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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Les Voiles de St. Tropez.

Following the Regates Royales de Cannes in September, the Classic yachts moved to St. Tropez for the annual rendez-vous of the Sails of St Tropez. The greatest display of the most admired boats in the world. They came from everywhere. Divided in 3 classes, the participation included 10 Wally's, multitude of Traditional Yachts and 161 "Modernes". Not being there, something is missing.

A little side story about the Regates Royales de Cannes.
Back in 1970, aboard Europe our 72' schooner, we were docked next to the magnificent 114' schooner  belonging to Jean-Claude Brouillet. J-C was an adventurer, a pilot, who built his fortune in the air and in the jungle of Africa. His love for boats came with the 1914 Sumurun, still plying the water of Newport to these days. Then came Ashanti, a masterpiece by Gruber, the designer and Burmeister the builder. Jean-Claude renamed the boat Afaneti, because of the reaction of his crew from Togo, seeing the tall masts and comparing them to their trees in the forest. We became fast friends in view of our common interest. As it is, we soon developed the idea of a race for Classic boats in the Bay of Cannes. Making fliers and the round of harbors, here and there we managed to gather half a dozen wooden boats. I remember in particular the sisterships of Finisterre and Figaro, both Sparkman and Stephens designs. I quickly devised a handicap formula based on very basic characteristics of the vessels. The race went on with perfect weather and it was a lot of fun.
Originally started in 1929, the Y-C de Cannes relaunched the "revived" Regates Royales 8 years later.  Last September 85 boats participated in a week of racing.