Tuesday, 1 October 2013The Place To Be
Where is “The Place To Be” on November 18-26, 2013?
Saint Barthélemy, of course, as that is when more than 60 Formula 18 catamaran racers from around the world will take part in the Saint Barth Cata Cup, a regatta that features both the conviviality of the island’s residents and high-level nautical competition in a natural setting that can’t be beat.
Saint Barthélemy, discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and baptized after his brother Bartholomew, was owned successively by the French and Swedish, returned to France in 1878, and became a French Overseas Territory in 2007. Measuring just eight square miles, the island has numerous beaches each more magnificent than the next.
For those who love to compete in the Formula 18 class, there is no better place to do so. Jacopo Bracco, an Italian businessman who lives in the United States, comes back every year with great anticipation: "This regatta has become the primary event of my sports season. I discovered it thanks to my friends who told me it was a true paradise, and that is the case! What I liked from the beginning is the high level of the competitors, the international nature of the racing roster, and the exceptional location for the regatta. The waters are warm, and the weather conditions are ideal..."
Another asset that adds to the charm of the island, and makes people want to return year after year, is the warm welcome of the island's inhabitants. Jeff Lédée, a Saint Barth native, founder of the event and a Formula 18 racer, notes: "Every time there is a race here, you can sense the strength of the island. Above and beyond its beauty, there is the quality of the welcome: businesses, restaurants, and in general the entire population supports the event, with a crowd at the end of each race." The island offer support to the Saint Barth Cata Cup with no less than 84 local sponsors that have come on board over the years to help guarantee the longevity of the event.
For the past six years, saliors from around the world have taken part in this regatta: Americans, Australians, Canadians, Italians, Swiss, French, Greek, Dutch, Belgians, Austrians, English, Spaniards, Swedes, and Puerto Ricans, among others, are on the list for this year, which is already 'sold-out," in order to ensure the quality of the race and the "bonds of friendship between the racers and the organizers," insisits Hélène Guilbaud, one of the event organizers since its first year.
High-Level Competition and Vacation
For the racers, coming to Saint Barth is also a chance to enjoy a family vacation. Jacopo Bracco, who has competed three times, comes with this wife and daughter: "They love the beaches in Saint Barth, the sun, the warm water, and the restaurants... We often go to Nikki Beach and to the Guanahani to have a drink or enjoy a peaceful meal on the beach. We also enjoy the burgers at Jojo Burger.... ».
Economic activity on the island has developed in recent years and many of the local inhabitants have enjoyed this prosperity thanks to their resourcefulness. Jeff Ledée, who has lived on the island since he was a baby, experienced this development: "40 years ago there wasn't much work. The main activities were raising animals, fishing, and selling goods from island to island. Many residents worked on other islands... these same people brought their skills back to Saint Barth, and as tourism developed it was mostly Americans who came, but today visitors come from around the world."
A Few Places Not To Miss...
- The natural pools in Petit Cul de Sac, Toiny, and Grand Fond
- Sunset at Shell Beach
- Nikki Beach for lobster and to party on the beach
- The Guanahani, a fabulous resort now with 5-star status
- Eat with your feet in the sand at O'Corail
- Carat and Time to buy jewelry and watches
- Saint Barth Attitude for the best t-shirts with an island spirit
- Shopping at Filles des îles
- Sunbathing at Gouverneur, one of the island's most beautiful beaches
- And...simply enjoy swimming in the ocean around Saint Barth!
A Great Look At The Island...
Philippe Ballestazzi, a French filmmaker living in St Barth and head of the local production company, StBarthFilm, provides a great look at the island during the Saint Barth Cata Cup in this 26 minute clip: https://vimeo.com/69557779