1,200 sailors, 63 racing yachts, Les Voiles de St Barth Richard Mille is the perfect combination of sporting performance and innovation. This 10th anniversary edition witnessed the triumph of Sorcha, a boat belonging to Peter Harrison, Richard Mille CEO for EMEA.
Remarkable sailing craft, a magnificently diverse fleet, top-flight crews and exciting routes—that pretty much sums up the event, organised by François Tolède and Luc Poupon. Ideal weather conditions throughout the week ensured a breath-taking spectacle on the water.
On Saturday, 20 April, the last day of competition following 4 days of regattas, the crews battled for victory in a stage of 24
– 29 nautical miles, with winds that varied between 16 and 18 knots. A loyal participant since 2013, Peter Harrison traded his C-suite suit for sailor’s garb aboard his Maxi 72, Sorcha, one of the most technically advanced monohulls on the planet. Harrison shared helmsman duties on this 16-tonne carbon fibre behemoth with Pierre Casiraghi, Richard Mille partner and patron of this year’s edition of Les Voiles.
Sorcha’s crew completed a flawless run, sweeping all titles, including the Maxi 1 category, just desserts for a team that finished second in the 2018 edition. They were joined on the podium by Davit Witt’s (HKG) SHK Scallywag and Ambersail 2, belonging to Pajarskas (LTU). Andy Clark, long term Sorcha team member, spoke for the whole crew, saying ‘We’re thrilled to have won this edition in the Maxi class. SHK Scallywag sailed really well.
The crews of Windfall and Sojana were excellent also, and despite not competing in the same class as us, they kept us on our toes for the Overall rankings. It was an amazing week, with excellent conditions, and the whole crew really enjoyed the routes.’ In addition to winning the Maxi 1 category Sorcha took home the Richard Mille Maxi Cup, and the prize that goes with it—an RM 60-01 Flyback Chronograph Regatta. Peter Harrison has decided to sell the piece through the Paris Richard Mille boutique and donate the proceeds to charitable organisations that help young people learn to sail, while the remainder will contribute to safeguarding the coastal areas of Saint-Barthélémy following the passage of Hurricane Irma, which devastated the island in September 2017.
A new feature this year was the organisers’ commitment to making the event as ecologically responsible as possible, especially by approaching zero plastic within the racing village. While the race itself takes centre stage at this event, organisers seek to raise awareness among youth of the need for marine and ocean floor preservation efforts.
‘The environment is obviously a vital issue for sailors, and one we have championed going back many years; however, we wanted to make the 2019 edition specifically eco-responsible. In our region, we are directly exposed to phenomena associated with climate change, such as typhoons and Sargasso, which are a real plague for our island and the health of its inhabitants. While last year, we decided to the take our time relaunching the event following the catastrophic damage of Irma, we are now determined to think about the future and do everything possible to preserve this idyllic setting, which begins with setting a good example,’ explain the organisers, François Tolède and Luc Poupon, Racing Director.
A decade of existence under its belt, Les Voiles de St Barth Richard Mille welcomes the most fabulous sailboats of the world back to the Caribbean for its 11th edition, whose 5 days of unforgettable regattas will begin on 12 April 2020.