Les Voiles de Saint Barth: Everything Clicks

The final day of racing at Les Voiles de Saint Barth served up lively conditions for the fleet, with 20+ knots of wind whipping up four- to six-foot seas.  The race committee sent the Maxi/Racing, Maxi, and Spinnaker 1 and 2 classes on a 17 nautical mile course along the western side of the island, somewhat protected by the lee of the land but nevertheless providing shifty conditions. Spinnaker 3, Melges 24, Classic, Non-Spinnaker, and Multihull classes sailed a 26 nautical mile course around the islands off the north and east side of Saint Barths, fully exposed to the fresh breeze and ocean swell. [Read more…]

Les Voiles de Saint Barth: Status Quo

Well rested after a lay-day spent at the beach and enjoying other leisurely pursuits, competitors at Les Voiles de Saint Barth returned to the race course today. Despite a forecast that called for rain and increased winds, sunshine and trade winds prevailed, though the breeze was lighter at 12 to 14 knots.  Principal Race Officer Jean Coadou gave the Maxi/Racing, Spinnaker 1,2,3 and Melges 24 classes two races today: counter-clockwise courses of 17 and 14 nautical miles around St. Barths. Classics, Non-Spinnaker, and Multi-hull classes completed one race, a 31-nautical miler around St. Barths and all of the nearby islets.

After the initial two days of racing, most of the class leaders had only a slight lead, so the door was open for movement in the rankings. It was an opportunity on which only one boat really managed to capitalize. First-time leader in the highly competitive Spinnaker 1 class was the Swan 53 Music (RSA), which took firsts in both races today, and now trails Defiance by one point. [Read more…]

Les Voiles de Saint Barth: Finding the Groove

Having been given plenty of time on yesterday’s longer courses to sort out their crew work, sail selection, tactics and sunscreen, sailors took to the turquoise seas off the French West Indies island of St. Barth for a second round of competition today at Les Voiles de Saint Barth. With the first day down and competition defined, now it was time to fine-tune and sort out standings.

The race committee selected three courses: 22 nautical miles for Classics, Non-Spinnaker, Spinnaker 3 and Melges 24 classes; 27 nm for Spinnaker 1, Spinnaker 2, and Multihulls; and 29 nm for Maxis. All three courses took the boats out and around the northern end of St. Barths and the outlying islands.  The southeasterly breeze was more sustained today at around 18 knots, with gusts to 20, which on the windward-side of the island produced large swells.
 [Read more…]

Les Voiles De Saint Barth 2013: Bring it On

Hamachi downwind sailing at the Voiles de Saint Barth on Day 1
© Christophe Jouany

It was hard to tell dockside in Gustavia this morning if there was a care in the world among the Les Voiles de St. Barth competitors, what with the trade winds blowing, blue skies prevailing, and large cumulus clouds scudding overhead. With the first warning signal at 11 a.m. (10 a.m. for the rest of the week), there was time for the crews to enjoy café and a croissant in the race village, finish prepping their boats, and catch up with friends.

The atmosphere was relaxed and thoroughly Caribbean-style, though it belied somewhat the competitive spirit found in a good part of the fleet. Through just about all classes, sailors were scouting their competition, checking ratings and looking to see what modifications had been made since their adversaries last competed on the water. [Read more…]

BVI Spring Regatta winners decided at Nanny Cay

The large expanse of the North Atlantic lies just to the North of The British Virgin Islands and on this morning, the BVI Spring Regatta competitors got a real taste of it. The sea state kicked up to 2 metres and the wind speed for the first start was 20 plus knots when a vicious squall darkened the horizon in The Sir Francis Drake Channel. Blinding rain colder than the sea spray reduced visibility to just a few feet and had sailors scurrying for foul weather gear.

With wet sails, slippery decks and the big easterly breeze blowing squalls in off the Atlantic, the last day of racing at the BVI Spring Regatta got under way. However, conditions improved during the day with the squalls diminishing to allow the competitors to dry out in the fresh 15-20 knots of warm breeze and glimpse of sunshine through the broken cloud. [Read more…]