St. Barths will host the seventh edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth, an event that has become an essential part of the Caribbean racing schedule. And for good reason, because on the water the precision of the organisation and the excellent standard of the competition have earned the event recognition on the international racing circuit, while on shore the constant festive feel gives it a unique dimension. For this 2016 vintage, the organizers have planned an exceptional program of entertainment, once again with the focus on bringing together sailors from all around the world and the local population.
The program combines what have become ‘traditional’ highlights such as the festive crew night, lay day activities and the picnic on Colombier Beach with a tasty cocktail of new features such as the ‘Famous Pirate Sails’ evening at the Caribbean restaurant Le Ti St Barth, jousting on giant Stand Up Paddleboards, and a wealth of other surprises.
Since the first edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth back in 2010, organizers have served up a near-perfect balance of sportsmanship and social interaction. Today, it’s this unique spirit that makes the event so special. “Saint Barths is an island that excels in hospitality and boasts an array of high quality tourist treats, where people love to enjoy its many assets and its context. In short, they love its art de vivre and its ‘French Touch’. There is no better place to combine enjoyment and competition,” said François Tolède, Director of Les Voiles de St. Barth’s organization team.
As is the case every year, Tolède and his team have drawn up a rich and varied program on shore, structured around a village spanning over 2,000m² set up on Quai Général de Gaulle in Gustavia. It’s a venue where the sailors get together every morning and every evening after racing, and visitors can come along to share ideas and unique moments during music concerts and event video shows on giant screens.
Rich Programs, Both on Shore and at Sea
“Today, the people who come to Les Voiles de St. Barth are as demanding about what we offer on the water as they are about what we offer them on shore,” said Luc Poupon, Race Director, who has put together an on-water program that notably features some 20 courses. “The idea is that each day the best routes are chosen in accordance with the weather conditions, while introducing the greatest possible variety to ensure their enjoyment. With this in mind, for this latest edition we’ve planned to set a mark near Saline to give the sailors the chance to discover the island’s novel landscapes and seascapes.’
Poupon is delighted at the top quality line-up of this year’s fleet. “Today, some 69 crews are signed up and it’s evident that the standard is particularly high thanks to the presence of a series of very high performance boats and crews,” he explained. This view is backed up by François Tolède: “Given that our original aim was to gather together an elite fleet, inevitably it’s hugely satisfying to have amassed such a stellar line-up.”