Les Voiles de St. Barth, in Photos

Check out these stunning images from four days of exceptional sailing-yacht races.

2014 Les Voiles de St. Barth

The 2014 Les Voiles de St. Barth was held April 14-19, including four days of racing. More than 70 monohulls and multihulls were among the listed participants.

2014 Les Voiles de St. Barth

With several classes still up for grabs, crews going into the final day of racing at Les Voiles de St. Barth were eager to get on the race course and best the score. The conditions remained fresh, with a 22 – 25 knot southeasterly producing an impressive swell on the island’s windward side.

2014 Les Voiles de St. Barth

Les Voiles de St. Barth Race Committee, led by Race Director Luc Poupon, carefully chose race courses to fit the conditions, sending the largest classes on a 22 nautical mile course and medium-sized boats on a 16 nm course. To make up for a missed race, the six-boat Melges 24 class completed two races, which were run in the more protected waters on the western side of the island. As a further provision, the class mutually agreed not to use spinnakers.

2014 Les Voiles de St. Barth

As spectators watched from a sculpted rock plateau 500 feet above the pristine beach of Colombier, the sailing conditions on the northern most point of St. Barths seemed epic: strong, fairly steady wind, with flat water at the starting area and the first rounding mark. At the next mark, however, the fleet began its beat around the island’s northern end into the ocean swell. A two-knot current running counter to the prevailing wind produced six-to-eight foot seas that, while uncomfortable upwind, made for a rollicking ride off the breeze.

2014 Les Voiles de St. Barth

The conditions took their toll on some equipment and produced several blown-out spinnakers and sails. Even in the protected area where the Melges 24s were sailing, it was déjà vu for Frits Bus as his Island Water World lost its mast and, just like last year, missed out on a chance to seal a victory.

2014 Les Voiles de St. Barth

The change in conditions from the lighter wind of the regatta’s first two days (Monday and Tuesday) to the 20 plus knots on the latter two days (Friday and Saturday) affected several classes with boats that favored one range or the other.

2014 Les Voiles de St. Barth

Sailor Sergio Sagramoso commented, “This is the first time in this boat, but I’m sailing against much bigger boats so I’m thinking that perhaps conditions have a lot to do with it. It was very light yesterday, and we did well. We’ll see how we do in heavy winds. There is a 49-footer in our class, so things might change and you might be interviewing somebody else, but hopefully not!”

2014 Les Voiles de St. Barth

Melges 32 winner Jim Madden said, “We had a fantastic week, one of the best weeks I’ve ever had. Conditions were beautiful the first two days and outrageous the second two days. It was a ton of fun, very competitive – and what a beautiful island and wonderful environment!"

2014 Les Voiles de St. Barth

Winner of the Maxi class was the Swiss boat Caol Ila R. Schaerer. The team enjoyed close racing with Rhode Island boat Bella Mente for the first part of the week, until Bella Mente suffered a dismasting. Owner Schaerer said, "We had quite a good start of the regatta, because our forté against Bella Mente is light weather with our set-up on the boat. So we had a 2-1 lead after the light weather; then unfortunately we couldn't compete with them in the strong winds (due to _Bella Mente'_s retirement), but I think that would have been tough to win two races, as their forté is reaching in strong weather. Up until then it was a nice, exciting sailing week here."Les Voiles de St. Barth / Christophe Jouany

2014 Les Voiles de St. Barth

Les Voiles de St. Barth includes quite a few competitors and boats that return for multiple editions. In the Non-Spinnaker class, Bobby Velasquez from Sint Maarten stands out. Velasquez, a well-known marina owner from the Dutch island, has competed at all five editions of Les Voiles, and this is his third class win. He said, "We have done pretty well over the years. We have the same boat, same captain. We really enjoy it and had some good competition in the class with some Swans, some bigger boats like Hotel California, Speedy Nemo, and others."

2014 Les Voiles de St. Barth

The dates for the next edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth will be April 13 – 18, 2015.

2014 Les Voiles de St. Barth

Event Organizer François Tolède said, “This has been another great edition, another success. I am really pleased with the level of competition and camaraderie among all competitors and partners. The professionalism both on the water and onshore has been amazing. Thanks to all our teams, Les Voiles de St. Barth is now running smoothly, while still maintaining welcoming scale for all to enjoy.”

2014 Les Voiles de St. Barth

After racing there was an awards ceremony dockside in the Les Voiles de St. Barth race village, on the Quai General de Gaulle in Gustavia Harbor. Race organizers presented top-three finishers in each class with trophies, champagne and other prizes. Competitors and guests were treated to a spectacular fireworks display over Gustavia Harbor and live music.

2014 Les Voiles de St. Barth

Prizes for winners included a Richard Mille RM028 special edition “Les Voiles de St. Barth” timepiece, Gaastra Pro crew gear, a week’s stay in a luxury villas in St. Barth, Veuve Clicquot champagne and Mount Gay Rum.