Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Bol d'Or Mirabaud 2009: One of the Longer Ones in History

Mirabaud LX, the flying boat, in the Bol d'Or Mirabaud 2009. Image copyright Loris von Siebenthal/

by Mélanie Tavernier (in translation)

Close to twenty hours of navigation for the conqueror - the Decision 35 Foncia, an almost permanent absence of wind, a radiant sun, a gathering of exceptional champions and frequent changes of leaders: this 71st Bol d'Or Mirabaud presented by Girard-Perregaux is at once an edition of records and a classic.

Arriving at 5h33 Sunday morning, Alain Gautier, who competed with Michel Desjoyeaux on Foncia, expressed it well: "As long as the finishing line has not been crossed, anything can happen!".

After a very few minutes, the skipper was followed by five other Decisions 35: Smart Home, Okalys-Corum, Zen Too*, Julius Baer and Banque Populaire as well as by the first three M2s: Genolier, Teamwork and Rhône Management*.

The race had just played itself in a pocket handkerchief, in which the big catamarans ultimately achieved the supremacy of their position over their lighter cousins, the smaller M2s. The latter nevertheless conducted themselves favourably throughout during the weekend: as early as the beginning, in conditions too calm for their competitors, the M2 succeeded, with the nimbleness and the reactivity that characterize them, to manuoeuvre and advance a little more quickly. Rhône Management, helmed by the young Arnaud Psarofaghis, dfi-bladerunner, with John Luc Lévêque, and a little later, Fresh, thus protested against the domination of the big ones, for the "sovereign of the lake".

Saturday, in the afternoon, one of the fine prototypes M1, conceived and drawn to beat the D35, sudden surprised it: the all-new multihull Gonet & Cie, helmed by Michel Vaucher, surpassed everyone while posting his superb red color! Today, it finished 8th in the M1.

It is necessary to date back to 1962 to remember a Bol d'Or that took so long. For the D35s, are little used to passing the night on the lake during the Bol d'Or Mirabaud. They have sailed for 5 years on this trip Genève-Bouveret-Genève, and this was doubtlessly the longest race. The race champions in the multihulls also had the experience, since even in the head of the fleet, Banque Populaire was helmed by Pascal Bidégorry and the Swiss Yvan Ravussin (brother of Stève), as well as Okalys-Corum of Nicolas Grange with, at the helm, Loïck Peyron, sailed close to 20H of racing; Alinghi 1, helmed by Ernesto Bertarelli, arrived an hour later.

The first monohull, Taillevent II, also needed 25 hours of navigation to finish this Bol d'Or Mirabaud, after a decisive and very stretched night. In fifteen years of Bol d'Or, this is the 3rd victory for the skipper Nicolas Engel. It was followed by by Syz & Co and Oyster Funds, that had an eager battle in the Petit Lac.

For the other categories of sailing boat, Surprise, Grand Surprise or Toucan for example, more asserted airs of course would equally have been welcome. Thus, of the 530 boats leave on Saturday at 10H, 64 only had time to cross the finishing line at the time of the close of the race on Sunday at 16 o'clock.

Unfortunately, no Surprise was able to arrive by the end of the race, and it is therefore the passage of the barge of the Bouveret that counts for them. was classified first in the class of the Grand Surprise.

The conditions of little "manoeuvring" did not nevertheless prevent most of the crews to pass superb moments on the Lac Léman and to stay in a good mood. New for 2009, the Sailing Schools Trophy was won by Fou du Vent, from the Versoix School of Sailing, followed by CER 2 (of the 'Centre d’Entraînement à la Régate' of the Société Nautique de Genève).

Conclusion of Michel Glaus, president of the Committee of Organization of the Bol d'Or Mirabaud: "This edition remained a Bol d'Or extremely open, and was long, if not the less captivating."

Bol d'Or Mirabaud

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