It took quite a lot of patience and perseverance for organisers and crews alike, but in the end, after a long wait, the breeze made its appearance on the Bay of Cannes. Postponement flags were lowered and all the classes reached their respective race areas.
The Classics had a coastal race in the La Napoule bay, the 12 Metres had two very contested races and the Dragons, on their final and decisive day, one race that not only crowned the Régates Royales' winner but also awarded the Mauritius Island special trophy. With only one day left the standings become clearer but the light winds expected for tomorrow could well reshuffle the cards.
Blue Haze crowned winner of the Dragons
The crew of Blue Haze seem to have got the best out of Golfe-Juan's salty air and blue water. Thanks to a very consistent series and a second place in today's only race, UK skipper Ivan Bradbury and crew Lars Henderksen and Claus Olensen were crowned winners of the 2014 edition of the Régates Royales, with a solid 20 points on second-placed Annapurna from Russia, skippered by class and past winner veteran Anatoly Longinov whilst another Russian crew led by Dimitry Samokhin jumped on the third step of the podium.
Yet, if Blue Haze had a very comfortable advantage on the eve of the last race, almost guaranteeing a sure win, the other five podium contenders had to fight hard to ensure a medal in a very tight scoreboard. Luck was not on Powwow crew's side, who had a bad day and lost any chance to get on the second step of the podium that only yesterday looked like a done deal.
Today's race also awarded the Mauritius Island special prize to the first placed boat. The Trophy went to the Germans on Kleine Brise, skippered by Helmut Schmidt, who also finished in a excellent eight place overall.
Vanity V and Wings keep battling on
“The level in this class is very high, so much that yesterday the whole fleet finished a mere minute apart. I've been helming Wings since 2001. It's an exceptional boat, and we will fight on for the overall win. I love this class, we are more at ease in light airs whilst our adversaries from further North are better in stiff breeze, but anyway even the smallest mistake can make you loose one place in the overall results.” declared Wings' skipper Guy Ribadeau Dumas shortly before docking out for another action packed day on the water. A day of mixed results for his French crew that won the first race but crossed the finish line of the second in fourth. Vanity V proved to be more consistent with two seconds, that put her on the top spot of the overall scoreboard with a one point advantage. No doubt, the two crews will give it all tomorrow to clinch gold.
Zigzagging on the Bay
The first starting signal for the Classics was only fired at around 14:00, the Big Boats hoisting as much sail area as possible to try and extricate themselves from the light air. One after the other, all the different groups could finally make their way to the first mark, in the usual display of white sails zigzagging across the Bay. After two hours and loads of gibes and tacks, the whole fleet crossed the finish line, just metres away form a huge cruise liner moored off the Cannes harbour, making for an unusual but amazing show.
Full results at www.regatesroyales.com)
Tomorrow, Saturday, fifth and final day of the 36th Régates Royales with more races to decide the winners who will be celebrated during the prize-giving ceremony at the race village.