Monday, April 11, 2016

Les Voiles de St Barth Preview

J/105 sailing Caribbean (Gustavia Harbour, St Barths)- From 11 to 16 April, St Barths will host the 7th edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth, an event which, since its creation in 2010, has quite simply become indispensable thanks to the unique sporting atmosphere and conviviality that colors activities both on the water and on shore in this lovely little quadrant of French style in the Caribbean.

J/111 sailing CaribbeanIt is no coincidence that each year renowned sailors and prestigious boats flock here in increasing numbers to enjoy the extraordinary playing field offered up by the islands and the wealth of other ingredients that make the racing so magical. Truly magical for anyone those who have experienced this north eastern corner of the Caribbean- sun, rain, popcorn blue-white clouds, “Jesus Rays”, squalls and juxtaposition of all the best there is to offer in this part of the world.  Moreover, the 2016 vintage is no exception to the rule since the sailing superstars such as Ken Read, patron of the event and five-times J/24 World Champion, rank amongst a total of sixty-three teams registered to date. Crews whose machines are each more impressive than the next, some of which are cut out for the greatest oceanic challenges, not forgetting the passage-making greyhounds in the J/Boats stable, which are as technologically advanced as they are competitive.

This year Les Voiles de St. Barth will once again welcome an impressive fleet combining racing thoroughbreds, extraordinary prototypes, flying machines and the latest new additions from classes such as that of the famous boatyard- J/Boats. This diversity is undoubtedly part of the richness of the event, which sees its line-up expanding with every new edition, with a battle raging at every stage in every category.

J/122 sailing CaribbeanYet again, the legions of J sailors young and old that have left their mark in Caribbean offshore sailing will be in attendance at this eponymous event.  At the top of the J/Navy is the J/122 LIQUID skippered by Robbie Ferron from Antigua, a notoriously fast skipper and sure to give the locals in St Maarten/ St Barth anxiety attacks.  They will have in their company the upgraded J/120 JAGUAR skippered by Vladimir Kulichenko.  And, likely to be in their class is a past CSA Racing winner in Les Voiles, the J/111 J-BOSS sailed by Stephane Blanchard with a top crew from France and Martinique.

Most likely sailing against one another in CSA Racing 4 class will be two past winners of major events in the Caribbean, the J/109 POCKET ROCKET helmed by David Cullen from Ireland and the Barbados team on the J/105 WHISTLER sailed by Peter Lewis.   To keep track of all that fun in the sun, please be sure to visit the Les Voiles St Barth website here.