Caracole (SUI 214, Bernard HAISSLY, Daniel STAMPFLI, Nicolas BERTHOUD) has cleaned up in the 5.5 Metre fleet at Cercle de la voile de Grandson, on Lac de Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Just two days after winning the Swiss Open, they also won the Joran Cup, counting only first and second places.
With the fleet looking forward to the Scandinavian Gold Cup and World Championship at the Yacht Club Costa Smerelda, in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, in just over a month’s time, this week in Grandson was last opportunity for most of the fleet to race together. The fleet of 15 moderns from six nations all came to get in some practice and test gear ahead of the world titles. They were treated to four days of sublime weather and hot competition with the temperature past 30 degrees every day and winds from 5-10 knots. The organising club, Cercle de la voile de Grandson, were the perfect hosts and talks are already underway for a return.
Caracole rarely made a mistake in either event. In the Joran Cup, sailed over Saturday and Sunday they followed three second places on Saturday with two race wins on Sunday and wrapped it up with a race to spare. New Moon III (BAH 25, Mark HOLOWESKO, Christoph BURGER, Peter VLASOV) finally took second overall with an impressive 2,3,1 on Sunday, while Aspire (POL 17, Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ, Przemysław GACEK/Christof WILKE, Edward WRIGHT) dropped from second to third.
The forecast for the four days was not encouraging but, in the end, all 12 races were completed, and the fleet had a lot of light wind practice. The crew of Caracole were heard requesting light winds at the worlds as well. They are clearly still the team to beat on Swiss lakes in light wind.
At the championship dinner on Friday night, former Swiss world champion Dominique Lauener was invited along, and the next day he watched the racing from the water and then took the helm of Artemis for a lap of honour, his first time in a 5.5 Metre for 27 years.
“Kristian [Neergaard] called me on Monday and said he was here and invited me to come along and watch the racing. And today I had a chance to try his boat and it was really, really nice, like a dinghy. It’s a totally different feeling from the boat I had 30 years ago.
“I think the racing has not changed that much in 30 years but the feeling on the boat is very different. The the old boat was heavy on the helm, but now it’s like a dinghy and really nice. It’s light and I had the feeling it is very sporty when the wind is strong. In 15-18 knots it must be quite challenging.”
Is he tempted to come back? “Why not. I need a crew, but if I can find a crew then why not? Let’s see.”
“My best memnory from the class is that I had a chance to sail with Harry Melges. I learned a lot with him and we were good friends and we had a very good atmosphere in the boat. It was really a pleasure to sail with him for almost eight years. I met his father, and Buddy was a really nice guy and always helpful to young people, always giving very good advice, a real gentleman and I guess we will miss him a lot.”
Dominqiue won the world championship in 1994 and was second in 1995 with Harry Melges crewing. Before him his father won the European Championship in 1974.
He remembers his father had nine 5.5 Metres, while he had two himself. “The first boat my dad built was in 1964 so I was following the class a long, long time, and even when I quit I was always looking at the results and now the communication is realy nice with the website and Facebook. When I was President in the early 1990s, there was no internet, so it was much more difficult to commicate. We just had the fax and the post.”
In other news, the fourth and final stage of Metric Challenge took place in Noirmoutier, France, from 28-30 July 2023, with Joker, FRA 50, dominating the series. In 2024, dates have been set for a British championship, the first for a long time, if not ever. A proposal has also been published to host the 2024 Europeans in Benodet in September, which of course follows the world championship in New York earlier in the year. All news is on the website here: https://5.5class.org
Next weekend at Tutzing on the Starnberger See, Germany, 15 boats, mainly evolutions and classics will also challenge for the German Open, closely followed by the Enoshima Trophy for classic boats still complying to the rules in force when the class was in the Olympic Games, from 1952 to 1968.
Then from 20 September the fleet heads to Porto Cervo for the headline events of the year – the Scandinavian Gold Cup, Class Cups and World Championship, held over 10 days. With at least 34 entries, including the largest evolution and classic fleets for many years, it will be a great celebration of 5.5 Metre sailing in an fabulous venue.
Results from Joran Cup
1 Caracole (SUI 214, Bernard HAISSLY, Daniel STAMPFLI, Nicolas BERTHOUD) 8
2 New Moon III (BAH 25, Mark HOLOWESKO, Christoph BURGER, Peter VLASOV) 10
3 Aspire (POL 17, Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ, Przemysław GACEK/Christof WILKE, Edward WRIGHT) 16
4 Ku-Ring-Gai III (AUS 66, John BACON, Terry WETTON, James MAYJOR) 19
5 Ali-Baba SUI 224 (Flavio MARAZZI, Julie MARAZZI, Eline MARAZZI) 22
Full results here: https://manage2sail.com/en-US/event/237cd3f4-4b37-4872-b893-f940bc5edd8e#!/results?classId=c737581f-bc97-47f1-a082-feb90d7d53c7