Round the island concluder
After three days of racing on a variety of courses, Luc Poupon and the race committee scheduled a race all the way around the island of St Barts to close this first highly successful edition of the Voiles de Saint-Barth - a 22-mile long race between the rocks in a trade wind that has remained strong throughout the week. The 23 yachts taking part lined up on the same starting line at 1100 for the start.
As soon as the start procedures got underway, a huge tropical squall crossing the race area left the crews drenched. A few minutes later, the skies brightened suddenly there was a flat calm across the entrance of Gustavia harbour and the start line. The yachts waited for a while with their sails flapping and the race directors attempted to resume the start procedures once the trade winds filled in to 18 knots from the east.
At the the first mark outside of the harbour the two giants decided to approach it on different tacks with Peter Harrison's maxi-ketch Sojana on starboard and George David's Rambler on port. The tone was set, and this final race of the Voiles de Saint-Barth was underway with the same thrilling competition as on the previous races this week.
The impressive Reichel/Pugh-designed Rambler completed the course in just two hours. Dominating throughout this event, winning four out of four races, George David’s crew remained modest in their triumph, and as they crossed the finishing line they were thinking of a man who should have been with them - Australian, Peter Doriean, who on Monday died in a tragic accident.
"This great week of racing does not mean of course that we have forgotten about the loss of our dear friend, Peter Doriean," said Reid. "All the crew showed how professional they were throughout the races. We shan’t forget Peter. Life goes on. Rambler will be continuing to race in the States. As for me, I’ve got a lot of work waiting with the wonderful "Puma Ocean Racing" project.
Each day Sojana attempted to keep up with the fast pace set by the American maxi. The trade wind also helped show the full potential of this larger but much heavier boat, but the speed difference between her and Rambler was too much for the Peter Holmberg-led crew and at the close of the regatta ten points separated them.
"We had a great fight with Rambler," said Sojana's Karl James. "We had a great fight with Rambler. There were some tough encounters as we rounded the marks. We really enjoyed this week of sailing, with a very fine crew, who enabled us to get the most out of Sojana. Now, I’m moving on to another giant, Ranger, the big J Class boat that will be racing in Antigua against her eternal rival Velsheda..."
Loïck Peyron who raced on Sojana added: "2009 was a strange year; for the first time in 30 years, I didn’t sail across the Atlantic! I was awarded the "Red Cap, I’ve been annointed. Now I’m a real sailor!"
There were some tough encounters as we rounded the marks. We really enjoyed this week of sailing, with a very fine crew, who enabled us to get the most out of Sojana. Now, I’m moving on to another giant, Ranger, the big J Class boat that will be racing in Antigua against her eternal rival Velsheda..."
Some choice words from Loïck Peyron (Sojana): "2009 was a strange year; for the first time in thirty years, I didn’t sail across the Atlantic! I was awarded the "Red Cap, I’ve been anointed. Now I’m a real sailor!"
Once again there was a match race for the two W76s - Faraday Rosenberg and her 15 strong all-women crew on White Wings against Wild Horses sailed by owner Donald Tofias and his male crew. In the end White Wings once again showed their determination at the start and passed the first mark ahead of Wild Horses. The two W76s boats sped along the leeward side of the island, and with long tacks out to sea Rosenberg's crew eased off a little, allowing Tofias to get back in the race. He made a final dash for the finish on the downwind stretch and won by just four seconds. So victory went to Wild Horses in the Classic division.
Marlies Sanders on White Wings commented: "Our crew was deliberately made up of women. There are sixteen of us in all under the control of our skipper Faraday Rosenberg. There is a fantastic atmosphere on board, with a great team spirit. Everyone helps each other all the time. We have been sailing rather like in a match race against Wild Horses, which is a W76 class that is absolutely identical to ours, except that she is in the hands of the men. So there is real rivalry between us. Our first day was not that great, as we were using it really to train, but we soon found our marks, finishing second in race N°2, and winning yesterday. The final day was therefore decisive, as if we had won it, we would have been on equal points with the boys and we would have won the event because of winning the final race. It almost happened! There’s an extraordinary atmosphere ashore, as it seems that everyone was supporting us and wanted to see us win. This was a fantastic week and we’re already making plans to come back next year."
With four wins in four races, Robert Velasquez and his First 45 crew were beaming with joy this evening, winning his class ahead of Raymond Magras’s Dufour 34 Speedy Nemo and David Cullen’s J/109 Pocket Rocket.
Battling throughout the week against the Swan 45 Puffy, belonging to the event’s godfather Patrick Demarchelier, was the Antiguan J/122 Lost Horizon skippered by James Dobbs which also scored a fourth victory today. Dobbs and his crew seemed unperturbed by the generally brisk conditions this week.
Classic (CLA) division after four races
1: Wild Horses, Donald Tofias ( (Classic / US) 5 points (Race results: 1,1,2,1,)
2: White Wings, Faraday Rosenberg ( (Classic / US) 7 points (Race results: 2,2,1,2,)
3: Duende, Randy West ( (Classic / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 14 points (Race results : 3,3,3,DNC ,)
4: Kate, Philippe Walwyn ( (Classic / Great Britain) 16 points (Race results: 4,DNS ,4,3,)
Multihull division (M2K) after 4 races
1: Escapade, Greg Dorland ( / US) 5 points (Race results: 1,1,DNS ,1,)
Racing division (RAC) after 4 races
1: Lost Horizon, James Dobbs ( (J 122 / Antigua) 4 points (Race results: 1,1,1,1,)
2: Puffy, Patrick de Marchelier ( (Swan 45 / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 8 points (Race results: 2,2,2,2,)
3: Black Hole, Jeroen Hin ( (First 40.7 / Great Britain) 15 points (Race results: 3,HTP ,3,3,)
4: Malachite, Pierre Mancy ( (A 40 / St Quentin Sailing Club) 17 points (Race results: 5,3,4,5,)
5: Lancelot, John Shanholt ( (First 40.7 / US) 20 points (Race results: 4,HTP ,DNS ,4,)
RACING CRUISING (R_C) division after 4 races
1: L'esperance, Robert Velasquez ( (First 45 F5 / Antilles Hollan) 4 points (Race results: 1,1,1,1,)
2: Speedy Nemo, Raymond Magras ( (Dufour 34 / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 8 points (Race results: 2,2,2,2,)
3: Pocket Rocket, David Cullen ( (J 109 / Ireland) 12 points (Race results: 3,3,3,3,)
4: Lil'e, Tanguy Fox ( (Requin / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 18 points (Race results: 6,4,4,4,)
5: Thula, Max Imrie ( (Baltic 39 / US) 19 points (Race results: 4,5,5,5,)
6: Corban, Daniel Harper ( (Swann 42 / United States) 23 points (Race results: 5,6,6,6,)
7: Baladin, Raphael Magras ( (Feeling 30 / Saint Barthelemy Yacht Club) 30 points (Race results : 7,9,7,7,)
8: Ormeau, Alain Charlot ( (Oceanis 473 / Club de Voile du Lac D'orient) 33 points (Race results: 9,8,8,8,)
9: Iznogoud, Christophe Baudoin ( (Surprise / Ctre Nautique de St Barthelemy) 35 points (Race results: 8,7,DNS ,HTP ,)
SUPER YACHT (SUP) division after 4 races
1: Rambler, George David ( (Maxi / US) 5 points (Race results: 1,1,1,2,)
2: Sojana, Marc Fitzgerald ( (Farr 115 / Great Britain) 8 points (Race results: 2,2,3,1,)
3: Moneypenny, James Swartz ( (Swan 601 / United States) 11 points (Race results: 3,3,2,3,)
4: Nix, Nico Cortlever ( (X 612 / Switzerland) 17 points (Race results: 4,4,DNS ,4,)