As tradition dictates, some 450 boats and several thousand sailors launched an assault around Lake Geneva, departing to the sound of the cannon firing at 10am on Saturday.
For multihulls, the 82nd edition of the world's largest closed-basin regatta can be classified in the series of classic early summer Bol d'Ors, with light wind, thermal breezes and a lot of twists and turns!
Nils Frei: "After a good start, we were vying for the lead at the head of the pack, before being overtaken by two D35s and an M2. Being in front is good. But in light and shifty wind conditions, it shows, when you come to a halt, those chasing you the areas with no wind. They then come back into contact, by being able to bypass this 'lull' that you have found yourselves in.
"And then at one point comes the finish line, which yesterday was after 12:50 in the race for the TF35s. This is the last transition that you must not fail to nail. Some wind came in, we took off this time shortly after some boats and we finished 4th, 34 seconds behind Ylliam - Comptoir Immobilier, whom we congratulate, just like Zen Too and SailFever, who completed the podium."
Miles ahead that melt like snow in the sun
We counted six 'new starts', where M2s, D35s and TF35s were almost on a tied line of departure. Each time, the boats, once split, returned to contact, or even took the lead. At 2pm, Alinghi was up to 11km ahead of Realteam. A few hours later, the two boats were back level!
Nils Frei: "As soon as the wind picked up a little, the TFs get on their foils, the gaps fill up or widen quickly, leaving little chance for the M2 and D35, kings of the light air.
"The good news from this Bol is for the TF35 class, for whom this was a baptism of fire on the Bol d'Or. As we feared in this type of conditions, the M2 and D35 largely were the protagonists at the head of the race. At 13 hours for the leaders and with about 140km travelled, the average speed was around 6-7 knots. It's slow for the multis when the record for the event is 5:01:51. Despite this, the seven TF35s seized the first seven places. It is a success for this new class with complex but well-crafted specifications.
"At our level, we will continue to develop techniques in light conditions and we will be delighted to run the Bol in a stronger wind!"
Accept the random nature?
Nils Frei: "The sport is really different from a grand prix type regatta and when you start a long race like the Bol, you have to accept this element of randomness, which becomes more of a factor. It is not easy to take in and there is no magic bullet in light air. You have to be in the right place at the right time and, above all, be on the right boat. We have the feeling of having sailed well. If we had to repeat the race, we wouldn't change much. We had a great speed and we started again well after each 'new start', but at the end, as fast as it was unpredictable, we missed a chance."
When the wind finally picked up, six TF35s were sprinting at 25 knots in the pitch black on approach to Geneva, escorted by dozens of motorboats with all lights blazing. The first four TF35s arrived in the space of 34 seconds, the next two crossing the finish line at the Société Nautique de Genève a minute later.
In the provisional general classification of the TF35 Trophy, Realteam takes the lead, one point ahead of Alinghi. Spindrift is 3rd before the summer break and the two final rounds, which will be held in Scarlino. Note that the rules of the classification of the season allow for the withdrawal of the worst score: Realteam played its 'joker' by finishing 7th in the event that combined the two long races (Geneva-Rolle-Geneva and Bol d'Or). There is no doubt that the battle will be intense to win the very first TF35 Trophy awarded in Italy in September.
Until then, the team will continue to its second annual regatta circuit and will soon be flying to Lagos, southern Portugal, before the first stage of the GC32 Racing Tour from July 1st to the 4th.
Extracts from the rankings of the 82nd Bol d'Or Mirabaud:
1st - TF35 Ylliam XII – Comptoir Immobilier: 12h49'27
2nd - TF35 Zen Too: 12h49'46
3rd - TF35 SailFever: 12h49'52
4th - TF35 Alinghi: 12h50'01
5th - TF35 Realteam: 12h51'15
8th and the 1st D35 - Emil One: 13h04'07
9th and the 1st M2 - Degroof Petercam: 13h06'34
17th and 1st monohull (Bol de Vermeil) - Raffica: 14h06'23
Click here for the ranking including all boats.
Extracts from the provisional general classification of the TF35 Trophy after five events (NB: from four validated events, the worst score is removed / The results of the two long races add up to form only one event):
1st - Realteam: 4 points
2nd - Alinghi: 5 points
3rd - Spindrift: 10 points
4th - Ylliam XII: 11 points
5th - Zoulou: 11 points
Click here for the full classification.
To learn more about the race monitoring system, the team composition and the TF35 Trophy in general, a summary of the event is here.
#GoAlinghiGo // #TF35Trophy // #BOM21
Credit for photos
© Loris von Siebenthal, Gilles Martin-Raget and jeanmiphotographies