Packing more punch, ferocity and intensity than ever, Les Voiles is buzzing..

– Grand finale for the Maxis
– 15mRs, 12mRs, Yawls… the Classics go large in the breeze
– The Modern yachts tussle for the love of the sport

Today saw the Maxi Yachts round off an intense week of racing at Les Voiles with five races validated in 5 days! Job done then for the 40 Maxi Yachts, whose presence in Saint Tropez has made it the second largest Maxi meet in the world! Split into four groups, A, B, C and D, these elegant racing machines got down to action in a series of coastal courses spanning Cap Bénat to Les Issambres. Racing in close contact on some delightfully technical courses, these imposing race yachts tweaked by high-performance sailors from right around the globe, showcased their amazing prowess in all types of breeze, posted lightning speed at every point of sail and were incredibly responsive to variations in pressure. This evening, with their sights already on the 2024 edition, they celebrate their prize winners! 

Cannonball, Lyra, Wallyno and Stella Maris crowned.
Peter Harrison and his Cannonball once again outsailed the competition in the large Maxi A fleet (Byblos Trophy). Two race victories and a number of top spots put them out of the reach of the other 72-footer North Star and the large Wally Galateia, which powered back into contention, albeit a little too late in the day. 
Maxi B (Galeries Bartoux Trophy) saw similar domination with the Wally 77 Lyra virtually untouchable. The other German Wally Rose earned a fine second place 5 boat lengths astern, one point ahead of the Marteen 72 Aragon. After a truly masterful performance, Wallyno won wide acclaim and the Barons de Rothschild Trophy, which rewards the best Maxi C. Benoit de Froidmont and his crew made a clean sweep of the prizes after scoring 5 out of 5 wins. Jean Pierre Drean’s Lady First 3, was a worthy second on the podium in Saint Tropez, whilst the Mylius 60 Sud, nabbed third. Finally, the Maxi Ds vying for the Highfield Trophy crowned the venerable (2000) Starkel 64 design, Stella Maris, which held off stiff opposition from the Shipman 63 Sao Bernardo and the German Swan 65 Saida.

Benoit de Froidmont, Wallyno, and President of the International Maxi Association
Wallyno is an authentic 18.50 m Wally launched in 2003, and with the help of Cédric Pouligny calling tactics and a certain Clément Giraud of Vendee Globe fame on the bow, she won the Maxi C group hands down.
“It’s been a magnificent week, with a splendid conclusion for Wallyno, which is even better than expected. We set sail as favourites and confirmed our status. I’m very pleased for the crew, who have worked hard and sailed hard all year. It’s our last race of the season. It’s also the last race for our Captain Rémi Bouvet, who’s heading to pastures new. We dedicate this win to him. It’s been a fabulous Maxi meet, with an excellent standard of racing. The collaboration with the Société Nautique has been brilliant and we’re improving year on year.”

Tradition: Spectacular Spartan
After a festive break on Thursday, the Classic yachts got back down to action this Friday. A 17-mile windward-leeward around the edge of the gulf towards Les Issambres was on offer, spurred on by a very fickle 7 to 10-knot NNE’ly breeze in terms of strength and direction. Race Management managed to make the best of the conditions as the wind picked up, enabling the sumptuously beautiful fleets to power up for the different starts and really show off their calibre as racers. The lovely P Classes, with Corinthian leading the way on port tack, were embroiled in a wonderful tussle. Clearly very at ease on the waters of Saint Tropez this week, Spartan (Herreshoff 1913) made good her escape in some fresh breeze, just scraping past an incredibly motivated Esterel (Sibille 1912), before finally stealing a big lead after two hours of racing. The beautiful New York 50 (Herreshoff 1913) dominates this group in the provisional overall ranking prior to tomorrow’s last race.

A battle royal for the Rolex Trophy!
Competing for the Rolex Trophy, the Yawls have put on a showstopping spectacle that more than matches their star qualities. The way they lined up for the start and absolutely nailed it was poetry in motion. At the committee boat end, Hermitage made the most of a bottleneck to haul herself in front. Jockeying for the top spots, Barbara (Nicholson 1923), Stiren (Sparkman & Stephens 1936) and Manitou (Stephens 1937) also managed to find some space in this dazzling sea of hulls and Bermudan rigs. However, Varuna (Sparkman & Stephens 1939) reaped the benefits in the quest for the Rolex Trophy and she already boasts 2 victories. Meanwhile, Comet (Stephens 1946) no longer holds all the aces to go for gold, but she remains under the threat of Stormy Weather (Stephens 1934).

The 12mRs majestic
Among the ten 12mRs competing in Saint Tropez, the eagerness to get down to battle took on a whole new level of intensity today, with French Kiss and Ikra getting off to a particularly skittish start. This resulted in the latter boat having to drop back to last position in a group dominated by the Americans on Nyala (Olin Stephens 1937), which outpaced the 12D group.

Modern yachts
Shifting round to the south, the wind pushed the Modern yachts in their 4 IRC groups towards a start line level with Le Portalet. With every start becoming increasingly tense, the Race Committee were forced to request a general recall of the IRC D fleet, which were really champing at the bit. Latching onto 10 knots of breeze, the Tofinous had all the fuel they needed to steal a march on the rest of their very dynamic group of 9 to 12-metre thoroughbreds. The Prince of Denmark’s Nanoq scored another bullet, taking him another step closer to a potential triumph tomorrow for the BMW Trophy in IRC C. Peter Byford and Daguet 2 are also within touching distance of the big prize in IRC B thanks to their fantastic second place. Meantime, those who ranked lower at the start of the week are coming back strong in IRC D and E, which means it’s all to play for in the last race of the week tomorrow, Saturday.

Today’s partners:
North Sails hoists the colours of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez 
Equipment supplier to the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez since 2018 and Les Voiles since 2019, North Sails has developed a casual collection created specially by the brand’s designers to appeal to an international audience of young fans of ultra-chic, comfortable sportswear. This exclusive range is available across the Village site and kits out the event’s volunteers. The North Sails Custom Lab is also in Saint Tropez and sailors can personalise their clothing in the name of their boat or their crew. There’s also a sail repair station in port, available to all the crews.

Pépinières du Golfe
Based in the gulf of Saint Tropez since 2003, the Pépinières du Golfe take on all kinds of landscaping work and ensure the Village des Voiles and the VIP spaces enjoy a true Mediterranean vibe with their floral decorations and green spaces.

Ekle Décoration: The stunning lay-out of the Lounge and living spaces that make up the village is the brainchild of Sara Sgarbi, the brand’s interior designer based in Saint Tropez. 

Programme 2023 (all results and race information online on Les Voiles website)
Saturday 7 October: regattas for the Modern and Classic yachts,
Sunday 8 October: Prize-giving for the Modern and Classic yacht
 

Organisation:
Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez
President: Pierre Roinson
Principal Race Officer: Georges Korhel
Regatta Secretary: Frédérique Fantino
On-the-water logistics: Gilles Doyen
Communication and Executive Assistant: Chloé de Brouwer
Editorial: Denis van den Brink
Websites: www.lesvoilesdesaint-tropez.fr ; www.societe-nautique-saint-tropez.fr
Facebook: les Voiles de Saint-Tropez Officiel

Photo credit: SNST / Gilles Martin-Raget

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