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Alinghi wins the Bol d'Or Mirabaud

by Bol d'Or Mirabaud 17 Jun 2017 23:38 BST 16-18 June 2017
Alinghi win the Bol d'Or Mirabaud 2017 © Nicolas Jutzi

The two Bertarelli family sailboats, handled by expert crews, dominated this 79th edition of the Bol d'Or Mirabaud head and shoulders. Sailing side by side during most of the regatta, they created an impressive margin with their direct competition, finishing almost together (1 minute 35 seconds apart), but eight minutes twenty-three seconds ahead of the hydrofoil catamaran GC 32 Realteam, which returned at high speed between the middle of the lake and Geneva.

"We're extremely happy about this victory," declared helmsman Arnaud Psarofaghis, particularly satisfied to have allowed Alinghi its second Bol d'Or Mirabaud victory since the introduction of Décision 35s in 2004. "Our victory is the result of teamwork, and I'd like to thank the preparers who did an excellent job. And especially, a big thanks to Ernesto Bertarelli who wasn't here today but who left me the helm of his boat."

Alinghi's crew was made up of helmsman Arnaud Psarofaghis, Pierre-Yves Jorand, Coraline Jonet, Nils Frei, Yves Detrey, Nicolas Charbonnier and Joao Cabecadas, historically the preparer of Alinghi sailboats. "I am very proud to have won with them," the latter declared. The race came down to one option, at the entrance of the narrow part of the lake. That's when we gained sufficient advance to win the race.

The whole race was extremely rapid, and Alinghi didn't finish far from the record earned in 1994 by Triga IV in 5:01:50.

Thanks to this latest victory, Pierre-Yves Jorand joins Philippe Stern and Philippe Durr in the very select club of sailors having won the Bol d'Or Mirabaud seven times.

The hydrofoil catamaran GC 32 Realteam, which struggled on the upwind leg to Le Bouveret, made a rather exceptional come-back on the return leg between Le Bouveret and Geneva, passing her competitors one after the other to finish with a respectable third place.

Finally, British catamaran Vampire Project (William Sunnucks) completely dominated the small C1 catamaran ranking.

Although most of the multihulls have finished, the fight goes on among the monohulls and will last all night for some of them. It's no surprise that Hungarian Libera Implancentre Raffica rounded the mid-course mark in the lead, ahead of Psaros 40 Syz & Co and the Engel family's "old" Taillevent, replica of a 1990s Americas Cup Class, which performs very well in strong wind. The game's far from over: since the Libera is very unstable, she risks struggling during the expected fast downwind run to Geneva, while the more modern "sleds" may improve their ranking.

Jean Psarofaghis wins the Monohull Category

The monohull regatta was, if not more so, as intense as that of the multihulls. Ahead during most of the day, the spectacular Hungarian Libera Implantcentre Raffica had to effectively hand over the race during the final kilometers, after having lost two crewmembers overboard, who were quickly recovered with no harm.

After that, the final sprint was between Mini Americas Cup Class Taillevent and Psaros 40 Syz & Co, which secured victory offshore of La Belotte, before winning in 8:44:14 of race time, 52 seconds ahead of Taillevent.

Very moved, skipper Jean Psarofaghis, a true Lake Léman legend, nicknamed "King Jean", declared, "It was very heated! The return leg was aggressive, and it cost us a spinnaker and a few curse words... but we never got discouraged, and we're particularly happy to have won the Bol de Vermeil. I dedicate this victory to my father, who left us recently, and our thoughts also go out to Pierre-Yves Firmenich, who inspired a whole generation of yachtsmen."

The regatta between the top monohulls created an interesting conflict between generations and architectural models, with a Libera designed with trampolines, and a heavy monohull rather than a lightweight, aquaplaning "sled". Taillevent was designed in 1993 by Philippe Briand; whereas the Psaros 40 was designed by Sébastien Schmidt in 2002. Implantcentre Raffica was designed in 1992.

The regatta continues, and will last all night for certain of its participants. The fastest monohulls have arrived; the Grand Surprises are expected around 20:30, which is quite exceptional.

The fleet of 132 Surprises is currently led by Mirabaud 1, which should cross the finish line at 22:00.

A record edition for all classes!

For more information visit www.boldormirabaud.ch

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