D35s up to ten

Including a new boat to be campaigned by Ernesto Bertarelli's sister Dona

Friday May 11th 2007, Author: Bernard Schopfer, Location: United Kingdom
The Grand Prix Chopard - the first stage of the Julius Baer Challenge - for the Decision 35 catamarans, and will see the ten fastest catamarans on Lake Geneva confront each other this weekend.

The regatta is being organised by the 'Yachting Léger' section of the ‘Société Nautique de Genève’, and will begin on Saturday morning off Port Noir. The courses - windward-leewards with a gate - will allow both sailing enthusiasts and those who just love a good spectacle to follow the racing from the banks and the jetties at the ‘Société Nautique de Genève’, which will be open to the public on this occasion. The racing will continue on Sunday, with a last start possible around 3:00 PM.

For its third year, the Grand-Prix Chopard will be joined by two new boats, bringing the Decision 35 fleet up to ten boats. This now makes the Julius Baer Challenge - the D35s' annual championship - one of the most competitive one-design multihull regattas in the world.

All eyes will be on Dona Bertarelli Späth’s Lady Cat (SUI 10), which will be sailed by an exclusively female crew and helmed by French former ORMA 60 skipper, Karine Fauconnier. Also sailing her first regatta will be Christian Michel’s Smart Home, with Christophe Peclard at the helm.

Faced with these newcomers, the Decision 35 circuit’s regular contenders will start the season without restraint, aware that in September, when the points are counted, every one will be important. The winners of the Julius Baer Challenge for the last two years, Nicolas Grange’s Okalys, will have to fight to keep its place as defender in the absence of Loïck Peyron, who will only rejoin his crew on Lake Geneva for the Geneva-Rolle-Geneva on 9 June.

Most of the crews have been training for nearly a month and are ready for this first round. Among them are Alain Gautier on Foncia and the crews from Alinghi, Julius Baer, Zen Too, etc…, all ready to do battle. Which of them will take an early lead at the end of the Grand Prix Chopard? The answer will come on Sunday.

Teams:
SUI 1- Alinghi
SUI 2- Okalys
SUI 3- Julius Baer
SUI 4- Zen too
SUI 5- Foncia
SUI 6- Cadence
SUI 7- Axiom Risques & Finance Management
SUI 8- Banque Gonet & Cie
SUI 9- Smart Home
SUI 10- Lady Cat

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