A look at Les Voiles de St Tropez, September 26th – October 9th 2020
An exciting new format saw the event extended to two weeks – in the first, 130 boats were divided into six Modern and nine Traditional categories. The second week was dedicated to the larger vessels, and saw 20 Maxi Yachts and two schooners racing.
Unsurprisingly numbers of competitors were down this year, with some 150 boats in competition compared to over 300 last year. However, there were also several new competitors at this event, including six Classic yachts and thirty or so Modern, confirming the eternal appeal of this St Tropez event, despite the difficult times.
Stringent safety protocols
Comprehensive hygiene measures were put in place, with regular screening of all staff and volunteers. The size of Les Voiles Village was reduced to 400m2, and the wearing of masks, temperature checks at the entrance and use of hand sanitising gel were all compulsory.
Much of the peripheral entertainment had to be cancelled, including the traditional boules competition and the crew parade and festival, but for the competitors, being able to race was all that mattered.
Challenging weather conditions
As well as the COVID-19 crisis, there were the challenging weather conditions to contend with. Initially the blustery weather of the first two days suited all competitors, but by Thursday, with winds of 30 knots, only the larger yachts could venture out. As storm Alex broke the next day, racing was suspended, resuming again under the clear blue skies of Saturday afternoon.
A continuous run
Pierre Roinson, President of event organisers Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez, was delighted at having avoided a break in the history of Les Voiles. “We pulled it off,” he enthused. “Organising our 22nd edition of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez whilst adhering to the health and safety guidelines has been a massive challenge…but it’s all come together fantastically well! We’ve had some wonderful days, some great races and the owners, skippers and sailors are heading home very happy.”
A new format
The decision to keep the larger boats separate was considered a success, too, meaning that all race starts took place in the Bay of St-Tropez, with its fixed, spectator-friendly start and finish lines, rather than off Pampelonne Beach as happened last year.
Georges Korhel, the Principal Race Officer was delighted with the result. “Everything has gone well with this new race format, enabling all the participants to set sail just in front of the port. The first week, with ‘just’ 130 boats, went very well, and even with double the number of boats, we’re convinced it’ll remain manageable.”
That it took place at all shows how valuable an event Les Voiles de St Tropez has become. As Georges Korhel declared, “It’s the perfect showcase for promoting our sport.”
Want to rent a villa for next year’s Les Voiles de St Tropez? Don’t hesitate to contact Emilia to discover our available properties.