Gilles Martin-Raget /

Big seas after two days of Mistral

As Seb Josse-skippered Nikimar wins the big boat class at the Semaine Nautique Internationale de Méditerranée in Marseille

Sunday April 4th 2010, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

The final day of racing at the 45th Semaine Nautique Internationale de Méditerranée regatta in Marseilles set sail just before 1300 in a 20-25 knot northwesterly. With a large sea churned up by two days of the Mistral, the sailing was spectacular with much surfing and some upsets on the leaderboard.

“Conditions were difficult, but the races could be run thanks to the tenacity of the race committee,” maintained the President of the Société Nautique, Bernard Amiel. And its efforts were rewarded.

“It is great to be able to sail in such breeze – it was highly memorable! ” confirmed local Figaro sailor Marc Emig, racing his 10th SNIM regatta this time on the Swan 42 Axelle S with an amateur crew.

There were few surprises for Christophe Picard’s Nikimar. Skippered by Seb Josse, the immaculately sailed boat dominated every race powering around the course today at times hitting 20 knots. With clean manoeuvres, the Farr 52 crossed the finish line with more than 10 minutes ahead of its competition. Thus Nikimar won her class.

Josse, the only person to have skippered boats in both the Vendee Globe and the Volvo Ocean Race, has not sailed in Marseilles for several years, but took much pleasure in the sailing: “The conditions were remarkable. It is one of the most beautiful regattas in the world.”

For the Marseilles boat Glen Ellen V the last race was not the result Dominique Tian had be hoping for - his A40 RC finishing second in IRC 2, behind her sistership. Joujou Extra 2 had spent the winter in Pornic prior to taking part in the Mediterranean circuit. Tian says he would not miss an SNIM for anything in the world having sailed in the last 35 races. “I have many memories. I sailed my first SNIM when I was 15 years old - the boats were more physical before,” reminisces Tian.

In class 3 the last race also caused a leader change. The A35 Hector, on which Vendee Globe skipper Kito de Pavant was sailing, lost first place to another A35, Alhena 3.

On the southern race course however, the committee opted not to hold racing for safety reasons. “We remained in position for more than an hour and the sea started to grow strongly and we saw one gust of more than 30 knots,” said Dominique Bérenger, the President of the Committee of the south IRC race area.

So in class 4, it is the Sun Fast 3200 Addiction which won ahead of the A31 Mimosails.

In IRC 5, the Half Tonner General Tapioca came out on top. This historic boat has been skippered for more than 30 years by Belgian Philippe Pilate. This hard core sailor has made the return trip between Nieuwpoort and Marseilles towing his 9.6m boat on a trailer in an effort to find “the sun after a super winter hard in Brussels.”

A new feature of the SNIM this year was the participation of the Class40, which were sent on a coastal rae between Marseilles and the Porquerolles islands.

“Our goal is to develop a fleet of Class40s in the Mediterranean with Italians and Spaniards,” explains Mistral Loisirs skipper, Thierry Bouchard. “We hope to organise with the Société Nautique a transatlantic return race from the end of the Route du Rhum with an arrival in Marseilles just before the 2011 SNIM”.


Class40 : 5 races
1/ Mistral Loisirs-Pôle Santé Elior
2/ EDF Energie nouvelles/ Vestas
3/ Great Circle
4/ Cecileenmer
DAY BOAT : 5 races
1/ Jasmin
2/ Rollmop's
3/ Pablo
FIRST 31.7 : 6 races
1/ Sagaï
2/ Firsty II
3/ Mintaka-SNCM
Sélection : 6 races
1/ Sarbacane
2/ 2J Impression
3/ Le Petit Prince
Class 1 : 7 races
1/ Nikimar
2/ Lady First
3/ Maluba
Class 2 : 7 races
1/ Joujou Extra 2
2/ Glen Ellen V le Marseillais
3 / J Lance IV
Class 3 : 7 races
1/ Alhena 3
3/ Tchin Tchin
Class 4 : 6 races
1/ Addiction
2/ Mimosails
3/ Aïda
Class 5: 6 races
1/ General Tapioca
2/ Ville de Toulon-C.N.M.T
3/ Jin Tonic



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