The Jean Genie win the 2023 Scandinavian Gold Cup and 5.5m World Champs opened in Porto Cervo

On a day that delivered far more than was promised, The Jean Genie (GBR 43, Peter Morton, Andrew Palfrey, Ruairadh Scott) has won the 2023 Scandinavian Gold Cup on Sunday at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Porto Cervo. Later in the evening, the opening ceremony for the world championship was held. Racing starts Monday.

The Jean Genie
The Jean Genie

The Jean Genie won both final races in fantastic conditions with sunny skies and winds of 10-14 knots. It was a sweet moment for Morton, as last year, he had been unable to sail in his newly built Dave Hollom designed boat, but this year came back with another new Hollom boat and proved quick in anything over 10-12 knots.

Following Saturday being lost due to a strong mistral, the fleet was sent out early on Sunday for an 09.30 start. The forecast was not promising, but the wind remained in place for both races. While some opted not to sail to save themselves for the upcoming world championship, four boats set out to settle the score and try to win the elusive and rather small trophy.

The crew of The Jean Genie
The crew of The Jean Genie

Both New Moon III and The Jean Genie went into the day with a win apiece in the unique one boat per nation, first to three wins format.

The Jean Genie won the opening race of the day. After winning the pin, they played the left and rounded first and led round the entire race. This meant the finals just went down to just The Jean Genie and New Moon III, in what was to be the final race. Boat boats engaged in the pre-start and started a fascinating tacking duel up the first beat. But The Jean Genie had the early advantage and extended on each leg to win by about 50 seconds. In the end, they led at every mark of both races.

Morton said, “Winning today feels fantastic. You know, it’s an extraordinary event with its unique requirement to secure three race victories while seconds and thirds don’t count. It’s great to have won the last three races, making it a relatively short day as the World Championship begins tomorrow.

“We had between 10 and 15 knots of wind, and when all three of us were sitting on the weather side, we felt quite comfortable. However, when we had to sit in, I think we struggled a bit with the boat due to the smaller sail area. Nevertheless, we were pretty comfortable throughout the day. In the three races we won, we never had a boat in front of us, so our boat performed really well, especially when there was 10-12 knots of breeze.”

Bowman on The Jean Genie Ruairidh Scott added: “We had a good start at the pin, which was the favoured end, and most of the fleet went in the same direction. We managed to get the left-hand side of the course and caught a nice shift at the top of the beat, allowing us to lead at mark one. The boat performed well, especially in winds above 12 knots, and we felt comfortable extending our lead. The last beat got tricky with different winds on the left and right, bringing the Bahamas team back into contention, but we stayed composed and secured the win. This meant it was just us and the New Moon team from the Bahamas in the final.

The second race started with a brief match race and an intensive tacking duel up the first beat.

“We had a bit of a match race before the start, with the Bahamas team initially leading us back to the pin. However, we managed to position ourselves to windward and get a good start, giving us a slight lead. There were plenty of tacks during the race, maybe around 20 in the first beat and a similar number in the early part of the second beat. Once we extended our lead on the third beat, we didn’t need to tack as much. Our main concern was the wind dropping below 8-9 knots, as the Swiss boat could become more competitive in those conditions. Luckily, we secured the victory early in the day.

On the team performance, “I’m very impressed with our team’s performance today. Morty’s sailing was incredibly precise, and he remained composed throughout the races. We had discussions on board about how to handle a potential match race scenario, and we were initially prepared to take a passive approach. However, the other team engaged us, possibly trying to gain an advantage off the start line. We managed to turn the situation around and take control of the start in the last two to three minutes. Overall, it was excellent teamwork, and everyone maintained a calm attitude despite the challenging and shifting conditions throughout the day.”

Race 3
Race 3

In the Hankø Evolution Cup, Joker (FRA  50, Adrien Polaillon, Eric Polaillon, Jean-Baptiste Polaillon) took the overall win, while in the Classic fleet Cibele (ITA 72, Fabrizio Cavazza, Vittorio Zaoli, Duccio Colombi) took the Royal Kaag Classic Cup.

Results

Scandinavian Gold Cup
The Jean Genie (GBR 43, Peter Morton, Andrew Palfrey, Ruairadh Scott) 10, 1, 1, 1
New Moon III (BAH 25, Mark Holowesko, Christoph Burger, Peter Vlasov) 1,8,2,-
Aspire (POL 17, Mateusz Kusznierewicz, Przemysław Gacek Edward Wright) 10,2,3,-
Ku-Ring-Gai III (AUS 66, John Bacon, James Mayjor, Terry Wetton) 2, 4, 4, –
Girls on Film (GBR 41, Louise Morton, Andrew Mills, Sam Haines) 3, 6, -, –
Artemis (NOR 57, Kristian Nergaard, Johan Barne, Trond Solli Seather) 4,3,-,-
Melx III (GRE 5, Stavros Papagiannopoulos, Yannis Mitakis, Pavlos Kagialis) 6,7,-,-
Shaolin (SUI 22,6 Philippe Dürr, Andreas Kindlimann, Hans Von Werdt) 7,5,-,-
5billy5 (ITA 79, Maria Cristina Rapisardi, Marco Bonzanigo, Giovanni Arrivabene) 5,10,-,-

Hankø Evolution Cup
1 Joker (FRA  50, Adrien Polaillon, Eric Polaillon, Jean-Baptiste Polaillon) 4
2 Bagheera VVII (FRA  43, Jean-Bernard Datry, Alexandre Desaubliaux, Florence Piriou) 8

Royal Kaag Classic Cup
1 Cibele (ITA 72, Fabrizio Cavazza, Vittorio Zaoli, Duccio Colombi) 7
2 Manuela V (ITA 36, Guido Tommasi, Andrea Rachelli, Filippo Togni) 10
3 Rabicano (ITA 55, Vittorio Pozzo, Guido Fralciola, Enzo Marolli) 16

Full results here: 
https://www.yccs.it/en/regattas-2023/international_55_metre_class__scandinavian_gold_cup-3312/risultati-306/provisional_results

Opening ceremony

The prizegiving was held in the evening on the Piazza Azzurra at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, and this was followed by the opening ceremony for the 2023 5.5 Metre World Championship, starting Monday, which was opened by YCCS Commodore, Michael Illbruck, 5.5 Metre Class President Louise Morton, and YCCS Sports Director, Edoardo Recchi.

Commodore Illbruck welcomed the competitors and said, “We are delighted to be hosting the International 5.5 Metre Class, the atmosphere of this event, with its wonderful sense of sportsmanship, is really special, as are the owners and sailors. The weather conditions during the Scandinavian Gold Cup were challenging but today was a spectacular final day with sunshine and a Mistral wind. The forecast for the week ahead looks favourable to guarantee the right amount of fun at sea, and I wish all the participating crews fair winds!”

Louise Morton thanked Commodore Illbruck and the team at the YCCS for kindly hosting the Scandinavian Gold Cup and the World Championship this week and commented that it is a great pleasure to be working with such a professional team at one of the greatest racing locations in the World.    

She mentioned that the last time the Class was here at the Club it was 1984 and that there are a number of people here still racing 5.5 Metres, notably Gavin McKinney, Bob Stoddard and Philippe Dürr, who was the World Champion in 1984, here this week helming Shaolin. 

She said she very much looks forward to a great championship on and off the water this week.

World Championship

Over the next five days 34 teams from 10 nations will challenge for the world title. It is the largest world championship for the class for many years and will undoubtedly be the most competitive for a very long time.

During the Scandinavian Gold Cup several teams showed excellent pace in lighter winds and with light to moderate wind forecast for the coming week, the field is wide open.

Ku-Ring-Gai III (AUS 66, John Bacon, James Mayjor, Terry Wetton) led both light wind races on the opening day of the Gold Cup, while New Moon III (BAH 25, Mark Holowesko, Christoph Burger, Peter Vlasov) also proved they have plenty of speed. However, at recent light wind regattas, Caracole (SUI 214, Bernard Haissly, Daniel Stampfli, Nicolas Berthoud) has been king, so this could provide an interesting battle.

In the breeze, The Jean Genie (GBR 43, Peter Morton, Andrew Palfrey, Ruairadh Scott) would be expected to be fairly dominant, but next week, several days of light wind are forecast, so it could be a hard week for them. Artemis (NOR 57, Kristian Nergaard, Johan Barne, Trond Solli-Saether), and Aspire(POL 17, Mateusz Kusznierewicz, Przemysław Gacek, Edward Wright) had their moments during the Gold Cup and both teams have huge experience. Nergaard is the most prolific winner in the class ever, and last won the world title in Newport, Australia in 2020. For Aspire, it is their first world championship in the class, but they are quick in all conditions and have won many regattas over the past three years.

And then there is Girls on Film (GBR 41, Louise Morton, Andrew Mills, Sam Haines), who were on fire during the Gold Cup in all conditions and are sailing very well for their first time in the boat together. Also, there are former world champions John B (BAH 26, Gavin McKinney, Mathias Dahlman, Lars Horn Johannessen), with a new boat, Marie-Françoise XXII (SUI 232, Jürg Menzi, Lionel Rupp, Christof Wilke), and Ali Baba (SUI 224, Flavio Marazzi, Julie Marazzi, Eline Marazzi). Marazzi is a multiple world champion in the class and sailing with his daughters this week.

Throughout the fleet there are many returning champions and new names and it is all set to be an enthralling competition in a fantastic setting. It is the second time the championship has been sailed in Porto Cervo, after previously being held here in 1984. The winner that year, Philippe Dürr is back again at the helm of Shaolin, SUI 226, sailing with Andreas Kindlimann and Hans Von Werdt.

As well as 23 Moderns, the fleet also includes six Classic 5.5 Metres racing for the The Quail Trophy and five Evolutions, racing for The Frank Tolhurst Perpetual Trophy. And for the first time, to encourage more women to helm a 5.5 Metre at the world championship, there is a new trophy for the first female helm. There are two women helming boats this week, Louise Morton on Girls on Film and Maria Cristina Rapisardi on 5billy5.

Racing is scheduled to begin Monday at 12.00.

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