First up in the Med

One designs and sportsboats take to the waters off Monaco over two weekends in early February

Tuesday January 16th 2007, Author: Isabelle Andrieux, Location: France
Each year, over the first two weekends of February, the Yacht Club de Monaco runs the Primo Cup-Credit Suisse Trophy. As is the custom, this event marks the opening of the Mediterranean Regatta Season. 2007’s 23rd Primo Cup is open to professionals and amateurs alike, sailing in the following 11 one-design categories: Dragon, Laser SB3, Platu 25, J/24, Mumm 30, Smeralda 888, First 40.7, Star, Surprise, Melges 24, and H22 – with the proviso that there be a minimum of eight entries per category. SLAM is official partner for the supply of yachting clothes.

A significant new feature this year is the participation of a fleet of H22 vessels, fresh from their arrival in France in December 2005. The craft are easily distinguishable: the multi-coloured sails sport Warner Bros. cartoon characters. The H22 class has adopted Tweety, the famous canary, as its mascot.

To make life a little easier for foreign crews journeying to Monaco, Laser SB3 and Dragon classes will sail over four days, start Day being Thursday, 1 February. Other series will be grouped as usual over the three day consecutive periods.

Thursday 01 - Sunday 4 February 2007: Laser SB3 and Dragon
Friday 02 - Sunday 4 February 2007: Star, Surprise, and J/24
Friday 09 - Sunday 11 February 2007: H22, Mumm30, Melges 24, First 40.7, Platu 25, and Smeralda 888.

The number of entries has again increased this year; strong contingents are travelling from northern and Eastern Europe; a party of 30 competitors from New York’s Manhattan is also due. A total figure of above 235 vessels from 17 Nationalities is so far scheduled; that represents 1000-plus competing sailors across the two weekends.

The First Weekend’s festivities will begin with regattas for the categories that traditionally open the Primo Cup : J/24, Star, and Surprise plus the Laser SB3 and Dragon.

On Thursday 1 February around 30 Dragon craft are expected at the start line. Munegu is among them - she was a gift to H.S.H. Prince Albert II during Monaco Classic Week 2005 and will be manned by a YCM crew. The well-known French Pajot brothers are also competing in this class. The Laser SB3s also have a strong field with so far 25 registered entries. They first featured in the 22nd Primo Cup in 2006.

The J/24, Star, and Surprises start their racing on Friday 2 February. About 15 Stars are expected including current European Champion Diego Negri. 30 Surprise and 20 J/24 are expected on the start line.

Second Weekend (9-11 February 2007): H22, Mumm 30, Melges 24, First Class 7.5, First 40.7, Platu 25, and Smeralda 888

For the second Primo Cup weekend, the experienced regatta experts in the Melges 24 and Mumm 30 classes take to Monaco waters. This year the Melges 24 World Championships are to be held just down the coast at Hyères - 30 boats are expected in Monaco; among the sailors is Maxime Paul, former 470 European Champion. The Mumm 30 field is becoming increasingly international; this year sees Croatian, Italian, English, Dutch, Monégasque, and French crews with around 30 boats including Vincent Portugal (President of the European Class), Jimmy Pahun (Ile de France) and Dimitri Déruelle (Marseille).

12 Smeralda 888 will be on the start line. These craft were designed by German Frers, are 8.88m in length, and sail with a crew of four. They are fast and lively craft. For the second consecutive year, there is a new additional vessel to this fleet - she will be christened right alongside the YCM’s new boat. The category is growing in popularity in Monaco and in Sardinia. Prince Charles de Bourbon Siciles is one of the principle Smeralda owner-skippers, and is president of the Monaco section of the class.

As mentioned, no one will fail to notice the H22 class, new to the Primo Cup this year, as they flash their canary-yellow spinnakers and Warner Bros 'Tweety' emblems. The H22 is a light, fun boat with a very rapid acceleration. The boats are built by Lion Yachts in Latvia with foam sandwich construction. 20 boats are expected.

Hervé Peduzzi, President of the First 40.7 Class, is delighted to note that there are to be 20 of 40.7s under French and Italian flags expected on the start line. The Class began its one-design regatta career in Monaco just last year.

In the Bénéteau 25 field, David Dumont, in charge of the class, says 15 Bénéteau 25s under French, Italian, English, and Spanish flags will be competing in Monaco’s Bay.

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