Regularity paid off for the Belgians Patrick Demesmaeker and Olivier Gagliani, who flirted with the top 5 throughout the event. «After 7 editions here, the time was right. We are very happy!», said Olivier Gagliani. «There is a high level of competition at the Cata Cup and it’s always fun to race against sailors that we have know for years, especially in these exceptional conditions.» The final day concluded with a race taking the contestants to Public Beach. It was tight right up until the end as the Belgians had a very small margin to win in the overall rankings. Had crew Orion Martin and Charles Gaté scored 1 and Belgians 4, the French would have won the St. Barth Cata Cup 2015.
Winners of the eighth edition of the St. Barth Cata Cup 2015
The race committee had planned two races for the Marché U Prize. Gurvan Bontemps and Benjamin Amiot won the first race while the second crowned the Argentinians Cruz Gonzales Smith and Mariano Heuser, who then ended up winning the day. “We noticed that the wind was close to the coast so our strategy was to go to the right to take advantage of it. This simple strategy paid off for us and we kept it for the second race”, explained Cruz.
Between a counter clockwise round-the-island raid that ended in the dark, Orion Martin and Charles Gaté’s three consecutive wins, a first podium on the third day for a crew from St-Barth and constantly changing winds, the eighth edition of the St. Barth Cata Cup 2015 was all about first times.
“Last year, we had very windy conditions sometimes forcing us to cancel races. This year, it’s was exactly the opposite with very light winds. We even had to tow a couple of boats to St-Jean Beach”, said Didier Flamme, President of the race committee for the St. Barth Cata Cup 2015.
Speaking of firsts, Argentinia and the UK were represented for a first time in the history of the event. “We had a lot of fun, it’s paradise here!”, said Cruz Gonzales Smith. “The St. Barth Cata Cup 2015 is very well known in our country and we have always wanted to come. But due to conflicts with other championships, it has never been possible before now. We will be back for sure!”
The F18 Class, still popular among racers
As an event par excellence for both amateurs and professionals in the F18 Class, the St- Barth Cata Cup has risen to the top ranks of regattas that offer a high level of competition. According to James Baeckler, president of the Association Française de F18, the success of the F18 Class is founded on events such as this. These regattas ensure the success and longevity of a class. Without great races, there would be no boats or happy sailors”.
Benjamin Amiot has always enjoyed sailing this platform, and even more so in the St-Barth: “There’s always a high level of competition at this regatta, and for us it’s an excellent way to compete at the end of the season.”