Switzerland: After an hour of practice racing under brilliant sunshine on the sparkling waters of Lake Geneva, the seven TF35 teams had shaken off any winter dust that might have accumulated.
They were ready for the Realstone Cup for Léman hope, the opening event of the TF35’s 2022 season.
After a short break under AP, as the wind kicked up to 21 knots and then settled down again, Lake Geneva’s notoriously fickle breeze allowed just one race to take place in a comfortable 15 knots from the southwest.
In this, the smooth consistency of Realteam Sailing saw the 2021 defending champions leading the race by the first mark, with co-skipper Jérôme Clerc once again setting the pace for the TF35 fleet and crossing the finish line clear ahead to take the only win of the day.
In the chasing trio, Ylliam XII – Comptoir Immobilier rounded the windward gate in second, followed by Spindrift in third. However, an excellent first run downwind from Alinghi Red Bull Racing and a perfectly executed leeward gate rounding saw Ernesto Bertarelli’s crew break away from the pack and start to reel the leaders in.
“We had a few training exercises to do today before the first race to co-ordinated everyone on board,” explained new recruit Lucien Cujean. “Our start wasn’t as planned, but we had a very nice comeback downwind. Nico (Charbonnier) made a very good call on the tactics, and Arnaud (Psarofaghis) on the performance side meant we were running the boat at 100 percent, so it felt good to close the gap on Realteam”.
On the finishing line, Alinghi Red Bull Racing was around five seconds off Realteam, with Yann Guichard helmed Spindrift taking third and Ylliam slipping to fourth. There was very little on today’s racecourse to divide the teams’ conditions wise, no significant shifts or geographic advantages to play, so as the wind faded out to eight knots and the teams foiled downwind; the upper hand to be had was boat handling.
New team to the fleet this season Vitamina sailing team started well with Adam Minoprio calling the shots for helm Andrea Lacorte. The new crew slipped down the fleet during the race but held on to a sixth at the finish.
In fifth, at the end of today’s racing ZEN Too’s mainsail trimmer Jocelyn Keller explained: “It was a nice race. We had a terrible start but managed to recover well, so we are happy with how we’re managing the boat. We have a few new people on board, so we are still getting used to it, there was a close capsize when a big gust hit us, but the more time we spend racing, the more it will come into place.”
Tomorrow the forecast is for a building south westerly that is set to reach 30 knots mid-afternoon. To make the most of the day before the conditions get too intense, the race committee will start racing at 10.30 local time. To follow the live race coverage, visit www.tf35.org
Overall standings (after one race):
1. Realteam Sailing – 1
2. Alinghi Red Bull Racing – 2
3. Spindrift – 3
4. Ylliam XII – Comptoir Immobilier – 4
5. ZEN Too – 5
6. Vitamina Sailing – 6
7. Team SAILFEVER – 7