Leopard v Rambler at Les Voiles de St Barts
Registration is going well for the second Les Voiles de St. Barth to be held over 4-9 April, with 40 boats having signed up in the five classes competing - Super Maxi, Classic, Racing, Racing-Cruising, and Racing-Multihull.
The impending top-level battle between the two supermaxis Leopard 3 and Rambler 100 is sure to turn some heads and bring an extremely high standard of racing to the Caribbean's newest regatta. These two splendid racing yachts have added the 2011 Les Voiles de St Barth to their 2011 sailing programmes, which will culminate in July with the New York Yacht Club’s Transatlantic Race.
Les Voiles de St. Barth, with its generally windy conditions, offers a wide variety of courses, set by Race Director Luc Poupon, who will be providing these two giants with an opportunity to measure up against each other for four days in the Atlantic Ocean.
George David, holder of the Richard Mille Trophy since his win here last year on board Rambler 90, is back again after modifying Rambler 100 (ex-Speedboat and Virgin Atlantic) for his 2011 programme, which will focus on the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series. "In many ways, Les Voiles de St Barth represents a sort of mini programme for us this year," said David. "No other place in the world, other than St. Barth, brings together such a concentration of the elements that are required to make races successful, with moderate to strong variable winds, a long regular swell, some spectacular backdrops and such a friendly welcome from the inhabitants."
With a canting keel and a 44m mast, Rambler 100 will once again require all the talent and experience of American skipper Ken Read and his crew from the Puma Ocean Racing Team, who are preparing for the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race.
Their challenger Leopard 3 will certainly put up a fight, as her boat captain Chris Sherlock has brought together an international all-star team that includes Mike Slade, Ian Budgen (GBR), Robert Greenhalgh (GBR), Mike Joubert (RSA), Gordon Maguire (IRL), Luke Molloy (AUS), Jeremy Robinson (GBR), David Rolfe (NZ), Guy Salter (GBR), Mark Thomas (AUS) and Jim Turner (GBR).
The super maxis brings the number of 75-115ft yachts for Les Voiles de St Barth up to six, and with still two months to go before registration closes, more remarkable entries are expected including Atrevida (BRA), a 105-foot Herreshoff-designed schooner; the 76-foot W-Class boat White Wings (USA); and Patrick Demarchelier’s Swan 45 Puffy (USA).
The Les Voiles de St Barth organising team is now concentrating on applying finishing touches to ensure that this will be a friendly, festive event. Racing begins on Tuesday 5 April, with Thursday 7 April a layday, enabling the crews and those accompanying them to enjoy themselves and discover the magic of the island.
The race village, a hit last year, will be even bigger and better for the 2011 event. Each day, it will play host to the island’s top chefs, who will present their skills and know-how in their culinary presentations, as well as several wine cellars which will offer win