Jean Genie (GBR 42, Elliot Hanson, Andrew Palfrey, Sam Haines) has made history by winning the Scandinavian Gold Cup at Hankø Yacht Club, Norway, after two more races were sailed on Tuesday. They won both races to become the first British boat in the 103-year history of the event to win this highly prestigious trophy.
After a few days of cold, wet weather, the forecast was for a great day and with 10-13 knots from the south-west and wall to wall sunshine, it was a great day to be on the water. For the second race, the wind topped out at 20 knots with fantastic rolling waves for some epic sailing conditions.
In a first to three wins format, Ku-Ring-Gai 3 (AUS 66, John Bacon, Terry Wetton, James Mayjor) and Jean Genie already had a win each, and after three races everyone but the race winners are eliminated.
Race 3 was incredibly close with four boats pacing each other round the three laps, though New Moon II (BAH 24, Mark Holowesko, Christoph Burger, Peter Vlasov) led at every mark, sometimes but just a few boat lengths. Jean Genie closed up on the final lap and sailed deeper to the left hand finish mark and took the final wave into the finish to win the race by just two boat lengths. It was a very exciting finish to an exciting race.
So, everyone but Jean Genie and Ku-Ring-Gai 3 were eliminated, however, Ku-Ring-Gai 3 broke its jib halyard and had to retire, leaving Jean Genie to complete the final race unchallenged to take a third race win and the Scandinavian Gold Cup.
British Sailing Team Laser sailor, Elliot Hanson, took the helm at short notice after owner Peter Morton had to pull out and has helmed a 5.5 Metre for just four days so far.
“It was great to be out here today in some awesome conditions. We had some great waves rolling in from the south which was great to get the boat up and going and I think we hit a new top speed.
“It’s awesome to win here for two reasons. Firstly to do it for Morty, who is sat back at home. He sent us away with the fast ship, and also you are spending time around these guys in the class. We had a great evening last night hearing some of the stories, and it really hits home about the heritage and the history and how much it means. It’s also one of the most welcoming and friendly classes I have ever been involved in.”
Looking ahead to the coming world championship, “I think we are still learning the boat and the potential of this team. Even going round that last race on our own was still hugely valuable to us as a team, and as well as the upwind it felt today that we had great wheels downwind and that comes from crew work and sailing the boat in these conditions. For sure we have work to do and trying to maximise our time between now and the worlds is certainly the aim.”
Bowman, Sam Haines also paid tribute to Peter Morton. “Big thanks to Morty, and the trust that he has put into a bunch of us to take on this project has been amazing. I couldn’t really mention all the names as it’s too many, but the trust that Morty has given us has been amazing, and at the end letting us take the boat away without him.”
Middleman, Andrew Palfrey said, “New Moon sailed a great race and held the lead but we just closed them down on the last lap and had a really good run, with different boats on different waves taking the lead and we got a nice wave at the finish and took it.”
On winning the Gold Cup, “It’s still sinking in really. I’m learning more every day really about the history of this trophy. I love this class, love the sailing, love the tradition and the people, so it’s great to be able to compete at that level within the 5.5s.”
The project led by Peter Morton to create both GBR 42 and GBR 41 has been going for nearly three years.
“To actually arrive in Norway and have a boat that appears to be very competitive is immensely satisfying. Both David Hollon and Steve Quigley – we have two boats here – have designed two amazing boats and they are both different and both have their strengths and weaknesses, but the boat we sailed today, the Hollom boat, has just got better and better. And we feel like we have an edge as it gets windier and credit to Dave as that’s exactly what he was asked to design and what he has given to us.
“But on top of hat there’s a huge amount of complexity and components and so on in these boats, so there has been a lot of people involved. Sam has co-designed our sails and has been a big part of all that and the philosophy of what we are doing with no runners and simplifying things.”
Looking ahead to next week, he said, “It’s very satisfying and feels great to win the Scandinavian Gold Cup, but it feels like we are only about 30 per cent of the way through this trip and we still have a lot to do and are very focused on that.”
The Classic fleet concludes the Royal Kaag Classic Cup on Wednesday, but the rest of the fleet now has two days off before the world championship begins on Friday. 24 boats from 10 nations are expected to compete, with most already present in Hankø and enjoyed the summer weather.
Full gallery of 119 photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/fivepointfivemetre/albums/72177720300160990
All hi res for download/prints here: https://robertdeaves.smugmug.com/55-Metre/2022-Events/2022-Scandinavian-Gold-Cup-Hankø