As the Monaco Yacht Show ends, the sailing world turns its attention to another Côte d’Azur destination, glamourous Saint-Tropez. From September 25 to October 2 Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez 2021 kicked off a week of racing using the port of the exclusive French village in the South of France as maritime base.
Les Voiles was born of a challenge between two passionate sailors, Jean Laurain – owner of the 12 meters Ikra – made a bet with Dick Jason – owner of Swan 44 – during a dinner happened on September 29, 1981. They challenged each other for a race between Saint-Tropez’s Tour du Portalet and the famous Club 55 on Plage de Pampelonne. The turning mark was set at La Nioulargue. Ikra did beat the Swan and Patrice de Colmont, Club 55’s owner served the prize: a memorable lunch. The Club 55 Cup was born and the appointment for the following year leads many friends to attend and race. The event grew and changed its name to Nioulargue.
Due to an accident occurred in 1995, whereby two yachts rammed each other, the race was canceled. Thanks to the special attention of competitors and many others, the event came back in 1999. The race got a new name, Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez. Today there are almost 300 yachts on the water for an ‘haute couture’ vintage sailboats procession, gathering together nearly a century and a half of naval architecture and maritime genius. A show made of the most beautiful boats, the greatest sailors and the most unexpected crews, coming together in their love for sailing yachts – classic and modern alike – superbly sailed in an atmosphere of fair play and conviviality.
Thanks to North Sails, chosen as a partner for both sails and gear on the majority of vessels, we had the chance to take a trip aboard Marge, the legendary boat appeared in the movie “Plein Soleil” starred by Alain Delon. After a number of years, Marge has finally returned to the Mediterranean Sea sailing in the classic boat regattas circuit.
Commissioned by the King of Denmark in 1936 and designed by the famous Swedish naval architect Johan Anker, this J class sailing boat was launched in August 1940 from the Stubbekøbing shipyards. Apparently though, as its full story hasn’t been fully discovered yet, its construction might have already started in 1916 as evidenced by the large use of wood and by its hull’s shape.
After several ownerships, the vessel – as said before – was used by French film director René Clément in his 1960 film “Plein Soleil”. Delon’s was playing in his first major film, along with Maurice Ronet, Marie Laforêt, Billy Kearns , and Romy Schneider who appeared briefly in an uncredited role.The most passionate scenes were shot aboard the gorgeous yacht at sea, and if Alain Delon is decidedly the hero, Marge is also at the heart of this crime thriller until its end.