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A key event for the Mediterranean
From the 11th to 14th of May 2006, Saint-Tropez hosted the 6th edition
of the Voiles Latines. The regatta, dedicated to the Mediterranean's
maritime heritage, has become a major event in just 5 years.
The 6th Voiles Latines was presented to journalists at the Paris boat
show, where Jean-Michel Couve, mayor of Saint Tropez, and André
Beaufils, chairman of the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez, pointed out
how important the event had become since it was first launched. As the
mayor said at the end of this year's event, "At first we had to defend
the project, and people kept saying that we already had plenty of
yachts here. But today everyone is happy, the port is magnificent and
our old yachts are looking younger than ever. What we see here
represents the true values of Saint Tropez". Indeed, in 2001 there were
some thirty boats participating, whereas this year there were 75 in
all. More than a regatta, the Voiles Latines has become a unique
assembly dedicated to the Mediterranean's entire heritage, including
several events on land.
The event is a stage on the Voile Latine international circuit,
attended by boats from Tunisia, Sardinia, Continental Italy, Spain and
all along the French Mediterranean coast. There was fierce competition
between these old boats, which are rigged with four simple but robust
components (mast, lateen yard, mainsail and the point of attachment of
the yard to the mast), and that first appeared along our coasts in the
It was a close race again this year. The formidable Italian fleet was
back with a vengeance, but were challenged by vessels from Marseille
and Toulon, as well as by outsiders from further afield, like Mixinata,
from Barcelona, or the Tunisian felucca Sihem from Monastir.
Several other events were organised around the regatta, including a
carpentry village in a marquee next to the harbour office.
Associations, carpenters, rope workers and sail makers were all present
in this area, where all those interested in lateen rigs could come and
share their experiences. At the Place des Lices, the second
Mediterranean and Maritime book fair was held, chaired by Yann
Queffélec, and open to sailors, historians and maritime authors or
works relating the history, lifestyle and culture of the Mediterranean.
Tradition and authenticity
La Bonne Mère from Marseille, built in 1964 by the Michel Gay shipyards
and restored by Mr Remuzat, took home the Jean-Noël Turcat-Trophée
Primagaz prize, awarded every year by the Fondation du Patrimoine
Maritime et Fluvial. Last year the Foundation's chairman, Gérard
d'Aboville, recalled the importance of this restoration work when he
said, "These boats are quite modest but, in terms of heritage, they are
of great interest and it is very important to conserve them to show
that Brittany is not the only region with traditional vessels."
From the 11th to 14th of May, the Voiles Latines de Saint-Tropez
provided the opportunity to promote the Mediterranean's strong maritime
tradition through this fine event.
More details : http://www.snst.org
– NG –