The third day of the 2014 Régates Royales de Cannes – Trophée Panerai, featured the right alchemy that makes sail racing perfect: good weather conditions, excitement and top level crews. The Classics had their course set in the area from Cap Roux to Cap Esterel, but a fading wind forced the race committee to shorten the course off La Napoule.
The 12 Metres and the Dragons sailed just off the Cannes breakwater and in the Golfe-Juan respectively and had three intense races that better defined the provisional overall standings. With only two days left, every single point counts to clinch final victory.
Under a perfectly blue and sunny sky and with a gentle easterly breeze of around ten knots, the seventy-some classic yachts crossed the starting line just off the beach heading towards the Lérins Islands and Cap Roux on a long leg, with the coast's red rocks making for a stunning backdrop. This course had not been used for years, but sailors, photographers and spectators alike enjoyed the show of the big bright sails, the blue sea and the rust coloured cliffs confirming the organisers choice. Unfortunately the breeze faded down, and the Race Committee was forced to shorten the course.
Full results will be available at www.regatesroyales.com
Just a few hundreds metres from Cannes' breakwater the four 12 Metres had three very hard fought-for races for the utmost pleasure of the many tourists crowding the beach. If Wednesday's racing was dominated by Vanity V, Thursday's hero was undoubtedly Wings skippered by Guy Ribadeau Dumas from France. With two wins and a second,Wings is now tied at the top at 9 points. In third position Vim is distanced by 3 points and Trivia, in fourth, is 6 points behind the leaders. Nothing seems to be carved in stone in this class, as every day a new crew takes the lead. Weather conditions should remain stable for the coming days, and that could favour Wings that looked particularly at ease in today's light airs.
For two days, the 45 Dragons taking part in the Régates Royales will fly the colours of the class' sponsors in Cannes: Eutelsat and Mauritius. Every race still counts for the final results, yet today's points defined the podium for the special Eutelsat Prize. After three action packed races, victory went to Blue Haze followed by Annapurna and AAB-Fun. The overall provisional standings after 6 races and one discard are also led by Blue Haze skippered by Ivan Bradbury, with an 8 point margin on Strange Little Girl and 11 on Powwow in third. But in this class, where consistency is paramount and there is no room for even the smallest hitch, anything can happen until the very last race.
The Régates Royales de Cannes will resume on Friday for the fourth and penultimate day of racing.