This year saw the 4th edition of Les Voiles de St Bart and the selection of boats showed that the Regatta is both growing and more importantly, attracting some serious race yachts.
For the first time, this Regatta saw Northern and Southern Child competing against each other, so we knew we would be sure to have some good close racing. Northern Child had a race team brought together by Leo who has sailed with us before in St Tropez and Southern Child had a brand new team organised by Christian who is new to sailing but certainly not racing, having raced many times in Le Mans and other major motor racing events. His team included previous Commodores Cup winners, ex Olympic sailors and the star bowman from Ran – quite formidable!
Race 1 on Tuesday saw the Round Island race and a solid 15 knots of breeze. Southern Child got off to a great start while Northern Child was over the line – almost the perfect start. A long beat along the South side of the Island, then bearing away along the exposed Atlantic side to the North. It was clear Southern Child was being sailed well as she pushed one of the fastest yachts in the Caribbean – a J122 called Lazy Dog – around the course. Both boats finished well, with SC picking up a 2nd and NC a 3rd in the competitive fleet.
Race 2 on Wednesday saw some slightly lighter winds which made the NC crew nervous as there were plenty of light boats in the class including J Boats, Firsts and Melges. A course rounding many of the outlying Islands off St Barts saw Navigators testing their nerve shaving closer and closer to outlying rocks on the course. Yacht owners looked pretty tense too – especially those with 2 charter yachts racing in the same class around the same rocks! Again solid performances with SC in 2nd and NC in 3rd.
Race 3&4 started on Friday after a lay day full of fun on Baie de St Jean. It seemed that reports of some of the race crews partying very hard was true with several yachts over the line and taking a little while to get their heads in the game! A short Island course was the first start of the day with SC and NC finishing in a familiar 2nd and 3rd again – a clear pattern was emerging. In Race 4, SC flew out of the blocks, closely followed by NC and both boats looked like they had the bit between their teeth and a very close finish between the first 3 saw SC 1st and NC missing 2nd by 8 seconds.
Race 5 on Saturday was to be the windiest race of the Regatta. A solid 20 knots at the start made faces smile, especially on NC. NC had a great first beat to the end of the Island, rounding just behind SC but she could not keep up with SC’s downwind pace. SC looked like the surefire winner but 2 long 2 sail reaches at the end of the course let the J122 catch up just enough to beat SC into 2nd by 10 seconds with SC once again in 3rd. It is worth noting that in the Caribbean the J122 is given time by the First 40, whereas in the UK it is the other way around – SC would have won convincingly with the rating this way!
So a fabulous first Regatta for the 2 Performance Yacht Charter boats together:
Southern Child 2nd
Northern Child 3rd