A seventh win in this iconic race proved elusive for Alinghi, who were overtaken by Ladycat on the home leg. The team had taken the lead of the race as the fleet reached Evian and, after over four hours of racing, it rounded the turning mark at Le Bouveret in first place, with the eventual winners three minutes behind. Downwind from there things looked good but, as we approached the transition the wind decreased, enabling Ladycat to make up the difference. A series of jibes kept it close until, after a faked one, the eventual winners crossed us. With both teams close, Ladycat hit the headwind and, from Yvoire, led. It was a position that they'd keep until the finish line which was crossed in just over eight and half hours from the starting gun. Alinghi were just four minutes behind. Congratulations to the winners and onto the next one. ALLEZ ALINGHI!
With Alinghi chasing their seventh victory in this classic race, the 77th edition of the Bol d’Or began in winds that – generously – could be described as light and finished, some 12 hours later, in near-storm conditions. The way that the weather fluctuated mirrored the racing itself, which was full of drama and suspense. It was Team Tilt who crossed the finish line on Lake Geneva in first place, with Alinghi a matter of mere metres and seconds behind them – ultimately unable to reel them back in, but having done an amazing job to be in with a shout at all, doggedly pegging back rival after rival to clamber up the leaderboard and claim second spot on the podium. And it was very close! Ladycat, powered by Spindrift racing, finished in third place and at one stage – indeed for the first half of the race – looked like they might claim victory, having led the fleet almost all the way up to Le Bouveret. All of the teams deserve a huge amount of credit for having done battle with testing and highly variable conditions. The light wind that had characterised the first half of the race gave way tono wind once Alinghi passed the half-way mark in Le Bouveret. That presented one type of challenge, but another entirely was to greet the team when, between Evian and Yvoire, thunderstorms hit, with huge gusts of wind testing the team’s sail handling to the max. That Alinghi did get so close to victory is perhaps even more impressive given that their bowman – Yves Detrey – had to miss the race at the last minute, as he was confined to his bed by a nasty virus. Andrew Graham stepped up to replace Yves and did a fantastic job to help see Alinghi home. The rest of the crew were: Ernesto Bertarelli (Helm), Pierre-Yves Jorand (Mainsail), Nicolas Charbonnier (Tactician), Coraline Jonet (Trim) and Nils Frei (Trim). Many congratulations to Team Tilt on their impressive victory and to the entire fleet for such an enthralling race! Next year we will go again as we seek that seventh title...
Next Saturday (the 13th), Alinghi will be lining up its Décision 35 SUI-1 Alinghi for the start of the 77th Bol d’Or Mirabaud, organised by Société Nautique de Genève and known as the largest race in closed waters, with more than 500 boats and 2,500 crew participating. Alinghi is one of the Bol d’Or’s most successful ever teams, having won the trophy in 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2011. That record makes Ernesto Bertarelli and Pierre-Yves Jorand members of a very select club of people who have won this prestigious trophy six times since the first edition in 1939. Alinghi’s crew for this year edition will be Ernesto Bertarelli (Helm), Pierre-Yves Jorand (Mainsail), Nicolas Charbonnier (Tactic), Coraline Jonet (Trim), Nils Frei (Trim) and Yves Detrey (Bow). On Saturday, you can follow the regatta live at these links: For news and live footage of the race: http://news.boldormirabaud.ch/ For maps and live positioning of the boats: http://www.suiviregate.ch/mapapps.html?reg_id=BOM15 But before the start gun is shot at 10:00am next Saturday June 13th, 2015 enjoy this great movie made by Pedro Das Neves about last year’s 76th Bol d’Or. [VIDEO::https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKKlHhPiCM0::news]
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.