Oktober 02, 2009 @ 19:53:22   Foto Kurt Arrigo

PARTRIDGE, launched in 1885 at Camper & Nicholson's shipyard

1 AV 2

This morning in Saint-Tropez began with grey skies and calm conditions, but by noon the sun broke through and the wind had picked up. While shifty all day within the gulf, the wind surprised all and came from the East, instead of the usual Southwest, leading to a change in the direction of the start for the traditional classes. The smaller divisions had their start just past noon, following a 14 nm course towards Pointe des Issambres. Meanwhile the Big Classic division experienced a sharp drop in wind, and was unable to start until just past 15.00.

The Modern classes started racing at La Moutte and, wishing to spend more time on the water, began racing a longer 28-mile course in winds that were steady at about 8 knots.

Courses for all classes were shortened by 17.00 due to a lack of wind.

For results (unavailable at time of going to press) please visit: www.societe-nautique-saint-tropez.fr

The Rolex Trophy
The Rolex Trophy will be given during the prize giving ceremony on Sunday, 4 October to the Tradition class boat over 16 metres, which has accumulated the fewest points over the week of regattas. The winner will also receive a Rolex Submariner, close companion to all nautical achievements.

Currently in the top three positions, all tied with a score of five points following two races, are Rowdy, Avel and Oiseau De Feu. Positions to be updated once latest results are known.

It's 10am, ready to race in Saint-Tropez
While the mornings may start slowly in Saint-Tropez, by 10am the shops are open, the streets are busy, and the port is in constant motion. It is a well-known popular pastime to wander the docks and admire the many incredible yachts and artists that line the waters edge. During Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, the usual megayachts have given their mooring space to competitors, filling the sky with ropes and wooden masts. The ambling crowds stop to stare and take pictures, as competitors prepare their boats for the day's racing to come.

“We like to present the boat to the public when she is clean, so every morning we polish the bronze and make sure she looks nice before going out to race,” says crewmember Jonathan Greenwood of last year's Rolex Trophy winner, Rowdy. Work onboard begins as early as 8.30, so by 10.00 most everything is in place and the crew can relax, he said. “Once we've readied the boat for racing the crew usually goes to the race village to have a coffee with the other sailors.”

Today when the Rolex clock in the race village struck 10am, the crowds had already begun to arrive. In addition to those having breakfast or coffee at the bar, race organization had already set their courses. “The Race Committee of the modern class heads out around 9.30 or 10.00 since the course is usually set farther out and they need more time to reach the start area,” said Principal Race Officer Georges Korhel. “This is followed by the Wally boat departures from 10.00 -11.00, and then the Tradition class boats, who demand more preparation time, usually leave around 11.30.”

Helping over 200 boats to leave the docks at more or less the same time is no small task. “There is someone in control of who leaves the port when, because you can't have all the boats leaving at once, it would be a complete disaster,” said George. “You've got the participants, the spectator boats, passenger boats, media boats… and for coming back into the port it is the same thing. The dock master tower takes care of all of that.”

Known as la Capitainerie in French, the dock master tower functions much like an air control tower, in charge of the difficult task of directing all boats in and out of the Saint-Tropez harbour. “There is no pre-established order for the release of the vessels,” said Jean Marc Le Saux of la Capitainerie. “The only thing we take into consideration is that the modern boats have priority since their start is usually around 11.00, while the classics only start around noon. Once a team is ready, the 'go-ahead' is given. We are just here to help avoid crashes and assist with manoeuvres.”

As the Wallys leave, the teams are decked out in matching uniforms, bright green for Esense and navy blue and white for Magic Carpet. The sails are prepared, the ropes (hawsers) packed away and the city shoes left in a basket ashore as the teams make their way one by one out of the port for their start zone situated off the beaches of Pampelonne.

On board the Classics the movements are similar, but the number of crewmembers can differ drastically, sometimes reaching up to 30 people on board. With no hydraulic systems and no electronic assistance, every crewmember must do his part in keeping the boat under control and moving forward. When there is lots of wind, crew must be on high alert even when leaving the port, as the larger boats take fair muscle power to control and navigate.

Once out on the bay, the boats must wait for the start cues from the race committee. In the meantime they seem to drift, crowding the water in a spectacular sight that spectators come from far and wide to witness. When start details are announced the boats form a line, all aiming to cross the start line with perfect timing. And they're off!

Rounding the Mark
Whether it is a navigation mark, a buoy, a lighthouse or even an island, the race committee can use any one of a number of marks when plotting race course direction. Sailing ships bound for Pampelonne Beach often use La Basse Rabiou, a concrete marker that tells the fleet they are leaving St. Tropez and heading out into the open Mediterranean. But whether one uses Lion de Mer, Seiche à l'Huile, Roches de Fouras, La Nioulargue or even Cap Camarat, the mark rounding is of extreme importance in yacht racing.

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez uses a variety of marks depending on the chosen course for each division. In addition to navigation marks, there are many volunteers present from the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez who are responsible for the placement and anchoring of buoys during this week's racing. Without them, the race would be endless and sailboats would continue on an endless course, never to return to port...

Over the past week, we have focused on a series of moments in time here in Saint-Tropez. As tomorrow is the final race day, we will take a look at the arrival of the boats in port after racing, when crews will be berthing for the final time for this edition of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez.

Racing will continue through Saturday, 3 October with the awards ceremony to take place on Sunday, 4 October.

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez 2009 Event Programme
Sunday, 27 September: Welcome for yachts
Monday, 28 September: Welcome for yachts and racing in the Modern division
Tuesday, 29 September: Coastal race
Wednesday, 30 September: Coastal race
Thursday, 1 October: Challenge Day
Friday, 2 October: Coastal race
Saturday, 3 October, Coastal race
Sunday, 4 October: Prizegiving Ceremony 11.00


Security Image





SK75 Bacchant Foto Olle Appelberg


Hundraåringarnas Regatta i Mariefred är en hyllning till seglande hundraåringar som också välkomnar yngre båtar. Reg...

Vestas 11th Hour Racing vann Götebo...

Vestas imponerade i dagens In-Port Race i Göteborg. Spanska MAPFRE säkrade segern...

Inför In-Port Race i Göteborg

Ladda inför morgondagens In-Port Race i Göteborg. Här följer ett pressm...

Wester Netzler Sailing (video)

Wester Netzler Sailing får ofta besök på träningspassen och nu hä...

Världens största regatta har starta...

Igår startade världens största seglingtävling, nämligen Kieler Wo...