The seventh edition of Les Voiles de St-Barth which runs from 11 to 16 April 2016 has got off to a very promising starts with magnificent yachts such as Commanche and Phaedo 3 already registered to take part in what has become one of the Caribbean's major saling events.
A waterborne extravaganza
Comanche, the 100-footer VPLP-Verdier design owned by Jim and Kristy Clark and skippered by Ken Read, a Volvo Ocean Race icon, remains faithful to Les Voiles de St-Barth.
Last year, businessman Jim Clark's team, made up of very honed, experienced sailors, captivated the public with its spectacular manoeuvring around the island of St-Barth. Their return is eagerly awaited by the organisation team and by all the event's avid followers. Lloyd Thornburg's magnificent MOD70 Phaedo3 (the former MOD70 Foncia) will also hit the racetrack.
The crew of her American owner, which has boasted some very specialised sailors including Brian Thompson, Sam Goodchild and a certain Michel Desjoyeaux, is sure to make life difficult for the other Multi in what is guaranteed to be an absolute showstopper!
Maxi 72s out in force
For the second year in a row, Les Voiles de St-Barth is registered on the Maxi 72 Class' official event schedule, along with the RORC's Caribbean 600, the Copa del Rey and the World Maxi 72 Championship in Porto Cervo.
For now, two (of the six) boats in the class - Tito Schön's Momo and Sir Peter Ogden's Jethou – are officially entered on the starters' list, but rumour has it that there are likely to be a total of four Maxi 72s participating in Les Voiles, a fact confirmed by the manager of the class, Rob Weiland.
“It looks as if Bella Mente and Proteus will also join the fray…” Unfortunately, Roberto Tomasini's Italian team on Robertissima won't be coming together for this edition of Les Voiles. Following, their victory in the Barcolana back in October, Vasco Vascotto, skipper of the boat, has stated that his team will be busy preparing the design of a brand new boat penned by Botin and built in Dubai.
Lionel Péan: the comeback
Among the many characters, who have already decided to come together for this seventh edition is Lionel Péan, a major influence in French yachting and winner of the Whitbread (the former name of the Volvo Ocean Race). As such, his partner, SFS, a major protagonist in construction insurance will be supporting the skipper and his crew in this fantastic adventure!
“We won't be racing aboard our Volvo Open 70 SFS in Saint Barth” explains Lionel. “We have to adhere to a fixed programme in the Mediterranean so we've decided to charter a boat locally. We were keen to come last year so this year we just couldn't miss this event, which I've watched developing. In the very early days, I even helped the organisation introduce it to the sailors. Today, Les Voiles de St-Barth has really evolved: the organisation is exceptional and very professional with a great atmosphere… I can't wait to get going”.
*Image credits: Les Voiles de St Bart; Jouany Christophe