Amid challenging condtions, last weekend saw the first Grand Prix of the 2015 Decision 35 Trophy at Société Nautique de Genève. With winds going from 28 knots to zero on Friday afternoon, with a mix of rain, gusts, breakage and even a capsize for Racing Django – taken by surprise by a strong gust when leaving their mooring – the race committee had little choice but to call the day’s racing off without a single regatta sailed. On Saturday morning all of the teams were back at the Société Nautique de Genève, impatient to start competing. But the wind was, again, capricious and the first start gun could only be fired at the very end of the afternoon – the SNG Starting Vessel and the 11-boat fleet of the Decision 35 having spent their time chasing the wind up to almost Nyon all afternoon. The racing finally took place between la Belotte and le Reposoir – in a rather strange direction with very shifty winds… Two races were sailed in these tricky conditions and the race committee did a terrific job managing to get the racing going. At the end of the first racing day, three boats were tight on points, Team Tilt, Ladycat powered by Spindrift Racing and Alinghi, with five points each. On Sunday, a nice Séchard, allowed the fleet to sail four more races in relatively steady wind conditions. Alinghi led race five from start to the finish, showing that the 2013 and 2014 champion is still very much in business. The lasting impression after this first weekend isthat the fleet is more compact than ever and that podium places will not be easy to come by. After six races, the overall ranking of the week-end was: http://d35trophy.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Classement-GP-SNG-2015-officiel.pdf And the provisory season 2015 ranking is: Team Tilt (1pt) Alinghi (2pts) Zen Too (3pts) Ladycat powered by Spindrift racing (4pts) Veltigroup-Swisscom (5pts) Realteam (6pts) Racing Django (7pts) Oryx (8pts) Okalys (9pts) Mobimo (10pts) Ylliam Comptoir Immobilier (11pts)
For the second year running, Alinghi’s victory in the Grand Prix Grange & Cie also secured the Vulcain Trophy for Ernesto Bertarelli’s team. And what a victory it was, the crew dominating proceedings with a near-flawless display of racing in challenging conditions. Having won Saturday’s two races, the team lined up for Race 3 on Sunday full of confidence. Light win conditions had meant that the start had been postponed, but when the fleet did get underway Alinghi quickly established a lead. The wind – already light at 7 knots – then proceeded to drop to 3, making for difficult sailing. Nonetheless, Alinghi worked together to extend their lead on each run, taking the race from Racing Django and Team Tilt. In Race 4, Alinghi got the best start of the five teams who had lined up to port. They led at the first top rounding, getting up to speed for the run and extending the gap between their rivals at the lee gate. Having gone right for the second beat, the team began to feel some pressure from Velitgroup, but, having just rolled them at the top rounding, saw boat speed on the last run do the rest. Victory – again! This win meant that Alinghi had the Grand Prix wrapped-up and so the team took on the role of spectators for the day’s final race – the results of which confirmed that Alinghi had successfully defended its Vulcain Trophy title. Well done team! Speaking after the podium presentations, Ernesto Bertarelli said: “We’re really very happy, both with this win and to have defended the Championship. To win all of our four races…I can’t remember it happening before. We sailed together and that is the secret to our win. This team has been together a long time and we understand one another and the boat. We’re delighted with the way the weekend has gone.”
The Yacht Club of Geneva played host to 7th leg of the Vulcain Trophy 2014, the “Grand Prix Grange & Cie“, this weekend. The first day’s racing was marked by a beautiful weather of 25°C, but, unfortunately the sunny conditions were not matched by wind, meaning that spectators and crews waited until 3pm for the first race to get underway. When racing did start, however, Alinghi got off to a great start, taking the first race, which was shortened owing to the relative lack of wind. Conditions such as these present an entirely different challenge in themselves and Ernesto Bertarelli’s team were the one who managed their boat best. And it was the same story in race two! So, Alinghi head into Sunday’s racing in a great position, not just in the Grand Prix, but also in the Vulcain Trophy. The team will be looking to repeat their performance to secure victory. Check back here later to see how they do.
After a wonderful day on Saturday, conditions for the second day of the Open Nationale Suisse were similar, meaning that – happily – the organizers were able to get the first race off at 11.30am, though a relative lack of wind did mean that the course was shortened, with Alinghi claiming 5th place. The next race – number 7 of the event – was entirely different, with the wind picking up considerably to 12 knots. It was good news for Ernesto Bertarelli’s Alinghi, who were like a rocket on both runs, claiming the race from Realstone and then Mobimo. This was followed up by a third place in Race 8 and a creditable fourth in Race 9, which was sailed in tricky and crowded conditions. The wind for the final race was simply all over the place, up and down in the most capricious of manners. Having rounded the top gate in second place behing Mobimo, Alinghi seize first after a gybe and lead at the bottom gate. And then…the wind changes again, completely dying to leave the organiser’s with little option but to abandon racing. That meant that, reflecting their consistency in challenging conditions over the two days, that Team Alinghi SUI1 is the winner of the 2014 Open Nationale Suisse in Versoix-2014! Joining them on the podium were Mobimo in second and Zen Too in third. Congratulations to the organisers and to all of the crews for a great weekend of exciting racing. And, allez Alinghi!
After the summer break, during which the team has excelled in the Extreme Sailing Series, the Vulcain Trophy has returned to Versoix for the Open Nationale Suisse. Alinghi, of course, were sitting pretty in 1st position…. It was a beautiful summer’s day today in Versoix and the wind conditions, varying as befits a classic regatta, made for some great racing. Ranking Day 1: Alinghi Mobimo Ladycat powered by Spindrift racing Zen Too Realstone Team Tilt Okalys Veltigroup Racing Django Ylliam – Comptoir Immobilier Oryx
Sailed in a breezy North East wind (La Bise) the 76th, Bol d’Or was won by LadyCat powered by Spindrift racing, Dona Bertarelli and her crew adding a second victory of this mythic regatta to her successes. Alinghi took third, after battling hard for more than 5 hours and 40 minutes, Realstone completing the podium in second. Started with an already established medium to strong “bise”, the regatta was promising to be intense. All the D35 started with a reef in their mainsail to sail up-wind towards le Bouveret. But the “Bise”, as expected, didn’t blow all the way to the Valais part of Lake Leman and a tactical war started at the approach of Lausanne, forcing the tactician to climb the mast to find some patches of wind on the suddenly calm waters ahead of SUI-1. LadyCat managed to come back to the top of the fleet and passed the Bouveret mark ahead of her opponents. The battle down wind back towards Geneva was intense and many teams went bow down in the waves more than once, pushing their machines to their limits! Alinghi crossed the finish line in 3rd position after 5 hours 42 minutes of an exciting race from the start to the end and stays in the lead of the Vulcain Trophy before the season’s summer break.
Ernesto Bertarelli participated in his first Bol d’Or in the very early 90s on board an X-119 mono-hull. Fascinated and passionate about speed and technology, he quickly moved to what was then revolutionary, the multi-hull. It was in 1994 that he secured his first podium place at the Bol d’Or with Alinghi (ex-Poseidon), with an upside-down finish having capsized a few meters away from the finish line… in third position. 1995 saw him compete on what was the first Alinghi-conceived multihull (by Melvin and Morelli), built at the Décision boat yard. A yellow trimaran with some Fiat painting especially chosen for its brightness and capacity to reflect the sun. It certainly worked because, in 1997, the team secured its maiden victory in the historic race. In 2000, Alinghi 41 “The Black” was launched. It was a mighty Catamaran, designed by Seb Schmid and Jo Richards. Alinghi won the Bol d’Or with her, four years in a row between 2000 and 2003, getting the right to keep the Bol d’Or forever in 2001, having won it three times in a five years period. No other boat has ever won the Bol d’Or four times in a row, before and since. But sport without competition is not really sport, so Bertarelli decided to withdraw “the Black” from the competition after the 2003 Victory to allow the development of a new one design class, the Décision 35, of which Alinghi D35 was N° SUI-1. Since then, Alinghi D35 has taken part in all of the subsequent Bol d’Or. And this year will be the team’s 11th participation on this same boat. The team had to wait until 2011 for their sixth victory, which they secured after an epic fight against Michel Desjoyeaux on Foncia, setting a new class record in 6h25’50’’. This year will be Ernesto Betarelli’s 22nd participation in this mythic regatta on Lake Geneva, out of which he has sailed 20 on a multihull…The only Bol d’Or that he has missed since his first race in 1994 was the 2007 edition when, of course, his attentions were focused on another regatta, just off the shores of Valencia… May the wind be with us on Saturday and may the best team win the 76th Bol d’Or Mirabaud!
What was a good weekend turned into a great weekend for Alinghi, with victory in the Open de Versoix. Having already won the Geneva-Rolle-Geneva on Saturday, the team – helmed again by Ernesto Bertarelli – led the event overnight after a great day’s sailing on the Sunday. A disappointing lack of wind meant that Monday’s conclusion to the Open was regrettably called off, but it does mean that Alinghi have returned to the top of the leaderboard of the Vulcain Trophy. And the victory makes it three from three for Bertarelli in terms of his own involvement… It is an auspicious time to be in such good form with the Bol d’Or due to take place next weekend. The highlight of the season, the race will see more than 500 boats sprinting to the end of Lake Geneva before returning to the finish line. As it is an event that Alinghi and their skipper have won six times the team will certainly be approaching the start-line feeling good. So, let’s hope the wind is with us and may the best team win!
The maximum of 6 races were raced today at the first day of the Open de Versoix… Alinghi started really well, claiming the first place of the two first races of the day. With two other podium places (2&3) a fifth and a dropped eleventh place, Alinghi is leading the Open de Versoix tonight with a 3 points lead over Mobimo and Tilt respectively 2nd and 3rd. Tomorrow Racing starts again at 12:00 for 6 races maximum in front of the shores of Versoix.