Photos: Stephano Gattini/Studio Borlenghi

IRC classes join the Primo Cup

Chilly conditions for the second weekend of racing in Monaco

Sunday February 12th 2012, Author: Isabelle Andrieux, Location: Monaco

After the first weekend which saw five one-design series in action - Dragon, Surprise, J24, Star and Platu 25 - the bay off Monaco provided similar challenging conditions for the three series competing this weekend - the Longtze Premiers, Smeralda 888s and the IRC classes.

Over 100 teams from across Europe braved the unusually wintery conditions for the second weekend of the 28th Primo Cup–Trophée Credit Suisse, with a cold but dry wind building over the three days. At the opening, the Yacht Club de Monaco’s President HSH Prince Albert II praised all the competitors’ determination.

Over the two weekends the wind came from all directions, and today the morning races started in a stiff easterly breeze and finished late afternoon in a steady southwesterly.

Race Committee Chairman Thierry Leret set a challenging pace for the 240 competitors and 60 volunteers, with a succession of starts and course changes to adapt to the changeable wind conditions. With races lasting under an hour and staggered, a total of four races were held back to back.

The Smeralda 888s went to the wire on the final leg of the last race. A slight delay in dropping the spinnaker on Mascalzone Latino gave victory to Bear Essentials, where François Brenac was calling tactics. This Franco-English crew sailing under the YCM flag achieved a rare double. Already victors the weekend before in the J/24s, they clinched victory ahead of another YCM member. European champion in the Melges 20 class, Guido Miani is definitely totally at ease whatever the series.

The most international class of the second weekend was the Longtze Premiers, which again provided a fantastic spectacle whatever the conditions.

“It was a great regatta with different teams winning the races and newcomers to the circuit. It was very interesting to see some of them clinch their first victories here in Monaco, reflecting the energy driving this class to get it going again,” observed Pierre Mas, initiator and coordinator of the class.

Proof of how tightly fought some of the battles were on the water, a single point separated second placed Ettocinque helmed by Alain Marchand, a Longzte Premier newcomer but six-time winner in the Primo Cup, from Tchikk in fifth helmed by the Brittany sailor Hugues Moulin, winner of the third race.

The overall winner was ultimately Laurent Abignolli, a first on the circuit for the man from Marseille. At the prize-giving Abignolli said: “Despite the wind conditions, I am very happy to finally win a stage in the championship, after several months of hard work.”

Invited to take part for the first time in the Primo Cup, the IRC class cruisers did not hesitate to take up the challenge. “It is a rare opportunity to meet and compete against our neighbours and I would like to congratulate Monaco for this initiative, where the geographical position is a real asset,” said Jean-Claude Bertrand, responsible for the IRC in the Mediterranean for the UNCL.

For this first attempt, the experts in this series had answered the call, with sailors like Beppe Zaoli on the GP42 Seawonder 007 and Alberto Scapolo’s imposing Neera, not to mention Jean-Claude Bertrand and his A40 Tchin Tchin, who unfortunately tore his mainsail in the first race.

Final victory went to the Saint-Tropez team on Midivoiles helmed by Marc Pajot, sailing with his three daughters Zoé, Lea and Eve on tactics for the first time, having been neck and neck throughout the weekend with Cyril Baillie’s First 40 Sayann Madraco, helmed by a regular and past winner of the Primo Cup, Sylvain Chtounder.

Adrien Follin on his Farr 30 Give me 5 took third place, making it a 100% Francophone podium despite the Italian armada.

Once again this year the first three crews in each series received prizes of clothing from Slam’s Advanced Technology Sportswear line, with the winners in each series receiving a pair of waterproof binoculars with compass from Bernard Optic. Another highlight was the lucky draw for the gold ingot donated by Credit Suisse which was won by the crew on Vamos, a consolation prize for this three-time winner and Primo Cup defender in the Smeralda 888s.

Dates for 2013 has already been set for the 29th edition which will take place over 1-3 and 8-10 February 2013. Significantly, the regatta will be part of the IRC Mediterranean Championship with the target being to have 50 vessels on the water, and also preparation for the J24 European Championship which will be held in Monaco over 6-12 October 2013.

Final results (top 3):

Longtze Premiers after 5 races (4 counted)
1 – Laurent Abignoli, Tendrisse, France, 8pts
2 – Alain Marchand, Ettocinque, Switzerland, 12pts
3 – Jarmo Wieland, Shensu, Switzerland,12pts

IRCs after 5 races (4 counted)
1 – Michel Delsemme, Midivoiles, France, 8pts
2 – Cyril Baillie, Sayann Madraco, France, 9pts
3 – Adrien Follin, Give me 5, France,11pts

Smeralda 888s after 5 races (4 counted)
1 – Bear Essentials, Monaco, 5pts
2 – Guido Miani, Fire, Monaco, 9pts
3 – Achille Onorato, Mascalzone Latino, Italy, 15pts



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