The second part of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez sets sail tomorrow exclusively for maxi yachts. Organized by the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez in collaboration with the International Maxi Association (IMA), the second week of racing has 45 maxis. These vary in size from the two magnificent J-class yachts, Topaz and Velsheda, Topaz being slightly the longest at 140 feet (42.7 m), up to many 60 feet such as the President’s Wally 60 Wallyño. the IMA Benoît de Froidmont.
Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez will be the decisive event of the IMA Maxi Inshore Challenge Mediterranean, after the Maxi Yacht Capri Trophy, the Copa del Rey MAPFRE and the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup (the Rolex Giraglia inshores have been canceled).
All of them run under IRC. Here, the Maxis (80-100 feet) and Super Maxis (100+ feet) defined by the IMA compete in IRC1 or IRC2, depending on their speed. The Mini Maxis (60-80ft) are split between IRC 3 and 4.
Most of the maxi fleet has been moored since yesterday in the famous picturesque port of Saint-Tropez, with artists scattered around the quayside as well as street performers, vintage car rallies and famous bars such as the Sube and the Coffee of Paris. The fastest boats moor offshore because of their extreme draft. Among them is George David’s all-conqueror Rambler 88, as well as the fastest boat in the fleet, the 100-foot Comanche designed by Verdier-VPLP and last year’s IRC1 winner, the Farr 100 Leopard, now Dutch owned but with many original owners Mike Slade. crew still on board.
“I think here and Porto Cervo are amazing,” said Brad Butterworth, America’s Cup legend who runs Rambler 88 races. “It’s on the continent and is more accessible and the owners love it and the crews love it. ” As to how well the Rambler 88 can do this week, Butterworth adds, “It depends on the wind speed. If it’s windy it can be great, but it’s a lot of fun, especially if the navigation is good.
Also to watch are the local heroes on Wallycento Magic Carpet Cubed by Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, based in Cogolin, and Y3K by Claus-Peter Offen, fresh out of his second place in the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup. This event was the first for the crew of American Wendy Schmidt on her new Botin 85 Deep Blue which will seek to improve its performance.
There is one supermax – the Swan 115 Odin – competing in IR1, but the majority, including Js, are competing in IRC2. This includes the Dubois 121 Silvertip plush and the immaculate Wally 107 Green Eyes (ex Kauris 3), now owned by Portuguese Paulo Mirpuri. As the Js begin their usual match racing, with Topaz hoping to overthrow Velsheda after his performance at Porto Cervo last month, a top level competition is also expected in this class between Philip Rann’s Swan 80 Umiko and the longer, albeit slightly. Lower-rated Swan 82FD Kallima by Paul Berger.
For British America’s Cup and Olympic sailor Andy Beadsworth, who shares tactical duties with American Mike Toppa on Velsheda, this is the first time he has raced here since Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez was extended. at two weeks. “It’s a great event. People want to be here and they are having a lot of fun, ”he said, adding that although they are in a class with other boats in the same category, they really only have eyes for Topaz. .
Ronald de Waal’s J Velsheda campaigned. Photo credit: IMA / Studio Borlenghi
IRC 3 is the largest of the four classes and many battles are expected to take place within it. For this reason, the fastest boats, the three old Maxi 72s and the round the world VO65 Ambersail 2 have been separated into their own sub-division, IRC Three A. The ex-72s include Jim Swartz’s Vesper, the Jethou of Sir Peter Ogden (some 1.5m longer than his rivals) and North Star, the former Rán 2 / Proteus, double Rolex Fastnet Race winner and world champion, recently acquired by Briton Peter Dubens and modified for operate motorized winches.
Among the rest of IRC 3 are several Wallys, including Wallyño, who won the IMA Mediterranean Maxi Inshore Challenge in the last race of this event in 2019. However IMA President Benoît de Froidmont will face the Wally 80 of Philippe Ligier, winner of Ryokan 2 here last year, the sistership Rose (formerly Tango) with the hottest boat of this formation being the eternal winner, here and in Porto Cervo, the Wally 77 Lyra of the Canadian Terry Hui, racing with a powerful pro-loaded crew.
Two boats are making their racing debuts here. Pink Gin Verde, the factory boat of Baltic Yachts, is the first example of the Finnish boatbuilder’s Café Racer 68, designed by Javier Jaudenes and with strong “ecological” credentials, half of the fibers used in its construction are from hemp and it is equipped with electric motors. Black Legend 6 is from Nantes-based Black Pepper Yachts who mounted the IMOCA L’Occitane en Provence campaign and returned to French designer Sam Manuard for this fast, spacious and light 74-footer.
Once again, the Italian builder Mylius Yachts is very present, with at the top of the list the Mylius 80 Twin Soul B of CEO Luciano Gandini. The races will be tight between the two Mylius 60, Sud and Lady First 3.
“The Sails are a wonderful way to end the Mediterranean sailing season,” said Gandini. “Saint-Tropez is lovely, and in October you can still enjoy the good weather. Twin Soul B did not run here last year – travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic were still very strict at back then – so now we’re very happy to be back. The 2019 edition was a good year for us, Twin Soul B was top of its class. “
An older boat that still looks immaculate and remains very competitive is the IMS-shaped Reichel / Pugh 80 Capricorno, piloted by a seasoned Italian crew of former Admiral’s Cup competitor Alessandro del Bono. According to tactician Flavio Flavini, they hope to do better this week than last year when they broke their mainsail just after the start of the first race. “We have been on the boat the whole season and so far everything has gone well. Saint-Tropez is a pleasant place and a pleasure to be in summer. It is very attractive to owners and sailors. As for sailing, it can be a bit of everything. – quite tricky inside the bay here. If we have the Mistral they have good courses and it can be beautiful. We are lucky to be here. “
Equally strong and always well raced, Arco Van Nieuwland and Andries Verder have traveled a lot and campaigned a lot Maarten 72 Aragon, winner of the RORC Transatlantic Race 2016, a piece in their trophy cabinet packed to the brim. The Vismara-Mills 62 Leaps & Bounds 2 has a solid pedigree from when she was SuperNikka, winner of several races of Roberto Lacorte.
The smallest cruiser-racers are found in IRC4. A strong participation of the manufacturers here is that of Construction Navale Bordeaux (CNB) which are represented by the 76 Dikenec and Zampa, the BX60 Criollos and Nina and the Bordeaux 60 Ila 2. The IRC 4 could also be renamed the ‘Philippe Briand class. ‘because the French naval architect not only designed all these boats but was the main designer of the French challenger of the 1987 America’s Cup, the 12m French Kiss which is also entered.
The longest boat in IRC 4 is Judel-Vrolijk 82 Ikigai followed by Southern Wind 78 Elise Whisper, while Nautor’s Swan is well represented by Swan 65 Saida and Cassiopeia and 651 Geronimo. An unknown quantity is the Shipman 63 Bambo.
The race starts today and continues until Saturday, the date of the award ceremony.