November 18, 2013
Back In Saint Barth
This week started off on a good foot for the participants of the Saint Barth Cata Cup. They got a great gift: sea containers… full of their boats!
The sailors in the Saint Barth Cata Cup were extremely happy to arrive on the island and find their “toys” on Monday, November 18. They had been separated from their boats for almost a month, but for a good cause: the transport of their Formula 18 sports cats to this island paradise for the regattas on November 20-24, during the 6th annual Saint Barth Cata Cup.
As of 7am in Saint Barth, Hélène Guilbaud, co-organizer of the event and some of the sailors met at the Port of Gustavia to open the containers and start to unload the boats coming from Europe and the United States. By late morning, everyone could see if their boats had been damaged at all, but at first glance all seemed to be okay, as Belgian Olivier Gagliani could confirm. Patrick Demesmaeker’s teammate got up at the crack of dawn, in spite of jet-lag after a long trip, to find his Formula 18 and meet the other racers.
Gagliani, a true fan of this event who raced last year in the 5ème edition, notes that the opening of the containers is a big moment for the sailors: “We are already excited when we see that the containers have arrived on the island,” notes the Belgian sailor. “The crossing was actually quite long, it took about three weeks. When we open the containers, everyone asks the same question: did we secure the boats well enough?! “ Especially as the conditions on the Atlantic in late October when the Formula 18 catamarans set out on the sea…
Some of the boats had to travel many miles to get to Gustavia: some came from Canada, de Sweden, Holland, and others from Austria… It may be a long way but definitely worth the effort as the Saint Barth Cata Cup is a race that touches the soul of the sailors, even the most seasoned amongst them, such as Luc Poupon a top-name volunteer for the event. This sailor from Brittany, France, who has sailed in events around the world, takes care of the security at sea for the Cata Cup, and helps train local teams. “I am good friends with Jeff Ledée, one of the organizers of the race and a local sailor,” says Poupon. “I am happy to participate in an indirect way in this competition.”
Numerous sailors have arrived on the island: official patron Franck Cammas and his teammate Mathieu Vandame, Darren Bundock and Jeroen Van Leeuwen, Gurvan Bontemps and Giuseppe Dessi, among others. The competitors still have two days to analyze the regatta itineraries, get acclimated, and try to win. On Thursday they will be on the starting line for the first race. The weather should be ideal: the forecast calls for winds of 12 knots from the northeast for the start of the race.