Victory for Alinghi
Grand Prix Les Ambassadeurs, the opening round of the D35's Vulcain Trophy was won by Alinghi, skippered by Ernesto Bertarelli, who also claimed the final race of the day. Alinghi finished level on points with Realstone Sailing, skippered by Jerome Clerc, leader for the first two days, but Bertarelli's team won on countback with one more victory in the 14 races sailed (five for Alinghi v four for Realstone). Artemis Racing, helmed by Paul Cayard, finished third overall.
"It is really fantastic that we have been able to sail 14 races this weekend, and it's very satisfying to race at this level!" said Bertarelli. "I would like to congratulate the Realstone team that sailed very well during the whole event. It came down to very little, actually a single race. It could have been them, it could have been us! I'm really happy to start the season in these gorgeous weather conditions! I also would like to congratulate our tactician Tanguy Cariou who did a wonderful job."
Jérôme Clerc, skipper of Realstone Sailing, could not hide his disappointment. "I am obviously disappointed. We sailed very well and have been constant throughout the weekend. I think we showed a great potential. I was a little nervous today because we had already blown our wild card (disqualification on the occasion of a slight collision with Ladycat). That's certainly why I made a mistake on the starting line of the second race and it definitely didn’t help."
Paul Cayard, skipper of Artemis Racing, who finished in 3rd position, commented: "This weekend is the most beautiful event I attended since I am on the circuit! I look forward to the next races in Crans."
The general ranking went through a lot of changes today. De Rham-Sotheby's, skippered by Philippe Cardis, moved up one place overall with two good races today, while the crew of Zen Too, after its capsize yesterday, finally came good with a win in the first race and a second place in the last.
All crews have commented that the new race format, with two weather marks has opened up the tactical options, but also brought more suspense making the racing less processional. "This new race format is very demanding!" said Yann Guichard, tactician aboard Ladycat, which finished 4th overall. "The legs are very short; you have to manoeuvre a lot. That’s why it is important for the crew to be well trained" "It is true that the new gate brings in adrenaline rushes and puts us in situations that are sometimes really hot!"
The next event will be the Open de Crans on 26-27 May
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Artemis Racing's Paul Cayard reports:
Today was the final day of a great weekend of racing on Lake Geneva. We sailed four great races to go with the previous ten, for a total of 14 races. The winds today were again in the 10-12 knot range with gusts to 16 at times.
Artemis Racing had a pretty good day with scores of 5,2,5,6 and held our third place overall. We were pretty pleased with that result considering we did very little training as a complete crew prior to the regatta.
Alinghi and Realstone ('the kids') tied for first place overall, but Alinghi won the tie breaker due to having more first place finishes. Alinghi won the last two races of the weekend, while the kids finished 7, 3 and thus closed the gap and forced the tie. Realstone is known as "the kids" as the crew are all about 23 years old or younger and they train a lot. They trained for two months in the D35 prior to this weekend and it showed. Very smooth on boat handling and they know the lake pretty well.
We were just two points ahead of Lady Cat this morning so we were happy to extend that gap to eight points by the end of the weekend.
The southwesterly wind was shifty as always and in the last race there were some very large 'holes' of no wind. There was so much passing and being passed that I can't possibly recount it all. Suffice to say that it was never over until you crossed the finish line and often boats made big comebacks after being last after the first lap.
I want to thank Yvan, Frank, Gilles, Sarah, Noel and Maxime for a great job this weekend! 14 races is a lot and the wind was up so the crew work load was high and everyone put in 110%. Catamarans are fast and fun but also a lot of work. Sailing a D35 with six gives one a good appreciation for the AC45 which is sailed with just 5 crew and the AC72 with its 40 meter wing which will be sailed with just 11.
The next event for the D35s is Le Grand Prix de Crans in three weeks time. Before that, we have the AC45 World Series event in Venice in 10 days.
I am back to Valencia tonight to the Artemis Racing base of operations.