Please select your home edition
Edition
Barton Marine 2019 728x90

Elegance galore for the 20th anniversary of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez

by Maguelonne Turcat 21 Aug 17:40 BST 28 September - 6 October 2019
Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez day 5 © Gilles Martin-Raget / www.martin-raget.com

There is just over a month to go to celebrate the 20 years of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez in style. The meeting is organised by the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez for over 4,000 gleeful sailors, eager to be a part of the incredible gathering of 300 of the finest classic and modern boats. The anniversary edition promises to be the best possible vintage, for boats and sailors alike.

Modern craft: the best of the best!

In addition to the Wally class' international movers and shakers, Olympic medallists and world title holders - such as Thierry Peponnet (Tango), Jochen Schümann and Tom Whidden (Magic Carpet3) - the docks of Les Voiles will once again resonate to the furious pace of the IRC boats this year. Among the largest craft, there's sure to be a standing ovation for George David's Maxi, with the stellar Brad Butterworth calling tactics, Rambler 88. Indeed, she will be fresh from her latest victory in elapsed time in the Rolex Fastnet Race with a time of 1d 19hr and 55'. All eyes will also be on some of the newcomers to the fleet like the V68 Pelotari (20 metres), designed in collaboration with the architect Mark Mills, which was launched in late June, or the GS80 Essentia (24 metres), designed by Ceccarelli Yacht Design and Engineering, which is also due to make her race debut in Saint Tropez.

Another eagerly awaited appearance is that of French Kiss, the legendary 12mR, chartered by Marc Pajot and a nice crop of former crew from the America's Cup project, who flew the French flag in Australia back in 1987. Suffice to say that the competition will be fierce for the 30 Class A superyachts and Maxis, which will see a number of big names from sailing and offshore racing slugging it out, such as the double champion of the Barcelona World Race, Jean-Pierre Dick (The Kid) and the illustrious American helmsman Peter Holmberg (J Class Topaz). In the wake of the largest craft, the battle of Les Voiles promises to be hotly disputed in Class B, armed with over 35 competitors - with the notable presence of Marc Lepesqueux (Sunset), and in Class C, with the same number of participants and no fewer than four TP52s. In D, one of the most abundant classes, set to border on 40 entries, participants will notably cross tacks with Patrizio Bertelli - boss of the Luna Rossa challenge and the international group partnering the 36th America's Cup, which will be held in 2021 in Auckland, New Zealand - aboard a 1974 Galinari design, Vanessa.

Among the IRC Es, there will likely be a serious confrontation between the forty or so competitors which together make up the cream of the Farrs, Firsts, J Boats, JPKs, Melges and Océanis, not to mention the very elegant dayboat fleet, namely the Code 0s and Tofinous.

Tradition: constant bedazzlement

It's possible to have won the Vendée Globe twice over, made a clean sweep of all the monohull and multihull prizes, been elected sailor of the year three times and still come along to humbly 'learn the ropes' on a classic boat at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. That's just what Michel Desjoyeaux is delightedly preparing for after accepting a cordial invitation from the Jour de Fête sailing team (Epoque Marconi B designed by Franck Cabot Paine and William Starling Burgess in 1930), a team with whom he's already sailed beneath other skies and notably in Maltese waters for the Middle Sea Race. "I know nothing about it" jokes the "professeur", though he admits to having been raised on wooden boats - his family just so happens to own the Dragon No.2, which is obviously a collector's item. The odds are that he won't allow the competition any more leeway in the quest for the Rolex Trophy, for which he'll be competing. This fact should do nothing to affect the motivation and reflexes of the crew of Blitzen. Indeed, at Les Voiles, and doubtless only at Les Voiles, you can hesitate between the notoriety of the boat - an extraordinary 1938 Olin Stephens stunningly restored at Shemara Refit in 2016 - and that of her crew, with the discrete presence of Simon Le Bon, lead singer of Duran Duran.

In Marconi A Classic, another capped skipper will be at the controls of Hermitage, in the person of Lionel Péan, who'll gather around him some of the key elements of the legendary crew of L'Esprit d'Equipe with whom he was the first - and only - Frenchman to win the Whitbread, a crewed round the world race. He'll be up against another star of French offshore racing, Philippe Monnet, at the helm of Lys, his 1956 Sparkman & Stephens.

In this anniversary edition of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, it's the brilliant Figaro sailor Nicolas Bérenger who'll be at the helm of Ikra, the 12mR from the original Nioulargue in 1981, whose main rival will be France, the famous 1970 Mauric design.

Alongside Ester (1901 Mellgren design), one of the year's great 'discoveries' will undoubtedly be the clash with Sumurun, a 1914 Fife design. This highly exceptional 35-metre Marconi yawl is one of the last large Fife-design cruising yachts still sailing. She's completing a remarkable two-year restoration at the Guip yard in Brest and will make her new race debut in the Gulf of Saint-Tropez.

Among the Gaffers, this year's new addition, with a ketch-rig this time, is no less than 120 years of age. The imposing 34-metre Nicholson design, Black Swan, will be making her first appearance in the waters of Saint Tropez.

Anniversary for Roy

To celebrate 20 years of the event, the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez was keen to create a surprise mix by calling upon one of the Cote d'Azur's most popular DJs: the highly renowned Jack-E, star of Les Caves du Roy, has been invited by the organiser to lead the events celebrations.

Related Articles

Gstaad Yacht Club Centenary Trophy is back
Some of the most handsome boats will gather once more Feels like yesterday when the Swiss Club launched the idea of an event dedicated to boats one hundred years and more of age, but the Gstaad Yacht Club Centenary Trophy will celebrate its ninth anniversary this year in Saint-Tropez. Posted on 17 Aug
All set for the 20th Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez
It's set to appeal to both enthusiasts and the general public The three Wallycentos Galateia, Magic Carpet3 and Tango, have already booked a spot to be a part of one of the most fantastic naval ballets imaginable between these craft at the cutting-edge of technology. Posted on 14 Jul
Gorgeous Rolex Giraglia Race
297 yachts were entered in both IRC and ORC classes The regatta format included a "feeder" race to St Tropez from Sanremo, Italy. Then the fleet sailed three days of inshore races that include three Windward/ Leeward races. Posted on 17 Jun
Rolex Giraglia 2019 prizegiving
Course set for the 2020 edition The prizegiving on the observatory deck of the Yacht Club de Monaco closed the 67th edition of the Rolex Giraglia 2019. Several prizes were awarded and there was a good number of entries in this Mediterranean classic. Posted on 16 Jun
Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez preview
How the 20th anniversary will be celebrated Fast approaching its 20th anniversary, Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez remains as passionate as ever about the prospect of hosting 300 of the finest classic and modern boats. 4,000 crew are preparing to invest their energy and enthusiasm in the race village. Posted on 16 Jun
Rolex Giraglia 2019: Hardest and fastest edition
A total of 297 international yachts, and nearly 3,000 sailors, took part The illustrious reputation of the Rolex Giraglia has been sculpted by the passion and persistent pursuit of excellence of those who take part together with the dedication and purposeful collaboration of the events established partners. Posted on 15 Jun
Swans embrace the challenge of the Rolex Giraglia
One of the Mediterraneans oldest and most loved events The Rolex Giraglia is one of the Mediterraneans oldest and most loved events. It has evolved continually since its launch in 1953. 2019 marked the 67th edition. Posted on 15 Jun
Rolex Giraglia offshore victory for Caol Ila R
Jethou and Wallyño claim combined prizes Two bullets in the inshore racing in Saint-Tropez, then a second place in the offshore secured Sir Peter Ogden's 77ft Jethou the combined inshore-offshore prize for the Rolex Giraglia's maxi IRC 0 Racer class. Posted on 14 Jun
Rolex Giraglia day 6 offshore race
Line honours for Rambler but no records broken Starting from the Golfe de Saint-Tropez at 12:35 yesterday, the maxi fleet competing in this, the fourth and penultimate event in the IMA's 2018-19 Mediterranean Maxi Offshore Challenge, first rounded a turning mark to the west off Cavalaire-sur-Mer. Posted on 13 Jun
Rolex Giraglia day 5
Headed for the Giraglia rock driven by a good crisp wind Regular starts for the impressive fleet that was split into four groups, with the smallest (Groups B IRC/ORC) leading the way, followed at 10 minute intervals by Group A, the group 0 and then the Giraglia X 2 entries. Posted on 12 Jun