Saint-Tropez, “Daughter of the Sea” A world famous spot long before it was the refuge of many artists, Saint-Tropez was essentially a fishing village with merchants, knights, defenders of the peninsula and of course sailors. No wonder that, for decades, a multitude of boats, from all walks of life, came to visit the well defended peninsula nicknamed “daughter of the sea”.
The mythical city …
This Greek colony named Athénopolis, then became the Roman Héracléa. In Pisa, in 68 a.d. Torpes, a Christian officer of the Emperor Nero,was tortured and his headless body thrown into a boat which then arrived on our shores. He became the patron saint under the name of Saint-Tropez. Razed by the Saracens in 739, it is the Genoese sailors that bring life back to the city in 1470 bringing with them the republican colors of Genoa: red, white, red. Then, to defend the city against all invaders, one needed knights who are good sailors. These brave men are still mentioned in particular in the person of Bailli Pierre-André de Suffren whose statue dominates the port as if to protect the city. Nicknamed “Admiral Satan” by the English with whom he had fought in numerous naval battles, Pierre-André de Suffren was one of the greatest sailors of France and certainly a child of Saint-Tropez .
The “Nautical” Society formalized in 1899
The first evidence of recreational sporting activity in Saint-Tropez was during the inauguration of the Bailli de Suffren statue in April 1866 where “major sailing and rowing regattas “ were announced. The success of the regattas organized on May 18, 1899, by the Captain of theTown, Jean Baptiste Sanmartin, when the Bravades resulted in the creation of the Nautical Sports Society of St. Tropez on 18 May 1899. At this time the company headquarters are at the Renaissance Café and the annual membership fee is 6 francs. Among the founding members there are Messrs Pegurier, the first president, the secretary Delacroix, Pessoneaux, Aubert, Decuers, Mérier, Rebuffat, Cerisola, Sanmartin, the painters Signac and Person.
The Club pennant is, as now, triangular with three vertical bands: red, white and red with an anchor on the white background.
From 1899 to 1980 …. In 1901, the office is transferred to the Quai Suffren and in 1902, a notice of race outlines the regatta’s rules. While boating was booming, the 14-18 World War halts the activity of the “Nautical Society” with mobilization hitting both Tropezians and “foreigners”. In 1925, activity resumes as the Société Nautique of Saint Tropez, with two sections Sailing and Swimming, its headquarters being in Château Suffren. Its affiliation with the French Federation of Sail yachting (FFYV) dates from that year. By order of the German authorities, a prefectural decree dissolved the SNST in March 1942.
On 15 August 1944, the port was completely destroyed but on the10 October 1945, at an extraordinary general meeting, the Société Nautique of Saint Tropez was re-established. It consists of several sections: Sailing, Motor, Underwater Fishing and later Fishing and Water skiing. Its headquarters are in the Old Tower and then the Portalet Tower. The organization of the first week of regattas “the week of the Gulf” together with the neighbouring club of Sainte Maxime was in 1946. In 1955, three major regattas were organized by the Club; A race from St. Tropez to San-Remo organized with the Compagnia Della Vella of San Remo, the Challenge Trophy Christian Dior on the course Saint-Tropez / Porquerolles / Saint-Tropez, and triangular regattas in the Gulf. That same year, the SNST adopted new statutes with the creation of a Board of Directors and three sections: yachting, sailing, motor yachting and water skiing. In November 1956, a first request was sent to the Mayor of Saint-Tropez for the rental of an area bordering the Bay of Canoubiers to install a summer club house and a sailing school, but no response was forthcoming.
In 1957, while installing a pontoon for the members boats and a new lounge bar at the Portalet Tower a commission for managing the area of water was created. The Christian Dior challenge with the Grand Prix Italia was also held that year. 1959 was a milestone, the 60th anniversary of the club was celebrated, several races were organized and the number of sections rose to four: Small boat sailing, Grand Water tours (for the development of cruising ), Motorboating and management of the water. In 1965, when the club was trialling a cruise/ race from Antibes / Saint-Tropez, the port extension project of creating a second pool will enable the SNST to have more berths, between 50 and 100 according to the Mayor, and also a Club House. In August 1967, the Club organized the National Ponant Championship while a sailing school and center for dinghies was created at Canoubiers. A portion of the second basin became available during the season. In 1968, the Port started to charge for berthing and the Giraglia takes place from Saint-Tropez, bringing a hundred sailboats to the port. The sailing school was opened to holiday-makers from summer 1970. In order to simplify balancing the budgets, accounting was divided into three parts: moorings, sailing school and Société Nautique. In 1971, the Club House project failed with the City Council. At the general meeting on August 3, 1971, Mr. Sterck propoposed “the acquisition of a Danish style boat or barge, in lieu of a Club House.” The Mayor proposed a prefabricated office which would be paid for by the SNST. On May 1, 1974, given the lack of funding from the Municipality, the board vote for connecting the sailing school to Union Sportive Tropézienne. At the General Meeting of 12 August 1977 President Molle noted that “the sporting activities of the Société Nautique are shrinking from year to year and that the projecty of” boat garages “is progressing well.” René Perrier who later became President then proposed the creation of a prestigious annual regatta. Thus, from 1 to 9 April 1978, the first Festival Art-Sea Snow (ARMEN) was born on the initiative of Mr Perrier. Season 1977/78 has 7 days of racing with 128 boats participating. In 1979, we witnessed the creation of an offshore sailing school for youth training. The number of racing days increases to 12, which includes the organization of the “100 miles of summer.” with the Yacht Club of Saint Raphael
From 1980 to today: August 3, 1981: The General Assembly confirm the purpose of the SNST and designate a committee to represent the aspirations of the majority of members. The stability of the structure for over 30 years i.e. many water activities, tailored to the needs of sailors, fishermen, and cruisers, have made the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez one of the most active clubs in the Mediterranean. It’s objective is to practice water sports such as regattas and fishing. The turning point of the club was in1999 when the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez took responsibility for the organization of the “Nioulargue” which had suddenly stopped in 1995 following a tragic accident. The event is now named the “Voiles de Saint-Tropez” with the theme of preserving the spirit of yesteryear. Today, with nearly 500 members, the majority being boat owners, the SNST organizes or co-organizes more than 15 events throughout the year, representing more than 50 days of racing per year.
The Société Nautique records today: • More than 500 members • 18 members on the steering committee • 10 employees (combining SNST and the former UST Sailing in 2015) • More than 30 volunteers ( club members) active throughout the year • More than 100 volunteers for major events (Voiles de Saint-Tropez Giraglia, 900 Miles of St. Tropez, Dames de Saint-Tropez, Dragon Championships etc.) The water: • 104 Berths for 35 motor boats and 69 yachts Activities More than 15 events in the year (sailing, fishing and cruising) (see description of events in 2011 SNST) More than 600 yachts participate in regattas organized by SNST including: More than 300 boats in the Voiles de Saint-Tropez; 220 boats for ” The Giraglia Rolex Cup”; more than 70 boats in “The ARMEN Festival” more than 60 yachts for “ Les Voiles D’automne” Between 40 and 70 boats for the Lateen event organized by the City of Saint-Tropez Some beautiful sailing boats for the new Offshore Racing “900 nautical miles of St Tropez by Securities and Financial Solutions” More than 100 yachts participate regularly in other annual regattas of the club, This is not counting the exceptional events, such as: in 2004, a gathering of more than 250 Dragons St. Tropez in 2009, European Championship of Dragon with over 100 entrants in 2011, European Centennial Celebration Regatta, 100 years of the STAR class with the participation of nearly 100 of this one-design Olympic series. New events • Club House, New structure …