Once again, Les Voiles de Saint Tropez was the major meeting of modern and classic yachting. For the fifteenth year, the teams at the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez worked tirelessly to ensure its success.
The 4,000 crew members who gather together in Saint Tropez each year in the coppery glow of early autumn, aboard over 300 of the most beautiful modern and classic boats in the world, have transformed what was originally an amicable gathering into an unmissable rendez-vous, both on the water and on shore. True to its values, la Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez team and its President, André Beaufils, have managed to hold their course throughout the voyage and maintain the unique spirit of Les Voiles de Saint Tropez. Celebrating its fifteenth anniversary this year with good humour and a deep respect for fair play on the water, Les Voiles de Saint Tropez meeting puts the success of its formula down to being a long-term endeavour. The mixture of classic yachts and craft from the third millennium is the main feature of Les Voiles and has become its veritable ‘trademark’. The same is true of the event’s festival ambiance and the wealth of entertainment on shore, which welcomes locals and the general public with open arms.
J-Class: the Titans vying for glory
The J-Class boats are veritable legends. Measuring nearly 40m in length with their clean lines, these monohulls were designed, according to the Universal Rule, to compete in America’s Cup races between 1930 and 1937. The largest yachts of their day, equipped with the largest sail area ever used up to that point, their gigantic proportions accelerated their being neglected as a match racing weapon for the Cup races, but the passion for these boats in no way dwindled. Indeed, thanks to this timeless enthusiasm, the magic of the refit and the art of replication, Lionheart, designed by Burgess & Stephens in 1930 for Harold Vanderbuilt, but never built at that time, went on to join the flamboyant Ranger (1937), Shamrock V (Nicholson 1930), originally launched for Sir Thomas Lipton, and Velsheda (Nicholson 1933), which was built for the owner of the Woolworths chain, William Stephenson. Like last year, a special course and start times were allocated to the J-Class in the same round as the Wally fleet, providing a breathtaking spectacle off the beaches of Pampelonne.
15mJI: finalé in Saint Tropez
2014 marked the return of four members of the ‘royal’ 15mJI class on Saint Tropez’ race zone. These most elegant gaff cutters have the dual speciality of coming from a line that boasts the finest craft of the golden age of yachting and being designed by one William Fife. Alongside Hispania, built in 1909 on the orders of His Majesty King Alfonso XIII of Spain, the famous Tuiga of the Yacht Club de Monaco, Mariska and The Lady Anne vied for supremacy within the rules of yachting. Of note is the fact that special starts were given for the 15mJIs on Monday 29 September and Thursday 2 October at 1100 hours, in addition to the programme scheduled for the classic yachts at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez. This enabled the 15m fleet to conclude the championship that it has been competing in since the start of the season, on race zones right across the Mediterranean.
Moonbeam IV is a hundred years old
Since her very first race, Moonbeam IV has gone down in legend, most notably securing a win in the King’s Cup in 1920 and 1923. Purchased by Prince Rainier of Monaco back in 1950, Moonbeam IV continued to carve out a fairy-tale wake by welcoming Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier aboard for their honeymoon. Built at the Fairlie yard in Scotland in 1914 according to a William Fife design for Charles Plumtree Johnson, this gaff cutter measuring nearly 32m in length overall had to wait until the end of World War I to be definitively kitted out, in 1920. Undergoing a very fine restoration in a Burmese yard in 2001, the largest of the Moonbeam fleet celebrated her hundredth birthday in Saint Tropez, a precious anniversary which, for the very first time, enabled her access to the Centenary Trophy, organised in partnership with the Gstaad Yacht Club on Thursday 2 October.
The pearl of Les Voiles: Tahiti
The collaboration between Les Voiles de Saint Tropez and the Tahiti Pearl Regatta already dates back some six years to the great delight of one and all. The principle behind it is to enable a Tahitian crew, whose performance stood out at the Tahiti Pearl Regatta, to come along and compete in Saint Tropez. In return, a crew from Saint Tropez, which has shone at Les Voiles, then has the chance to benefit from some extraordinary racing in Tahiti. The Tahiti Pearl Regatta 2014 was, as in recent years, managed by Georges Kohrel, Principal Race Officer at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez. Tahiti is also one of the mainstays of the week’s entertainment in Saint Tropez, with its famous stand featuring black pearl jewellery and local products dedicated to tourism. This stand is run in Les Voiles Village by Stéphanie Betz, who also manages a group of dancers, who give the returning yachts a traditional welcome each race evening.
This year, we once again put a Tahitian flower behind our ears, as Tahiti was in charge of the village’s closing ceremony on the evening of Saturday 4 October.
AND THE PARTNERS
The Edmond de Rothschild Group supports “Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez” for the second year running
“Sailing has been a Rothschild family tradition for over 140 years and is therefore a natural sponsoring theme for our Group. This is particularly true regarding ‘Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez’, the event that has followed in the wake of the Nioulargue, which Baron Edmond de Rothschild won in 1984 on Gitana VIII. In 2000 his son Benjamin de Rothschild transformed the family’ s passion for sailing into an offshore racing stable that this year will field the MOD70 Edmond de Rothschild (Gitana XV) in the Rum Route race. Personally, as a sailing enthusiast, I am very happy that our Group is contributing to the regatta tradition of Saint-Tropez and is rising to the challenge of transatlantic competition between St Malo and Point-à-Pitre. As Chairman of the Group in France, I join all of our employees in a salute to the sailors who are perpetuating the family tradition by flying our colours.”
– Vincent Taupin, Chairman of the Executive Board of Edmond de Rothschild (France)