By Gemma Fottles, photos by GRAAM Michael and Jouany Christophe
Yesterday marked the concluding day of the Les Voiles St. Barth regatta. Now in it’s sixth edition, the regatta was established in 2010, and hosted 70 boats in 2015.
“It was a very interesting race course,” said Lupa of London's winning skipper Jeremy Pilkington (UK) about his Maxi 2 class's 28 nautical mile course. “We had a few little challenges and a few ups and downs going around, but we were very pleased with how we did. We had to finish top-three and were assuming that Selene was going to win on handicap, and we did a little bit better than that.” On corrected time, Selene won, whilst Lupa of London placed second to secure the class victory overall.
In the Spinnaker 2 class, which sailed a shorter 23 nautical mile version of the race, Ramanessin, chartered by Germany's Christian Zugel, had to watch itself against El Ocaso and Ventarron, since they were all one point apart going into the last day. “We started with one point up, so if we had finished second today we would not have won,” said Zugel. “Right at the start line we were lined up very nicely, but one boat came from the left on the port side and hit us, so you can see some pretty big scratches on the front of our boat but luckily no further damage. We decided to keep going and managed to win.”
Claude Granel's Martinique entry Martinique Premiere-Credit Mutuel won Sunday's race in Spinnaker 4 sailing a 17 nautical mile course to secure overall class victory after going into the last day of the race with a slim lead. His closest competitor from the previous day, Maelia, slipped to third in the overall standings while Zarafa wound up second.
James Blakemore's South African entry Music, in Spinnaker 3, posted another first to add to his three others from the three previous racing days. “The race was great today – good steady breeze between 16 to 20 knots and great sea conditions,” said Blakemore. “My guys sailed the boat really well; we got off to a really great start. Every day has been good for us. It's fantastic coming here; it's a fantastic regatta.”
Spinnaker 0's winner, Vesper, finished the regatta with all first-place finishes in the five races it sailed over the four days of racing. “You go into these regattas where you're in good shape going into the last day, but there is only one way to sail these boats and that is at 100 percent,” said Vesper's tactician Gavin Brady about the fact his team didn't need to sail today in order to win.
“Today we pushed as hard as every other day, which is the best thing for the boat and the best thing for the team.”
Lloyd Thornburg's U.S. entry in Multihull class, Phaedo 3, won again on Sunday for a fourth time over four races. “It was a great event,” said Thornburg, who on Wednesday established the Multihull record for a newly introduced 43-mile course that will be repeated here each year.
Puerto Rican entrant Lazy Dog, skippered by Sergio Sagramoso, also added another victory to his score line of all firsts to win Spinnaker 1 class. Bobby Velasquez was the winner of Non-Spinnaker class in L'esperance.
In Melges 24s, the St. Martin team of Budget Marine GILL topped the leaderboard. Skipper Andrea Scarabelli said, “This is one of the events we love the most. Racing in one-design is always nice because you are racing at a similar pace. The goal is to keep building the Melges 24 class. This year we were only four boats, but we hope to get more.”
The event's largest, fastest boats sailed in Maxi 1 class, and it was George David's Rambler 88 that won the four-race series there. All eyes had been on Rambler 88 and the larger Comanche during the first two race days. It was Rambler 88 that prevailed with corrected-time performances that gave the team three first-place finishes in a row. By today, when Rambler 88 took second to Hap Fauth's U.S. entry Bella Mente, the focus had returned to who was doing the best on ratings. Rambler 88 maintained its place at the top of the scoreboard, but Bella Mente was able to replace Lucky as runner up.
At the prize giving, Principal Event Partner Richard Mille presented George David, who also was the overall winner of the Maxi division, with a Richard Mille Caliber RM 60-01 Regatta watch.