november 19, 2021
Batting At Every Levele
After a very energetic first day of racing, the second day on Friday saw the 65 duos competing in the 13th edition of the St Barth Cata Cup enjoy less-challenging conditions, just perfect for the two races of the day. The first race was between the bay of Saint Jean and Ile Coco, then the second between Toc Vers and lle Boulanger. As the previous day it was a tight game between the argentinians and the Americans and as the previous day they shared the first places once Todd Ricardi and Dalton Tebo (Trade Wind Aviation - King Ocean) than Gonzalez Smith and Mariano Heuser (SBDE) both winning a leg. The Argentineans sailed more evenly than their adversaries on Friday, allowing them to not only win the “EDEN ROCK VILLA RENTAL” Prize, but also jump from sixth place to the top spot in the provisional overall rankings.
If the conditions yesterday were difficult, those of today were not necessarily easier, as explained Olivier Gagliani (Les Perles de St Barth – Bativrd): “It was not less challenging even though the seas were calmer. The wind was between 13 and 15 during the first race, and between 10 and 12 knots during the second session. It was still very technical as well as tactical, with some soft zones in terms of the wind as well as some hard hits.” In this contexte, one had to be opportunistic, and remain concentrated from the beginning to the end and not get trapped by the obstacles in the race, natural or not. “During the first race, between Pain de Sucre and Gustavia, we have to negotiate around a gigantic cruise ship anchored in the harbor. It was like a giant wall that logically altered the wind patterns and reshuffled the deck, just like the cliffs by the bay of Gouverneur. In short, there were a lot of things one had to watch out for today,” says the Belgian sailor, winner of the Cata-Cup in 2015 and 2018, and certainly one of the favorites of this 13th edition.
Gonzalez Smith– Heuser, a fast duo!
“We always tried to stay on intermediary trajectories, and avoid extreme options. In theory, that is a winning strategy,” reports Patrick Desmesmaeker’s sailing partner, currently in fourth place (provisionally), behind Cruz Gonzalez Smith and Mariano Heuser, Gurvan Bontemps et Benjamin Amiot (Stickerman), and Orion Martin and Charles Gate (Nikki Beach St Barth). “At the moment the spread is very close and we are having a great time on the water since there is a lot of competition,” explains Gonzalez Smith, the Argentinean skipper of SBDE, having had a great day with first and third place and winning the “EDEN ROCK VILLA RENTAL” Prize. We sailed the first race perfectly. We passed the first mark first, with a nice lead, which allowed us to sail serenely for the rest of the race, controlling our adversaries. The second race was a little more difficult. We passed the first mark in seventh position but were able to gain a few places little by little until we ran into some algae with the centerboard. This is the kind of thing that can happen. In any case, we were able, like yesterday, to keep up our speed. I think if we manage not to make mistakes, we can sail to victory this year, says the South American, current world vice-champion for Formule 18 and having placed second, fifth and third for the last three editions of this regatta.
No one is unbeatable
“Cruz and Mariano are hard competitors. They are hard to catch but not unbeatable,” assures Cédric Bader (Gypsea St-Barth), who wants to upset the usual suspects in the race and try to get the brass ring in spite of abandoning in the first race of the day. “We broke the halyard on our spinnaker. We managed to start in the second race and get through it but we know we already played our joker in this regatta,” notes the sailor from St Tropez, who usually sails with his brother Laurent in the F18 races that they compete in, but this time his mate is Guillaume Yvon. “This is the first time we have sailed together,” confirms Cédric, who has clearly already found his stride with his new partner as they are in fifth position, just two points from the podium. A podium that promises some serious competition right up to the finish line!
Eden Rock Villa Rental Prize
General Ranking after 4 races