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Team Spirit - Life and leadership on one of the world's toughest yacht races by Brendan Hall
 Team Spirit - Life and leadership on one of the world's toughest yacht races by Brendan Hall

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez Day 12 - Saving the best until last!

by Maguelonne Turcat 9 Oct 2020 20:14 BST 26 September - 9 October 2020
Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez © Gilles Martin-Raget

Today saw the last race of the competition for the Maxi Yachts competing in the second week of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, which has once again served up a breathtaking extravaganza in the famous bay wrapped around the Var region.

And so the curtain falls this Friday on an edition that overcame all the dangers and all the fears, by incorporating a very high level of precaution and vigilance in line with the current health situation. Despite the absence of some of the familiar faces at Les Voiles, which ordinarily sees top-flight crews from all over the world flocking to the event, the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez and its President Pierre Roinson more than ensured its success. We'll remember the endless magic of the beautiful sails brightening up the bay, the stellar competition and the great solidarity of seafarers from all manner of backgrounds, gathered together with the same passion and yearning to celebrate this eternal and unchanging yachting spirit.

A last race in the sunshine

After the numerous windy and rainy episodes which have shaken up south-east France in recent days, it's a summery sun that warmed the shores of the Var region today. On the flip side of that, the wind seemed to have run out of puff as preparations began to set the final course for Les Voiles 2020. However, the resilience and doggedness of the teams working under Georges Korhel, Principal Race Officer at Les Voiles, paid off in the end and a large triangular course (15 miles) inside the bay enabled the launch of one last race in a 7 to 8-knot SSE'ly. In this way, the Maxis criss-crossed the bay in a lovely close-contact race right next to the shore, as if to pay one last tribute to Les Voiles as they eagerly await the 2021 edition and the chance to do it all over again.

IRC 1: Leopard3 gives no quarter

Devouring the course at a blistering pace, the Farr 100 prototype knocked spots off the competition, finishing over 30 minutes ahead of her fastest rival, the large Swan 82 Kallima, utterly dominating the fleet today and the overall ranking. The other Swan 80 Umiko burst across the finish line under spinnaker to preserve her 3rd place of the day, taking second place in the overall ranking ahead of Kallima.

IRC 2: Wallyno finishes on a high

Benoit De Froidmont, President of the International Maxi Association is sailing at Les Voiles aboard his Wally 60 Wallyno. Suffering in Tuesday's breeze and the victim of helm damage, he made a dazzling comeback today by taking the race win, in corrected time, really taking the battle for outright victory right to the wire, just astern of the triumphant Wally 80 Ryokan2 owned by Philippe Ligier. The Italo-Dutch Mylius 60 Sud also rounded off play in style by securing the third step of today's podium. Peter Dubens' amazing Frers design Spectre, a 60-foot Mini Maxi with a particularly light displacement, paid the price for her very disadvantageous rating. Despite being well-placed at the front of the pack, she didn't manage to compensate for her measurement handicap. It is Wallyno then that takes third place overall, just shy of V62 Mills Leaps&Bounds in second and the week's big winner Ryokan2.

IRC3: Criollos imperial

Renaud Rupert's BX 60 Criollos has been in a league of her own at Les Voiles, securing a second race victory in today's medium breeze. Bambo, François Benais' Shipman 63 was hot on her heels once again, finishing just minutes behind the leader. The overall podium stands at Criollos, Mr Belzebuth and Nina respectively.

Elena and Puritan, the large gaff schooners in their element

Two fabulous schooners, respectively with an LOA of 37 (Puritan) and 51 metres, (Elena of London) added the Classic touch to a fleet of 20 Maxi yachts this week and with it the magical, timeless image of beautiful gaff sails and long slender white hulls on the azure seas of the bay. At ease in the breeze and the light airs, the immense Elena (Herreshoff 2009) had the edge over Puritan (Alden 1931) in a friendly showdown that was all about style rather than pure performance.

The Trophies awarded in the second week of Les Voiles:

  • Town of Saint-Tropez Trophy: Yacht with the most points, all categories combined: Leopard3
  • Besserat de Bellefon Trophy: First Classic yacht: Elena of London
  • North Sails Trophy: First Modern IRC 1: Leopard3
  • Torpez Trophy: First Modern IRC 2 yacht: Ryokan2
  • 808 Trophy: First IRC 3 yacht: Criollos

Today's partner: DERBEZ JARDINS

Since 1956, the Derbez establishments have been involved in all manner of projects associated with maintenance, renovation, layout and creation of gardens, nurseries and swimming pools. In charge of all things green at Les Voiles village, they have been beautifully adorning the venue with plants, trees and shrubs since 2017, whilst providing support to the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez year-round.

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