13 year old Lake Geneva record broken

D35s Smart Home and Julius Baer set a new time for the Bol d'Or course

Thursday October 18th 2007, Author: Bernard Schopfer, Location: France
The Décision 35 catamarans Smart Home and Julius Baer have beaten the 13 year old record of the Bol d’Or course, between Geneva and le Bouveret (and back). This prestigious record is called the Ruban Bleu.

Smart Home’s crew decided to start their record attempt this morning at 10:30, soon after the arrival of the strong northerly breeze. Their goal was to benefit from a good angle while avoiding big waves when beating against the wind. Julius Baer started five minutes later while Cadence – another D 35 had already been on her way for 15 minutes.

Smart Home and Julius Baer sailed out of the 'petit lac' in less than one hour. They both decided to cross the lake towards its northern bank; a longer route usually considered safer for such records it is usually more windy there than on the French coast (on the south side of the alke). This choice proved to be right as Cadence got stuck alongside the French coast and had to give up.

Smart Home reached the half course mark at Le Bouveret at the opposite end of the lake after two hours and 50 minutes, a few boat lengths ahead of Julius Baer, despite having started five minutes earlier.

“That’s when we knew we had lost the record”, commented Christian Michel, Smart Home’s owner. “They’ve sailed better than us and they deserve the record. But I am extremely pleased as this is my first season on a Decision 35.”

After rounding the mid-course mark, both crews knew that they had to go faster on their return journey back to Geneva in order to beat the record, but they also knew that the wind was going to be stronger and the angle more favorable.

Smart Home and Julius Baer raced neck to neck from Le Bouveret to Geneva, regularly surfing, nearly capsizing on several occasions. The show was extraordinary when they both arrived in sight of the arrival, under full main sail and big gennaker, sailing very close from the limit of the boats.

"The arrival was amazing”, commented Michel. “It was really hot and we almost capsized several times.”

Smart Home was first over the arrival line, completing the 70 mile course in 4 hours 57 minutes and 36 seconds (just four minutes faster than the previous record). But Julius Baer crossed 16 seconds later; having started five minutes later than Smart Home, Julius Baer is the new holder of the record.

The man of the day is Edouard Kessi. A crewmember on board Triga IV, he was also sailing on board the Pharos 40 Tilt, who broke the monohulls record for this course last month. He sailed today on Julius Baer. As for Philippe Cardis, the owner and helmsman of the new record holder, he commented that he didn’t think the record was reachable for a Decision 35. “But last month, when Smart Home concluded an attempt in 5 hours 30 minutes, it became clear that it was achievable.”

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