Photos from a furious day of racing in Saint Petersburg for Act IV of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series. All photos copyright Lloyd Images
Ernesto Bertarelli’s team, Alinghi, bested the tough conditions on Day 1 of Act IV of the 2014 Extreme Sailing Series, which has come to Russia for the first time. It is a tight stadium racecourse – just 300 metres wide at its narrowest point – and it was made all the more exciting by massive wind shifts that the crews had to battle, as well as contending with a four-knot current that runs across the racecourse. Alinghi, helmed by Morgan Larson were, as the ESS put it themseleves, the “pictures of consistency”. The team were the average fastest boat downwind and the quickest off the startline. That consistency has led to a nine point lead after the end of the first day. In second place are the longtime rivals The Wave, Muscat. Day 2 and the rest of the weekend promise to be a lot of fun on this exciting course… After the day of racing, Alinghi helm Morgan Larson said: “We were pretty terrible yesterday in the practice, so today we came out with a little different attitude. We had decent starts, we tried to stay on the opposite side of the racetrack to the rest of the boats so that every time we split from the group we had cleaner air and finally, a little bit of luck went our way and things worked out for us. It’s a challenging venue and it’s going to keep being challenging throughout the week.”
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.
Alinghi wins the Geneva-Rolle-Geneva classic regatta after 4h52min of close combat against Realstone. The gun was fired at 13:00 in Vesenaz, in front of La Tour Carrée, by the Yacht Club of Geneva in very light wind conditions. Alinghi was in the leading group since the very beginning with some very close followers, Realstone and Zen too. After 3:15min of racing, Realstone passed the first mark in front of Rolle two boat lengths ahead of Alinghi, but after a successful jibe battle in front of the Ile de la Harpe, Alinghi was back in the leading position at the second mark located right in front of the Harbor of Rolle. A light breeze pushed then the D-35 fleet back towards Geneva, not far ahead of the first M2. Alinghi crossed the finish line first with Ernesto Bertarelli at the Helm, Nicolas Charbonnier at the Tactic, Pierre-Yves Jorand at the Mainsail, Coraline Jonet & Nils Frei at the Trim, Yves Detrey at the Bow. Sailing continues tomorrow at the Club Nautique de Versoix at 11:30am for 6 races max. The forecast is for little wind again and a very hot day… Let’s bet that the D-35 fleet will battle hard again on the water. Geneva-Rolle-Geneva Results: Alinghi Realstone Mobimo Team Tilt Zen Too LadyCat Powered by Spindrift Racing Veltigroup Okalys Oryx Yliiam Comptoir Immobilier
With 6 races sailed on the first day of the week end, Alinghi’s D35, helmed for the occasion by Luc Dubois in the absence of Ernesto Bertarelli, was in 5th place but within touching distance of a fight for the podium on Saturday night. But the wind decided not to show up on Sunday, which forced the Race committee to cancel racing for the day. Great job by the two young teams of the circuit, Tilt and Realteam who were in first and second places respectively– proof that their hard work during the first month of the year is paying off and that the level has definitely increased on the D35 circuit. Congratulations to LadyCat powered by Spindrift racing who took third place of this Second Act of the Vulcain Trophy, with which – at this stage of the season – they also take first place overall. We can bet that the competition will be fierce on the first week end of June (7th), at the occasion of the classic Geneva-Rolle-Geneva Race and that every team will use all their tactical tricks to try to win the prologue of the Bol d’Or. A busy week-end ahead for the Teams as they will be racing the first Grand Prix de Versoix on June 8-9, making this pre-Bol d’Or weekend count for double. Ranking of the Open de Crans Tilt Realstone sailing Ladycat powered by Spindrift racing Zen Too Alinghi Mobimo Veltigroup Oryx Okalys Racing Django Ylliam - Comptoir immobilier Provisional Overall ranking of the Vulcain Trophy Ladycat powered by Spindrift racing Tilt Alinghi Realstone sailing Mobimo Zen Too Veltigroup Okalys Oryx Racing Django Ylliam – Comptoir immobilier