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20th Anniversary Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez - Day 4

by Maguelonne Turcat 4 Oct 06:30 BST 28 September - 6 October 2019

The now legendary origin of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez is the Nioulargue, an event devised by a handful of seafaring gentlemen gathered around Patrice de Colmont, following what was a rather innocuous bet at the time between two yachts, the 12mR Ikra and the American Swan Pride.

20 years on from the revival of the event under her new name of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, the course for this epic sprint to the Nioulargue mark was opened today within the context of the Club 55 Cup, by the very same Ikra, helmed by top French racer Nicolas Bérenger, and another Swan, this one 53-feet, by the name of Solte. Victory went to the 12mR, at ease in the shifty breeze that coloured play on this beautiful summer's day in the bay.

Challenges of all kinds

Keeping up the Nioulargue tradition, no fewer than sixty or so crews stepped up to the challenge on this historic course today. Among them were clashes between two generations of 12mR, French Kiss (Philippe Briand 1985) against France (André Mauric 1970). An adversary in the Epoque Marconi group, Emilia (Costaguta 1930) laid down the gauntlet to La Spina (Baglietto 1928) in an elegant and stylish face-off between Bermudan sloops in excess of 20 metres. More futuristic was the challenge between Ryokan 2, the Wally 80 and Lyra, a Wally 77, with almost identical potentials. Of the multi-yacht challenges with very different profiles was a clash between the Verdier design The Kid (JP 54) against Black Pepper, Black Legend, Tewa and Black Soul. Fjord III, the Frers Bermudan cutter challenged Jour de Fête, which boasted one Michel Desjoyeaux as crew (Paine-Burgess 1930). Equally appealing was Lorina against Wallyno by way of a dress rehearsal for the final for these two Maxis, an account due to be settled later this week within the context of Les Voiles!

Ikra makes the Club 55 Cup winners' list once more

Winning the Trophy twice before, in 2003 and 2004, the 12mR Ikra scored a hat-trick today in this 2019 edition. Indeed, in this tumultuous sprint between Portalet, Nioulargue and Pampelonne, in a light breeze with a bracing chop, she gained the upper hand against her challenger, the Swan 53 Solte. Following this clash of the titans, the crews succumbed to tradition and cheerfully dined at Patrice de Colmont's, at the Club 55, their heads beneath the tamarisks and their feet in the sand, delighting in the Provençal and Mediterranean fare.

To the wire for Olympian in the Centenary Trophy!

At the instigation of the Yacht Club de Gstaad, some 25 centenarian yachts of all sizes and rig-types competed for this 9th edition of the Gstaad Yacht Club Centenary Trophy. In line with the pursuit race principle agreed by the competitors, each yacht set sail shortly after 13:00 hours from the Portalet Tower in a moderate SE'ly breeze on a 17-mile course to the Nioulargue mark and back. It was Lulu, a gaff cutter penned by Texier in 1897, with her LOA of 11.43m, which was the first to be warped, followed 11 minutes later by Viola (Fife 1908). It was the majestic Moonbeam IV (Fife 1914) that brought up the rear of this fleet of centenarians some 37 minutes later. After 2 hours of sheer heaven out on the racetrack, Olympian, the William Gardner design P Class launched in 1913, bagged the Trophy, just a hair's breadth ahead of Viola, which has hitherto been untouchable on the Mediterranean circuit this year, and Chips, the other P Class penned by Burgess. "We were less than 2 metres behind!" lamented Yvon Rautureau, "having led the whole race!"... Even in a friendly, a racer remains a racer...

The Wallys for the love of the sport!

A fabulous 17-mile course in the sunshine, breeze and gentle waves... the temptation proved too great for all the Wallys at Les Voiles, who made the most of the start line put in place by the organisation. Embroiled in a thrilling race for glory, the formidable Galatea (Wallycento) also shook up today's hierarchy by getting the better of Magic Carpet Cubed which is so used to triumphing in these azure waters.

The Maxis join the fray!

And not to be outdone, a fair few of the competing Maxis also decided to challenge one another in this non-point-scoring race. Just five minutes after the centenarian yachts, 9 Maxis slipped under Portalet: E1 (VOR 70), Lady First (Mylius 60), Pelotari (V68), Wallyño (Wally 60), Leopard (Farr 100), Twin Soul 8 (Mylius 80), Lorina (Swan 601) and Mefi (60 OPen).

Crew parade: Egyptians, pirates and superheroes!

Revived a few years back, the procession of crews seems to attract more and more crews year on year. In essence, each boat is invited to parade along, in costume, from the harbour master's office to the far end of the port of Saint Tropez, following the dockside. Nearly twenty crews played the game this evening, dancing to their own tune in every sense, clad as anything from pirates to Egyptians and even superheroes. Presenting themselves in front of the jury at the end, the winner will be announced at the Sunday prize-giving with the victors set to receive a handsome prize of the captain's weight in local wine (Chevalier Torpez).

An extraordinary yacht: La Spina

Out on the race zone during today's Challenge Day, the Italian 12mR La Spina is a Baglietto design dating back to 1928. She was the first Twelve in the Med and the only Italian one right up to 1983. Restored in Naples by a boat owner with a passion for authenticity, La Spina hit the water again in Spezia for a series of Mediterranean races. It was the Marquis Franco Spinola who decided to have the boat built. Vincenzo Baglietto was the chosen architect-builder, whose family yard, founded in 1854 in the tiny fishing village of Varazze, some 30km to the west of Genoa, is still in existence and remains one of the most famous boatyards in Italy, for a long while specialising in wooden construction. Vincenzo, who was 38 at the time, had just returned from Glasgow, where he obtained a degree in naval engineering. Though he had no experience of 12 Metre boats, he must have kept a close eye on those elsewhere in Scotland, and he'd already cut his teeth on other Metre boats having crafted one 6mR and two 8mR boats, all three of them winners of some prestigious races. And that's not all. In fact, the 8mR Italia, gold medallist at the Olympic Games in Kiel, was his 1936 creation.

Silence we're filming!

Season II of the British series "Riviera" is currently being filmed in Saint Tropez. Les Voiles is serving as a backdrop to the 'Hitchcock-style' plot which has already thrilled over 20-million spectators since 2017. Over 120 technicians are participating in the production and filming of scenes along Saint Tropez's stunning coastline and also at sea.

Riviera is a televised British series created by Neil Jordan and broadcast since 15 June 2017 on the Sky Atlantic channel. Riviera Season II is riding the crest of an extraordinary wave of success from the first season as a thriller based in the sunny climes of Saint Tropez with the spectacular competition of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez as its setting. The series is being filmed in several iconic sites around the port of Saint Tropez with the precious support of the organiser of Les Voiles, the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez.

Distribution: Julia Stiles, Lena Olin, Dimitri Leonidas, Roxane Duran...

Today's partners:

Basserat de Bellefon
A new partner to Les Voiles, the Champagne Basserat de Bellefon house is delighted to immerse itself in this utterly unique 'waterworld' encompassing the sea, sailors and beautiful sails. Created at the water's edge on the terrain of Aÿ in 1843, BB leaves it mark on the tables of Paris' main attractions, from the Louvre to Orsay to the Elysée. Back in the roaring twenties, BB celebrated the fervour of the cabarets before devoting itself to the freedom of St Tropez in the sixties. Besserat de Bellefon, Brigitte Bardot, these shared initials somehow predestined the company to join Les Voiles' partners. With its blue and white 'dress code', its so-called 'Frenchytude' - freedom, elegance and simplicity - spans 250m2 of the village at Les Voiles and perfectly embodies the spirit of the event.

SUN 7 GRAPHIC
Saint Tropez' Sun 7 Graphic communication agency provides companies and events with consultancy services thanks to its fully-tailored creations: haute couture applied to communication. It aims to provide all-encompassing support to projects from the creation to the realisation of all its advertising products.

www.lesvoilesdesaint-tropez.fr

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