Traditional and modern beauties line the quay of Saint-Tropez 2/10/06

The eighth edition of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez started yesterday, 1 October 2006, with 3,000 crewmembers with their modern and traditional boats lining the French port.

At this event, Lionel Péan and crew will celebrate the 20th anniversary of his historical victory with l’Esprit d’équipe during the 1986 Whitbread Round the World Race. The only French team that has succeeded in winning the Whitbread will sail aboard the 12 metre JI Sovereign. They will compete against Sovereign’s “sistership” Ikra, owned by one of the founders of La Nioulargue.

Team IdeaArgo will have their first appearance on the water in Saint-Tropez. The ideaArgo Association (based in Italy) will be aboard the 12 metre French Kiss. Their goal is to take part in the 2010 America’s Cup edition with a group of handicapped sailors led by Brazilian skipper, Lars Grael (Torben Grael’s brother). Lars, who has won several Olympic medals, lost a leg in an accident during a regatta. The project was officially presented in Turin this past March and receives growing international support every day. Lars Grael recently received a “welcome” citation from the UNO. The team purchased the old 12m, JI French Kiss and Marc Pajot, who will be on board Pen Duick VI, agreed to sail onboard for a few days during Les Voiles.

Rolex, the renowned Swiss watchmaker, reinforces its partnership with La Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez by entering the Voiles de Saint-Tropez Partner’s Club. For this event, the Rolex Trophy was created and will be awarded to the yacht of more than 16 metres in the Tradition class, that has the highest point total for the regatta. The winner will also receive a Rolex Submariner timepiece.

The city of Saint-Tropez was also awarded theTrophée de L’Escale 2006, out of all French marina d estinations. The Saint-Tropez port has been chosen by a jury chaired by Jean-Pierre Saunier, the Secretary-General of Conseil Supérieur de la Navigation de Plaisance (council authority for recreational sailing), and composed of journalists and marine professionals on the basis of several criteria regarding the quality of the environment, services and aesthetic appeal.

Modern Yachts

Monday 2 October to Saturday 7 October:

Coastal races – first start 11.30am

Thursday 5 October – J. Laurain Day, Wally Day, Challenge Day, from 12.00

Traditional Yachts

Tuesday 3 October to Saturday 7 October – Coastal races, first start 12.00

Thursday 5 October – J. Laurain Day, Challenge day, Trophée Mer et Bateaux – La Grande Classe, Club 55 Cup, from 12.00

Open to all – Prizegiving Ceremony – Sunday 8 October from 11.00am