Extreme sailing in Saint Tropez next week

It all starts next week – Les Voiles de St Tropez Regatta is the closing event of the summer season in St Tropez. Over 300 of the most amazing sailing yachts from all over the world – classic and modern – plus 3500 crew, unite in St Tropez for a week of racing and festivities.

Begun in September 1981, when a challenge was launched between Pride, a Swan 44 owned by the American Dick Jason, and Ikra, a 12 m IG skippered by Jean Laurain. The race went from Saint Tropez to Club 55 on Pampelonne beach and the winner would be given lunch at Patrice de Colmont’s famous establishment.

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The dates for 2010 are 25th September to 3rd October and the regatta from those unspectacular beginnings has now grown into one of the most extreme and exciting in the Mediterranean calender.

The racing is split between the Classic Yachts, such as those built by William Fife see the photo above, and Modern Yachts such as the Wally Yacht which can be seen in the photo below.

The Classics

With the honour going to the old boats, it’s SY Partridge who will this year steal the thunder from the largest traditional craft by celebrating her 125th birthday with grace and elegance. With her plumb bow, her massive bowsprit and her beautiful extended counter stern, the classic beauty Partridge is a small copy of the historic yacht Galatea, the English America’s Cup challenger in 1886. Recovered from a mud berth, her restoration took nearly twenty years of passion and determination to rediscover her original sailing capabilities and the charm of her characteristic outline.

Among the amazing stories of traditional yachting, SY Skal doubtlessly takes the prize for resurrection. This 16m gaff cutter, designed in 1930 by the American architect Philip Rodes, successfully participated in two transatlantic races, before gradually losing her original lines in the UK as she passed from one owner to the next. Purchased by her current owner in 2003, the boat sank following an engine failure off the Raz Blanchard. The Stagnol yard was then contacted to organise her refloating by the SNSM (the French equivalent of the RNLI) and divers from BSM29. It was a miracle that the boat could be rescued in this way. The disaster seriously damaged the structure, but extensive and delicate restoration work enabled her to be returned to her original configuration.

The Modernists

Combining exceptional performance, uncluttered design and unique styling, the Wally Yachts still form one of the major attractions of Les Voiles de Saint Tropez. No less than 15 Wally Yachts are registered this year, making it one of the season’s largest gatherings of yachts built by Wally. Several boats launched in 2009 will be tacking about Saint Tropez for the first time: the Wally 80 Sailing yacht Bagheera, the 90ft  luxury SY Highland Fling and the 100ft superyacht  Indio, to name but a few.

100ft Wally Sailing yacht INDIO

SY Indio – a 100ft Wally

J Class and Super Yachts

Among the largest sailing yachts at the Les Voiles de Saint Tropez, including the gigantic masts of the J classes, classic superyacht Shamrock V and classic yacht Velsheda, we will also see the highly elegant silhouette of the ketch that holds the Atlantic record under sail, superyacht SY Mari Cha III.

SY Tofinou 9.5 out in force

The Tofinou 9.50sailing yacht  from the Latitude 46 yard, which blends classic lines with a modern hull, carbon fittings and a teak deck, will be out in force with over 15 participating boats. Such a line-up that will enable them to enjoy a specific ranking and race in elapsed time.

Eager anticipation on the arrival of SY Black Bird and SY Black Legend, two examples of the brand new “code zero” built by the Blackpepper yard in the Arcachon basin with the participation of the renowned sailor Yves Parlier.

SS Atlantic

Added to this, the 2010 Les Voiles Regatta is likely to see the arrival on Saint Tropez’ race zone of SS Atlantic, the replica of Charlie Barr’s famous 70 m schooner. From the moment she was launched in the United States in 1903, the yacht from the New York Yacht Club was noted for her striking beauty and speed, which she demonstrated during her first sea trials by reaching 20 knots. At that time nobody could have guessed that, just two years later, she would set a record for traversing the North Atlantic which was to remain unbeaten for nearly a century. The replica of Atlantic was launched in March 2009 at the Van Der Graaf yard in Holland, after a two year build, before being rigged in La Rochelle. This year will mark her very first season in the Mediterranean.

Sailing Yacht Atlantic - Photo credit to Kees Stuip

SY Atlantic – photo courtesy Kees Stuip


Sunday 26th and Monday 27th September: Reception and scrutineering
Sunday 26th September: arrival of the Yacht Club de France’s Autumn Cup from Cannes
Tuesday 28th September, Wednesday 29th, Thursday 30th(J. Laurain Day, Challenge Day, Club 55 Cup), Friday 1st October and Saturday 2nd: Coastal course, 1st start 1200 hours


Saturday 25th September – Sunday 26th: Reception and scrutineering
Monday 27th, Tuesday 28th, Wednesday 29th, Thursday 30th(J. Laurain Day, Challenge Day), Friday 1st October and Saturday 2nd October: Coastal course, 1st start 1130 hours

General prize-giving for all Sunday 3rd October, from 1100 hours

This is an event not to miss if you are into the world of extremes, at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez you will see extreme elegance, beauty and majesty as these yachts compete for the coveted trophies and honour – be there!

Below is some video action from kaapsvideo of last years event which encapsulates the magic of Les Voiles de Saint Tropez

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