The G-Force Yachts’ X-Treme 25: Flying With The Fish
As we skimmed the downwind waves off the north west coast, a shoal of flying fish fought hard to keep up with the sleek and - let me just say it upfront - sexy X-Treme 25, with her dazzling blue spinnaker catching fifteen knots of wind in the late afternoon sun. For a few lucky sailing enthusiasts, Monday and Tuesday provided their first look at the twentyfive foot racing yacht which was visiting the island with representatives of Dutch manufacturers G-Force Yachts. G Force Yachts founder and CEO Jeroen Wats led the visiting crew, along with X-Treme 25 skipper Eric Baray, who sailed the state-of-the-art racing yacht from Le Marin, Martinique in a nifty three hours. Collaborating with Cuthbert Didier, Yachting Consultant for the Ministry of Tourism, the team held media interviews and tryouts at the Rodney Bay Marina, highlighting the potential to increase yachting tourism arrivals through investment in a fleet of X-Treme 25s. In light of last year’s successful regatta with ninety visiting Russian millionaires, and the increasing profile of the annual Saint Lucia Yacht Club Mango Bowl Regatta, both Wats and Didier are firmly convinced that the thrill of sailing “the Formula 1 of racing yachts” has potential to bring thousands of affluent adventure seekers to Saint Lucia.
G-Force Yachts was established by Jeroen Wats from the Netherlands who came up with the idea of developing and producing race yachts after participating in the Cape to Rio Ocean Race in 2003. After racing from South Africa to Brazil in 20 days, Wats decided the race could be done in less time, so G-Force Yachts was born and he set about transforming his experience and skill into a new, unique and innovative sailing machine. The result of this “labour of love” was the X-Treme 37 (also known as RP 37, designed by the world renowned designers Reichel/Pugh), a thirty-seven foot speed demon which went on to win the same Cape to Bahia Ocean Race in 2006, knocking a staggering four days off Madiba team’s previous winning time. Since then G-Force Yachts’ high performance boats have been proven winners. Built with the highest level of quality and care, today’s range includes the Rebel dinghy, X-Treme 25 and the X-Treme 37, and is exported to 14 countries in Europe, Asia and the USA through offices in the Netherlands, France and Hong Kong.
Since the start, G-Force Yachts has been widely considered as the leading expert in producing and developing high performance sailing yachts, which are true world-beaters in their segment. With adventure tourism trending globally, and yachting a strategic priority for the local Ministry, there is no doubt that G-Force Yachts has a lot to offer in terms of collaboration in a sector which can benefit from international expertise and experience. Cuthbert Didier’s sights are set high, but his vision to find investment for a fleet of sixteen X-Treme 25s is absolutely on point, given Saint Lucia’s tourism strategy for growing the industry and improving the island’s ability to compete as a yachting destination. Already there is preliminary talk of up to twenty visiting Russian sailors a month participating in X-Treme 25 events, and Martiniquan X-Treme 25 owner Eric Baray is in talks with Mango Bowl 2015 organisers about introducing the X-Treme 25 as a new class to the November 27-29 regatta.
Didier points out that the economic benefits generated by these yachting visitors will trickle down in the form of hotel rooms, restaurants, retail and other tourism revenue. Crewing a fleet of Formula 1 racing yachts will also offer training and employment opportunities at a time when Saint Lucian marine sector businesses seek to build capacity in a growing industry which is currently under-represented in terms of the number of nationals employed.
Surf-sailing the G-Force Yachts’ X-Treme 25 on a perfect Lucian afternoon, past hills and hotels, Rat Island and Barrel of Beef, with a flock of silver flying fish darting alongside and the fleeting green flash of a passing turtle, it definitely felt like a pretty awesome strategy to me.
The sleek G-Force at the Rodney Bay Marina.