Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez 2023 is in full swing with all the different craft, Maxi, Modern and Classic yachts, entering the star-studded arena of Saint Tropez today amidst some truly enchanting conditions! 250 yachts in all, they made for their respective racecourses, under full sail in glorious sunshine, from Le Portalet to Cap Bénat in the west and Les Issambres to the east, adding a rare and unique riot of colour of epic proportions to the Gulf of Saint Tropez, brought to life by a fine SW’ly breeze reaching 20 knots in the afternoon. Whilst the Maxis validated their third race off Pampelonne, the Modern yachts enjoyed their second day of racing and the Classic yachts made their 2023 debut. The result was one of those days that brings joy to everyone involved, blessed by the wind gods, embracing the best their sport has to offer with beaming smiles.
86 classic yachts at their peak
At 13:00 hours, the Classics made their debut with a downwind start, headed by the Bermudan rigs in a great whirl of spinnakers. As the wind picked up the pace towards Les Issambres, so too did these venerable yachts. Eagerly awaited star performers, the yawls competing for the Rolex Trophy benefited from a special start, brilliantly showcasing their slender rigs, in the wake of Manitou, formerly owned by John F. Kennedy, which very quickly sniffed out the right wind angle for a fast and efficient long leg down to the exit from the gulf. Meantime, the Big Boats, large gaff or Bermudan rig schooners, completed the spectacle, the giants Elena, Naema and Puritan neck and neck on the line. Rapid downwind, these cathedrals of sail were nevertheless outpaced by the 15mRs, which were agile and swift when it came to latching onto fresh breeze to make good their escape downwind. For ever first, Varuna 1939 won the opening race of the Rolex Trophy, whilst further victories went to Spartan in Epoque Aurique and Tuiga in Grand Tradition.
Modern yacht wizardry
Confined to the far end of the gulf until the end of the start sequences for the Classic yachts, showtime for the 123 boats competing in the difference Modern classes began at Le Portalet in downwind conditions, with a sumptuously breezy coastal course for their second race of the competition. After yesterday’s light airs, this second day enabled them to show another side to their skill and dexterity. Dominating this Tuesday night are Lazy Dog in IRC B, Give Me Five in IRC C, Cocody in IRC D and Expresso 3 in IRC E.
Maxi round-up after 3 races
Following a delicious day of racing offshore of Pampelonne, the 40 Maxi Yachts validated their third race of the week. Tomorrow will signal a well-deserved lay day for them, but already the podiums are taking shape in each of the four groups. Maxi A is punctuated by the supremacy of Cannonball and North Star. Peter Harrison nailed his second win today ahead of Peter Dubens. Jethou and Bullitt remain in ambush, regulars at the front of the pack.
Terry Hui’s Wally 77 Lyra is barely leaving any room for the competition in Maxi B with three victories out of the three races contested. The Marten 72 Aragon and the Wally Rose are hanging on in there to eye up an opening! Benoit de Froidmont, President of IMA, might well smile. His Wallyno has also scored three bullets. This evening, she left the Italian and French Mylius 60s Sud and Lady First 3, over three boat lengths astern. Finally, in Maxi D, the Starkel 64 Stella Maris narrowly missed out on the grand slam with two wins and one second place. The Swan 65 Saida and the Shipman 64 Sao Bernardino will nurture that glimmer of hope as they try to knock the Italians off their perch at the end of the week.
Today’s partner: Rolex
For nearly seventy years, Rolex has established a multitude of close ties with the sailing universe. Rolex, the Official Watch of Les Voiles de Saint‑Tropez since 2006, is awarding a special prize here: the Rolex Trophy, which rewards the winner of a Classic yacht category. Over time, this has become one of the most prestigious and most prized awards of Les Voiles. This year the Yawls are the craft of choice. 12 yawls make up the line-up, launched between 1912 and 1963 and designed by some of the most respected naval architects of the 20th century, Nicholson, Sparkman & Stephens, Mylne and William Fife.
Of note for tomorrow Wednesday!
-Maxi Club 55 Cup, Magic Carpet vs My Song and a day off for the others!
– North Sails Party, Place des Lices from 18:00 hours, the one and only crew pétanque competition.
– Bruno Troublé book signing – “Pas une minute à perdre” (Not a minute to lose) – all about the America’s Cup and the racing universe – from 17:30 to 19:00 hours in the Village des Voiles, Môle Jean Réveille, on the Images Service stand.
Programme 2023 (all results and race information online on Les Voiles website)
Wednesday 4 October: regattas for the Modern and Classic yachts
Day Off for the Maxis and Club 55 Maxi Cup
Thursday 5 October: Challenge Day and Club 55 Cup for the Modern and Classic yachts, regattas for the Maxis
Friday 6 October: regattas for the whole fleet
Prize-giving for the Maxis
Saturday 7 October: regattas for the Modern and Classic yachts,
Sunday 8 October: Prize-giving for the Modern and Classic yachts
Voiles de Saint-Tropez Partners
ESPRIT VILLAGE A SAINT-TROPEZ
PEPINIERE DU GOLFE
Voiles de Saint-Tropez Official Suppliers
CHAMPAGNE BARONS DE ROTHSCHILD
DOMAINE BERTAUD BELIEU
VILLE DE SAINT-TROPEZ
PORT DE SAINT-TROPEZ
LES MARINES DE COGOLIN
FEDERATION FRANCAISE DE VOILE
YACHT CLUB DE FRANCE
INTERNATIONAL MAXI ASSOCIATION