The sailing yacht race for the Trophée Bailli de Suffren harkens to historic links between Saint-Tropez and Malta, formalised in 2012 by the twinning of Saint-Tropez with the city of Birgu in Malta, which is home of the race’s final destination Grand Harbour Marina.
The Trophée Bailli de Suffren is a unique spectacle as well as a genuinely challenging yacht race. It’s great to see these historic boats competing in the offshore environment they were originally designed for.
Sponsored by Camper & Nicholson Marinas this years Trophée Bailli de Suffren will see a record fleet of classic yachts on the Saint-Tropez start line on 22 June ranging from the 12m Palynodie II to the majestic 56m Atlantic. This year’s fleet is expected to reach the entry limit of 25 yachts promising a fascinating and highly competitive race.
The Mediterranean’s only offshore passage race for classic yachts, the race covers 600nm over three legs between Saint-Tropez and Grand Harbour Marina in Malta with stop-overs in Porto Rotondo, Sardinia, and Trapani in Sicily. It has been called “the Mediterranean’s most beautiful yacht race” for its unique spirit, the very special yachts and for the ports marking the racecourse.
This year, four past winners of the Bailli are looking to recapture, the “Sword of Honour of Admiral Satan” the race’s overall trophy. 25m schooner Lelantina(1937) won the 2001 Prologue as well as the first full race in 2002; Havsörnen, a 16m Bermudan cutter first launched in 1931, sailed to victory in 2006; the 32m Fife cutter Moonbeam IV (1914) was 2008′s winner and the Herreshoff-designed 20m Rowdy achieved back-to-back wins in 2009 and 2010.
The battle for overall victory will be hard-fought throughout the fleet and not just among the four previous winners. A number of match races within the race are promised, the most dramatic being the head-to-head between the huge replica schooners Atlantic (56m) and Elena(55m), rekindling a rivalry that goes back 85 years to a hotly contested trans-Atlantic duel between their namesakes.
Two Fife cutters, Mariska (27m) and Moonbeam IV (32m), should also be evenly matched. Dating from 1908 and 1914 respectively, both are regulars on the classic yacht circuit and either could be in the running for overall honours as well as vying for the upper hand in their own 600 mile match race.