September 23, 2014
Seventh edition of St. Barth Cata Cup
Olympic duel on the island: John Casey to take on Billy Besson
60 teams signed up for hugely popular regatta
In fewer than two months, Saint Barthélémy will host the seventh edition of the St. Barth Cata Cup, which will take place from November 19 to 23 in St. Jean bay. A keen fan of regatta, John Casey will be participating for the 6th time and hopes to use the opportunity to perfect his skills for the Olympics.
Casey is one in a long list of high-level racers who registered for the St. Barth Cata Cup in just a few days. “Our event sparks wild enthusiasm among racers all over the world. Obviously, John’s participation raises the level of competition. Although our event is intended to be a friendly competition, the fact remains that the sailors like to take part in a high-calibre race,” explained Vincent Jordil, creator of the St. Barth Cata Cup.
A favourite for John Casey
John Casey, who recently placed 35th at the ISAF Worlds in the Nacra 17 with teammate Sarah Newberry, hopes to take advantage of St. Barth Cata Cup to have fun and to work on his racing technique with a view to the Olympics. This time, he will be racing with Colin Page.
“The St. Barth regatta is the on event I need. It isn't just the perfect sailing and surroundings, it's all the friends that I've made over the years. It's a high-level competition but relaxed and easy. Olympic training and racing is very structured and in a word, 'work.' But the CataCup is a place to put your training to the test in a very fluid manner because there are many obstacles to endure and angles to sail to win. Nothing about the CataCup is straightforward on and off the water. You never know what is going to happen next! ” It will also be an opportunity for Casey to pit himself against new world champion Billy Besson, who will be taking part in the regatta for the first time.
Casey and Newberry have been teammates since 2012. They are travelling to the four corners of the world to train and race, spending at least 230 days on the water. They have embarked on a four-year technical and physical training program to prepare for the Rio Olympics in 2016.
St. Barth Cata Cup: Growing popularity
Year after year, organizers receive a growing number of pre-registrations for the St. Barth Cata Cup, and the quality of competitors is also increasing. “We’ve been getting about 100 pre-registrations for the past two or three years. The sailors are so determined to secure a spot that we even have cases of double registrations,” said Hélène Guilbaud, the event’s organizer.
Although the organizers’ initial intention was to provide sailors at all levels a chance to enjoy the scenic beauty of the island, they also wanted to attract top competitors in the sailing world. Amateurs will therefore be able to rub shoulders with international luminaries like the Boulogne brothers. The total number of teams includes 10 from St. Barth, three from Saint-Martin, six from Martinique/Guadeloupe, 14 from France, eight from the United States and a few from Canada, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Germany and Spain.
Gill: new partner
Among the new features this year, clothing manufacturer Gill is joining the event as an official supplier of technical garments. “Our decision to partner with the St. Barth Cata Cup is based on our desire to increase our presence around the world. It’s proof that the event has become important for racers and companies such as ours,” explained Jenny Hunter, who is responsible for marketing at Gill. To view the product line: www.gillmarine.com.