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Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez Day 5 - Easterly vibes add zest to the race zone

by Maguelonne Turcat 2 Oct 08:57 BST 25 September - 9 October 2021

After a crazy day on Thursday where the sailors celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Nioulargue in style both on land and out on the water, it was time to get back to some serious racing on Friday.

With Saint Tropez serving up the traditional breeze and summery sunshine that have become synonymous with the sublime images of the modern and classic yachts competing on its turquoise waters, which are familiar to enthusiasts the world over, the crews were more focused and determined than ever as they got back down to the mighty task of defending the colours of the boat's operators and owners. Competing in an E'ly breeze of around a dozen knots, conditions were ideal for launching some fine courses along the bay, with 13 miles of racetrack for the smallest boats and 20 miles for the largest craft. In all the groups, on the eve of the last day of racing tomorrow, it was a case of all hands on deck for the final tussles, as well as some attempts at a last tactical move or two in a bid to be in with a chance of topping the 2021 leader board on Saturday night after what has already been a truly exceptional edition.

Modern magic

The furious pace maintained since Monday by the fleet of 140 Modern yachts signed up for Les Voiles, continued throughout the day with yet another race validated, this time pushed along by a medium wind, increasing to over 15 knots midway through the afternoon. Light airs, strong Mistral and today medium wind! Evidently Les Voiles has decided to spoil the sailors in this post-Covid year, which has seen a return of all the familiar elements of years gone by. The sea, swept up by an elegant swell, proved conducive to slipping along and the serious manoeuvring associated with hoisting spinnakers, prompting the strategists to be even bolder. There was precious little separating the boats at the finishes in every group, so committed were the crews.

Solano, the 52-footer built at the Italian yard of Felci, may well have scored a decisive point by taking the win today ahead of her main rival in IRC B, the Nacira 47 Pretexte, which is racing for the North Sails Trophy. Clive Llewelyn's Grand Soleil Mad IV got herself into the same position with a view to tomorrow's final sprint, whilst Jean Pierre Dick skippering The Kid, which is less at ease in this type of breeze, fell off the pace somewhat today, only posting a 17th place. Vying for the BMW Trophy that crowns the first IRC C, Nanoq drove the point home by adding a third race victory to her track record for the week. Solely the 52-footer Arobas2 has managed to beat her in elapsed time. In IRC D meantime, the British Cap 31 North Star2 has matched Nanoq's winning trajectory to the letter, she too securing a hat-trick and utterly dominating play in both elapsed and corrected time.

Whoever's missed the sight of a Classic yacht sailing upwind in the bay swell...

... is yet to experience the real thrill of Les Voiles. The Lady Anne (Fife 1912), racing against her counterpart Tuiga (Fife 1909), whipped the sea foam into a frenzy as they made for the passage marks set along the edge of the bay. Tuiga, which underwent an express repair yesterday after breaking her topmast, showed herself to be very incisive right from the outset. However, the Spanish Bermudan cutterYanira had the most pace of all the Classics, completing the course in a little over 2 hours 30 minutes in elapsed time. She just beat the 6 m One wave and the Bermudan cutter Maria-Giovanna II off Le Portalet.

And on land...

Crew night at La Ponche
Tonight is the eagerly awaited crew night at La Ponche, Quai l'Esquière in Saint Tropez. A band called Rocky, predominantly compromising former musicians who played with the late Johnny Hallyday, will be paying tribute not only to the late and legendary French rock musician, but also to the Rolling Stones' drummer Charlie Watts who recently passed away. At 23:00 hours, a giant fireworks display will launch out on the water to round off the evening with a bang.

The ceremony to award the Prizes and Trophies for the Modern and Classic yachts competing in this first week of Les Voiles will also take place in La Ponche from 19:00 hours on Saturday.

Quotes of the day:

Pierre Roinson, President of the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez
"The partnership initiated by André Beaufils 10 years ago with the Yacht Club de Gstaad, whose centrepiece is the Centenary Trophy, has been strengthened by the signing of a twinning agreement between our clubs. We're proud to join the 35 other international yacht clubs, all of them highly prestigious, from Hong Kong to Sydney, Cape Town, New York and San Francisco, and continue to maintain strong links with this Yacht Club in the mountains..."

Manrico Iachia, Commodore of the Yacht Club de Gstaad
"We had a fantastic day yesterday, with some very fine conditions and above all an absolutely outstanding race. The final between Bruno Troublé on Olympian, and Peter Isler on Spartan was truly epic. It provided a superb winner for our Centenary Trophy, which yesterday gathered together 23 yachts. After a friendly decade-long partnership with the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez, today we have made our twinning official. In this way, the Société Nautique is joining our worldwide circle of Yacht-Club friends, thus facilitating exchanges between members."

Loïck Peyron, BMW ambassador
"The wind of liberty is blowing across Les Voiles! You can see the sheer power of that on the docks of Saint Tropez! The sea is certainly a space synonymous with freedom, whilst the sailors are its ambassadors and you can really sense the desire for liberty. The mixture of sail types is part of Les Voiles' DNA, the likes of which you can discover in the first week with the Modern and Classic boats. In the second week we'll rediscover the Maxis in Saint Tropez. I've been lucky enough to have been chosen as an ambassador of the BMW brand so I can testify to the effort the brand has gone to today to showcase vehicles made from 100% recyclable elements and self-sufficient in energy. Aside from wooden boats, a boat is much more harmful for the planet than a car. BMW was the first brand to create an environment department from the end of the war! Their cars are the fruit of a general reflection which begins with the extraction of the material, through to the recycling of this material, energy included. It's really thrilling and there's no pretence in their willingness. A huge amount of recycled plastic is used in the cars' interior trim for example, and in the high-end ranges!"

Today's partners:

Since 2017, Suzuki Marine has partnered the organisers of this exceptional regatta. The Brand supplies outboard engines to the event's safety team and managers of the race zone, which gathers together nearly 200 boats, and these engines are renowned for being reliable, high-performance and non-energy-guzzling. In 2021, for the 23rd edition of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, Suzuki Marine is strengthening its commitment in association with Marshall to provide the organisers with a record number of ribs.

Marshall ribs
Marshall is an Italian rib brand established in the eighties and is particularly renowned in northern Europe where its sales equate to over 2,000 boats each year. "It's an historic brand, which has had as strong a presence as Zodiac and completes the BWA range nicely" explains Fabrice Boyer, from the company Ribitaly. "For the past two years we've been partnering the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez by supplying their on-the-water organisation and safety teams with 12 craft, mainly from the M4 and M6 range which measure 6.90m and 7.80m in length. We work in association with the engine manufacturer Suzuki. Our boats are simple, efficient, reliable and versatile." The Marshall Trophy will reward the best yacht in the Period Marconi A category.

Mercantour Events
Mercantour Events has come up with an innovative offer in supporting local authorities and businesses in a sustainable development approach through event management. Convinced of the importance of implementing event-related actions to boost the region, the agency provides daily support to numerous authorities with the organisation of their events. It takes care of missions related to communication / promotion, creation of the event concept, visual creation and adaptation on various media (posters, print...), websites, digital tools, social networks, press relations... and of course, event logistics, as well as entertainment and catering.

2021 Programme

Week 1: Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, Modern and Classic

  • Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 September: registration for all classic yachts and modern yachts up to 18.28m
  • Monday 27 September: regattas for modern yachts
  • Tuesday 28, Wednesday 29 September, Friday 1, Saturday 2 October: regattas for modern and classic yachts
  • Thursday 30 September: Challenge Day-10th anniversary of the Gstaad Yacht Club Centenary Cup
  • Saturday 2 October: Prize Giving (Week 1)

Week 2: Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, Maxi Yachts

  • Sunday 3 and Monday 4 October: registration for all modern yachts above 18.29m, Wally, IRCA, Maxi yachts
  • Tuesday 5, Wednesday 6, Thursday 7, Friday 8, Saturday 9: races
  • Saturday 9 October: Prize Giving (Week 2)

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