Monday, September 29, 2008

Les Voiles de St. Tropez

By Paul Cayard - Today was the first race day here in St. Tropez. It is an amazing collection of boats here from classics like the J-boat Velsheda to super modern Wally's like Essence with her 170 foot mast. I am sailing on Moneypenny with Jim Schwartz and the rest of his team. Moneypenny is a new boat in the STP 65 Class. The other STP 65 here is Container, owned by Udo Shutz of Germany. Numbers, owned by Dan Meyers of the USA and chartered by Ernesto Bertarelli, is a bit bigger at 66 feet and has been the boat to beat in our range this year.

The racing today was delayed for about an hour and a half as we waited for the wind to fill in. A nice breeze from the East and then the South filled in and we set off at 1230 on a 22 miles course. It was a big loop in the counter clockwise direction. Since the wind was marking right all day, we spent three-quarters of the race on the wind.

After a very tricky start with the line 30 degrees favored at the committee boat and the black flag displayed (automatic DSQ if you are over the line early) Container got out in front early. Numbers managed to just squeeze over the top of us on the long fetch to the first mark. Up the second leg which was to windward, both Moneypenny and Numbers passed container. Numbers again just managed to squeeze past us when both boats set up near the starboard lay line.

The third leg again turned into a beat to windward. Mind you, every one of these legs was a 50-60 degree turn to the right. Container passed us on this leg and was two lengths ahead of us at the next mark. Numbers had stretched out to a one minute lead.

We set spinnakers at this mark but ours tore immediately. We had to change to a heavier sail which was not the right sail for the leg. There was along procession to the finish back in front of the city of St. Tropez. A very picturesque scene, but frustrating racing for us.

In corrected time we finished 6th in our class which has 35 boats. Numbers won and Container was 5th.

The results for this regatta can be found at

Tomorrow's forecast is moderate winds again and the start time is 1100.-
Cayard Sailing Website Photos byRolex / Carlo Borlenghi