Tag Archives: regatta

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta – Yacht Racing

 

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta: A March Tradition

The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, that takes place every year in early March, always lives up to its reputation for fine sailing and an exciting all-around atmosphere in a breathtaking part of the world.

Saint Maarten - Saint Martin - Caribbean Islands
The green Mark is St Maarten’s location

The island of St. Martin is has been hosting this yacht race since 1980. It has since grown to become an international sailing event that lures yachts from around the world to participate in the adventurous regatta at sea and to enjoy the hedonist festivities and parties on the island. The party atmosphere is, of course, complemented by serious sailing each March during this renowned event. Like many well-known yacht races, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta began as a small yacht race among friends. Eventually, however, it caught the attention of Heineken who noticed that quite a bit of its beer was consumed during the event which led it to seek sponsorship. While Heineken promotes the regatta, the Caribbean Yachting Association officiates the racing. The regatta is based upon four races that are sailed over the course of the three-day event. Racing occurs along the Anguilla Channel, Marigot Bay, and the island in its entirety.

Saint Marteen Heineken Regatta, Saint Martin Island, caribbean sailing
Philipsburg, Saint Maarten (Saint Martin). This is the fantastic environment of the  St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

Sailors all strive to win the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta‘s top prize, the St. Martin Cup, for Most Worthy Performance Overall. The race is open to various yacht classes including monohulls from 30 to 100 ft (with or without spinnaker), multihulls, bareboats, gunboats (fast catamarans), melges 24…

For spectators, the pleasure is often viewing these fine yachts afloat and racing on the azure waters of the Caribbean. The waters are complemented by the fine weather that typically accompanies the racing. Gentle trade winds associated with March are ideal for casual cruising around the island, of course, but also benefit the racing. This area boasts ideal sailing conditions between November and April so the March race is an ideal time to set sail.

Why Participate to the Saint Maarten Heineken Regatta?

The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta has evolved to become one of the most popular yacht race in the world. It draws outstanding crews and yachts from many parts of the world. It is a chance for sailors to test themselves against outstanding competition and to take their place as worthy competitors themselves in this exciting and altogether historic sport. Each yacht entry requires race fee; typically this fee costs around $1,300. An additional deposit of $6,500 to cover loss or damages associated with the race is also required. Each year witnesses more than 3,000 sailors who do their utmost to rate an award such as a cup or one of the race’s noteworthy prizes.

The St.Maarten Regatta is run under the CSA rating rules. It means you have to contact the Caribbean Sailing Association (CSA) to get a valid certificate. They will send you to local measurers. For more information about how to enter the race, visit the official Caribbean sailing Association’s website, they will tell you everything about the CSA rating rule.

Sailing in Saint Martin, Sailing in st. Maarten
You will enjoy sailing in St. Maarten (or St. Martin) © Gino santa Maria

While the racing offers challenging sailing and might be said to require world-class proficiency, it is also quite simply a marvellous time on an enchanting sea. With majestic weather and a myriad of entertainments awaiting the sailors back on shore, the event is simply one sailing‘s annual highlights. Each year it promises adventure, fun, and excitement on a virtually unparalleled scale.

St. Martin (or St. Maarten in Dutch)

The island itself is a vacation paradise. The part French-part Dutch Caribbean Island was witnessed by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the West.

Each side of the island is associated with various cultural elements, not surprisingly, but the entire island is known for its beauty and beaches. St. Maarten is a territory of the Netherlands and gives its name to the regatta, but the atmosphere of sailing excitement can be felt all around the island during this event. The Dutch side of the island is also associated with parties and vibrant nightlife particularly during the regatta. The French side of the island is world famous for its nude beaches and excellent shopping.

Saint Martin, Saint Maarten yachting. This is a beach on the french side of the Island. ©Jean Marie Maillet
The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is a great occasion to join great parties on the beach

The Regatta‘s Social Excitement

After a day of sailing, participants can expect a celebration like no other filled with the uplifting music of the island like Soca, Calypso, and Merengue. Steel drums can be heard from far and wide.

Visitors to the island will also note the extraordinary cuisine and its delightful fusion of Indian, Caribbean, Dutch, and French flavors.

While the sport draws thousands of spectators who are sailing enthusiasts, the island itself attracts many who are simply interested in the cultural revelry associated with the event and the non-stop parties that accompany the racing.

If this year’s regatta has run its course, it’s not too soon to begin thinking about next years. Many crews practice diligently, of course, and participate in other regattas as training for big racing events like the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.

Since the regatta‘s motto is ‘serious fun,’ sailing enthusiasts will have much to look forward to even though the next regatta is now a year away.

Of course, it’s never too soon to prepare for a vacation and you can begin to research some of St. Maarten‘s excellent accommodations and get to learn more about the culture of this island before entering next year’s regatta. The regatta‘s website provides exciting clips as well as more information about previous winners and highlights of the events.

Before you go sailing in St. Maarten’s waters

If you decide to go sailing in St. Maarten’s waters, wether to run the regatta or just for leisure sailing, here are a few good items to add to your onboard library:

  1. The Imray Nautical Guide, from Grenada to the Virgin Islands. It is by far the best resource out there for sailing in the area.
  2. The Imray Nautical chart for the area. Imray A24 (Anguilla, St. Maarten, St. Barthelemy)
  3. Imray chart focused on St. Maarten (St. Martin)
  4. and if you go out for the regatta, you might want to refresh your understanding of the racing rules of sailing (2016 version)

Have fun sailing !

Jennifer for Aureus Yachts

Sydney Hobart Rolex Yacht Race

 

The Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is one of the most iconic races in the yachting calendar. This race is a rite of passage that every offshore sailor aspires to, although few take up the challenge. The Boxing Day highlight of the year for all Australian yachtsmen, the 628-mile course takes competitors down the Tasman Sea across one of the most unpredictable stretches of water in the world: Bass Strait. The long, rolling waves of the Southern Ocean roll around the bottom of the world until confronted by the shallow Straits that divide Tasmania from mainland Australia. Then, like surf breaking on a beach, the waves become shorter and steeper, creating conditions that only the toughest sailing yachts and the most experienced sailors can withstand.

The course of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Sailing from Sydney to Hobart is a rite for offshore sailors.
The course of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Sailing from Sydney to Hobart is a rite for offshore sailors. ©Rolex/Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

The Sydney Hobart Race attracts sailors from many backgrounds. They range from paid professionals to Corinthian enthusiasts, taking time away from their jobs and families for the adventure of a lifetime.

Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Sailing from Sydney to Hobart is a rite for offshore sailors.
The start of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. ©Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

 There are two winners of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. The ‘Line Honours’ winner is the first boat to reach the Hobart, usually won by one of the large 100ft Maxi sailing yachts. The prestigious Tattersalls Cup is awarded to the boat with the best corrected time under the IRC handicap system, although scoring is also carried out under ORCi and PHS.

Safety regulations for the race are among the most stringent in the world, and at least half of every yacht’s crew must have completed a Safety and Sea Survival Course.

 History of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

The inaugural race took place in 1945, and attracted just nine sailboats. Peter Luke initially planned the passage from Sydney to Hobart as a cruise – albeit across one of the most treacherous stretches of water in the world. However it was a visit from British Royal Navy Officer, Captain John Illingworth, who suggested it be turned into a race, that caused this iconic yachting regatta to be born. Luke, who took part in many Sydney Hobarts, also helped to form the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA), which organises the race in conjunction with the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania to this day.

The winner of the first Sydney Hobart race was Rani, which took 6 days, 14 hours and 22 minutes to complete the passage to Hobart. Over the years as technology and sailing yacht design has developed, so the race record has tumbled, with 100-foot Maxi yachts such as multiple winner Wild Oats XI finishing the 2005 race in a time of just 1 day 18h 40m. The closest finish for line honours was the battle of the Maxis in 1982, when Condor of Bermuda beat Apollo to Hobart to the line by just 7 seconds.

Politicians and media moguls have enjoyed success in the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, considered by many to be pinnacle not just of the Australian yachting calendar, but of offshore racing across the Southern hemisphere. British prime minister Edward Health won in 1969. Founder of CNN, Ted Turner, won three years later, and another media magnate Rupert Murdoch was part of the crew of Larry Ellison’s Sayonara when the American Maxi won in 1995.

Risk and Reward

With the Bass Strait as fierce and unrelenting as it is – with huge waves and fast-moving weather systems barrelling around the bottom of the planet – danger is never far away. In 1998, tragedy struck when a particularly strong low-pressure system developed over southeast Australia. This generated strong storm force winds of up to 70 knots, which shattered the 115 boat fleet that had set out from Sydney. Only 44 of the original starters of this Sydney Hobart edition completed the race, and five boats sank, with the loss of six lives. The Australian authorities mounted an enormous search and rescue mission which involved 35 aircraft and 27 vessels from the Royal Australian Navy. It was the nation’s largest rescue operation in peacetime.

Sailing round Tasmania's iconic Organ Pipes
Sailing round Tasmania’s iconic Organ Pipes. ©Rolex/Daniel Forster

Since then the race’s safety regulations have been increased and they are now among the most stringent anywhere in the yacht racing world. As a result, numbers of participants have dropped because the barriers to entry are higher. However, Australian yachtsmen’s passion for ‘The Hobart’ remains undiminished and indeed, the number of overseas participants suggests the tragedies of past years have not affected the race’s good standing in the sailing world. Sailors are reminded that when the race starts, the responsibility lies with them to make the decision as to whether or not to cross the Bass Strait.

Sydney Hobart. Storm is coming
Conditions can go wild on the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Here is a storm coming. ©Rolex/Daniel Forster

When the weather is looking particularly nasty, skippers often make the reluctant but sensible decision to retire from the race and seek shelter in the beautiful fishing port of Eden, on the southeast corner of New South Wales, retiring to safety rather than jeopardise boat and crew in the Strait. There is no disgrace for withdrawing from the Sydney Hobart, only respect for having dared to undertake it in the first place.

Some Australian yachtsmen have competed in almost every Sydney Hobart Race of their adult lives, with the most prolific having taken part in nearly 50 editions, such is their obsession with this annual challenge. One thing that experience teaches is that going fast is not always the key to winning. In the boat-breaking seas of the Bass Strait, simply keeping your boat in one piece is a skill in itself. As 2004 line honours winning skipper of the 90ft Maxi Nicorette, Ludde Ingvall, puts it: “To win the race, first you have to finish.” Ingvall imposed an 8-knot speed limit on his young Nicorette crew, for fear that sending the 90-footer any faster through those steep-backed waves would destroy his boat. His conservative tactics paid off, when bad landings off monster waves in a raging Tasman Sea forced his two larger Maxi rivals out of the race. Ingvall’s ‘slow is fast’ approach – ultimately proved correct. It’s a lesson that others have since adopted.

Rough sailing in the Sydney Hobart yacht race
When conditions are tough, skippers have to think about preserving the yachts. ©Rolex/Daniel Forster

But after that battle through hell and high water, the final twist in this race is that the final 20 miles up the majestic Derwent River is often a light wind affair. A welcome respite from the elements for some perhaps, but for others a frustrating, final obstacle that stands in the way of the finish, a few hundred metres off Hobart’s seafront. Completing the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is rarely straightforward, but the reward of finishing is all the sweeter for that.

Twice winner of the Sydney Hobart, Roger Hickman, explains why he can’t get enough of this race…

To finish a Sydney Hobart Yacht Race earns you instant respect in the sailing world. It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to win it or simply to sail through 628 miles of hell and high water to reach Hobart – completing this race is a major milestone in anyone’s book.

Sailors call it the ultimate challenge, because not only are you pitting yourself against your fellow man, but you’re going head to head with the elements. The conditions in the Bass Strait are consistently among the fiercest anywhere in the world. True, you can get a safe run south to Tasmania – but it doesn’t happen very often. You’re sailing south from a large, hot, arid continent called Australia down to this little island out in the freezing wastes of the Southern Ocean. Next stop Antarctica.

Syndey Hobart offshore sailing
On the way to Hobart ©Rolex/Daniel Forster

These big temperature differences are just what a weather system needs to whip itself up into a frenzy, and quite often you’ll find a storm in your way, daring you to pass. Take that weather, mix it with the strong East Australian Current and some shallow waters, and the Bass Strait is ready to cook up some really short, steep nasty waves.

The conditions in the Sydney Hobart punish boats – and they punish people.

So the secret to winning this race is not always about going as fast as possible. You’ve got to know when to push hard, when to back off; when to ask for 110 per cent from your crew, when to give them a rest, to preserve their energy for the moments that really matter.

Storm Sydney Hobart
Be prepared for a wild experience ! This sequence was shot by Carlo Borlenghi ©Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Ploughing along in the middle of a stormy Bass Strait, cold, wet and miserable in the dead of night, it’s hard to believe that just a day or two earlier you were surrounded by thousands of people crowding the shores of a warm and sunny Sydney Harbour. No matter how many times you start a Sydney Hobart, the adrenalin kick is unbelievable, with hundreds of spectator boats cheering you on your way as you charge out through Sydney Heads and head south along the stunning coastline of New South Wales.

Of course if you thought the next 628 miles were going to be like that, you’d be in for a rude shock! The middle part of the race is where you can expect it to get rough, that’s when the hard work really begins. But as you close down the final few miles to Hobart, the Tassie coastline really is a sight for sore eyes.

It’s a pretty place at the best of times, but it’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen – after what you’ve just been through. Winning the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is one of the greatest things any sailor will do in his career, but for more than 60 years the people of Hobart have been cheering every boat that makes it there – even if you’re last! The Aussies love a battler, and that’s what you are if you make it to Hobart: A battler.

Have fun Sailing…well this time, Have fun Battling !

 Andy for Aureus Yachts

How to participate to the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race ?

To engage your boat in the ‘Sydney Hobart‘:

  • You must register a sailing monohull, between 9,00m and 30,48m, that meet the safety regulation of the Race (righting and stability).
  • The minimum crew number in the ORC and IRC divisions is 6 (the minimum age of all crew on the boat is 18).
  • At least half of your crew must have completed a Safety and Sea Survival Course.
  • At least two crew members on the boat should hold a current senior first help certificate, or equivalent qualification, or be a practising medical practitioner.
  • At least two crew members shall hold a Marine Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency (MROCP).
  • At least half of the crew shall have completed a category 1 yacht race or an equivalent passage. What is a category 1 yacht race you might ask ? Well categroy 1 yacht races are: Races of long distance and well offshore, where yachts must be completely self-sufficient for extended periods of time, capable of withstanding heavy storms and prepared to meet serious emergencies without the expectation of outside assistance.
  • You should hold a marine legal liability insurance with respect to the boat current when racing, with the boat insured for not less than AUS$5 million (or its equivalent in an other currency). The insurance policy shall state that the boat is covered for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race and it is covered for yacht races of a length greater than 630 Nautical Miles.
  • You should have a valid IRC or ORC certificate for the current year.
  • Your boat should have been weighed on scales by an UNCL or RORC approved measurer.
  • You should have completed a qualifying race of not less than 150 Nautical Miles not more than 6 months before the start of the race. (contact the organization to have the list of the qualifying races).
  • It is recommended that the skipper or sailing master have a recognised Yachting Australia certificate (or equivalent) of at least an Offshore Skipper certificate.
  • Count approximatively AUS$ 1000 for entry fees, with a crew of 6, in one category.

Once you have all this, just “Express your interest in competing in the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race“, on the online entry page of the Race’s website: Here is a link to this page: Online Entry for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Sail the Rolex Middle Sea Race in Malta

 

The Rolex Middle Sea Race is one of the most thrilling offshore races in the world. It takes place every year in October in La Valletta, Malta. The 2014 edition will start on Sunday 18th October.

RÁN 2 (GBR) approaching the finish line of the Rolex Middle Sea Race in 2012. ©Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
RÁN 2 (GBR) approaching the finish line of the Rolex Middle Sea Race in 2012. ©Rolex/Kurt Arrigo
The course of the Rolex Middle Sea Race is really enjoyable. ©Rolex Middle Sea Race
The course of the Rolex Middle Sea Race is really enjoyable. ©Rolex Middle Sea Race

The Middle Sea Race is a 606 nautical miles long anti-clockwise course around Sicily, Italy. Starting from the Grand Harbour, Valletta, the fleet head north along the eastern coasts of Sicily up towards the Straits of Messina.

Prior to entering the straits of Messina, Mt Etna, the tallest active volcano in Europe, is usually visible on the fleets port side, and at night you can see lava (this volcano is in an almost constant state of activity). Once through the Straits, the course leads north to the Aeolian Islands and the active volcano of Stromboli where the yachts turn west to the Egadi Islands.

Air photo of Catania city in SicilyPassing between Marettimo and Favignana the yachts head south towards the island of Lampedusa leaving Pantelleria to port. Once past Lampedusa the fleet turns northeast on the final leg towards the South Comino Channel and the finish at Marsamxett Harbour. Crews will sail close to numerous beautiful Islands in what is probably the most beautiful race course in the offshore racing world.

Many exceptional yachts enter the race, such as IMOCA’s open 60’s or famous Maxi, but the entries are open to IRC and ORC rated yachts as well. What an occasion to do great offshore sailing, travel to a nice Mediterranean destination and see the very faster sailing monohulls in the world !

The record of the Middle Sea Race has been set in 2007 by “Rambler“, a 100 feet Racing Maxi, in 1day, 23hours, 55 minutes and 3 seconds. In 2012, due to the very light winds, some yachts took 7 days to finish the race.

If you are interested in joining the race, just fill out the entry form on the Rolex Middle Sea Race‘s Website and the organization will contact you. Usually, entries open early in the year.

The Rolex Middle Sea Race is  a great opportunity to discover Malta and its capital: La Valletta. There are many beautiful places to see, nice restaurants and La Valetta is a shopper friendly city.

Valletta Gran Harbour
Valletta Grand Harbour – Where the Rolex Middle Sea Race starts and finishes

I hope we (the team at Aureus) will be able to participate to the Middle Sea race in 2013 or the next edition 2014. Please feel free to comment if you have run a previous edition and want to give feedback.

To know more about exciting races, sailing destinations or great gears, don’t forget to subscribe to our Newsletter (we send a maximum of 2 Newsletter a month).

Have fun Sailing, thanks for reading,

Aurelien

Sources: http://www.rolexmiddlesearace.com, the offical website of the Rolex Middle Sea Race.

Les voiles de Saint-Tropez – Dream Sailing

 

If you’re passionate about sailing, you should attend once “Les voiles de Saint-Tropez”.

View over Saint-Tropez.
Saint Tropez is famous for its “jet-set” and nightlife…and shopping. It’s also a fantastic place to sail during the “Voiles de Saint-Tropez”. © Petunya

Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez” is one of the major Mediterranean rendez-vous of yachts and sailing fans. In early October, the most extraordinary modern and traditional sailing yachts come together in order to compete in spectacular regattas in the beautiful Gulf of St Tropez. During the week, 4 or 5 coastal races are organized. Modern yachts and traditional boats run separately (that makes a total of 8 to 10 races). You can admire  skippers from around the world on board of the most beautiful sailing-race units, modern or classic. Many professionals are among the crews. Wally yachts, glorious 12M JI, classic schonners sail side by side in a wonderful environment.

Classing yachts racing during "Les voiles de Saint-Tropez" - © Chattange
Classic yachts racing during “Les voiles de Saint-Tropez” – © Chattange

The event exists for more than 30 years and was previously know as “la Nioulargue”. It all started in 1981, when 12m JI Ikra‘s skipper Jean Laurin challenged a Swan 44: Pride to a race. The regatta started from Saint Tropez (“Tour du Portalet”), rounded the “Nioularge”, an era of shallow water located 5 miles from the bay of Pampelonne , to finish in front of the Club 55 (a club and restaurant) in Pampelonne. The “club 55 cup” was created for the winner. For the record, the 12m JI won.

When the challenges repeated the next year, the idea of “La Nioulargue” came up (called that after the buoy around which the main race was held). After some years of regattas and fun, the event was stopped after a tragic collision in the 1995 edition. Mariette, a 42,1m long and 165T classic schooner entered in collision with a 6m JI that sank immediately. One crew member drowned.

But fans and participants kept dreaming about this race and in 1999, the event was back on track under a new name: “Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez”. Since the first regatta, over 30 years ago, the event has been a real showcase of high level sailing competition with both the most technologically advanced yachts and prestigious classic boats. It is the opportunity to finish summer season under a massive dose of adrenaline…and dopamine.

Maxi Yachts in the 2007 edition of “Les voiles de Saint-Tropez” – creative commons ReqEngineer

You’ll see the most exciting sailing yachts in the world.

The practical side :

The event is open after admission by the Commission of Voiles de Saint-Tropez:

  • To modern boats with IRC certificate, minimum hull length (LOA) 9m
  • To traditional boats with CIM certificate minimum hull length (Lft) 11m
  • To Wally yachts.

Approximatively 300 yachts can participate.

If you want to race, contact the « Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez » for registration or visit their website. You will be able to apply for a registration between the end of winter and August. All applications will be submitted to the organizing committee for approval and if they select you, you’ll receive a notification and further instructions.

During “Les Voiles de St Tropez”, it’s pretty hard to get a berth in the harbour of Saint-Tropez. You will probably have to secure a berth in Cogolin – a large marina and associated apartment complex in the SW corner of Golf de St-Tropez and about 2 NM W from the St-Tropez Port. You can also try Port Grimaud or Sainte-Maxime.

If you don’t have a crew to engage this great race, some companies offer to rent a professional crew (skipper and mate), to train you prior the event and to run with you. I believe customers of those companies usually enjoy the experience. It reduces the stress during the event and allow them to improve their racing skills.

By the way, I’m really interested in hearing your reactions if you have done the experience of “renting” a professional crew for a major regatta.

Dream Sailing – What else ?

If you join this dream event, and since you’ll be in Saint-Tropez for a little more than a week, you might want to discover unique places. The first thing I would recommend is to book a night ashore, in the “Villa Marie Hotel” in Ramatuelle. The Villa is set in a 7-acre pine forest, overlooking Saint-Tropez. It is a 5-star hotel in an Italian style villa, with various themed gardens, pool, spa, and a restaurant with views over the Bay of Pampelonne.

Outside the Villa Marie - A 5 stars hotel in Ramatuelle offering a breathtaking view over Saint-Tropez - ©Villamarie.fr
Outside the Villa Marie – A 5 stars hotel in Ramatuelle offering a breathtaking view over Saint-Tropez – ©Villamarie.fr

But if you want the best restaurant, go to “La Vague d’Or” in Saint-Tropez. The chef Arnaud Donckele, who’s only 35 years old, is the only one to enter the circle of 3 Stars Michelin chefs. There are only 27  3-stars Michelin restaurants in France and no more than 85 in the world. You’re in Saint-Tropez, attending one of the most beautiful yachting event, now is a good time to check out one 3-stars restaurant from your list. The fish meals are exceptional…according to what I heard (I’ve never been there but I’m looking forward to it).

The bay of Pampelonne – © Chantal Cecchetti

For the “farniente” beach, head to Pampelonne – one of Saint-Tropez trendy beach spots, which always remains busy with it’s white sand, shoreline of bathers, and many cafés. Just near “Plage de Tahiti” (Tahiti Beach), located on the northern side of Pampelonne, is a favorite of the rich and famous, with luxurious golden sand, fashionable cafés and trendy restaurants. You’ll also find a famous Club 55 – the original beach club, made famous by Brigitte Bardot, with good food and ambiance. The club 55 was also the arrival of the first contest that gave birth to the “Nioulargue” in 1981.

A narrow street in Saint-Tropez
A narrow street in Saint-Tropez

Of course, most of the luxury brands have a boutique in Saint-Tropez and organize special events during the “Voiles de Saint Tropez”. Nightclubs too.

The village, in autumn, is a really nice place to be, without the summer crowds. Walking on the cobblestone streets is a quite enjoyable experience and the mood of Saint-Tropez definitively gets to you. Saint-Tropez is still a place for hedonists.

If you are a sailing enthusiast and a hedonist, “les Voiles de St Tropez” is the event to attend in October!

What is, to you, the best regatta in the world ?

Have fun sailing. Thanks for reading,

Aurelien

Fastnet – The Mythical Sailing Race

 

The Fastnet Race, one of the most famous offshore yachting race, takes place every two years in the United Kingdom in August.

Rolex Fastnet race - IRC Regatta
Rounding the Fastnet Rock – Rolex Fastnet Race – ©Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

Rolex Fastnet Race - Sailing around the fastnet Rock - This IRC regatta is organized by the RORCThe rolex Fastnet Race is organized by the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) in association with the Royal Western Yacht Club and the Royal Yacht Squadron. Since 2001 the Fastnet Race has been sponsored by the Rolex Company and generally called Rolex Fastnet Race.

Considered as one of the classic offshore races, the Rolex Fastnet Race has the reputation for being one of the toughest yacht races in the world. The route of 608 nautical miles starts in Cowes on the Isle of Wight on the south coast of England, then takes the yachts westwards across the Irish Sea, around Fastnet Rock off the coast of the Ireland, and back to Plymouth. It is a difficult contest testing both inshore and offshore skills, boat and crew preparation and speed potential of a boat. The overall wining prize is the Fastnet challenge cup  and a Rolex Chronometer for the IRC winner.

The first Fastnet Race took place in 1925 with only 7 yachts. Today some 250-300 boats cross the starting line in Cowes, crewed by nearly two thousand people, looking for adventure. From 1957 to 1999, this race was a part of the Admiral’s Cup racing series, which were known as the unofficial world championship of offshore racing.

The Fastnet is a challenging race, often provided with strong to gale Westerly winds.

Unfortunately this race is also sadly known for its 1979 edition, when 15 competitors lost their lives fighting a “freak storm” during the race. The race started under a nice weather, but everything went wrong: among the 303 boats engaged, only 105 made it to Plymouth this year. Following the disaster the Royal Ocean Racing Club, which had organised the event, was heavily criticised for not having warned the storm of such scale, but an official report into the disaster in December of that year cleared it of blame.

This tragedy has led to a major overhaul of the rules and the equipment required for the competition. It became mandatory for all yachts to be equipped with a VHF radio and the qualifications were added before competing. Some new special regulations were also introduced, one of which has limited the number of competing yachts to 300.

As you have already understood, The Rolex Fastnet Race is not a race for novices. Crews and yachts must be prepared for severe weather, strong winds and confused seas.

Who can enter the race?

Any Monohull between 30 and 100 ft, with an IRC rating of .850 or greater, and any Multihull between 30 ft and 70 ft with an IRC rating of 1.100 or greater.

To participate, the crew has to prove its aptitude:

  • At least 50% of the crew (but not less than 2) including the Person in Charge, must have completed a minimum of 300 miles of offshore racing together, within 12 months of the start of the race on the boat that is entered. An offshore race is considered to be of more than 75 miles and at least one night at sea.
  • To fulfil this requirement the Competitor shall enter and complete an appropriate number of RORC races before the start of the race.
  • Training to Section 6 of the ISAF Offshore Special Regulations must have been completed by at least 30% of the crew (but not less than 2) including the Person in Charge. This is a quick and interesting training, that will train crews members to deal with emergency situations. Many race organizers such as the world cruising club for offshore rallies and race require this training.
  • At least one of the crew must have completed appropriate First Aid Training or be a Medical Professional

How and when to enter ?

The 2013 edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race will start on Sunday, 11 August 2013 from the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes. Entries for the race opened on January 7th, 2013 and in less than 24 hours the 300 boat entry limit has been reached. It looks like this year we’ll once again have a great show!

If you want to participate to the Fastnet race, you will likely have to wait for the 2015 edition and you should be prepared for a fast reaction as soon as the entry opens. Be fast and sharp to register or watch the event on TV…

Running the Fastnet race is certainly an achievement for any sailor who wants to test his or her skills. So if you don’t know how to use your summer vacations, consider this option.

To know more about this race, please see its official webpage: Rolex Fastnet Race

Thanks for reading,
Aurelien

Giraglia Rolex Cup. Have fun racing in “La Riviera”

 

The Giraglia cup is a major sailing event organized every year in June,  by the Yacht Club Italiano in collaboration with the Yacht Club de France, the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez and the Yacht Club Sanremo. Since 1997 Rolex is the sponsor of the Giraglia cup, that exists for 60 years now, the official name is now the Giraglia Rolex cup.

The cup starts and finishes in Sanremo with a 5-day stop in Saint-Tropez.

The Giraglia Rolex Cup comprises, usually on 8 days:

  • Giraglia Rolex Cup Offshore regatta's course
    Giraglia Rolex Cup Offshore regatta’s course

    a leg between Sanremo and Saint-Tropez. This is a 45 NM long leg.

  • a series of 3 inshore races, on 3 days, under 35 NM long each, in the Gulf of Saint-Tropez.
  • followed by a 241nm offshore race via La Giraglia islet, off Corsica, to Sanremo in Italy. The exact course is Saint-Tropez – La Fourmigue – La Giraglia – Sanremo. (see opposite)

 

Giraglia Rolex cup Dates
Giroglia Rolex Cup – ©Rolex-Carlo Borlenghi

 

If you register soon enough, both Saint-Tropez and Sanremo grant berths in their harbour during the race at advantaging prices.

So how can you participate to the Giraglia Rolex Cup ? It’s pretty easy:

  • Own a sailing yacht above 9,34 m with an IRC measurement certificate. Basically, any recent sailing yacht can get this certificate, you just have to register through the RORC on www.ircrating.org . The shipyard that built your boat and your sail maker can help you for transmitting the proper data to the certification office. Rating your boat usually takes about one month, at the end of which you will receive your certificate.
  • Make sure your insurance covers your boat while racing
  • Read the full race instructions, here is the 2012 edition for instance Giraglia Rolex Cup – Notice of race.
  • Enter the event online on the Yacht Club Italiano’s website
  • And be present one day before the event starts in Sanremo

As I’m writing this post, there are 5711 yachts in the world listed on the RORC database with IRC measurement certificates.

Giraglia Rolex Cup - Sailing race - yacht racing - regatta
Have fun sailing the Giraglia Rolex cup ! – Photo : © Rolex/Carlo Borlenghi

As for Aureus Yachts, we offer to all our customers an IRC measurement certificate, delivered with the yacht, to make it easier to join any IRC event, inshore regatta or offshore race, and have a little fun racing between buoys, or on thrilling legs such as Saint-Tropez to Sanremo rounding “La Giraglia” tiny island.

Have a good time sailing ! Thanks for reading,

Aurelien