St Barths ready for seventh edition of sailing and social activities

From April 11 to 16, St. Barths will host the seventh edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth, an event that has become an essential part of the Caribbean racing schedule. And for good reason, because on the water the precision of the organisation and the excellent standard of the competition have earned the event recognition on the international racing circuit, while on shore the constant festive feel gives it a unique dimension. For this 2016 vintage, the organizers have planned an exceptional program of entertainment, once again with the focus on bringing together sailors from all around the world and the local population.

The program combines what have become “traditional” highlights such as the festive crew night, lay day activities and the picnic on Colombier Beach with a tasty cocktail of new features such as the “Famous Pirate Sails” evening at the Caribbean restaurant Le Ti St Barth, jousting on giant Stand Up Paddleboards, and a wealth of other surprises.

Since the first edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth back in 2010, organizers have served up a near-perfect balance of sportsmanship and social interaction. Today, it's this unique spirit that makes the event so special. “Saint Barths is an island that excels in hospitality and boasts an array of high quality tourist treats, where people love to enjoy its many assets and its context. In short, they love its art de vivre and its ‘French Touch'. There is no better place to combine enjoyment and competition,” said François Tolède, Director of Les Voiles de St. Barth's organization team.

As is the case every year, Tolède and his team have drawn up a rich and varied program on shore, structured around a village spanning over 2,000m² set up on Quai Général de Gaulle in Gustavia. It's a venue where the sailors get together every morning and every evening after racing, and visitors can come along to share ideas and unique moments during music concerts and event video shows on giant screens.

Rich Programs, Both on Shore and at Sea

“Today, the people who come to Les Voiles de St. Barth are as demanding about what we offer on the water as they are about what we offer them on shore,” said Luc Poupon, Race Director, who has put together an on-water program that notably features some 20 courses. “The idea is that each day the best routes are chosen in accordance with the weather conditions, while introducing the greatest possible variety to ensure their enjoyment. With this in mind, for this latest edition we've planned to set a mark near Saline to give the sailors the chance to discover the island's novel landscapes and seascapes.”

Poupon is delighted at the top quality line-up of this year's fleet. “Today, some 69 crews are signed up and it's evident that the standard is particularly high thanks to the presence of a series of very high performance boats and crews,” he explained. This view is backed up by François Tolède: “Given that our original aim was to gather together an elite fleet, inevitably it's hugely satisfying to have amassed such a stellar line-up.”

The Indispensables and the New Features

Ashore, the crews also will have the chance to discover and rediscover the event's indispensable highlights that have established Les Voiles' reputation today. Topping the list is the famous Crew Night on Shell Beach on April 13 and the day off that is much appreciated by the sailors the day after this great festival. “The idea is to strengthen the bonds between the crews, by enabling them to have some quality time together on shore in a sociable atmosphere punctuated by sports activities and relaxation,” said Tolède. “In this way, everyone can really take the time to enjoy the hospitality of St. Barths.” The rest day will once again take place in St. Jean at Nikki Beach restaurant, one of the most glamorous establishments in St. Barths, which is also famed for its festive atmosphere.

Chilling out and relaxing will be the crews' philosophy during this day off on April 14. However, there will still be plenty of opportunities to challenge each other in areas other than sailing. “We'll be offering them water polo matches, volleyball tournaments, an underwater treasure hunt around Eden Rock to locate bottles of champagne, as well as a few new additions such as giant Stand Up Paddle jousting,” said Tolède.

Something for Everyone

Among the can’t-miss events at this seventh edition will be a special evening entirely dedicated to the crews: the “Famous Pirate Sails” at the legendary Caribbean restaurant Le Ti St Barth on April 12. There will also be a Street Art performance by Cyril Kongo, a French visual artist; book signings with the famous writer Philippe Besson and Christophe Jouany, the photographer responsible for the beautiful book on Les Voiles de St. Barth; a Cabaret Show; the event prize-giving; the traditional fireworks display on Saturday April 16 and a whole host of free dockside concerts at the end of each day. And to round things off in style, the picnic at Colombier, on Sunday, April 17 will enable the volunteers, participants and members of the organization to get together for one last afternoon of relaxation in a cheery, good-humored atmosphere.

The Program

SATURDAY APRIL 9
17:00pm Opening of the Race Village – Quai Général de Gaulle
19:00pm Live Music – Abanazul (Latino)

SUNDAY APRIL 10
17:00pm Opening of the Race Village bar

MONDAY APRIL 11
From 15:00pm Street Art Performance with Cyril Kongo
15:30pm Opening of the Race Village bar
17:30pm Sale of the beautiful book on Les Voiles de St. Barth. Book signing by photographer Christophe Jouany
18:00pm Opening ceremony
19:00pm Cabaret Show at Le Ti St Barth
19:30pm Live Music – The Union (Pop Rock)

TUESDAY 12 APRIL: 1st race
11:00am Boats set sail
15:30pm Opening of the Race Village bar
17:30pm Thai cuisine stand – Black Ginger restaurant
18:00pm The day's prize-giving
18:30pm Video screening of the day's images
19:00pm Live Music – CHURCH (Rock)
20:00pm “Famous Pirate Sails” night at Le Ti St Barth – Carole's Place (by reservation only)

WEDNESDAY 13 APRIL: 2nd race
10:00am Boats set sail
15:30pm Opening of the Race Village bar
16:00pm Breton cuisine stand – La Crêperie restaurant
17:30pm Talk and debate with writer Philippe Besson, followed by a book signing – Terrace of the Harbour Master's Office
18:00pm The day's prize-giving
18:30pm Video screening of the day's images
From 18:30pm: Crew night on Shell Beach (meal by invitation only)
Midnight: Give me a break night at the First Class Yacht Club – Carole's Place

THURSDAY 14 APRIL: DAY OFF
From 12 noon: Day Off at Nikki Beach restaurant (by reservation only)
17:30pm Opening of the Race Village bar
18:30pm Video screening of the day's images
19:00pm DJ Set with Mario Giorno (Deep Music & Electro)

FRIDAY 15 APRIL: 3rd race
10:00am Boats set sail
15:30pm Opening of the Race Village bar
17:30pm French and Creole cuisine stand – Côté Port restaurant
18H00 The day's prize-giving
18H30 Video screening of the day's images
19H00 Cabaret show at the Ti St Barth – Carole's Place
19H30 Live Music – Church (Rock)

SATURDAY 16 APRIL: 4th race
10:00am Boats set sail
15:30pm Opening of the Race Village bar
17:30pm Raw and Sushi Bar – Fresh West Indies caterer
18:00pm Prize-giving ceremony on the Race Village stage
19:45pm Fireworks display
20:00pm Cabaret Show at the Ti St Barth – Carole's Place
20:30pm Live Music – The Union (Pop Rock)
Midnight Closing night at the First Class Yacht Club – Carole's Place

SUNDAY 17 APRIL
12 noon Picnic on Colombier beach.

Coursemaster Autopilot
M.O.S.S Australia
Jeanneau Sun Fast
Multihull Group
Coursemaster Autopilot
M.O.S.S Australia
Jeanneau Sun Odyssey
Multihull Group