From 30 September to 8 October Les Voiles de Saint Tropez promises a unique gathering of the most beautiful classic and modern yachts in the world, closing the regatta season in style. Amidst the a festive atmosphere among participants, fans and locals, this year the organizers have also put in place tight security measures with a fan-zone on Thursday 5 October (crew parade) and Saturday 7 October, restricting vehicle access to the port and to the vicinity of the race village.
Keeping up with the Moderns
The Wally yachts are in a world apart combining luxury and comfort with speed and manoeuvrability, a formula ahieved by Luca Bassani. This is an important year for the class with the launching of the fourth Wallycento, conforming with the box rule, following Hamilton (renamed Open Season) Galateia, Magic Carpet3 and the newly launched Tango.
Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget
The battle for the BMW Trophy, currently held by Open Season, will be fought off the coast of Pampelonne. IRC A class guarantees a thrilling start with 43 metre Baltic My Song lining up against 35 metre Swan Solleone, the Farr 100 Leopard (the current ttle holder on corrected time) and La Bete (formerly Rambler), sailing under a British ensign. In the IRC B class, last year’s 1st and 2nd place holders bearing the same name, Music (GBR – Swan 53) and Music (SUI – Baltic 50) will be playing it out against two further homonyms, Enigma VIII (NOR – Swan 66) and Enigma (FRA – Sense 50)!
The IRC C fleet has been chosen for the third consecutive year as contenders for the much coveted Groupe Edmond de Rothschild Trophy, a battle between the TP52, GP42, Swans, Farr40, 46 and 52, IMX and prototypes. Rivals Alizée and Arobas² face a rematch with Renata (formerly Team Vision) helmed by virtuoso Sébastien Col, hoping for some spoils. In Classes D and E competition will be fierce amidst closely matched fleets of over 30 yachts per category.
It’s a Classic
A record number of 25 centennials will compete this year, amongst a total of around one hundred classic yachts. The preservation and restoration of classic yachts has been encouraged by the creation of class rules and classic events such as the Nioulargue, until 1999 the forerunner to the Voiles de Saint Tropez. Many a passionate salor has searched out broken hulls and wrecks to embark on the adventure of stroing a classic yacht to its former glory and take part in this revered event.
Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget
This year’s edition also sees the famous New York 30 Linnet, the NY40 Chinook, and the NY50 Spartan, precursors to the current series of one-designs and all three the work of renowned designer Nathanael Herreshoff under the auspices of the New York Yacht Club. Of similar origin, the P-Class Olympian and Chips and Q-Class Jour de Fête exemplify a renaissance of the “Universal Rule”, the biggest and best known creations being the J-Class.
Thanks to a handicap system (based on performance predictions and corrected times), diverse newcomers such as the 1930 JI 6-meter Nada, helmed by Alexia Barrier and the 1924 75 SQM Tuemmler will meet on the same start line. All this among a lineup of previous champions such as: Spartan (Epoque Aurique A), Kelpie of Falmouth (Epoque Aurique B), Rowdy (Epoque Marconi A), Leonore (Epoque Marconi B), Cholita (Epoque Marconi C), Moonbeam 4 (Grands Traditions), Yanira (Classic Marconi A), Outlaw (Classic Marconi Class B), Il Moro di Venezia (Classic Marconi Racer) plus the delectable Maria Giovanna II (Invitation Class), and Mariska (15 meter JI) racing for the mythical Rolex Trophy.