With a lack of breeze scuppering racing yesterday the fleet again had to wait for the wind today. When it did come it was light, which made it all the more challenging for the teams, but also a different kind of competition. Alinghi took the win in race 3 and their competitiveness across the rest of the races meant that they leave the field ahead of tomorrow. All to play for!
The wind, or lack of it, at Crans on Lake Geneva conspired against the D35 fleet on the first day of the Grand Prix Alinghi. The conditions meant that the teams could only get out for some practice sessions and a few aborted starts before the Committee called time, with all of the competitors hoping that tomorrow brings some breeze so that racing get going.
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!
Once again, the wind – or relative lack of it - on Lake Geneva proved troublesome for the race committee today in the D35 Championship, but to their great credit two races were run once the breeze around Nyon picked-up. It was something of a fillip, given the rest of the weekend’s frustrations, that Alinghi stormed the first of the two races. Having led at the upper gate, the team maintained the first position until the finish line. Unfortunately, the second race, encumbered by a bad starting position, was less successful. This, combined with the other results from other days, put Alinghi in seventh position overall. The team will be looking to tak the form of race 1, rather than 2, to next weekend for the big one – the Bol d’Or. Check back here for updates on the epic race up the Lake – and back!
After over four hours of racing in the Genève-Rolle-Genève, many of which saw the team leading the fleet, Alinghi had to settle for fourth place in today’s sprint up the lake and back. Off the start, Team Tilt and Zen headed for the Swiss shore and took the lead, but we gybe’d twice towards the centre of the lake to catch the building wind. By the time the team reached Dully, Alinghi had passed the two leaders and struck out for the front. The lead was maintained as the mark in Rolle was rounded and it was looking good. However, after rounding that turning mark, and with the fleet heading towards the French shore, things got more complicated, with clouds building overhead as the boats approached Nyon, with shifting winds making it very close. Approaching Versoix, Alinghi led on the Swiss side, but as the lake narrowed the fleet converged. Still, the team maintained the lead until a series of pulsing breezes made the 1-2-3 change time after time, keeping the fleet packed. So close were the boats that only just over a minute separated them all at the finish line, with Alinghi having to settle for fourth. A great day of racing…
It was somewhat of a frustrating day on the lake at Versoix in the D35 Championship: frustrating for the fleet as a whole that a lack of wind meant only two races were sailed; and frustrating for Alinghi that when the wind did arrive - albeit with only five knots - unfortunate pockets of bad air prevented the team from making good on promising starts. With plenty of racing ahead for the weekend, starting with tomorrow's Geneve-Rolle-Geneve, there is plenty of time for the tables to turn.
Alinghi maintained their overnight position, securing second place in the Open de Versoix behind Team Tilt, last year's Champions. Amid decent wind that reached up to 16 knots, Ernesto Bertarelli's team notched two second place finishes in the day's four races, which, because of Tilt's two victories, was ultimately not enough to secure victory. It was very close, however, with only one point separating the two teams at the end of the day. Swisscom were two points further back in third. Next up it's the Geneve-Rolle-Geneve and Alinghi will be looking to build on this really encouraging and competitive performance as they look to go one better and take first place on the podium for the first time this Championship.
The wind on Lake Geneva started building up around 11:30, offering very nice conditions for the six races of the day. Despite a tricky start to the day, Alinghi managed to score a first and a second place, meaning that the team sits 2nd on the leaderboard of the Versoix Grand Prix. The team is now fully focused on picking up the two points that two separate them from first place.
Today, Friday 6th May, saw the opening day of the 2016 D35 Championship. In lovely, balmy conditions on Lake Geneva, the Grand Prix of the Société Nautique de Genève began with ten teams vying for position in the day’s five races. Alinghi were nothing if not consistent, recording three third-place finishes to leave the team tied with Okalys in third position on 14 points. It was Spindrift’s day, with the team recording three victories to leave them out in front. However, with two more days of racing to go the Grand Prix is very much alive and Alinghi will be looking to hunt down those above them on the leaderboard. More sun is predicted for the weekend, so if you are near do come down to support the team.
In the end it was not to be for Alinghi, who were pipped to the post in the D35 Championship by Team Tilt. Having been close adversaries all season, Alinghi would like to send their congratulations to Tilt for a fantastic regatta and a fantastic season. The team also want to express their admiration for all of the teams that did battle on the Lake to make this the most memorable D35 Championship yet. Having gone into Day 2 just two points ahead of Tilt - and with the victor of the two taking the title - Alinghi's advantage was slender. Ultimately it could not be protected, with the two-point lead becoming a six-point deficit. Tilt took the Championship, with Alinghi second. It was a brilliant competition and - watch out Tilt - Alinghi will be gunning for the title next year!