Sailing toward the 11th edition!
On April 12-18, 2020, Saint Barthélemy will once again host the 11th edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille, a Caribbean regatta favorite for its combination of exceptional sailing conditions, friendly vibe, the organizers’ attention to detail and perfectly managed logistics, proper handicapping, and the excellent competition. Each year some of the best sailors in the world return to St. Barth, calling Les Voiles a “must-do event” thanks to all the ingredients above, plus Saint Barth’s signature charm and beautiful scenery. Already the 2020 roster has top-notch international teams confirmed to compete in one of their favorite regattas.
Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille promises to once again be a highlight during the Caribbean Spring season, with more than 1,000 sailors representing 20 different nationalities expected to participate in April 2020.
“Saint Barth is a welcoming island and there is no better place to mix pleasure and competition,” said François Tolède, general director for Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille. “Our island has so much to offer sailors and their families and friends; it’s known for its classy yet friendly atmosphere and that certain ‘French Touch’.”
When the regatta first began in 2010, it quickly established itself as a ‘bucket list’ regatta. Word of mouth spread with sailors talking up the unique racing format, perfect blend of competitive sailing and après-sailing social activities, all set to the beautiful backdrop of Saint Barth. Just two years after being devastated by Hurricane Irma, the small West Indian island of Saint Barth, whose spectacular recovery has been applauded by specialists, is ready for a season that could beat all previous records.
AN ECLECTIC FLEET OF EXCEPTIONAL SAILBOATS
A primary goal for Tolède and Race Director Luc Poupon is to surpass the high expectations of the racers and ensure they deliver exceptional racing as well as enjoyable on-shore festivities. Each year, Poupon creates 20+ race courses around Saint Barth and surrounding islands to guarantee technical and tactical racing that will keep competitors challenged and entertained.
Many of the best-known sailors appreciate that effort and admire the format of the event including Jim Swartz, skipper of the new Maxi 72 Vesper, who will return to Les Voiles after four years when he sailed onboard his TP 52, also named Vesper. “I expect to return and enjoy the wonderful ambiance of the island, fun times on and off the water, beautiful sailing in a mixture of big and lighter winds, occasional big waves, challenging courses and terrific competition,” said Swartz, who will sail in the 11th edition with such big names as Gavin Brady, Jamie Gale, and Ken Keefe, to name a few.
HIGH-LEVEL REGATTA, AND MORE…
Rob Weiland, the Maxi 72 class president, shares the same enthusiasm. “I am a big fan of the event as it is special for its French-Caribbean mix, the high quality of Saint Barth in every aspect of tourism, and that the event itself is well run, good courses, and good parties,” he said.
Weiland is pleased the regatta is open to IRC, CSA, CSA Multi, and ORC Multi class ratings, as well as that of the IMA (International Maxi Association). Les Voiles is the largest gathering of Maxis in the Caribbean, and these competitors vie for the possibility to win the prestigious Richard Mille Record Trophy for the best time on a selected course during the regatta.
“Every year we hope to attract an elite fleet, and we know how important it is to make our event as easy as possible to attend,” said Tolède. He encourages all of the participants to use the free concierge service for transportation, onsite logistics and housing, while benefitting from preferred rates.
For stress-free boat logistics, Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille has partnered with Sevenstar Racing Yacht Logistics, which provides turn-key services to sailing teams. “The Sevenstar team is available for all teams to transport their boats from the United States, Europe, Australia or Asia to the Caribbean. If a crew needs assistance to get replacement parts, containers, or ship packages via air freight, the company has the best solutions, combining professionalism and safety,” said Tolède.
It’s all part of the organizers’ strategy to ensure that Les Voiles is ‘no-stress’ for all the teams participating in Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille, whether before, during, or after the regatta.