2015 St. Barths Cata-Cup Wrap Up
St. Barthélemy has hosted another great event with winds not nearly as crazy like last year’s event. Tripp Burd, who has raced in this event before, said, “Despite lacking the gnarly conditions of years past, the Catacup is still the best sailing regatta on the planet. A uniquely spectacular venue, combined with exceptional racing and good friends, make this event my favorite!” A total of 53 boats were registered for this incredible event. After four days of great racing, Patrick Demesmaeker and Olive Gagliani were awarded the 2015 Cata-Cup Champions. On Thursday, The Prix Design Affairs Champions were our own John Casey and Colin Page. Casey and Page placed second in Saturday’s Prix St. Barth Assurance Allianz prize. Todd Riccardi and Evan Aras took fifth in Saturday’s Prix St. Barth Assurance Allianz, Samedi.
6. John Casey and Colin Page
13. Todd Riccardi and Evan Aras
19. Jacopo Bracco and Tripp Burd
26. Ken Marshack and Brian Hunt
39. Ian Ray and Arielle Darrow
Race Committee gave everyone a good surprise Thursday morning (however word of course leaked out at the party the previous night about the course) when they decided the course would be race around the island counterclockwise. The wind was definitely on and off during the race, then a nice typical tropical squall came through producing 20+ knot winds. If you were close enough to the finish line when the squall came through, you were definitely in good shape to finish the race. After the squall came through, there was absolutely 0 wind and everyone was moving at a snail’s pace. The sun was setting quickly and half the fleet was still drifting in the water. Once it was nice and dark out (aka where the heck is the finish/where are we going/hopefully we don’t drift into a rock), they finished everyone in place and towed the rest of the fleet back in. Casey and Page took 1st place and Riccardi and Aras took 10th.
Friday proved to be a much better day with typical conditions of St. Barths, 15 knots of wind with 2 to 3 foot swells. 3 races were held that day which some consisted of racing around Ile Chevreau and le Boeuf: Casey and Page took 7th on first race; Casey and Page took 2nd on the second race; Riccardi and Avas took 6th and Casey and Page taking 7th on the last race of the day. Bracco and Burd could not complete Race 3 due to a board breaking during the race.
It was the third day of the event, therefore that meant race around the island clockwise. The race started off well right until most of the fleet almost made it to Mark 1, then the wind completely shut off again and did some crazy shifting. Crews were hoisting spinnakers just to make it to the mark. Once boats rounded around the yellow reserve mark off of Ile Fregate, the wind sustained 5 to 10 knots with 1 to 2 foot swells. However Race Committee made a course change and made the finish line right after la Tortue ou l’Ecalle due to winds shutting off again. Riccardi and
Avas placed 5th and Casey and Page placed 10th.
The final day of the event and the winds were back to 15 to 23 knots with 3 to 4 foot swells, two races were held that day. Race 6 consisted of going around Ile Chevreau clockwise and Race 7 had the boats splitting Ile Chevreau either way, hitting a reserve mark off of Ile Fourchue, going around le Boeuf and finishing near Ile Chevreau. During the first race of the day, one of the Canadian boats had a beautiful pitch pole caught on camera and could not finish the race; Race 7 had a boat break a mast in half after capsizing on a reach. Casey and Page took 9th in Race 6.
This was the first time Evan Aras attended this event and said, “Three words: Do not miss. As a first time attendee of Cata Cup, I had very high expectations. The sailing conditions, the regatta organization and the social scene exceeded every one of them. I’m already waiting for registration to open for next year and I’m literally still in the SBH airport waiting to leave this year’s event.” John Casey commented, “This year’s Cata-Cup was the most difficult yet! The conditions were very tricky and the competition was an all time high with seven teams in the running on the final day. Off the water is, well…the most amazing experience you can have at a regatta.
Check out awesome video coverage at http://stbarthcatacup.com/en/pages/Videos-2015/#.
Photo Credit to Alain Blanchard