With almost 80 entries, roughly a dozen more than last year, this year’s Les Voiles de St. Barth will see a record level of participation. The event, scheduled for its sixth edition from the 13th to 18th April, has become a regular event on the Caribbean sailing circuit, mixing ‘good-vibes racing with stylish shore-side pursuits’ on the French island of Saint-Barthélemy (St. Barths).
Annelisa Gee, competition manager commented, “With lots of cooperation from many, many people we have been able to exhibit that St. Barths is a valid destination for serious race teams. That's huge, because it means logistics of getting boats and equipment here are getting better with each edition. Bigger and better – that's the common theme each year, whether it's referring to the number and quality of boats that come, the amenities and on-shore events for the teams, or adding – in the case of this year – an offshore racing option to the tried-and-true tactical inshore race courses that everyone likes so much.”
Sailing over four racing days (Tuesday to Wednesday, 14th to 15th April, and Friday to Saturday, 17th to 18th April) will be Maxi, Spinnaker, Non-Spinnaker, Racing Multihull and One-Design classes, negotiating various distance courses that typically snake through and around the reefs and smaller islands surrounding the 9.5 square miles of volcanic island that is St. Barths.
Comanche and Rambler 88, both sporting the newest in sail racing's technological advancements and measuring in at 100' (30.48m) and 88' (26.82m) respectively, will be among the competitors in the ten-strong Maxi division, with the possibility organisers will choose to showcase their power with a newly designed super-sprint option of 40 plus miles to Tintamarre Island off St. Martin.
Dependent on sea state and weather conditions, the other Maxis (and possibly Multihulls) could also sail this course. The Maxi group includes returning teams on the Maxi 72 Bella Mente, which just won overall honours in the Caribbean 600, the Swan 80 Selene and the Marten 72 Aragon, while newcomers are the Farr 73 Maximizer, Swan 90 Odin, the Baltic 78 Lupa of London, and the RP 63 Lucky.
For more information on this year’s event, visit Les Voiles de St. Barth.