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RS Sailing Feva Europeans 2018 728x90

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez - Day 4

by Maguelonne Turcat 5 Oct 2017 22:01 BST 30 September - 8 October 2017

Les Voiles is a festival in its purest sense, and on Thursday, perhaps more so than on any other day of the week, this specificity takes on a whole new dimension, when skippers and owners do things their way and celebrate the Nioulargue as they see fit, recreating the historic challenge between Ikra and Pride in 1981.

In this way, over thirty Modern and Classic craft took up the gauntlet today, in duel configuration or with multiple challengers, in a series of friendlies to neighbouring Pampelonne in line with the Club 55 Cup tradition. Meantime, the rest of the fleet remained in port, treating the huge crowds, lured by the summery atmosphere, to the opportunity to revel in the spectacle of the sublime boats and their crews up close at the dock. The nautical and maritime festivity quickly spread to the streets that meander about the little port in the wake of the crew parade, ringing out long into the night with the typical pizazz of seafarers' gatherings.

Savannah, the new Defender of the Club 55 Cup!

Today the Club 55 Cup saw the Defender Eugenia V, the 1968 Rhodes design, competing against Savannah. It was the latter that secured the win at the end of the 15-mile sprint from Saint Tropez to the beach of Pampelonne. It is a gentlemen's race according to the very terms outlined by the protagonists gathered at the Club 55 to celebrate the new Defender!

In 1995, an American yachtie competing in the J-Class races, one Elizabeth Meyer, wanted to create a Spirit of Tradition. This yacht was inspired by William Fife's J-Class sloops and a plethora of other beauties, but she wanted a boat that measured less than 100-feet in length. For this particular J-Class, Pedrick and Munford teamed up to create Savannah. Strikingly beautiful, her features embody all that is wonderful in the design of 20th century yachts.

Lively challenges

Throughout the day, ten or so challenges livened up the race zone between the little port of Saint Tropez and the beach of Pampelonne, following in the historic footsteps of the challenge on which Les Voiles was founded in 1981. Of particular note was the keenness of the crews of the three 12 m JIs, Ikra, Sovereign and France to continue with their week of jousting. From midday, they became embroiled in a friendly race bound for Lion de Mer, neck and neck, constantly sizing up their respective speeds at every point of sail as the breeze filled in. There were no points on the scoreboard at the end of this shakedown, but their appetites are further whetted for when they begin racing in anger again tomorrow in the group of Marconi Classics.

More majestic still perhaps, was the three-way racing proposed by the large gaff-rigged schooners, Elena (Herreshoff 2003), Puritan (Alden 1931) and Germania Nova (Oertz 2011), who posted dazzling performances in the bay with their profusion of fore-and-aft sails throughout their short coastal course stretching some ten miles or so.

No respite for the 15 m JIs

Competing in their very own championship for the Rolex Trophy, which is due to be awarded this Saturday, the four 15 m JIs decided to continue battling it out on the water, scheduling in two windward-leeward courses at the heart of the bay. It proved to be a rather perilous exercise given the hordes of spectator boats on the race zone. Though the wind was slow to establish itself, it certainly packed a punch when it did kick in early in the afternoon, really spicing up play. Hispania seemed keen to make up for her lacklustre start to the week, stamping her mark on the competition and narrowly missing out on the win in the first race of the day that went to Mariska, before sailing an absolute blinder in the second race to take victory over Mariska and The Lady Anne.

To the Sonderklass Tilly XV, the Centenary Trophy.

She is really creating a stir at Les Voiles through her elegance and her seemingly effortless efficiency on the water. She really pulled out all the stops again today to secure the Centenary Trophy, finishing ahead of Spartan and Linnet, which were 2 and 3 minutes astern respectively! Initiated in collaboration with the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez by the Gstaad Yacht Club in 2011, the Centenary Trophy was played out today in a 'pursuit race' format, the boats crossing the start line according to their rating, enabling the competitors to race on an equal footing. This format is relished by sailors and public alike due to its sheer simplicity: the first boat to cross the finish line offshore of Saint Tropez' sea wall is the winner.

The low-down on the races

The varied weather, imbued with a climate worthy of early summer, has enabled at least two races to be run for the majority of the 19 groups, Moderns, Classics and Wallys combined, as we reach the midway point in the 2017 edition of Les Voiles. In fact the Wallys and 15 m JIs have even notched up 3 races on their respective scoreboards already. It is Open Season, the Wally 107 launched in 2012, which is leading the fight for the BMW Trophy and managing to keep the two Wallycentos, Magic Carpet 3 and Tango, at arms' length. However, there's everything to play for at the midway mark in the racing since just one point separates the two leaders. Meantime, Franck Cammas is sailing true to form. Indeed, the last French winner of the Volvo Ocean race, teamed up with Lionel Péan, who also won that same race back in 1986, are really showing off Babsy's potential to the full, the VOR 70 dominating play this evening ahead of the Maxi yachts My Song and Farfalla. The TP52s are reigning supreme in the IRC C group as they vie for the Edmond de Rothschild Group Trophy, with Orel Kalomeni's Renata already well ahead of Arobas (Gérard Logel) and Alizée (Laurent Camprubi).

The gaff-rigs that make up the P Class and the Metre Class are involved in a sumptuous confrontation with Olympian, the fabulous Gardner-designed P Class, currently with the edge. She is just 2 points ahead of Spartan, the Herreshoff NY50 and the Alfred Mylne gaff cutter Kelpie. Bruno Troublé and his P Class Chips (Burgess 1913) remains on the hunt.

Today's Partners:

KAPPA & Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez
Robe di Kappa is, for the seventh consecutive year, the official clothing partner for this major gathering of the world's sailing enthusiasts. In this way, for its new collection, the Italian label is proposing a wide range of chic sportswear products, available across three distinct universes. The special Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez 2017 collection boasts some very sporty lines, which have gleaned considerable inspiration from the sailor's universe. As is its wont, Robe di Kappa has endeavoured to offer us stylish, intricate and elegant pieces. Featuring a very well-designed 2017 vintage, its key piece is the Polo Doris. The latter is a limited edition that is numbered and features a profusions of motifs and pieces of embroidery. The unique Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez 2017 collection also comprises T-Shirts, short and long-sleeved polo shirts, shirts, shorts and Bermuda shorts. Certain pieces are a nod to the codes of rugbywear too. This 2017 collection also contains a wealth of accessories including bags, towels and scarves...

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