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Set Sail! Les Voiles de St-Barth Richard Mille 2023

A morning rain squall drenched competitors and stole the breeze, unfortunately canceling the final day of racing at Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille and along with it, the opportunity for any final ranking swaps. The 12th edition is officially in the books!



Overall Multihull, CSA and Offshore Multihull Classes

By winning this year’s Overall Multihull class, the MOD70 Zoulou will also be awarded the prestigious Richard Mille Multihull Trophy, with owner and skipper Erik Maris accepting the impressive Montre Richard Mille RM 60-01 titanium carbone TPT watch*. 

While it was the only MOD70 entered this year, Loïck Peyron, Zoulou’s navigator, thoroughly enjoyed his time and gave credit to the other multihulls that held their own against the powerful trimaran.

“It’s always nice to go almost four times faster than your opponents,” said Peyron, one of the most decorated French sailors of all time. “We love taking part in Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille. This event was a great warm up for our team, as we look ahead to racing this summer in the Rolex Fastnet Race against more MOD70s.”

Nemo, a HH 66 owned by Todd Slyngstad, won the Offshore Multihull Class.


Maxis

Disney, a first-timer at Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille, said that the course configurations provide a good challenge. “Racing around and through the surrounding islands makes the wind tricky,” he said. “We often saw 20 degree shifts, and big puffs swirling around. There’s a lot happening.”

Pyewacket, Roy P. Disney’s Volvo 70 not only won its class, it also celebrated winning the 2023 Caribbean Maxi Challenge, presented by Benoît de Froidmont, president of the International Maxi Association. The multi-event challenge is open to boats 60 feet and above, and this year included the RORC Caribbean 600, St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille. 

“The short course racing at Les Voiles is totally different from what the Pyewacket team typically does,” said Disney, who has competed in 25 Transpac 600s and won five. “I have really good guys who don’t make mistakes. If I didn’t have these guys, I’d be dead. Going around the buoys in this race is a lot more stressful in many ways, because offshore racing is more consistent.”

Due to a lack of sufficient wind this year, race organizers did not send the Maxi class on the quest to break the Richard Mille Record Trophy. The 47-mile course is set between the islands of Saint Barth and Tintamarre, and the current record holder is Rambler 88 led by George David (3 hours 01 minutes and 58 seconds).


CSA 1

The Swan 50 OD Balthazar cleanly swept the CSA 1 class and according to Navigator Bouwe Bekking, “Everything went our way, and the owner [Filip Balcaen] did a fantastic job driving the bus. 

“It was just a week that we couldn’t do anything wrong. We had good starts and were always leading at the top mark. It was great racing against Stark Raving Mad IX, because they go a little faster, but I think we were a little bit luckier than they were. Hats off to Final Final as well; they were really pushing at the starts. Overall, just a really enjoyable week.” 


CSA 2 

First-time competitor Steve Rigby of El Ocaso J/122 had earned enough credit early in the week so that the tail end of two third-place finishes wasn’t severe enough to knock them off the top of the CSA 2 podium.  

“We had a great start with three first wins, and a little bit trickier on races four and five,” said the British skipper, who chartered El Ocaso for the event. “It felt good today that we had a great start and were in good shape to hopefully win the race, until they abandoned it due to lack of wind.” 


 CSA 3

Winning the CSA 3 class by one point, Sergio Sagramoso’s Melges 32 Lazy Dog had a great week competing against the Melges 24 Team Island Water World and the Cape 31. “We’re very happy with our performance,” said the skipper from Puerto Rico. “It was tough to compete against a boat you have to give so much time, but on the other hand it really pushed us. And because of the distance between us, many times we would have very different wind conditions. 

“Like yesterday, when we finished the race there was hardly any wind. Then we look up the course and see Frits and the Melges 24 barreling down to the finish line because of the squall, and he beat us by 15 seconds. We feel very good about this win, especially because when we started the race today we were very far ahead and would have likely won it, so that is a good way to finish.”


CSA 4

It was an especially sweet victory for Sacha Dauna, owner of the First Class Pepsi Max in CSA 4. He raced the event six times previously on board Pamala Baldwin’s boat Liquid, but the 12th edition was his first time at the helm.

  “We had a great start with three first wins, and a little bit trickier on races four and five,” said the British skipper, who chartered El Ocaso for the event. “It felt good today that we had a great start and were in good shape to hopefully win the race, until they abandoned it due to lack of wind.” 

“This win is so rewarding because of the time it took to take shape. Five years ago when I bought the 40-year-old boat, it was a real wreck. And here we are today, winners of our class.  It is an immense satisfaction for me but also for the whole crew who participated for the first time in the event. It’s also proof that with self-sacrifice, perseverance and resilience we are capable of doing great things.”


Diam 24

Nicolas Ramis on board Cry Baby, is the winner in Diam 24 OD: “While we suspected today’s racing would be abandoned, we really appreciate that the race committee tried to run a race,” Ramis said. 

“For us in the Diam 24 OD class, we did not even reach the first mark. The wind died down before we got there; we even started floating backwards,” Ramis laughed. “Thankfully they canceled the race at that point.”

The 13th edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth Richard Mille is set for April 14 - 20, 2024.

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