10 years of 'Les Voiles'
On the water:
The grand racing lines at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez have been renewed. After the arrival of the Yacht Club de France’s Autumn Cup from Cannes on Sunday afternoon, the modern yachts will lead the way into the Gulf of Saint Tropez from Monday onwards, to be joined from Tuesday by the classic yachts. Everyone will be on the water up to and including Saturday 3 October, with the exception of Thursday, which will as usual be devoted to the 'challenges', which competitors will organise amongst themselves as they wish.
To simply matters, the 'Esprit de Tradition' (Spirit of Tradition) class will not exist at Les Voiles this year; instead the boats will be grouped into two large categories, either 'modern' or 'traditional', with the usual possibility of organising the results into series when there are sufficient competitor numbers.
Once again this year the modern boat races at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez will be handicapped under IRC.
It is worth noting that for the very first time Les Voiles will this year play host to a new Atlantic competitor, who will be racing aboard his Grand Soleil 37 in the form of Philippe Baetz, president of the UNCL.
One of the main characteristics of Les Voiles de Saint Tropez, is fully involving the locals in the event, as well as, more widely, the general public, who come out in force to witness this autumnal gathering. Throughout the week, morning and night, everyone can have access to the unique experience of strolling along the quayside, completely transfigured by the fleet of competitors, free of barriers and limitations to access.
The spectacle on the water is also very easy to follow from the harbour wall or the natural promontory of the Citadel, along the shores of the gulf or even from aboard passenger craft, which offer trips out to sea to follow the racing. It is also with this aim in mind that 'Les Voiles village' is open to the public free of charge from Sunday 27 September to Sunday 4 October, from 0900 to 2000 hours.
According to a new formula initiated last year, the entertainment - music, parade of costumed crews, arrival of a classic car rally - a series of events will take place throughout the week in various locations: at the port, Place des Lices or the Ponche, as well as around the streets of the pirate town. Adorning 'Saint Tropez in the colours of Les Voiles', is also something the town is keen to encourage and, in order that the port is decorated from head to toe, along with the traditional and much awaited Les Voiles poster (currently being finalised), flags will also be made available to shopkeepers this year on behalf of the Société Nautique in Saint Tropez. Also of note is that photos and videos of Les Voiles will be broadcast on giant screens each evening.
10 years of Les Voiles, 100 years of yachting: Tuiga and Mariska
After devoting two years to her restoration at the Charpentiers Réunis in nearby La Ciotat and her reconfiguration for the 15 mJI class measurement, the highlight of the year among the traditional yachts goes by the name of Mariska. This 1908 Fife design, a new member of the Société Nautique of Saint Tropez, will be out racing again and its legendary rival on this occasion will be Tuiga, which dates back to the start of the last century. Tuiga is a flagship of the Yacht Club de Monaco and is currently celebrating her 100th birthday
A crew from Tahiti
A new addition to the 2009 line-up will be a crew from Tahiti at this year’s Les Voiles. Indeed an agreement has been made between Pierre Dinard, organiser of the Tahiti Pearl Regatta and the Société Nautique of Saint Tropez, so as to organise a crew exchange enabling Polynesian racers to participate in Les Voiles, while a local crew from Saint Tropez will have the chance next May to race in the 2010 edition of the Tahiti Pearl Regatta.