05 October 2021
Duelling giants in Saint Tropez
As if it wasn't enough to gather the most sublime line-up of Maxis in the most beautiful port in the world, the Mistral also decided to join in the festivities today to kick off the week in grandiose fashion.
A W'ly breeze welcomed the 45 Maxi Yachts competing in the very first event of this second week of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez 2021. The most stunning Maxis, J Classes and Wallys have chosen to take up residence in the bay on the kind invitation of the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez and they fully intend to round off their Mediterranean season in the most dazzling of manners.
Pushed around by 20 knots and a bracing wind on exiting the bay, with a more pronounced swell offshore, conditions were ideal for Race Management, skilfully led by Georges Korhel, (Principal Race Officer at Les Voiles), to launch these speed demons off around La Fourmigue, a rock located in front of Le Lavandou, on the longest of the coastal courses at Les Voiles, which entails a wonderful 40-mile looped circuit. With sunshine, glittering sea and a solid breeze, all the ingredients were in place to give these magnificent chargers and their international crews everything they could possibly need to put on a fantastic show and satisfy their competitive yearnings.
The rivalry between the two J Classes, Velsheda and Topaz, is set to continue apace through the week. Racing within the group of Super Maxis, IRC 2, the crew of Topaz designed by Frank C. Paine and launched in 2015, is eager for revenge after being beaten by Velsheda last month during the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup in Porto Cervo, in Sardinia.
Today's race will certainly have more than lived up to expectations with a sumptuous mano a mano, which lasted all the way into the entrance of the bay, at which point Velsheda was sadly forced to retire after ripping a sail, Topaz gaining the upper hand.
The competition for the J Class yachts at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez will be raced under IRC in a group of six IRC 2 boats whose designs are radically different and range from the Swan 82 Kallima to the 32.9 m Wally Green Eyes, the 33.83 m Dubois design Silvertip and the Swan 80 Umiko.