November 20, 2021
Three Top Contenders!
On Saturday, November 20, the 65 duoscompeting in the 13e edition of the St. Barth Cata Cup set sail on a tour around the island.This race counts double and cannot be removed when the race results are averaged, so it is of great importance. If the most disappointed duo of the day is Orion Martin and Charles Gate (Nikki Beach St Barth), who fell from third place to seventh in the provisional rankings, the biggest winners are certainly Patrick Demesmaeker and Olivier Gagliani (Les Perles de St Barth–Bativrd). Winnersof this important race, the Belgian duo took home the “ST BARTH ASSURANCES–ALLIANZ” Prize, and at the same time jumped to first place on the eve of the last day of racing. Will they win a tour de force by becoming the first team to win this regatta for the third time, after their victories in 2015 and again in 2018? Nothing is set in stone as less than three points separate them from the duos of Cruz Gonzalez Smithz—Mariano Heuser (SBDE) and Gurvan Bontemps–Benjamin Amiot (Stickerman).
“Today’s tour around the island was pretty complicated with high waves and a lot of unstable wind (between seven and 13 knots). It was hard to do one’s best. As far as Benjamin and I are concerned, we are disappointed with our results as we led for two-thirds of the race before finishing in third place,” notes Gurvan Bontemps, who was overtaken by Argentineans Cruz Gonzalez Smith and Mariano Heuser as well as Belgians Patrick Demesmaeker and Olivier Gagliani a little after passing Gustavia. “The wind came from behind. They arrived on the trapeze while we were struggling a little to advance the boat. And then the battle started up again as we were sailing faster, along with Augustin Krevisky and Juan Martin Benitez (Les Courants Faibles),” adds the Stickerman skipper, who had hoped to gain ground before the last two races on the program tomorrow. No such luck. “The game is still very, very close. There are three of us, more or less, with the same number of points heading into the last day of racing. We knew that this year it would be more difficult to win. But we are happy to be right in the race. Sunday will really be exciting!,” predicts Gurvan.
Racing For The Win!
The final day of competition will be of major importance. A decisive day to be sure, since the provisional rankings after five races, finds the three leaders within a nose, and any one of them could snatch the final victory. “We know it is going to be tough on our nerves. We are all going to try and control each other. That will be the key. We are obviously very happy to be in the lead at this point in the race, but we also know that it’s easier to attack than defend your position,” points out Patrick Demesmaeker, winner of the legendary tour of the island. “We are happy with the way we sailed. We had a good start and have been constantly in the top four or five. After passing Gustavia, our rivals decided to jibe while we made the decision to continue along the coast. An option that paid off because we succeeded to reach Bœuf without tacking and gained a little advance that we held onto right to the end,” added the skipper of Les Perles de St Barth–Bativrd, who mounted one of the best attacks of the day, jumping from fourth to first place in the overall provisional rankings.
All Is Still In Play
Even if he might not appreciate all the weight on his shoulders, the Belgian, who placed ninth in the last world championships for F18 last July with Gilles Tas, is aware he might be on the verge of doing something really special, with Olivier, to be the first to score a third victory in the Cata Cup. And yet, the Argentineans Cruz Gonzalez Smith and Mariano Heuser and the Frenchmen Français Gurvan Bontemps and Benjamin Amiot have surely not thrown in the towel. All three duos have been chasing the victory for several years and don’t want to give up hope for this year. There is but a three-point spread. A myriad of scenarios is possible. Even the most improbables. Stay tuned!
Prize Saint Barth Assurances - Allianz
Overall after 5 races