Bertarelli wins Bol d'Or


The all-carbon Alinghi catamaran weighs less than an Etchell. Bertarelli helms while the crew sit out to leeward
 

The all-carbon Alinghi catamaran weighs less than an Etchell. Bertarelli helms while the crew sit out to leeward

Alinghi boss returns to two hulls. Thierry Martinez was there camera in hand. We speak to British competitor Jo Richards
Alinghi boss Ernesto Bertarelli on Saturday evening became winner of Switzerland's largest sailing event, the Bol d'Or for the fourth consecutive time. The giant fleet of more than 500 boats set sail from three separate start lines off Geneva at 0920 local time on Saturday. "The slow boat end of the line was very favoured," commented Jo Richards, steering the only British boat to be taking part, Stephen Fein's Full Pelt-Slam. "There was wind at that end, but no wind at our end at all, so we spent the first 15 mile picking our way through slower boats who’d got away." The course for the Bol d'Or takes the boats eastwards along the inverted banana shape of Lake Leman to a turning mark off Bouveret, where the Rhone feeds the lake. The boats then return to Geneva. The race is notoriously light airs and equally well know for a occasional intense squalls that create havoc within the fleet. The boats experienced a light air beat out of the Petit Lac up the lake to Lausanne but late in the afternoon one such squall struck the fleet with devasting consequences. "We got intercepted by a very large thunder storm with completely torrential rain and 40 knots," commented Richards who at the time was about 1.5 miles away from the turning mark. "So we were broaching out going downhill in Full Pelt with just the main up - and it’s a pretty controllable boat." As they were being driven on to a leeshore by 40 knot winds, during this time Club 58 and Bedat & Co, two of the four top catamaran contenders for the race, capsized and more than 100 boats retired. Fortunately for Bertarelli, Alinghi had rounded the turning mark some time previously and was well on the way back to

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