Les Voiles de St. Barth – Music to our ears!

James Blakemore
James Blakemore

James Blakemore’s South African entry Music had a clean sweep of ‘firsts’ in the Spinnaker 3 division to win his class.

“The race was great today – good steady breeze between 16 to 20 knots and great sea conditions,” said Blakemore. “My guys sailed the boat really well; we got off to a really great start, and from the first weather mark, I don’t think we lost the lead in our class from then on. Every day has been good for us. Yesterday the conditions were a bit tough because we were dealing with the squalls coming through and very light breezes, but fortunately we got through just in time, before the boats really came to a halt.

We’ve really thoroughly enjoyed ourselves this week. It’s fantastic coming here; it’s a fantastic regatta.”

Interview With James Blakemore

How long have you been sailing the boat Music?
This boat (a Swan 53) was built for me in 2012 in Finland. This is our fourth season with it, the second time in the Caribbean and second time at Les Voiles de St. Barth

Tell me about your crew : where are they from?
They are from South Africa. Cape Town is my hometown and they have some very good sailors down there so it’s good to give these guys some international sailing experience. Every year we bring on some new young guys from Cape Town. We have a basic core of the crew, which I think is one of the reasons for our success, but these things change and people go and get jobs and go away from sailing, so we need to always bring in some youngsters from Cape Town and it has been very successful so far. In this regatta we have eight sailors onboard

Tell us what happened during the last two days of racing?
We have been very fortunate. We won the first and second race. In the first race we had a lot of competition from Puffy, another Swan 53 but we managed to beat them on the downwind leg, and I think the same went on the second day. The wind really suits us both. When we have 16 to 20 knots the boat goes really well. It performs at its optimum capabilities.  We like the Caribbean, we like the winds and the sea conditions. They are really favourable for us.

What do you like about Les Voiles de St. Barth?
It is a fantastic regatta. That’s why we came back. People told me two years ago that I should come, so we came here and were very successful then and I always wanted to come back. If we come to the Caribbean we come to St. Barth. It’s a wonderful place, a really beautiful island with very friendly people that make you really feel welcome. The crew has a good time. I think everything is well organized and it is a really special place.

What other regattas do you sail in?
We sailed in the RORC Caribbean 600 in Antigua this year and then we did the Swan Cup in Virgin Gorda. Now we are doing Les Voiles de St. Barth and then the boat is going to the U.S. to do the Annapolis to Newport Race. After that we’ll do some regattas in Newport and then back to the Mediterranean for next year. Next year we’ll be in Sardinia for the Rolex Swan Cup. We also did Palermo to Monte Carlo last year, which was a really good race. It was 600 miles. We try to do at least one 600 mile race each year.

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