Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez

Another gorgeous 'summer' day for participants as racing continues for the 2009 edition of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. With 296 entries in this unique, annual rendez-vous of both classic and modern boats, today the waters off Saint-Tropez were filled with yachts of all shapes and sizes.

Today's racing conditions for the Traditional classes saw 10-15 knots of winds during racing. The wind came from the Southwest at the start, the first of which was at 12.08 with the last one at 12.54 for the Traditional yachts.

After the start, the course for the classics went in the direction of Pointe des Issambres and then headed towards the Wally start area, off Pamplelonne Beach, continuing in the direction of the Cap de Saint-Tropez. By 15.30 the majestic classics yachts were rounding the final course mark, La Basse Rabiou, located at the exit of the Gulf of Saint-Tropez, before beginning a long upwind trek towards the finish-line.

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

The Rolex Trophy
In addition to the week's racing and prizes, is the opportunity for the classic yachts to win 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, who has accumulated the fewest points over the week of regattas. The winner will also receive a Rolex Submariner, close companion to all nautical achievements.

Current standings for the Rolex Trophy will be posted as of Thursday, 1 October.

It's 8am, activity begins in Saint Tropez
By 8am, Saint-Tropez has stretched its arms and put its feet over the side of the bed. Over the next few hours, the shops will open their doors, the windows will be washed and the first of the see-everything-in-a-day tourists will take to the streets. Scooters and mini trucks piled high with crates of fresh produce will zip by, while people head for the morning fish market at la Places aux Herbs. Those who take a morning coffee on the port will see ship stewards rushing to buy the daily newspaper for their passengers, and during Les Voiles one is likely to see a crewmember picking up last minute supplies for his team.

Today when the Rolex clock struck 8am in the race village, the first of the white tents were a-flutter. By 9am the floors were being mopped and race organization was in full swing. For Georges Korhel, Principal Race Officer for Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, exact timing is very important. “The work day begins at 9 am when the three race committees meet: Traditional, Wally and Modern. We speak about the known weather conditions for the day and fix the courses for the three different classes. The idea is that the three different racecourses will never cross one another because while it would be beautiful, it's dangerous and can create confusion. This discussion lasts until about 9.15 or 9.30, by which time an agreement has to be made. As of then, the committees head out on the water, each responsible for regulating their respective classes, and the day begins with what has been decided.”

In the docks at 8am preparation is already underway onboard many of the yachts. Pierre Paquiero is sailing with his Armide, which, in the spirit of many classic entries here for Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, is here to enjoy the conditions and ambiance more so than the competitive racing. Although eligible for the Rolex Trophy, Pierre explains that he races with one sailor and a navigator on board and that the rest are chartered guests or friends. “My “first” mate and I do most of the work ourselves. While there are some things to do in the morning, we wrap-up after racing, so morning preparation is quite simple. I'm on the boat around 8.30 or 9, depending on the evening before,” he laughed. “Everyone arrives little by little and by 11.30 we leave the port. While this is a racing boat she's more on the slow side, so really for us it could be lunch that's considered the most important moment of the day.”

Over the next week, we will turn the spotlight on Time and will focus on a series of daily moments during Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. Racing for 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