March 22, 2012

Written by Chelsea

The Giraglia Rolex Cup is one of the most popular yachting events in the Mediterranean and has been a tradition for European sailors close to 60 years. The event is a pageant of sailing and runs over a full week each year in mid-June.

2012 marks the 60th edition of the Giraglia Rolex Cup, an event that came to life in 1953 in a show of camaraderie between Italian and French sailors wishing to prove that the rigours of World War II were behind them.

Sailing yacht JETHOU, GBR rounding the Giraglia Rock - Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Sailing yacht JETHOU, GBR rounding the Giraglia Rock - Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

The key dates this year are Friday, 8 June to Friday, 15 June. Inshore racing on the Bay of Saint-Tropez takes place from Sunday, 10 to Tuesday, 12 June, and, the offshore race starts on Wednesday, 13 June. The period in Saint-Tropez has a quintessential French Mediterranean feel, with the three days of inshore racing allowing competitors to enjoy the culinary highlights of an engaging port, before embarking on the more serious challenge of a 241-nautical mile race to San Remo, via the Giraglia, a rocky outcrop off the northern tip of Corsica.

Regularly attracting in excess of 200 yachts for the week of competition, the event is a kaleidoscope of nationalities. The French and Italians make up the bulk of entries, but frequently yachts from the USA, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Nordic countries, Eastern Europe, Russia, and, even Asia and the Southern Hemisphere add richness to the occasion.

There are various notable moments for the participants. Certainly, the most memorable is the customary crew party featuring live music, exceptional food and drink, and, a spectacular firework display. Hosted by Rolex, it is set amid the grounds of La Citadelle, the 17th century fort that dominates the skyline on the landward side of Saint-Tropez. This year, the Giraglia Rolex Cup Crew Party will be held on Monday, 11 June.

The Rolex Crew Party goes on at the Citadelle - Photo By Rolex  Carlo Borlenghi

The Rolex Crew Party goes on at the Citadelle - Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Thereafter, for those on the offshore race, the rounding of the Giraglia marks the turning for the home. The rock itself is like many others, topped with a lighthouse to help navigators with their bearings. It lies less than one nautical mile off the coast of Corsica, rises 66-metres at its highest point and measures 600-metres in length. Yet, it has achieved mythic proportion in the minds of racing sailors, who view it in similar terms as the Fastnet Rock: somewhere small and uninhabitable, but crucial in the quest to complete the challenge of the race.

Start of the inshore race Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Start of the inshore race Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

The inshore series prize giving will take place on Tuesday, 12 June in Saint-Tropez, whilst the final prize giving will be held on Friday, 15 June in San Remo. The event is organised by the Yacht Club Italiano one of the oldest yacht clubs in the Mediterranean, with the assistance of the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez (with both of which clubs Rolex enjoys an exclusive partnership), and, in conjunction with the Yacht Club de France. Rolex has sponsored the event since 1997.

1930 Sailing yacht Dorade refitted and ready for the 2012 Caribbean regatta season

February 18, 2012

Written by Chelsea

The famous Sparkman & Stephens 1930 yawl, sailing yact Dorade, has proudly entered the 2012 Caribbean regatta season after a major restoration in the USA. She will then returns to ocean racing – with yacht and crew in tune.

Sailing yacht DORADE credit Cory Silken

Sailing yacht DORADE credit Cory Silken

Dorade has emerged from a major restoration in the USA.

Expense was not spared as the yacht Dorade’s owner, Matt Brooks, pulled together a team of craftsmen sharing his values to do the best job after purchasing her in 2010. “Make her as near to perfect as you can!” was the brief given to Joe Loughborough, who oversaw the refit in Newport, Rhode Island throughout the best part of 2011.

Work was carried out on virtually every part and detail of Dorade from hull frames to engine, spars, rudder, electronics, sails, rigging, custom winches, headstay tang and the whole interior – full-size mock-ups being made of certain areas. The specialists involved in preparing the Dorade sailing yacht for ocean races were “unlike any she has sailed in the past 50 years”.

The 1930 refitted yacht DORADE - Photo credit Billy Black

The 1930 refitted yacht DORADE - Photo credit Billy Black

Dorade racing in the Caribbean regatta season to train crew.

The Heineken Regatta in St Maarten is followed by Les Voiles de St Barths and the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta. Sailing yacht Dorade will also be present at the St Barths Bucket superyacht event. As well as enjoying fun and camaraderie among the competitors, the regattas will provide an important step in the training program for the team who will race in the 2012 Newport-Bermuda Race, while testing Dorade.

Designed by the late Olin Stephens, S/Y Dorade was originally launched in 1930 and influenced nearly all developments in yacht design for the next three decades. She was a hugely successful racer, winning the 1931 Transatlantic race – both line honours and overall – and winning the 1931 (and 1933) Fastnet race overall.

1930 Sailing yacht Dorade refitted and ready for the 2012 Caribbean regatta season- Photo credit Cory Silken

1930 Sailing yacht Dorade refitted and ready for the 2012 Caribbean regatta season- Photo credit Cory Silken

Dorade returns to ocean racing on 15 June: Newport-Bermuda.

The Newport Bermuda race was one of classic yacht Dorade’s first ocean races and she came second in class in 1930 (and first in class in 1932). On 15 June 2012, with a crew that will have tested their chemistry and skills in the Caribbean, Dorade aims to beat that and win.

Matt Brooks on Dorade credit Pam Rorke Levy

Matt Brooks on Dorade credit Pam Rorke Levy

Sail yacht Dorade’s owner and team-leader, Matt Brooks, whose home waters are the Bay of San Francisco, is a world-renowned mountain guide and has racked up first ascents in the Sierra and French Alps. He also flew solo aged 13 and set a record time for circumnavigating the globe (westward) in a jet plane. He is the reigning 6-metre class, vintage division, world champion.

Other core members of Dorade’s crew include John Burnham, Buddy Rego, Pam Rorke Levy, Christopher Musler and James A. Hilton Sr.  Captain Alex Greenson joined Dorade in January and is preparing her for the regattas, with shore support from Mike Drake of MCM Newport. The final crew list is yet to be announced.

Rolex Swan Cup 2012 – Entries Open

February 15, 2012

Written by Chelsea

Entries for the Rolex Swan Cup 2012 are now officially open.  The Rolex Swan Cup has been held every two years since 1984, and is a world famous yacht racing regatta that sits at the pinnacle of the Nautor’s Swan calendar attracting Swan sailing yachts from the across globe to congregate for seven days of exciting sailing and socialising.

 Rolex Swan Opening Reception at Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (c) Rolex & Carlo Borlenghi (Rolex Swan Cup 2010)

Rolex Swan Opening Reception at Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (c) Rolex & Carlo Borlenghi (Rolex Swan Cup 2010)

The esteemed Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, at the very epicentre of cosmopolitan, high profile yachting and known as the spiritual home to Nautor’s Swan, will again host the Swan fleets within Italian waters.  Competitors will experience the glamour of Porto Cervo, Sardinia with the event stretching from September 10th to the 16th 2012.

The Swan yachts comprising of current and more traditional styles across a diverse range of sizes will again be run as four different race classes.  For many race crews it is the ultimate event to win in their specific class with a competitive approach to claiming some of the world’s most stunning silverware.  The most eye catching of all trophies, the Gold Cup, is awarded to the top Swan 45 yacht.  The Rolex Swan Cup includes the Swan 45 World Championships, producing an intense set of races and jubilant victor.

The Rolex Swan Cup Rendezvous Programme will also be in full swing for those owners who prefer a more relaxed approach to their Italian trip.  This will co-ordinate cruises to secluded anchorages and beach side socialising for all age groups.

A full on-shore social agenda is also an important ingredient in Rolex Swan Cup festivities.  This starts with the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s elegant, outdoor opening cocktail reception and then leads into the fun of the crew party with both old and new friends meeting from across the globe.  Daily refreshments are also available straight after racing at the Piazza Azzurra, the centre of all the action with an electric atmosphere.  The festival activities continue into an all-inclusive prize giving on the last day of the event to celebrate together.

All Swan owners are also invited to the much sought after Rolex Owner’s Dinner hosted around the swimming pool at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda where they have the chance to share experiences with each other in relaxed, intimate surroundings.

The Rolex Swan Cup has a continuous track record in supporting the largest of all Swan event entries, with Swan owners delighting in bringing large crews as well as extended family and friends to enjoy not only the favourable warm climate and outstanding yachting conditions but also the local charm and hospitality of the region.

Nautor’s Swan 2012 Yacht Racing Events & Regattas

January 11, 2012

Written by Mike Smith

The 2012 events and circuits programme provides an opportunity for Swan sailing yacht owners and their crew from all over the world to be united by their love of sailing and to share their enjoyment of and pride in their yacht.  Nautor’s Swan offer every member the chance to enjoy their Swan yacht to the full and also to share their experiences with other owners at a number of prestigious Nautor’s Swan events, regattas and cruising rendezvous staged in some of the most exclusive destinations around the globe.

Enrico Chieffi, Managing Director of Nautor’s Swan commented, “the programme of events for 2012 is extensive and includes many opportunities for Swan owners to compete against one another for the incredible trophies awarded annually by the Swan Racing Office or simply to relax and enjoy their boats in the company of friends and new acquaintances.  Our year culminates with the Rolex Swan Cup at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Porto Cervo; watching the spectacle of over 100 Swans sailing through the Magdalena Islands is truly special and one I am personally looking forward to greatly again.”

Rolex Swan 45 World Championship fleet racing off Porto Cervo

Swan Challenge Series
The Swan Challenge Series, which has formed a key pillar within the Swan Racing Office since their introduction in 2000, has evolved to focus upon offshore racing – a core element of Nautor’s Swans DNA.  For 2012, four Swan Challenges will take place with the stunning Asprey Trophies awarded to the first placed Swan overall.

The first event will be the RORC Caribbean 600 for the Swan Caribbean Challenge, with the fleet racing from Antigua out around the various islands back to Antigua.  The second blue water event will be the iconic biannual Newport to Bermuda Race for the Swan East American Challenge.  The 635 mile race attracts many Swans and the St David’s Lighthouse Division was won overall by the Swan 45, Alliance.  The 606 mile long Rolex Middle Sea Race will form the Swan Mediterranean Challenge in October of 2012, the year then rounds out with the Swan Transatlantic Challenge and the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers from Gran Canaria to St Lucia starting on 25 November 2012.

Hubolt PalmaVela

Hubolt PalmaVela

Swan Racing Circuits
With the focus of the Swan Challenge Series firmly upon 600 mile plus offshore races, a void was created within the Swan Racing Office activity.  To fill this, the Swan Racing Circuits have been created; 5 inshore events have been selected in three key regions: Caribbean / USA, Mediterranean and North Europe.  The events selected have proven themselves to be firm favourites with the Swan community and attract significant numbers of Swans to the regattas annually.

The Caribbean / USA Swan Racing Circuit will start in early March with the Heineken Regatta in St Maarten followed by the International Rolex Regatta in St Thomas, USVI and then Antigua Sailing Week at the end of April.  It then moves to the East Coast USA with the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta in Newport in June and then wraps up with the New York Yacht Club Race Week in Newport in July.

A Nautor's Swan 60 Sailing Yacht

A Nautor's Swan 60 Sailing Yacht

The Mediterranean Swan Racing Circuit starts in Santa Margherita, Italy with the Trofeo Carlo Negri – Regate Pirelli before moving to the Giraglia Rolex Cup in St Tropez.  The next event will be the Copa del Rey in Palma followed by the biannual Rolex Swan Cup held at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Porto Cervo from 10 – 16 September 2012.  The circuit concludes in St Tropez with Les Voiles de St Tropez at the beginning of October.

The North European Swan Racing Circuit is the last to start, with the Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta at the end of May in Scheveningen, the Netherlands followed by Kieler Woche in June.  The circuit then moves to the UK for two events, the JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race and then Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week.  The final event of the circuit will be Breskens Sailing Weekend at the end of August.

Trophies will be presented to the winners of each of the three circuits.

Yacht VIRAGO - a Swan 100

Yacht VIRAGO - a Swan 100

Swan Class Circuits
2012 will see three Swan Class Circuits taking place – the Swan Maxi Class Circuit, developed four years ago for the growing market of Swans over 60 feet long and two Swan 45 Class Circuits – one in the Mediterranean and one in North Europe.

The Swan Maxi Class Circuit and Swan 45 Class Mediterranean Circuit will follow the same format as the Mediterranean Swan Racing Circuit with five events, Trofeo Carlo Negri – Regate Pirelli in Santa Margherita, Giraglia Rolex Cup in St Tropez, Copa del Rey in Palma, Rolex Swan Cup in Porto Cervo and finally concluding at Les Voiles de St Tropez.

The Swan 45 Class North European Circuit will consist of three events, with no discards applied.  The first event will be the Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta in Scheveningen, the Netherlands, followed by Kieler Woche in June and concludes in the Netherlands at Breskens Sailing Weekend at the end of August.

Swan 90, DSK Pionee

Swan 90, DSK Pionee

Rolex Swan Cup
The jewel in Nautor’s Swan’s crown is the Rolex Swan Cup, held biannually at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Porto Cervo.  The regatta will run from 10 – 16 September 2012 and attracts over 100 entries from Swans ranging in size from the smallest Swan built, the Swan 36, up to the largest, Swan 112.  Racing takes place over 6 days with the Friday allocated as a Reserve Day following the iconic Long Race around the Magdalena Islands.  In addition to the racing, Nautor’s Swan will also be staging a Rendezvous for those keen to join the event but less keen to race; with lunches at spectacular bays and sociable sailing through the stunning Magdalena Islands participation is keen.

The Rolex Swan Cup will also incorporate the Swan 45 World Championship for 2012.  Defending Champions, Earlybird will be back to attempt to retain their crown for a third time in recent years.  Racing will include windward leeward racing on four days and one long race around the islands joining the other Rolex Swan Cup competitors.

The social programme that accompanies the racing is unique; the fusion of Rolex as title sponsor of the event, Yacht Club Costa Smeralda as the Organising Authority and the Nautor’s Swan family brings to life an elegant and attractive series of events that truly reflects the spirit of Swan.  The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda will host the Opening Reception at their Club House, followed by the Rolex Owners Dinner on Friday 14 September 2012.  The Rolex Crew Party, for all participants, will be staged at the Colonna Resort Hotel with the Final Prize Giving after racing on Sunday at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in the Piazza Azzurra.

Yacht ARISTARCHOS a Swan sailing yacht

Yacht ARISTARCHOS a Swan sailing yacht

ClubSwan Caribbean Rendezvous
The 9th edition of the hugely popular ClubSwan Caribbean Rendezvous will take place from 12 – 17 March 2012 and run in conjunction with the Bitter End Yacht Club.  The 2012 edition will incorporate many of the traditional features from previous editions like the Laser and Hobie Regattas at the Bitter End Yacht Club, the Round Virgin Gorda Race at the end of the week and the Hors d’Oeuvres contest held by sunset on the beach with island style rum cocktails at Marina Cay.  Small changes will also be incorporated to enhance the experience for all as the Swan fleet cruise through the British Virgin Islands visiting many stunning locations and sharing the pure enjoyment of being aboard their Swans.

The route for 2012 will start at the Bitter End Yacht Club on Monday 12, sail to Cooper Island on Tuesday 13 and then on to Sandy Cay / Jost van Dyke on Wednesday 14.  On Thursday 15 the fleet will move on to Marina Cay before returning to the Bitter End Yacht Club on Friday 16.  Saturday 17 will feature the annual Round Virgin Gorda Race before the event concludes with the Final Prize Giving and Gala Dinner and Dancing hosted at Almond Walk.

Boat Shows
Nautor’s Swan will be exhibiting at a number of Boat Shows through the year, starting in Germany in January at the Dusseldorf Boat Show located in Hall 7A, B17.  This is followed by a number of Shows around Europe, Australia and later in the year in the United States of America.  After the Rolex Swan Cup in September, the Nautor’s Swan team will be present at the Monaco Yacht Show from 19 – 22 September.

VIRAGO a Swan 100 sailing yacht

VIRAGO a Swan 100 sailing yacht

Nautor’s Swan Calendar 2012 – Events, Regattas and Boat Shows

January
Dusseldorf Boat Show, GER        21 – 29 January    Boat Show

February
Batmassan, Goteborg, SWE    3 – 12 February    Boat Show
BigBlu, Rome, ITA    18 – 26 February    Boat Show
RORC Caribbean 600, Antigua    20 February    Caribbean Challenge

March
Heineken St. Maarten Regatta, St. Maarten        1 – 4 March    Caribbean / USA Circuit (1)
Allt for Sojn, Stockholm, SWE    2 – 12 March    Boat Show
ClubSwan Caribbean Rendezvous, BVI    12 – 17 March    All Swan Yachts
International Rolex Regatta, St. Thomas    23 – 25 March    Caribbean / USA Circuit (2)

April
Trofeo Carlo Negri – Regate Pirelli, S. Margherita, Italy    28 April – 1 May    Mediterranean Circuit (1)
Antigua Sailing Week, Antigua        29 April – 4 May    Caribbean / USA Circuit (3)

May
Marina di Sant’Andrea Boat Show, ITA    May    Boat Show
Sanctuary Cove Boat Show, Queensland, AUS    24 – 27 May    Boat Show
Rolex Volcano Race, Gaeta – Capri, Italy                24 – 28 May                   Award for top Swan
North Sea Regatta, Scheveningen, NED    25 – 28 May    North European Circuit (1)

June
ClubSwan Guernsey Rendezvous    5 – 8 June    All Swan Yachts
NYYC 156th Annual Regatta, Newport RI, USA                                8 – 10 June                     Caribbean / USA Circuit (4)
Giraglia Rolex Cup, Saint Tropez FR /Genoa IT    9 – 16 June    Mediterranean Circuit (2)
Newport to Bermuda Race, USA    15 June    East American Challenge
Kieler Woche, GER    16 – 20 June    North European Circuit (2)
JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, Cowes    30 June    North European Circuit (3)

July
NYYC Race Week, Newport, USA    14 – 22 July    Caribbean / USA Circuit (5)
Copa del Rey, Palma, ESP    16 – 21 July    Mediterranean Circuit (3)

August
Sydney International Boat Show, Sydney, AUS    2 – 6 August    Boat Show
Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, Cowes, UK    11 – 18 August    North European Circuit (4)
Baltic Sea Challenge, Helsingor, Denmark    10 – 12 August    All Swan Yachts
Stockholm Floating Boat Show, SWE    30 Aug – 2 Sept    Boat Show
Breskens Sailing Weekend    31 Aug – 2 Sept    North European Circuit (5)

September
Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Porto Cervo, ITA    3 – 8 September    Award for top Swan
HISWA, Amsterdam, NED    4 – 9 September    Boat Show
Flensburger Fordewoche, Flensburg, GER    7 – 15 September    All Swan Yachts
Rolex Swan Cup, Porto Cervo, ITA    10 – 16 September    All Swan Yachts
Festival de la Plaisance, Cannes, FRA    12 – 17 September    Boat Show
Newport Boat Show, Newport, USA    13 – 16 September    Boat Show
PSP Southampton Boat Show, UK        14 – 23 September    Boat Show
Monaco Yacht Show, MON    19 – 22 September    Boat Show
Interboot, Friedrichshafen, GER    23 – 30 September    Boat Show
Les Voiles de Saint Tropez, France                                                  29 Sept – 7 October    Mediterranean Circuit (5)

October
Rapallo Boat Show, Rapallo, ITA    October    Boat Show
Annapolis Sail Boat Show, Annapolis, USA    4 – 8 October     Boat Show
Rolex Middle Sea Race, Malta                                                                    20 – 27 October           Mediterranean Challenge
Barcolana, Trieste, ITA    9 October    Award for top Swan
Hanseboot International Boat Show, Hamburg, GER    27 October – 4 Nov    Boat Show

November
Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), Gran Canaria    25 November    Transatlantic Challenge

Nautor Swan

Nautor Swan

Caribbean Sailing Events and Yacht Racing Regattas

December 19, 2011

Written by Mike Smith

This is the big list of things to do in the Caribbean in terms of yachting events, sailing, and yacht racing. It is a list of luxury yacht sailing events, yacht racing, sailing regattas and general good times to be had in the Caribbean for the 2011-2012 winter season. If you are interested in chartering a crewed luxury yacht at one of these Caribbean sailing events, please contact us here.

Also, here is some more information if you would like to find out about renting a yacht in the Caribbean or more about the particular Caribbean yacht charter locations, such as Antigua, St Barts, The British Virgin Islands, St Martin, and more Caribbean yacht rental spots.

Last, but not least, here is a small selection of some of the luxury sailing yachts (and motor yachts) that you can charter in the Caribbean to experience these yachting events and here is a selection of Caribbean charter specials currently available.

Yachts Christopher and Rebecca at the St. Barth’s Bucket sailing regatta

Yachts Christopher and Rebecca at the St. Barth’s Bucket sailing regatta

So, this is the full list of Caribbean Sailing Events, Regattas, Rallies, Festivals and other types of coordinated and organised Sailing Events in held the Caribbean during the 2011/12 winter sailing season. The largest, coolest or most important sailing events in terms of, crewed yachts, charter yachts, luxury yachts and superyachts, are mentioned in bold.

To start with, here is the list of the Caribbean Sailing Events, Regattas, Rallies and Yacht Racing by Location

If you would like to experience one of these Caribbean sailing events on a luxury yacht charter or in terms of actual participation on a sailing charter yacht please contact us here.

Antigua

Antigua – Sport 16 Senior Regatta at the Antigua Yacht Club – Oct 16

Antigua – Nov 12 – 13 – Jolly Harbour Yacht Club Annual Caribbean Regatta

Antigua – Nov 13 – 20 – Nelsons Dockyard 50th Anniversary – Antigua Yacht Club

Antigua – Nov 26 – 27 – Hiho Antigua Fun Cup – Antigua Yacht Club

Antigua – Dec 31 – 31 – Nelson’s Pursuit Race

Antigua – Jan 21 – Round the Island Race – Antigua Yacht Club

Antigua – Jan 27 – 29 – Superyacht Challenge – Antigua Yacht Club

Antigua – Feb 11 – 12 – Jolly Harbour Valentines Regatta – Antigua Yacht Club

Antigua – Feb 18 – 24 – RORC Caribbean 600

Antigua – Mar 3 – 4 – West Indies Sail Regatta – Antigua Yacht Club

Antigua – Apr 19 – 24 – Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta – Antigua Yacht Club

Antigua – Apr 29 – May 4 – Antigua Sailing Week

Barbados – Jan 21 – Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Sailing Race

Superyacht RoMa in the Caribbean

Superyacht RoMa in the Caribbean

The British Virgin Island Sailing Events:

BVI, Tortola Virgin’s Cup – Oct 15

BVI, Tortola Trafalgar Race – Oct 22 – 23

BVI, Virgin Gorda – BEYC Women on the Water Week – Oct 22 – 29

BVI, Tortola – 14th Annual Foxy’s Cat Fight – Oct 28 – 30

BVI, Virgin Gorda – BEYC 25th Pro Am Regatta Week – Oct 29 – 5

BVI, Tortola – British Virgin Islands Round Tortola Race – Nov 19

BVI, Tortola – BVI School’s Regatta – Nov 26 – 27

BVI, Tortola – Gustav Wilmerding 21st Annual Memorial Challenge – Dec 2 – 3

BVI, Tortola – O’Neal and Mundy Commodores Cup – Dec 17

BVI, Tortola – Pete Sheal’s Memorial 10th Anniversary Match Race Regatta – Nov 12 – 13

British Virgin Islands – BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival – 26-31 Mar

Curacao – Heineken Regatta Curacao – Nov 10 – 13

Dominica – Nature Island Regatta – Nov 11 – 12

Grenada – Port Louis Grenada Sailing Festival – Jan 25-31

Grenada – 46th Carriacou Regatta Festival – Jul 29 – 6

Guadeloupe – USHIP Cup – Oct 29 – 31

Puerto Rico 13 – Discover Caribbean Sailing Festival – Nov 11 –

Puerto Rico – Club Náutico de San Juan’s 11th International Regatta – Feb 3 – 5

St Barts Yachting Events

St Barts – New Year’s Eve Parties at Gustavia Harbour, St Barts

St Barts – St Barth Cata Cup – Nov 18 – 19

St Barts – Les Voiles de Saint Barth – Apr 1 – 7

St Martin Course de L’Alliance – Nov 25 – 27

St Martin – The Heineken St Maarten Regatta – 27 Feb – 4 Mar

Tobago – The Tobago Carnival Regatta – Feb 13 – 20

The US Virgin Islands

USVI, St John – Coral Bay Thanksgiving Regatta

USVI, St Thomas – Carlos Aguilar Match Race – Nov 30 – 4

USVI, St Thomas – St Thomas International Rolex Regatta – 19-25 Mar

Perini Navi P2 -  Sailing in the Caribbean at a yacht racing regatta

Perini Navi P2 - Sailing in the Caribbean at a yacht racing regatta

The 2011 Caribbean Sailing Event List:

– The Virgin’s Cup Tortola, British Virgin Islands – Oct 15

– Sport 16 Senior Sailing Regatta at the Antigua Yacht Club, Antigua – Oct 16

– Trafalgar Yacht Race in Tortola, British Virgin Islands – Oct 22 – 23

– The BEYC Women on the Water Week in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands – Oct 22 – 29

– 14th Annual Foxy’s Cat Fight in Tortola, British Virgin Islands – Oct 28 – 30

– USHIP Cup as held at Guadeloupe – Oct 29 – 31

– BEYC 25th Pro Am Regatta Week in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands – Oct 29 – 5

– The Heineken Regatta Curacao – Curacao – Nov 10 – 13

– Nature Island Regatta – Dominica – Nov 11 – 12

– Discover Caribbean Sailing Festival – Puerto Rico – Nov 11 – 13

– The Jolly Harbour Yacht Club Annual Caribbean Regatta – Antigua – Nov 12 – 13

– The Pete Sheal’s Memorial 10th Anniversary Match Race Regatta – Tortola, BVI – Nov 12 – 13

– Nelsons Dockyard 50th Anniversary – Antigua Yacht Club, Antigua – Nov 13 – 20

– St Barth Cata Cup – St Barts – Nov 18 – 19

– British Virgin Islands Round Tortola Race – Tortola, British Virgin Islands – Nov 19

– Coral Bay Thanksgiving Regatta – St. John, US Virgin Islands – Nov 23 – 24

– Course de L’Alliance – St Martin – Nov 25 – 27

– BVI School’s Regatta – Tortola, British Virgin Islands – Nov 26 – 27

– Hiho Antigua Fun Cup – Antigua Yacht Club, Antigua – Nov 26 – 27

– Carlos Aguilar Match Race – St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands – Nov 30 – 4

– Gustav Wilmerding 21st Annual Memorial Challenge – Tortola, British Virgin Islands – Dec 2 – 3

– O’Neal and Mundy Commodores Cup – Tortola, British Virgin Islands – Dec 17

– Nelson’s Pursuit Race – Antigua – Dec 31

ClubSwan Caribbean Rendevous BVI © Yacht Shots

ClubSwan Caribbean Rendevous BVI © Yacht Shots

The Next Year 2012 List of Caribbean Sailing Events and Yacht Racing Regattas:

21 Jan – Mount Gay Rum Round Barbados Sailing Race in Barbados

Jan 21 – Round the Island Race at the Antigua Yacht Club, Antigua

25-31 Jan – The Port Louis Grenada Sailing Festival in Grenada

Jan 27 – 29 – The Superyacht Challenge held at the Antigua Yacht Club, Antigua

Feb 3 – 5 – Club Náutico de San Juan’s 11th International Regatta in Puerto Rico

Feb 11 – 12 – Jolly Harbour Valentines Regatta in the Antigua Yacht Club, Antigua

Feb 13 – 20 – Tobago Carnival Regatta in Tobago

Feb 18 – 24 – The RORC Caribbean 600 in Antigua

27 Feb – 4 Mar – The Heineken St Maarten Regatta in St Martin

Mar 3 – 4 – West Indies Sail Regatta at Antigua Yacht Club, Antigua

Mar 19-25 – The St Thomas International Rolex Regatta in the USVI

Mar 26-31 – BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival in the British Virgin Islands

Apr 1 – 7 – Les Voiles de Saint Barth in St Barts

Apr 19 – 24 – Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta in Antigua Yacht Club, Antigua

Apr 29 – May 4 – Antigua Sailing Week in Antigua

Jul 29 – 6 – 46th Carriacou Regatta Festival in Carriacou

If you would like to experience one of these Caribbean sailing events on a luxury yacht charter or in terms of actual participation on a sailing charter yacht please contact us here.

32nd St. Maarten Heineken Regatta: March 1-4 2012

December 14, 2011

Written by Chelsea

The 32nd edition of the St.Maarten Heineken Regatta is only four months away and organizers are in full preparation for what is expected to be another extraordinary event in the Caribbean.

Sailing yacht Le Pingouin to attend the St.Maarten Heineken Regatta

Sailing yacht Le Pingouin to attend the St.Maarten Heineken Regatta

Entries are already pouring in for the St.Maarten Heineken Regatta and with entries such as sailing yacht Le Pingouin, an Open 60 entered by Brad Van Liew, and Antilope, a Grand Soleil entered by Willem Wester, the field is looking very promising for good competitive racing.  The regatta organizers are pleased with the interest so far in the event and hope that the professional race management and challenging courses will attract even more competitive racers from around the world.  This event which takes place March 1 to 4 2012 offers classes for all types of boats.

On March 1st the Gill Commodores Cup takes place and is a one day pre event for spinnaker classes only.  On Friday March 2nd the main event begins in the crystal clear waters surrounding the island of St.Maarten and continues for three days, taking participants from the Dutch side of this majestic island to the French side and back.  Fabulous days of racing are combined with even more action packed nights of concerts and notorious Heineken parties, giving the participants a well rounded, fun regatta experience that cannot be matched anywhere else in the world.  The final day of racing ends in the waters just outside of Simpson Bay and participants are treated to prize giving on the beach and a final concert that can last until the early hours of the morning.

Past musical artists have included the Black Eyed Peas, The Wailers, Shaggy and Wyclef Jean and the regatta staff are currently finalizing details for the Sunday night final musical act.

The Sint Maarten Yacht Club Regatta Foundation, organizers of the event, is pleased to add Sea Hawk Paints as one of their presenting sponsors.  This family owned and operated business fits into the regatta family with ease as both the regatta and Sea Hawk strive to be on the cutting edge of technology and work hard to bring the best possible product to their customers.

“We are proud to be chosen as one of the Official Sponsor of the Heineken Regatta in 2012,” reported Erik Norrie, CEO of Sea Haw Paints. “Although we’ve sponsored individual yachts in regattas throughout the Caribbean for many years, including those in the Heineken Regatta, this is the first year that we will be an Official Sponsor,” he said. Sea Hawk Paints was established in Clearwater, Florida in 1978.

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez: Sailing yacht Avel wins Rolex Trophy in St Tropez

October 04, 2011

Written by Chelsea

It seems the summer may never end in St Tropez this year. For more than one week straight, unseasonably hot weather has dominated the region, caused by a high pressure system that seemingly stalled over the northern Mediterranean. It was a week of hot sunny days and little breeze, unusual in its duration. Again today, not a cloud could be found from the vantage point of La Citadelle, the 16th century fortress overlooking the village and old port of St Tropez, and the site of the Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez prize giving midday today.

Skipper Chris Austin, Alessandra Gucci, Philippe Schaeffer, Director of Rolex France, Allegra Gucci, (front row L-R) and the team of AVEL, winner of the Rolex Trophy Photo By Rolex  Carlo Borlenghi

Skipper Chris Austin, Alessandra Gucci, Philippe Schaeffer, Director of Rolex France, Allegra Gucci, (front row L-R) and the team of AVEL, winner of the Rolex Trophy Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Certainly many competitors could not remember a prior Les Voiles that didn’t feature at least one day of big breeze or a mistral. But the modern classes managed to finally get two races in during the week, the Wally class five, and the traditional classes sailed three completed races.

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez Prize giving Photo By Rolex  Carlo Borlenghi

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez Prize giving Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Trophies and prizes were award to all of the modern and traditional classes in the 300+ fleet. Highlight in the Traditional division was the Rolex Trophy, awarded to the low point winner from the Tradition classes that are more than 16 metres (length on deck). This year, 51 boats were eligible for the Trophy. It was Avel, a gaff-rigged cutter designed by Charles E. Nicholson and built by Camper & Nicholson in 1896, which won the Rolex Trophy. Philippe Schaeffer, Director of Rolex France awarded Allegra and Alessandra Gucci, sisters who own and race on Avel, the Rolex Trophy and a Rolex Submariner timepiece.

Commenting on Avel’s win, Allegra Gucci said, “It’s absolutely fantastic, especially because it doesn’t happen very often that a gaff boat wins the overall. We had extraordinary days – we especially want to thank the organization on the water, because without wind it’s very difficult to do a race.  So many thank yous to everyone involved in the organization.”

The story of sailing yacht Avel has been told: found in a mudbank in southeastern England, the boat was taken to Harry Spencer’s yard in Cowes for a refit – though according to captain Christopher Austin, both the hull and the interior were about 85% original, which made it a great candidate for restoration.  The boat was relaunched in 1994 and has been sailing in the classic races ever since.

One key ingredient to a successful racing boat, of any era, are the sails, considered the engine that drives the boat. Ratsey & Lapthorne built Avel’s original sails, as well as her ‘new’ sails. The sail loft in Cowes has been in existence since 1790, and has constructed sails for a ‘whos who’ of classic and traditional yachts. Mike Ratsey, Ratsey’s “man in the Med”, who races on Avel said, “We’re still racing with the original Dacron mainsail that was built when the boat was relaunched in 1994. We’re always thinking how can we make Avel that bit faster and every year, from the previous year, we think if we do this and do that we’ll get a bit more speed. This year has been exceptional, it’s been Avel’s weather: we like some wind, for us 8-10 knots and flat water is perfect conditions. It’s just the way she is – she’s quite a tender boat.” The win at Les Voiles proved to be a great ending for the season for Avel, which is kept in Palma de Mallorca, and will return there this week to be decommissioned for the winter.

The Rolex Trophy was first awarded in 2006, past winners include:

2010 – Ikra, 12-metre. Originally built as Kurrewa V, a trial horse for the Royal Thames YC for the 1964 America’s Cup.  Later owned by Baron Bich, who sold it in 1977, after which it was converted for racing/cruising in the Mediterranean.

2008 & 2009 – Rowdy, Herreshoff-designed New York 40 class. Commissioned by the New York Yacht Club and built in 1916, this design is 40 feet on the waterline (approx 65 ft LOA).Grand

2007 – Agneta, 25-metre yawl, built in 1951. Agneta’s beautiful varnished mahogany hull and tanbark sails are unmistakable on the water.

2006 – So Fong, 25 metre Marconi-rigged schooner. Designed by the renowned naval architecture firm, Sparkman & Stephens and built in Hong Kong in 1937.

TRADITION DIVISION – Final Results

Grand Epoque A (Vintage)

1) Mariquita – Jim Thom

2) Cambria – Chris Barkham

3) Elena – Steve McLaren

Sailing yacht MARIQUITA and CAMBRIA Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Sailing yacht MARIQUITA and CAMBRIA Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

15 Metre Class:

1) Mariska – Christian Niels

2) Tuiga – Bernard D’Alessandri

3) The Lady Anne – Paul Goss

Sailing yacht TUIGA and MARISKA - Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Sailing yacht TUIGA and MARISKA - Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Epoque Aurique A (Vintage Gaff)

1) Kelpie – Olive Pelham

2) Victory – David Carne

3) Bonafide – Giuseppe Giordano

Epoque Aurique B

1) Avel – Christopher Austin

2) Partridge – Alexander Laird

3) Veronique – Hans Albrecht

Sailing yacht AVEL - Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Sailing yacht AVEL - Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Epoque Marconi A (Vintage Marconi)

1) Rowdy – Graham Walker/Nick Barham

2) Halloween – Inigo Srez

3) Emilia – Gastaldi/Sicotte

Sailing yacht ROWDY - Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Sailing yacht ROWDY - Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Epoque Marconi B

1) Leonore – Mark Faulkner

2) Anne Sophie – Hanns-Georg Klein

3) Helen – Jeffrey Ventre

Epoque Marconi C

1) Mercury – Jordi Cabau

2) Stormy Weather – Christopher Spray

3) White Wings – Mike Sparks

Epoque Marconi D

1) Cometa – Richard Herbert

2) Vagabundo II – Robert Fabre

3) Arrow – Phil Plumtree

Classique Marconi A (Classic Marconi)

1) Maria Giovanna II – Jean Pierre Suvan

2) Outlaw – Mike Horsley

3) Stiren – Gildas Rostain

Classic Marconi B

1) White Dolphin – Fabrice Payen

2) Galvana – Pella Freres

3) Sagittarius – Frederic Laffitte

For the sixth consecutive year Rolex is a Partner of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. The regatta, organized by the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez (SNST), is part of the Rolex Yachting portfolio that includes over twenty world-class sailing events that take place around the world. Rolex is the title sponsor of mythic races such as the upcoming Rolex Middle Sea Race, the Rolex Sydney Hobart and the legendary Rolex Fastnet Race.

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez: Racing concludes

October 04, 2011

Written by Chelsea

Another sultry day on the French Riviera as racing concluded for the week at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez 2011. For the 300 or more boats at this year’s edition, no amount of wind dances or prayers could conjure up enough breeze for a final day of racing. While both Tradition and Modern sailing yachts managed to get a race started, in the end, only the smaller modern boat classes were able to finish. For the Tradition fleet, with a bit of déjà vu for the week, after a few hours of the fleet struggling to get upwind, the decision was made to abandon racing for the day. All standings as of Friday would remain intact.

Sailing yacht AVEL - Photo By Rolex  Carlo Borlenghi

Sailing yacht AVEL - Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Sailing yacht AVEL - Photo By Rolex  Carlo Borlenghi

Sailing yacht AVEL - Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

For the Rolex Trophy group, three races would be counted for the week. With a scoreline of 1-1-1, the 75-foot gaff cutter Avel won their class (Epoque Aurique), as well as the Rolex Trophy, which will be awarded – with a Rolex timepiece – at tomorrow’s prizegiving at La Citadelle.

The Rolex Trophy is awarded to the low point winner from the Tradition division boats that are more than 16 metres (length on deck). There were 51 boats eligible in this division, spread over eight classes in the fleet.

Sailing yacht Avel raced in the 13-boat Epoque Aurique B class with other boats of near the same vintage including Nan of Fife and Veronique. Despite her 100+ year age and gaff sail plan, Avel’s wine-glass shaped underbody is well-suited for the light air that was predominant this week.

The boat, originally built in 1896, is owned and raced by Allegra and Alessandra Gucci. The Italian sisters have sailed onboard since it was re-launched in 1996, following a complete restoration. Allegra was at the helm of Avel when the boat finished first in the feeder race last week from Cannes to St Tropez. For Les Voiles, skipper Chris Austin was helming, while Allegra was on the bow, and Alessandra on the mainsail. Clearly delighted with the win, Allegra said, “It was very difficult, with such light winds, but we have an excellent crew. Avel likes the conditions, and we went in the right direction!”

Austin added, “Tactically we were very good. We’re really happy for the week. We had a bad start today, but we came up through our class and got to La Mouette buoy, and were first in our class at that stage – between the rest of our class and the finish line.

S/Y Avel was discovered in a mudbank in West Mersea, on the southeast coast of England – an area where many other vintage yachts have been found. At the time in 1991, the boat was being used as a houseboat. Austin describes the boat as it was found, “She had sat there since between the wars.  We found her, dug her out and restored her (from 1992-4). She was really one of the very few yachts that were found in a repairable condition. I mean she’s so original – the interior is 85%, the hull is 85% original, so it was really good to find her…she’s a gem, a rarity!

AVEL at the dockside - Photo By Rolex  Carlo Borlenghi

AVEL at the dockside - Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Second to Avel for the Rolex Trophy was Mariska, which won her class (15 Metre), with a score of 2-1-1. Built in 1908 and owned by Christian Niels, it is one of three 15 Metre class yachts racing at Les Voiles. Mariska underwent a full restoration, was relaunched in 2009 and has been having a successful run ever since.

Third placed was Rowdy, co-owned by Graham Walker and Nick Barham. The New York 40 class sloop won the Rolex Trophy in 2008 & 2009.

The season-ending Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez is one of the bigger regattas in the Mediterranean – and certainly one of the most diverse in terms of type of fleet. For the modern fleet, the boats are rated under IRC, while the tradition class follows the CIM (Comité International de la Méditerranée) rule, and as the regatta is based in France, is run under the auspices of L’Association Française des Yachts de Tradition.

To determine which boats race in what division, the duty falls to Roger Gibert and Renaud Godard, CIM measurers. For Les Voiles, the fleet is divided as to age and material of hull construction. So, the Tradition class includes all yachts launched prior to December 31, 1975, and built of wood or metal. All others from 1976 forward, including all yachts built of fiberglass, carbon fibre or other materials, race in the Modern division.

Then under the Tradition division, there are further distinctions as to the age of yacht. All boats launched from 1950 – 1975, again only in wood/metal, are considered “classique”; those launched prior to 1950 are considered “époque”.

The 51 boats that competed in the Rolex Trophy were spread across eight classes: Grande Epoque, 15 Metre, Epoque Aurique (A+B), Epoque Marconi (A+C+D), and Classique Marconi B. The Rolex Trophy was first awarded in 2006, past winners include:

2010 – Ikra, 12-metre. Originally built as Kurrewa V, a trial horse for the Royal Thames YC for the 1964 America’s Cup.  Later owned by Baron Bich, who sold it in 1977, after which it was converted for racing/cruising in the Mediterranean.

2008 & 2009 – Rowdy, Herreshoff-designed New York 40 class. Commissioned by the New York Yacht Club and built in 1916, this design is 40 feet on the waterline (approx 65 ft LOA).Grand

2007 – Agneta, 25-metre yawl, built in 1951. Agneta’s beautiful varnished mahogany hull and tanbark sails are unmistakable on the water.

2006 – So Fong, 25 metre Marconi-rigged schooner. Designed by the renowned naval architecture firm, Sparkman & Stephens and built in Hong Kong in 1937.

The prizegiving for Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez will takes place on Sunday 3 October at 11am at La Citadelle, the 16th century fortress overlooking the Golfe de Saint-Tropez.

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez: Rolex Trophy starts to unfold

October 04, 2011

Written by Chelsea

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez is notable for the diverse fleet of boats and superyachts that turn up each September on the Cote d’Azur for a week of racing. Nearly half the fleet of 300 modern and classic boats is sailing in the Tradition/Classic classes.

The Tradition fleet is made up of 130 boats spread across several classes including: the 15 Meter class, Grand Epoque, Epoque Marconi, Epoque Aurique, Classique Marconi, and the diminutive Tofinou, the modern French-built day-sailer.

Les Voiles des St Tropez Race start  - Photo By Rolex  Carlo Borlenghi

Les Voiles des St Tropez Race start - Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

For the Tradition class, boats must be built prior to 1975, though most of them are quite a bit older. Loosely translated the époque boats are the older, vintage boats, while the “classique” are the based on classic designs. All manner of sail plans and rig designs are seen across the fleet represented by “aurique” which is gaff-rigged, “Marconi” which denotes a Bermuda-rig, with a triangular mainsail and a jib.

Since 2006, a special award – The Rolex Trophy – has been presented for traditional boats 16 metres and longer on deck. This year there are 51 yachts in this group, and the Trophy is awarded to the overall low point scorer. The winning boat will receive the Rolex Trophy and a Rolex timepiece. The 2010 winner, Yves-Marie Morault, on the 12-metre Ikra, is back with his crew, including tactician former America’s Cup sailor Sébastien Destremau, to defend the title.

Today’s racing was postponed for several hours as competitors waited for wind – a familiar circumstance this week as a high pressure over southern Europe has produced unusually benign sailing conditions, not typical for a time of year that often sees the mistral. The modern fleet finally got their first race – for the week, while the tradition fleet also got a late start and again a shortened course, as once clear of the gulf the breeze died off. Many boats in both modern and traditional classes retired, when faced with not making the time limit. Results were pending at press time.

Leading overall for the Rolex Trophy after two days of racing (through Thursday) – theoretically the halfway mark in the regatta – were Avel and the two-time prior Rolex Trophy winner, Rowdy.

Sailing yacht ROWDY - Photo By Rolex  Carlo Borlenghi

Sailing yacht ROWDY - Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Sailing yacht Avel, named after a wind found in Brittany, is striking for her clipper bow and varnished sheerstrake. The gaff cutter measures 57 feet on deck, and with her long, graceful overhangs, stretches to 75 feet overall. Truly from another era, she was originally built in 1896, commissioned by Frenchman Rene Calame to a design by Charles Nicholson, and built at the Camper & Nicholson yard in Gosport, UK. In 1990, she was discovered in a river in southeast England, neglected and in dire need of attention. An Italian purchased Avel and brought her to Harry Spencer’s boatyard in Cowes for, what was, a four-year restoration. In 2010, Avel was awarded the Prix du Yacht Tradition in Saint-Tropez.

Sailing yacht AVEL - Photo By Rolex  Carlo Borlenghi

Sailing yacht AVEL - Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

The boats standing at the top of the Rolex Trophy leaderboard showcase the range of design and periods of classic yachts on display here. Rowdy is a New York 40 class, designed by Nathanael G. Herreshoff and built at the Herreshoff boatyard in Bristol, Rhode Island. She was built in 1916, one of twelve of these one-designs ordered by the New York Yacht Club.

Standing tied for third is the 15 Metre class,  classic yacht Mariska and the 23 Metre class, S/Y Cambria both Fife-designed and built by Fife in Fairlie, Scotland. S/Y Mariska is one of four 15M class boats restored and racing again; three of them are here in Saint-Tropez.

Sail yacht CAMBRIA - Photo By Rolex  Carlo Borlenghi

Sail yacht CAMBRIA - Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Sailing yacht MARISKA - Photo By Rolex  Carlo Borlenghi

Sailing yacht MARISKA - Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Tied in fourth place are several boats including White Dolphin and Stormy Weather. White Dolphin was built in 1967 for Sergio Rossi, then a Director of Fiat. The teak and mahogany 73-foot Bermuda ketch was the last sailboat built by Vincenzo Beltrami, at the prestigious shipyard Cantiere San Germani. White Dolphin has sailed in many of the classic yacht races in the Mediterranean, but it is also extremely comfortable and well suited for the extended cruising that she was designed to enjoy.

Stormy Weather is a 54-foot Sparkman & Stephens-designed yawl built in 1934, at the Nevins yard in New York. Launched five years after the famous Dorade, which was the first design from the young Olin Stephens’ hand, Stormy Weather had a long and successful yacht-racing career capped with wins early on in the Transatlantic Race, the Fastnet Race, and the Bermuda Race. At the time of her launching and subsequent successes, she impressed sailors including noted English boat designer, Uffa Fox, whose comments then could echo true today, “Stormy Weather is one of Olin Stephen’s favourite designs and her lines show her to be beamy and powerful, yet very easily driven, and therefore fast. She is exactly the type of vessel favoured by the new American rule for ocean racing, a type that should gladden the hearts of those who go down to the sea in such small ships.”

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez is a treasure trove of yachts, some more than one hundred years old, others from more recent eras, many impeccably restored, while others are waiting to be — but all appreciated and enjoyed by the sailors and enthusiasts who gather in the old port to keep the spirit of the past thirty years alive.

Saturday is the final day of racing for all of Les Voiles fleet. First warning signal is 1100 for the Moderns, 1200 for Traditional. On Sunday, the final Prize-giving ceremony will be held at La Citadelle, the 16th century fortress overlooking the Golfe de Saint-Tropez.

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez: Challenge Day

October 04, 2011

Written by Chelsea

Midweek in St Tropez is traditionally a layday for the modern fleet, and sort of a busman’s holiday for the classic fleet. Challenge Day has one ‘featured’ race of the day, and a host of other informal challenges were struck for match races between competitors, solely for bragging rights.  This year, the Club 55 Cup match was between 2 superyachts designed by William Fife III – the 140-foot 19 Metre Class, sailing yacht Mariquita and the 128-foot gaff schooner Altair.

Sailing yacht MARIQUITA and CAMBRIA Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Sailing yacht MARIQUITA and CAMBRIA Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Following tradition, the Club 55 Cup race course had a start off St Tropez, from the Tour du Portalet, around La Nioulargue buoy to the finish line off Club 55 on the beach in Pampelonne. After finishing, the crews transfer to the beachside restaurant for lunch, with the losing skipper hosting the drinks.

Racing along with the pair from the “big boat” fleet was the 12metre Ikra, one of the two competitors from the original match race that started La Nioulargue, the predecessor to Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez back in the fall of 1981. The other boat was the Swan 44, Pride, owned by American Dick Jayson. The boat and enthusiastic skipper competed right through 1995, and even returned for the 20th reunion in 2001. Eventually, the family sold the boat about six years ago, and Jayson is now in his late 80s.

Sailing yacht TUIGA and MARISKA - Photo By Rolex  Carlo Borlenghi

Sailing yacht TUIGA and MARISKA - Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

Pride was scheduled to be in St Tropez for the 30th anniversary from its new homeport in Sicily, Italy, but was cancelled due to weather. Fortunately, family reinforcements were on hand: son Bill Jayson and his wife, Anne, were in St Tropez to represent the elder Jayson. As were Patrick Almere and Sebastian Le Ber, President of the nearby Yacht Club de Porquerolles, and both local sailors who were part of the original Pride crew.

Bill Jayson, reflecting on his father’s participation said, “Age took its measure and he really was not able to sail competitively anymore, so he stopped. But we have great memories of sailing here with my dad, and the way he made friends with the people here. Patrice de Colmont (from Club 55) was really the person that got things going after the first race. They thought ‘this was so much fun, let’s invite some more boats… and then we’ll invite some more boats’, and it just keep getting bigger and bigger. It was certainly fun to tag along with my father all these years.”

For other boats, both modern and traditional, about a dozen individual challenges were made, with the planned course 6.5 nautical miles. One pair, which showcased the famous American design firm, Sparkman & Stephens, was the match between the yawl-rigs Skylark, 53 feet, and Argyll, 57 feet. Both are great examples of Olin Stephens impeccable eye: Skylark (1937), is owned by Tara Getty, and Argyll (1948) by the Welsh comedian and actor, Griff Rhys Jones.

Classic yacht NAN OF FIFE Photo By Rolex  Carlo Borlenghi

Classic yacht NAN OF FIFE Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

This years’ Les Voiles marks the debut of Skylark in Mediterranean waters.  The boat only arrived in June, having been shipped from Newport, Rhode Island, where it spent the last eight years going through an on again/off again refit. Fortunately, its’ pedigree – a near sister-ship to the well-known Stormy Weather – and condition warranted attention and ultimately an American owner invested the resources to ensure a thorough refit by classic yacht restoration specialists, LMI Newport and East Passage Boatwrights.

Getty owns the impeccable 100-foot motor yacht, Blue Bird, a classic beauty, and he clearly has an eye and appreciation for period yachts. Blue Bird was built in 1938 for Sir Malcolm Campbell, an English racing motorist who held the world speed record on land and on water during the 1920s and 1930s using vehicles called Blue Bird.  For the match against Argyll, Getty put up the Blue Bird Cup, a striking sterling silver trophy that was awarded to Campbell in 1938 for setting a land speed record.

No stranger to Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, Getty raced every year on boats he chartered with friends. Meanwhile, he kept looking for a suitable sailing yacht, one from an era similar to Blue Bird. He searched for two to three years, almost buying another boat that wasn’t quite right, post-war versus pre-war. Getty said,  “Sometime last summer I saw Stormy Weather and I thought, ‘Okay, now I know what I’m looking for’.”

Having only taken delivery of Skylark in June, Getty and family spent July and August cruising in Corsica with Blue Bird and enjoying day sailing on his new S&S yawl. He said, “For me, she’s a perfect size, because if she’s too small, I can’t really have crew living on her comfortably, and if she’s too big she becomes too much of a hassle to sail – like the big gaffers who needs lots of crew. I want minimum crew, so if we go away you only need one person onboard and that’s it.

“So it’s very difficult to find the right boat for that if you’re looking at vintage boats, but quite difficult to tick all the boxes. So far we’ve been quite lucky, the test will be to see how well she’ll race, because as a cruising boat, she’s worked wonderfully – every day we’ve gone out for a couple of hours and have had some lovely, lovely sails.”

Given that this is Skylark’s first regatta this year, the results seem less important than the joy in finding such a gem, Getty adds, “We have a really strong crew and none of us are really professionals: friends, and friends of friends, and my family. I don’t want to do a full professional thing, it’s not what we’re gunning for. This is our first event this year and it’s wonderful to finally be doing it on your own boat, even though Skylark is not very big compared to some of the boats we’ve been sailing on. This is her first time in Europe, so it must be causing a bit of interest because it’s another Sparkman & Stephens come over (from the US), very similar to Stormy Weather, Dorade, and Sonny…the famous ones. She’s not been seen in Europe.”

The race between Skylark and Argyll was closely fought in the fickle breeze. While Skylark led most of the way around the course, Rhys Jones and his crew on Argyll picked the shifts well, managing to sail into more breeze on the last leg and finished in front of Argyll to win the Blue Bird Cup.

Tara Getty (SKYLARK), Griff Rhys Jones (ARGYLL) and André Beaufils with the Blue Bird Cup for their challenge match race Photo By Rolex  Carlo Borlenghi

Tara Getty (SKYLARK), Griff Rhys Jones (ARGYLL) and André Beaufils with the Blue Bird Cup for their challenge match race Photo By Rolex Carlo Borlenghi

New this year was the Centenary Trophy, a race for traditional boats over one hundred years old (built prior to 29 October 1911), hosted by the Gstaad Yacht Club. With the very light southeasterly breeze over the gulf of St Tropez, the course was eventually shortened, with 15 boats managing to finish. Placing first overall was the 44-foot Bonafide, a “5 tonner” class originally built in 1899, then rebuilt and relaunched in 2003.

At Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, the Rolex Trophy is a competition within the tradition/classic classes for all boats 16 metres and longer on deck. The winning boat will receive the Rolex Trophy and a Rolex timepiece. First awarded in 2006, this year over 50 boats are eligible.  The winner from 2010, Yves-Marie Morault, on the 12-metre Ikra, is back to defend.

Racing continues Friday and Saturday for both Traditional and Modern classes. First warning signal is 1100 for the Moderns, 1200 for Traditional. On Sunday the final Prizgiving ceremony will be held at La Citadelle, the 16th century fortress overlooking the Golfe de Saint-Tropez.

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez 2011 Event Programme

Sunday, 25 September: Welcome for Modern yachts

Monday, 26 September: Welcome for Traditional yachts; Racing for Modern yachts

Tuesday, 27 September: Modern and Traditional yacht racing

Wednesday, 28 September: Modern and Traditional yacht racing

Thursday, 29 September: Challenge Day (match racing); Club 55 Cup between Mariquita & Altair;   Centenary Trophy (yachts over 100 years old)

Friday, 30 September: Modern and Traditional yacht racing

Saturday, 1 October: Modern and Traditional yacht racing

Sunday, 2 October: 11am, Prizegiving Ceremony at La Citadelle