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RYA Dinghy Show 2022 LEADERBOARD

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez Day 6 - The curtain falls on the first act

by Maguelonne Turcat 2 Oct 21:13 BST 25 September - 9 October 2021

Saturday was the last day of the first week of Les Voiles in its new format: 140 Modern yachts and 82 Classic yachts endeavoured to make the most of every last puff of E'ly breeze that tickled the race zone in Saint Tropez.

A welcome hint of sweetness then in a harsh world in which the teams under Georges Korhel, Principal Race Officer, managed to keep a cool, clear head to keep the 10 groups of Classics and 5 IRC categories racing in the light current bathed in light. In the end, a fifth race was validated among the Modern boats and a fourth for the pretty classic yachts.

A packed week then, coloured by a flurry of twists and turns, dazzling sails and comical moments a plenty, which will bring a smile to the faces of the crews and the public right the way through until next season. Next up on stage are the giants, the Maxis and super yachts, which will take over from the Classics on Tuesday, at which point the azure waters of the bay in France's Var region will be brimming with carbon and futuristic lines.

5 races for the Modern yachts

The wonderful week's racing at Les Voiles concludes as it began, with the fleets racing in light airs, prompting the sailors, strategists and helms to drive their rivals into a corner. In this way, every single sailboat was served up conditions they could work with throughout the week as they tried to get the very best out of their steeds and play to their strengths.

It is within this context of races with extremely different profiles that Les Voiles celebrated its heroes and prize winners this evening with the crews on the podiums particularly skilled at adapting to all the different conditions. In this way, Benjamin Horeau's Nacira 47 Prétexte excelled in IRC B (North Sails Trophy) whatever the wind strength. By bagging two wins this week, his crew were leaps and bounds ahead of Pascal Ferry's Solano. Nanoq, skippered by Prince Frederik of Denmark, also outpaced the rest of the IRC C group competing for the BMW Trophy.

Peter Dubens' North Star II in IRC D, King of Blue (Pascal Fan) IRC E and Tily Harrison's Tofinou Jolt (IRC E) are the big winners of the week.

Classics: ruling supreme

They were the firm favourites and they delivered: Patrizio Bertelli's Scud (Herreshoff 1903) with Torben Grael on the manoeuvres absolutely smashed it in the Period Gaffer A group competing for the Rolex Trophy. The smaller gaffers (Gaffer B), were unable to quash Eva's (Fife 1906) natural affinity for Les Voiles, despite the best efforts of Oriole, another Herreshoff.

The Q Class Jour de Fête (Paine 1930) battled hard to take the win in the Period Marconi B against the formidable Stormy Weather (Stephens 1931). The Lady Anne, the 15mR Fife launched in 1912, secured victory in the Grand Tradition category ahead of the cutter Halloween and the mighty ketch Sumurun. The Sparkman&Stephens design Blitzen also had an absolute ball out on the water at the head of the Period Marconi A fleet, which ultimately saw her beat in the Bermudan yawl Varuna.

The C32 Andale (Potter 1951) won the day and the week in the group of Marconi Cs ahead of the 8mR Carron II. Lys, the Monacan sloop (Sparkman &Stephens 1955), Resolute Salmon, the Encounter and the Cork harbour one-design Jap were the other outright champions of Les Voiles 2021...

And on shore...

An all-new Les Voiles trophy was this evening awarded to Sagittarius (Sparkman&Stephens 1974) for best One Tonner, a Class destined to be in the spotlight in future episodes of Les Voiles. These One Tonners are sailing dinghies measuring up to 7 metres in length, capable of planing in certain conditions and built with as light a scantling as possible, the balance being achieved by the crew. These sailboats were also present at the Olympic Games in 1900 in the class of 0.5 to 1 tonne.

Maxi Monday!

From tomorrow, Sunday, the Maxi Yachts called upon to compete in the second week of Les Voiles will make their grand entrance in the port of Saint Tropez. 40 of these fabulous machines will line the small harbour in France's Var region as they wait for battle to commence from Tuesday, once Monday's registration is complete.

Quotes from the boats:

Georges Korhel, Principal Race Officer
"We've been very spoilt by the weather. We've enjoyed all sorts of configurations, light airs, big breeze and medium wind... It's been a long time since we've had such a packed week with races validated every day, interspersed by a great Challenge day. All the on-the-water teams are happy. We make minor improvements every year which facilitates the organisation on the race zone. Everyone is ready to link onto the second week, which, in some ways, will be a little lighter than this past week in the sense that we only have a single class, that of the Maxis, though it does boast over 40 craft..."

Kevin Escoffier: North Star II
Kevin Escoffier, the official skipper of the Imoca PRB, and a luxury 'freelancer' for the upcoming Transat Jacques Vabre aboard Armel Le Cléach's Maxi trimaran Banque Populaire XI, is at Les Voiles on the invitation of his partner North Sails. "North Sails developed my sails during the last Vendée Globe and asked me to intervene in the design of their technical clothing and their 'Performance' range. As such, I was very happy to come and spend a day sailing aboard North Star II, a Cape 31 which has dominated the IRC D group. I'd come to Les Voiles before, a few years back, and I'm always touched by these magnificent boats. This environment is different to that of offshore racing, but it's coloured by the same passion for getting out on the water. It's still boating and I'm delighted to share in the infatuation here. I feel as if I've gone from one extreme to the other; two days ago I was making 40 knots, flying above the water aboard an Ultime and today I'm fraternising with yachts more than a hundred years old."

Today's partner - Chevalier Torpez - Saint Tropez's vineyards

The Saint Tropez peninsula is also a land of winegrowers; indeed the Master Winegrowers of Saint Tropez group together 10 domains and 3 large cellars across the finest 'terroirs' in Provence. Torpez is an exceptional jewel of a brand from one of these vineyards located on the Saint Tropez headland and spanning 180 hectares surrounding the light and timeless village. These wines tell and share the story of the village created by nature, the arts and exuberance, as well as the passion of men and women as it has been since 1908. "Our wines are the fruit of a special vineyard" explains Alain Guichet, an oenologist and CEO, "a veritable 'garden of vines' surrounding the village of Saint Tropez, near the old Provencale houses and modern villas with contemporary architecture, overlooking the beaches and shores. The wine, like sailing, is a universe of passion shared by people who love celebrating life. Torpez is a true signature, on a very special 'terroir' perfumed by salt-sea air, which imbues our white, red and rosé wines with a rather special flavour."

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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