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…]

Grins All Round As First Yachts Finish

Phaedo’s Lloyd Thornburg invites Peter Aschenbrenner to enjoy a celebratory glass of champagne on board to toast the 63ft trimaran, Paradox as winners of the Multihull Class – Credit: Ocean Images/Team Phaedo

By: Louay Habib

Mike Slade’s crew on ICAP Leopard were enjoying a cold beer in the Antigua Yacht Club today and Leopard’s owner, Mike Slade, was really enjoying winding down after a tough race in which ICAP Leopard took Line Honours for the second time: “That was definitely the toughest of the three races I have done, but I absolutely love this race; the course, the weather and the welcome we receive back in Antigua is just the best, anywhere. The RORC Caribbean is one of the premier yacht races worldwide and ICAP Leopard will definitely be back next year.” [Read more…]

A Tough Day in Paradise

Credit: Athos/Miles Seddon

By: Louay Habib

0700 (local time) Day Three RORC Caribbean 600

Just before dawn, Peter Aschenbrenner’s American 63ft Trimaran, Paradox powered through the finish line to complete the 600-mile course in less than two days. Conditions have been fresh to frightening right from the start and there has been no let up for over 500 sailors battling through exciting yet tough conditions. Next to finish will be Mike Slade’s British maxi, ICAP Leopard to claim Monohull Line Honours, however ICAP Leopard experienced a slow passage to the south of Guadeloupe, preventing the team from getting near the course record. [Read more…]