Les Voiles de St. Tropez, France - 2003


This regatta stands out by its open display of wealth and opulence. It has the most incredible collection of yachts we have ever seen in one location. From the 20MUSD “Wally” boats to the 160 ft schooners with continually maintained teak decks.

The port of St Tropez is small but has an abundance of activities on shore. The marina is superbly located in the middle of town with the mix of yachts and the architecture of the town providing quite a sight.

We kept the yacht at the marina on the nights we wanted to stay in town and moored it at our house, in Port Grimaud, about a 20-minute boat trip away, when we wanted a quiet night. We had the best of both worlds. The four-story villa we rented was exactly as you would imagine a French villa on the water. It was very nice to walk out the back in the morning after breakfast onto the stern of the boat and head out to the race line.

With light winds in the morning the starts were often delayed and getting updates from the race committee was hard due to the language barrier. A French speaker on-board is a big help cause all race communications are in French. They tried the dual broadcast thing with English translation but you really need to speak French to know what’s going on. Fortunately we had a superb translator on board.

We chartered a Bennateua 40.7 from K-yachting who seem to be a good group. The boat was fast but tough to sail with a lot of tuning required to get to target speeds and a large sail inventory made the foredeck work tough. It followed naturally that our bowman, ADS, would win the best crew award for working the hardest and maintaining his temper on most occasions.

The nights were long and fun with lots to do but watch the expenses - 48 Euros for a Heineken and G&T!