Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille is underwaySt. Barth, April 15 2019
Picture-perfect conditions greeted the fleets to kickstart the 10th anniversary edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille as the nine classes raced around the west side of St. Barth on racecourses ranging from 24 - 36 nautical miles in 15 - 20 knots of breeze. IMA members' boats Sorcha, Windfall, Caro and Sojana are competing.
Of the 2019 entries, almost 30 percent are first-timers, a sure sign of this regatta’s popularity known for delivering the perfect blend of great racing, gorgeous scenery and the St. Barth signature relaxed shoreside atmosphere.
“Everything about this regatta is so nice,” said Marijn Van der Straaten, the Dutch sailor from Curacao, here for the first time racing in CSA 5. “I like the harbor here, and how all the boats and the Race Village are all so close together. The set up makes it so much more personal. This is how a regatta should be.“
In CSA 1, Kuka3 (Cookson 50), leads the fleet of seven, followed by Pata Negra in 2nd, and Triple Lindy, the second Cookson 50 of the fleet, in 3rd.
According to Rob Trainor, sailing on board Triple Lindy, the boat is named by owner Joseph Mele in tribute for Rodney Dangerfield’s signature move from the classic movie “Back to School,” The team represents at least six countries and has sailed around the world in events such as Sydney to Hobart and now Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille.
The Kid, a JP 54 skippered by Jean-Pierre Dick, is currently in 5th place. “The game was quite tight, especially with both Cookson 50s,” he said. "The maneuvers were very important. I think we have done well today overall with no major mishaps and clean manuevers. I’ve known St. Barth for a long time, but this is the first time I’ve sailed at this regatta, and it’s so beautiful racing along the beautiful coastline."
Credit Mutuel - SGS begins 2019 event in the same form they finished the 2018 edition - sitting in first. Team Island Water World, the smallest boat in the regatta, is in 2nd, and Maelia Caisse d’Epargne Cepac Antilles is in 3rd.
Currently in 4th, the J105 Sunbelt Realty Jenk team hails from Caracou and Bonaire, and is thrilled to be racing at Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille for the first time. “We love to sail new regattas each year, to see new things and learn new islands,” said Van der Straaten, who is tactician on board.
For John Vincent, skipper of the chartered TP42 Phan, it’s his first time racing here in St. Barth as well. Hailing from Santa Barbara, Calif., he is already calling it, “A magical experience. The whole island is incredible, the people, the food, plus the boats that are here are off the charts, it is all just incredible. It’s already the most special sailing experience I have ever had, and I’ve been sailing my whole life.”
Vincent is sailing with his long-time crews that he races with between California on a J111 and Florida on his Aerodyne 38. “We hit 20 knots of boat speed today and that’s just a fun thing to do. My other boats are a little smaller than this, and this boat is 30% faster.
“We were first to finish, so that always feels good, but will have to see how the ratings work out for us. A few technical issues but we feel like we can pick up more time as the regatta continues, but overall for our first day racing I give us a B+ score.”
Phan currently sits in 3rd place and will have their work cut out for them racing against Les Voiles’ regulars, the Melges 32s Lazy Dog and Kick ‘em Jenny, in 1st and 2nd respectively; with Taz, a Reichel Pugh 37, in fourth.
Another Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille first timer is Chris Brody, skipper/owner of El Ocaso, a J122, who has also fallen under St. Barth’s charms.
“We already love it here, and have just had a ball. We’re here from the UK with my family and some of my regular crew. Although we didn’t do as well as we hoped today, we expect to improve as the regatta continues,” he said with a smile.
Conditions were lovely, we had a bit of everything, some light, some heavy and it’s all good. It’s our first time back on the boat in almost a year so we have to remind ourselves how to sail her again. It’s always the little things and the fleet continues to improve, so if you make small mistakes you get hammered for it.”
Across the eight-boat fleet in CSA 4 is Holding Pattern (ST 37), Liquid (J122), El Ocaso (J122), followed by Touch2Play Racing (Reflex 38) in first through fourth, respectively.
Maxi 1 & 2
In the three-boat fleet of Maxi 1, currently Sorcha sits in 1st, and is skippered this year by Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille 2019’s ambassador, Pierre Casiraghi. SHK Scallywag, the Dowell 100 is in 2nd, followed by Ambersail 2 in 3rd.
Miles Seddon, navigator for SHK Scallywag, was pleased with their first day out. “What a nice day - we had great wind, a few small squalls came through which made it a bit gusty and shifty,” he said. “It was a really nice course, and a really good effort.”
In Maxi 2, the Swan 80 Selene owned by Wendy Schmidt, sits in 1st, followed by Windfall and Sojana.
Event Director: François Tolède
Race Director: Luc Poupon
Offshore Operation Manager: Xavier Marchal
Onshore Operation Manager: Béatrice Albe
Communications Manager: Alexandra Lemarchand
Editorial: Perrine Vangilve
Photography: Christophe Jouany et Michael Gramm
Video: Air Vide et Eau productions
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Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille
From 14 to 20 April 2019, Saint Barth’s will host the 10th edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille. Created in 2010 at the behest of François Tolède and Luc Poupon, today the event has become an unmissable meeting for monohulls - included in the calendar of the International Maxi Association - and multihulls alike. The reason for this is the unique competitive spirit and sociability that colours the race, both on the water and on land, which have earned it a spot as a major event in the Caribbean. Today, it has a real international dimension, each year gathering together 15 or so nationalities, the most high-performance boats in the world and the top international sailors.