For its 6th edition, the spectacular meeting of modern and traditional sailing ships once again associated the general public and the elite of the international yachting in a festive atmosphere.
Small historical background: during a meal, a tropezian restorer and a navigator friend of him launched out a sporting challenge. They decided on a nautical course in the gulf, around a buoy far from the shore of Pampelonne, mythically named Nioulargue. Progressively as years passed, the challenge was changed into a race, then into a magic meeting for beautiful sails lovers.
Back to its maritime roots, the city of the Bailli de Suffren welcomes at the end of each summer, high tech modern units and prestigious vintage ones, such as slim Mariquita, the well-known 35 meters vintage gaff rig, or Cambria. Each new edition of this meeting
sees the fleet of centenaries boats growing, boats, the restoration of which often takes many years of efforts in specialized shipyards. Splendid Merrymaid, which celebrated on this occasion its return at sea, constitutes a superb example of it.
The innovation of the 2004 edition, counting more than 260 boats and 2.500 crew-members, laid in the organization of a particular regatta grouping all of the vintage sailing units (Marconi and Vintage Gaff rig classes) for a high level test recalling “the Great Class”. From October 3rd to 9th, beyond the splendid silhouettes underlined by the autumnal sun, the spectators were filled with wonder by the performances of these ships
setting up their large sails under winds between 18 and 20 knots.
Like the previous editions, in the modern sailing ships series, the Wally ships did the spectacle by showing to the public this famous purified line which marked the naval architecture of the 20th century. By preceding Y3K and Tiketitan, Alexia showed
beautiful qualities of speed for its second participation to the event.
In ORC-A category, Enigma of London supplements its impressive prize list in spite of the efforts of Black Dragon, which arrives in second position. Famous Mari-Cha IV, recent mono hull recordman of the Atlantic, ends up in 21st position. In ORC-B category, Near Miss did not leave any chance to its rivals by gaining the five sets of the competition! Despeinada and Alabianca respectively won the tests of ORC-C and ORC-D categories.
For the vintage sailing ships, more than one hundred boats bitterly challenged the four sets. In the big Vintage Gaff Rigs class, prestigious Pesa wins upon Mariquita and Lelantina. In the small Vintage Gaff Rigs class, the winner of the first sail edition of the
Olympic Games in Paris in 1900, Bona Fide, got a clear victory.
In Vintage Marconi Class, Radha, Al Na’ir III and Challenge 12 dominated each one their series, just as Karenita (category A), Cholita (B) and Lawrence of Arabia (category C).
Lastly, in Spirit of Tradition, Pamyra Ben enjoyed its triumph in front of Pantaria and Blue of Methylene II.
Fascinating marriage of tradition and modernity, the success of the “Voiles de Saint-Tropez” is indisputable; the 75th birthday of the Dragon could not dream of a more beautiful preamble.
Photo Credit: A.Picot
– AM –