Anyone who has set foot on St. Barts will tell you: this remarkably friendly small Caribbean island is a paradise where an infectious good mood prevails. For Breton sailor Gurvan Bontemps, all of these elements, coupled with the camaraderie between participants and the organization, have inspired him to set sail for a seventh year.
It was through Emmanuel Boulogne that the Vannes resident discovered the St Barth Cata Cup, which he is quick to describe as the world’s most beautiful racing destination, with its idyllic conditions and high athletic level. “I like the organizers and the other competitors. It’s the right time of year, it’s fun and there’s a great mood among the competitors. St. Bart’s really is an amazing place!” says Bontemps, who came within reach of taking home top honours in 2016 will his good friend and teammate Benjamin Amiot.
The foiling specialist says he has always liked the Formula 18 for its quality: “It’s a fast, easy catamaran that’s versatile in all sea and wind conditions. It’s used in incredible locations around the world and it’s the series that I’ve done the most travelling with.” Bontemps is a professional who sails on the Flying Phantom the D35 in Geneva, the GC32 Racing Tour and the Diam 24 Tour de France during the season. “It’s a series with much to offer on both an athletic and a human level, with its combination of dedicated amateurs, pros and semi-pros, and a great atmosphere among the racers,” he concludes.
This is the spirit at the Cata Cup, which has been dedicated to offering a warm, friendly atmosphere for 10 years, without neglecting the athletic aspect of the race, with its varied courses offering exciting challenges to the competitors. It is this challenge that the Bontemps/Amiot team will be tackling in this edition, which is featuring the return of former winners. “Even if it’s a friendly event, the desire to win is still there because it’s an international caliber event with sailors from all over the world. Benjamin and I have been on three podiums but we’ve never made it to the top step, so we still have room to improve. But the aim is to have fun, sail well and be satisfied with our performance. After all, the final outcome depends on the weather, the boats and the other competitors. These are the ground rules for a good St Barth Cata Cup.”
Bontemps is fond of his “little island,” as he likes to call it, and eager to see all those with whom he has formed friendships over the years. This 10th edition will be especially meaningful for him, given the events that affected the island only weeks ago. “It’s hard to watch a disaster unfold from a distance; it really affected me, and I thought a great deal about the island’s inhabitants. Luckily, we were able to make contact quickly to find out what was going on with everyone. Kudos to the entire team for going ahead with the 10th edition of the St Barth Cata Cup even after everything that’s happened there. It’s amazing.”
Gurvan Bontemps and Benjamin Amiot will again be sailing on the Eden Rock St-Barth’s-sponsored Challenger boat. The first races will take place on November 16, and the winning team will be decided on the fourth day of the event, Sunday, November 19.