10th anniversary Voiles
Pressure is mounting on the waiting lists with nearly 3,000 crew competing on over 250 traditional and modern yachts.
Modern craft: the genius of boats and men
The Wallys are out in force. For the past ten years they have formed one of the week’s major attractions. Indeed many now come to Les Voiles to dream and see the Wallys up close, a wish which is easy to achieve since a good number of the fleet of these futuristic super yachts are lined up in the Vieux Port of Saint Tropez, alongside the quay which borders the Annonciade museum. Such an honour belongs solely to these particular modern boats.
Present at Les Voiles since the very first edition, these extraordinary machines created by Luca Bassani and his team, put on quite a show on the race zone. Despite some parts of the deck hardware being mechanised for cruising short-handed, teams of over 25 people embark when racing aboard the largest craft. The latter comprise boats like Esense, one of the 143 foot Wallys (43 metres) which carry 900sqm of sail area aloft.
They will also feature some high-powered crews, such as Peter Holmberg, helmsman with the America’s Cup defender, Alinghi in 2007, who will be on the wheel of Peter Harrison's Farr 115 Sojana. He will be assisted in the tactics and manœuvres by some high-powered crew, including one time Whitbread Round the World Race winner Lionel Péan and former Mini and shorthanded sailor, Alexia Barrier, who is on the point of setting off on a circumnavigation of the globe without producing CO2 as part of the 4MyPlanet project. This prestigious team fully intends to make life difficult for the Swan 112 Highland Breeze (35m).
Then there are the collection of Js including Shamrock V and Velsheda, incarnations of the early days of sailing in the modern era.
Tradition: the heroes return
As has been the case in the past, Les Voiles will see several craft celebrating their 100th birthdays.
Attention will be turned towards Tuiga, one of the most beautiful classics, one of the very rare 15m JIs designed by W.Fife. For the past 15 years or so, she has been the flagship of the Yacht Club de Monaco, and has undergone an immaculate restoration. She is today the pride of her club and its president S.A.S Prince Albert of Monaco. .
French America's Cup skipper Marc Pajot will be at the helm of one of the most highly awaited boats and certainly the hottest newcomer of the year. The 15 m JI Mariska (28m), is also a Fife design but in 1908. She will be heading back to sea for Les Voiles after a two year restoration in nearby La Ciotat.
Another hundred year old yacht is the gaff rig sloop Lady Trix, a relatively small craft of 9m50, designed by Alfred Mylne and restored by Bruno Barbara in the Candela yard in La Rochelle. She will be present in Saint Tropez for the very first time. Presented as a masterpiece of “mahogany, acacia and copper”, she was initially designed for the daughter of the owner of several boats made by the Malcolm yard in Scotland.
Besides the ever important presence of the Pen Duick fleet of the late Eric Tabarly, two 8mJI craft will be racing for the first time this year. These are Athena (14m) designed in 1939 by the Swedish architect Tore Holm which will be driven by a team from the Royal Yacht Squadron, as well as Rhea (14m) a Bertrand Thelma design, built in Arcachon. They will be aiming to match another 8 m JI Aile VI, which entered the history books after taking gold in the 1928 Olympic Games in the hands of Virginie Hériot.
2009 will mark the return, after several years’ absence, of the famous ketch Karenita (23m), which the locals hold very dear. Among her contemporaries we shouldn’t forget Talisman (23m), a 1920 design by architect Henry Rasmussen, built in the same yard as the famous gaff rig schooner Lelantina. Of note too is the modestly sized (10m), West Solent One Designs, Arrow and Natica, back from New Zealand.
Among the more recent craft are Mowgli (12m) a 1964 yawl, just back from the Transat Classique Lagassé, and Maria Giovanna (11m) an Olin Stephens design dating back to 1969 from Trieste – and a new member of the Société Nautique of Saint Tropez.
This year daily results will be published and the winner of the top yacht measuring 16+ metres will be awarded the Rolex Trophy, along a Submariner watch.
Sunday 27 and Monday 28 September: Reception and scrutineering
Sunday 27 September: arrival of the Yacht Club de France’s Autumn Cup from Cannes
Tuesday 29 September, Wednesday 30, Thursday 1 October (J. Laurain Day, Challenge Day, Club 55 Cup), Friday 2 and Saturday 3: Coastal course, 1st start 1200 hours
Saturday 26 September and Sunday 27: Reception and scrutineering
Monday 28-Thursday 1 October (J. Laurain Day, Challenge Day), Friday 2 and Saturday 3 October: Coastal course, 1st start 1130 hours
General prize-giving for all
Sunday 4 October, from 1100 hours
Partners to Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez
Rolex, Gaastra, Rodriguez Group, Sillinger, Wally, UDACS with the CCIV, Serie Limitee/Les Echos, Paris Premiere, Heraclea, PACA Region