Gaff topsails, genoas, jibs, staysails, spinnakers, mainsails, mizzens – you name it, any size, any shape and kind of sail could be seen on the bay of la Napoule today, for Day 4 of the Régates Royales.
Classic yachts, small and big, one-designs and metre classes profited from ideal conditions on yet another sunny and windy day.
A happy ending for the Russian Dragons, with Annapurna skippered by Anatoly Loginov, a veteran of the French event, to clinch the win on the last day. Tomorrow last and decisive day
Tactics and technique
200 boats, 12 classes, two race courses: the racing management of the Régates Royales is not small thing. Yet, on the bay of la Napoule and in the Golfe Juan, the racing went underway as if set by a metronome.
The 15 metre I.R. Mariska shocked all her competitors with a port start, a master stroke by tactician Christian Ponthieu and helmsman Sébastien Audigane. Unfortunately it was not enough to keep Moonbeam of Fife and Moonbeam IV at bay, and Mariska lies in second between the two Fife’s designs.
Among the gaff cutters, Kismet and Kelpie swapped places from yesterday and are now tied at the top at 3 points with a comfortable advance on French Viola, this year celebrating her 110th birthday. Today she only scored a fifth.
In the Classic division, the top two places are both occupied by Spanish-flagged boats, Argos and Yanira respectively, leading from France’s Arcadia. Among the Classic Racers, the local crew of Sagittarius lead from Italy’s Resolute Salmon and Il Moro di Venezia.
In the big Marconi division, Argentina’s Cippino scored the second consecutive win and has a margin of two points on USA’s Santana and six from Blitzen. The schooner Mariette sits on top, with Elena of London and Naema second and third.
Finally, in the Spirit of Tradition class, the star studded crew of Vanessa, with helmsman Torben Grael, lead from Freya and Scherzo. The BOD’s provisional podium is all British, with Six Stuart’s Guillemot in first, Tim Barrett’s Kite in second and Philip Harston’s Puffin in third.
Russians get to the peak again
On the eve of the final day, the top three teams were separated by a mere 4 points. Blue Haze, skippered by UK’s Ivan Bradbury, Anatoly Loginov’s Russian-flagged Annapurna and Germany’s NN, helmed by Nicola Friesen, went out on the Golfe Juan race course with all to play for.
Thanks to a first in the very last race, it was the Russian team to successfully defend the title and be crowned 2018 champion, ahead of the British, who only scored a disappointing 10th in the last race.
The Germans got on the third step of the podium, albeit with only two points from the Swiss, Free, skippered by Dirk Oldenburg. A special mention goes to female skipper Gavia Wilkinson-Kox on Jerboa, who finished fifth and to the first French team, Ulysse, helmed by Jean Berger.
Last chances tomorrow to fight for the title in the 40th edition of the Régates Royales and to conquer the Panerai Trophy 2018. Start is scheduled for 11:00 am.