One design bonanza
After a weekend celebrating 80 years of the Dragon class, the 25th Primo Cup-Trophée Credit Suisse welcomed top level of competition for the second weekend.
“Over the last 25 years, we have not ceased to develop this regatta and to listen to and act on what participants and teams have to say," said Bernard d’Alessandri, the man who started it all at the request of HSH Prince Albert II, the Club’s President for the last 25 years. "For this anniversary year, your presence and the quality of the competition has been the best reward we could have wished for! If this event bears the name Primo, it is not just because it is the first regatta of the season but because it is truly a testing ground, by virtue of the organisation on the water, with starts rapidly following on after each, courses adapted to suit the highest level, a high level of safety, and this year an international jury.
“It’s also the Primo because our event has proved itself to be an innovator in welcoming new classes of boats for sailors to discover right here on Monaco waters”. Last weekend was the turn of the brand new Esse 850 and the Melges 20s for whom it was their first regatta on the sea. This weekend it was the turn of the Longtze Premiers and the GP 42s to present themselves to the sailing fraternity.
Paola Massarini, General Manager of the GP42 class said: “The GP42s are in Monaco for the Primo Cup. For our international class, this is a very important promotional platform from which to demonstrate the potential of our boats. The class regulations allow one to choose the architect, the boatyard and the infrastructure while respecting the rating rules. I have also seized the opportunity to organise in Monaco the first general meeting of the year and to officially announce our association with the Med Cup for two years.”
Another meeting that took place during the Primo Cup was that of the Tour de France à la Voile for the representatives and skippers, here to discuss 23 applications responding to the boat specifications for the Tour de France à la Voile 2011.
Today Sunday 15 February saw two races contested under clear blue skies and an 8 to 12 knot south westerly breeze, a perfect way to end this 25th edition.
Longtze Premier: Nicolas Bérenger, son of the Dragon
This new series was the toast of the regatta. 11 boats lined up for the Primo Cup, the first regatta on its European circuit. Responsive and fast with speeds touching 17 knots at times, the Longtze Premier and its simple deck layout has proved very simple to sail.
With almost insolent ease, Nicolas Berenger on Kone Monospace demonstrated yet again his talent and capacity to adapt from being a solo sailor in the Figaro to the wholly new Longtze Premier as part of a team. In a series which attracted many Figaro stars (Erwan Tabarly, Christopher Pratt, Marc Emig), Olympic medallists Guillaume Florent and Luc Gellusseau, alongside the likes of Pierre Mas and Xavier de Lesquen, Nicolas Berenger won with five victories out of seven races.
“As a sporting event, this has been a very competitive regatta, despite what the results would have you believe. Thank you to all my crew who gave it everything they’ve got all weekend!” commented Nicolas Bérenger, whose crew comprised the same people who have helped him to victory in the Mumm 30 class in the past.
Melges 32: the imperial Vincenzo Onorato!
Present last year for the first time at the Primo Cup, this series has attracted many owners from across the border in Italy, people like Vincenzo Onorato owner of the 32nd America’s Cup challenger Mascalzone Latino and three time Farr 40 World Champion. Ten crew members were not enough to control this powerful one-design.
It was no surprise that the favourite, a Yacht Club de Monaco member, took control of this fleet ahead of his compatriots, although Thule , with Fausto Rubbini at the helm, upped the pressure by winning three races.
Mumm 30: Daniel Souben dominates
All the stars from the Tour de France à la Voile were there on the starting line for the seven races, with silver Olympic medallist and double Star world champion Xavier Rohart making an unexpected appearance, as well as two Russian teams come to support the event.
Courrier Dunkerque, winner of the Tour de France à la Voile, demonstrated its mastery of the series, winning five out of seven races, ahead of Primo Cup regulars Nouvelle Calédonie, helmed by Bernard Mallaret with François Brenac on tactics, and Olympic with Fabien Henry at the helm.
“Monaco is always beautiful! As the first one of the year we are always delighted to descend on Monaco, it’s a great start to the 2009 season where getting a good result was a main objective because we wanted to retain our French champion title and achieve a double with the Tour,” said a delighted Daniel Souben, the man at the helm of Courrier Dunkerque.
For the second year in a row, Fabien Henri finished second overall. Backed by a new partner in Eri, the leading banking software company, the helmsman from Hyères put in a great performance with his new team on Olympic.
Laser SB3: everyone was a winner
There was everything to play for right up to the very last race for Xavier Leclair ( Marçon Yachting) who just beat the English team on Darling Associates in a fiercely contested series with every one of the seven competitors winning a race. Of note was the team put together especially for the occasion by Alexia Barrier with Lionel Péan and Brice Quillien. The event gave some valuable experience to this transoceanic sailor who is preparing for a solo round the world venture next October.
J/24: the Italians dominate
With no less than 12 of the 15 J/24s flying the Monaco flag, this class is surely a beacon for the Yacht Club de Monaco and was dominated by the Italians on J di Quadri, ahead of locals Jean and Claude Rodelato. The Monaco team fought a hard battle with the Italian team from across the border on Jamaica and that of Marianne Schoke, President of the J/24 association in Sweden, monopolising the head of the fleet.
Platu 25: Spanish win
In this the most international one design racing on this second weekend, all had to wait for the last race before the podium was decided. Still in third position this morning, the Spanish team on Central Lechera finally clinched it in the last race ahead of the Germans on Farr Bar, penalised for a premature start in the sixth race, and the Italians on Nanuk (Gianrocco Catalano), who had been very impressive on the first day.
The diversity of the prizes is one of the elements which make the Monaco event such a special one. While Vincenzo Onorato received the Hublot watch and Nicolas Bérenger La Tape de Bouche of the Yacht Club de France, the first three in each series also won Advanced Technology Sportswear clothing from Slam, presented by Slam President Beppe Casalini.
The 2,000 euro gold ingot, donated by Credit Suisse (Monaco) and presented by its Director Alain Ucari, was won by the Italian Pietro Diamanti on the J/24 Jamaica.
Final resultsafter seven races (six of which counted)
Platu 25 - (11 participants)
1: Central Lechera Natalia Via Dufresne (11 pts) Spain
2: Farr Bar Jens Ahlgrimm (13 pts) Germany
3: Nanuk Gianrocco Catalano (14 pts) Italy
GP42 - (7 participants)
1: Sweawonder Beppe Zaoli (10 pts) Italy
2: Airis Roberto Monti (10 pts) Italy
3: Roma Massimiliano Minghini (24 pts) Italy
J/24 (15 participants)
1: J Di Quadri Claudio Buiatti (10 pts) Italy
2: Topo Too Blandine Médecin (13 pts) Monaco
3: Jamaica Pietro Diamanti (18 pts) Italy
Laser SB3 (11 participants)
1: Marcon Xavier Leclair (15 pts) France
2: Darling Associates Chris Darling (17 pts) Great Britain
3: Stenghele Nicolas Honor (18 pts) Italy
Longtze Premier (11 participants)
1: Kone Monospace Nicolas Bérenger (10 pts) France
2: Lufthansa Luc Gellusseau (16 pts) France
3: White Eckhard Kaller (19 pts) Switzerland
Melges 32 (7 participants)
1: Mascalzzone Latino Vincenzo Onorato (11 pts) Italy
2: Thule Fausto Rubbini (14 pts) Italy
3: Torpyone Edoardo Lupi (15 pts) Italy
Mumm 30 (9 participants)
1: Courrier Dunkerque Daniel Souben (7 pts) France
2: Olympic Fabien Henry (13 pts) France
3: Nouvelle Calédonie Ronan Dréano (14 pts) Franc