It’s no secret. The Mediterranean can be prickly and angry at times. This was the scenario that greeted this second day of Les Voiles de Saint Tropez, where a vicious easterly wind has been packing a punch on the waters of the bays for the past 24 hours, making any sailing a rather perilous affair. The upshot of this was a special weather forecast from Météo France as 30 knots of breeze and 3-metre waves pummeled the racetrack at midday. Race Director Georges Korhel and his teams wisely cancelled today’s sailing programme.
The low-down from Georges Korhel, Race Director:
“We gave ourselves until midday before informing all the racers that the day’s races were cancelled. The Special Weather Statement is in operation and conditions in the bay speak for themselves, with up to 3.50m waves recorded at Cape Camarat with gusts of 44 knots. The exit from the port is sufficiently perilous at the best of times not to tempt fate. The other major difficulty we have to take into account is the work by our teams setting the courses, the Race Committees and so on. Setting a mark as you do in the Modern round at a depth of over 600 metres, on rough seas with breaking waves, is mission impossible. With no course, there’s no race. We can but hope that the gales will roll through under the cover of darkness so that tomorrow Les Voiles de Saint Tropez can kick-off festivities where they left off…”
Review of the Modern leaderboard
Enjoying perfect wind and sea conditions on Monday, the Wallys, 15m JIs and 5 IRC groups hit the racetrack for the first time. The Wallys competed in two races and the 15m JIs in three races, with three separate winners (TUIGA, The LADY ANNE and MARISKA). The 153 Modern yachts sailed a 19-mile coastal course, with the favourites all on form in their respective classes. MY SONG shone among the IRC A big boats. Italian Pier Luigi’s LORO PIANA took the lead in corrected time, ahead of Frenchman Gérard Logel on AROBAS. The famous Maxi LEOPARD, winner in elapsed time, took 15th place in corrected. For her first ever participation in Les Voiles, the 60-footer SPECTRE with her inverted bow, secured 9th place in a highly competitive group comprising 23 boats.
In IRC B, IDRA and her fairly favourable handicap gained the upper hand in a fleet of 28 boats, ahead of German Sven Wackerhagen on DESNA and Bernard Coquelet’s FLO d’ORIENT.
Posting very sporty performances, the IRC C features some 29 boats, among which American James Schwartz and his TP 52 VESPARr confirmed their status as favourite by topping the leaderboard from the outset. The other two TP 52s are right on his tail, with Prince Frederick of Denmark’s NANOQ in second place and Briton Peter Harrison completing the podium on TORCHA. The battle is on then at the head of the group…
In IRC D, the French A 40 RC Team CHALET is out in front of a 39-boat fleet and not for the first time. Astern of them, a minute was not enough to separate German sailor Michael Mueller’s PAPPES and Georges le Troquer’s PEN KALET.
36 competitors are competing in the ‘little’ IRC Es. Farr 30 NIKITA took the win yesterday after a close-run match, Jean Claude Bertrand’s A35 TCHIN just seconds behind, with Russian Vyacheslav Frolov completing the podium on his X 35 SYMFONY
Who are you? Jean-Pierre Mannetstatter, Race Director, Modern round
It’s impossible not to notice the slender silhouette of the hairy Viking with added beard. Indeed Jean Pierre Mannetstater is a familiar sight at a number of Mediterranean championships. In Saint Tropez he’s in charge of the biggest and most hotly disputed fleet at Les Voiles, that of the Modern yachts. With nearly 180 boats, split into 5 IRC groups under his orders, start procedures are plentiful.
“I was a hydrographer and computer analyst in the French Navy. That’s what led me from my native Champagne to the Med and I’ve never left, having married and started a family here. Alongside my work I’ve been part of regional and national race committees in various events and championships and I’ve sailed catamarans, Lasers and Optimists since I was 16. I’ve worked at Les Voiles for seven years, working my way up from setting courses to being President of the Modern round for the past 4 editions. I launch the start phases, manage the race, shortened courses, modifications and finishes. I manage the boats that set the course, clear the course of stray boats, manage the security, etc. That amounts to around twenty people for the starts of the five IRC classes. The Modern boats are here for the sport and the competition so it’s pretty tense in the start phases when the 18-metre big boats are powering down on you at full speed in the committee boat. The thrill of Les Voiles de Saint Tropez lies in the diversity of the fleet. It’s a sight for sore eyes and clearly Les Voiles is essentially a state of mind!”
RAMBLER 88 in La Ciotat
Suffering rig damage in yesterday’s racing, the Maxi RAMBLER 88 had to retire from today’s potential racing and make for the yard in La Ciotat where the experts sent by the manufacturer of the carbon port shroud will be spending the next two days effecting repairs. Rambler 88 is kitted out with a continuous shroud made from a single piece of carbon. The Kouyoumdjian design should be operational again for Friday’s races.
The day’s weather:
Wednesday 30 September / Météo France’s special weather statement is still underway. The easterly wind will remain strong, but the overcast skies will give way to glorious sunshine.
An extraordinary yacht: SERENADE
SERENADE is a 61-foot Nicholas S. Potter design built in 1938 for the violinist Jascha Heifetz to participate in the famous TransPac, which she won on her first attempt with a certain Humphrey Bogart among her crew. Her star-studded list of owners range from Hollywood’s Zsa Zsa Gabor to the legendary captain, Jacques Cousteau. Equally remarkable are her fine lines and her seaworthiness, which prompted her current owner to salvage her from Mystic (Connecticut) where she was vegetating. Serenade is a Marconi cutter measuring 18.90m and weighing in at 23 tonnes. Bought by Alain Moatti, SERENADE was shipped across the pond in April 2015 to Genoa. After a quick but careful upgrade, she had a hassle-free debut in her first European race, the Corsica Classic, and joins the classic yachts in Les Voiles de Saint Tropez for another debut performance.