Monday, 19 October 2009

An Australian Wins the Bentley Genève Match Race 2009

Black Swan Racing with the winners' prizes. Image copyright BGMR/David Carlier.

by Laurence Clerc (abbreviated in translation)

The force 5 breeze contributed to the challenges of the match race discipline, of which the ten participants had to demonstrate their mastery in the seventh edition of the Bentley Geneve Match Race this weekend. After two wins in the final, the young Australia, Keith Swinton, of Black Swan Racing, won the trophy.

Close racing on the bay off Geneva. Image copyright BGMR/Jeff Hervo.

The sun shone with all its intensity on an emerald sea. From early morning on Sunday, the weather was clear. The breeze varied between 18 and 25 knots. After two days of round robin racing, the local team from CER [the race training centre] was top, after qualifying for the semi-finals along with Bertrand Pacé, Keith Swinton and Staffan Lindberg. They were able to chose their opponent in the semis and picked Staffan Lindberg, against whom they lost their semi-final.

Competitors in the Bentley Genève Match Race pass the Jet d'Eau. Image copyright BGMR/Jeff Hervo.

In the other semi-final, Bertrand Pacé won the first two races. Unfortunately for him he was eventually eliminated after three consecutive defeats by the Australian Keith Swinton.

Good downwind match racing in a cold, stiff, breeze in Geneva. Image copyright BGMR/Jeff Hervo.

The happy winner of the event, Swinton declared: "It's the first time that I have sailed on this type of boat (Surprise) and the first time that I came to Geneva. In the bay the wind is very shifty and it was necessary to get used to the conditions very quickly. The fact that there was a lot of wind certainly helped us as, in Perth, we always have the sea breeze. For the finals on Sunday, the wind increased again, in both strength and steadiness in direction, which simplified our tactics and left less to chance."

Luffing match. Image copyright BGMR/Jeff Hervo.

Bertrand Pacé reflected on his first experience of Geneva: "It is always a little frustrating to finish 3rd, especially as we were leading 2-0 in the semis and in the lead at the beginning of the 3rd match. But the wind got up and the Australians sailed better than us. He clearly had better mastery of his boat. In match racing that helps a lot! But overall we aer delighted by this first experience in the Geneva breeze. We had some superb races in very changeable conditions with temperatures of 2 to 3°C, which surprised us. I will return with pleasure to sail in Geneva, especially to compete in match racing that is so well organised."

Wet and chilly conditions on Lake Geneva for the match racing. Image copyright BGMR/Jeff Hervo.

The outsiders, the local team from CER, surprised everyone by winning the first Round Robin. Their skipper, the young administrator, concluded: "In the semi-final and petit-final we had to do with real pros. Their experience made the difference in addition to which we made some unpardonable errors. Less at ease than on the first two days, we were lucky that we had the opportunity to reach the semis and to be able to sail against world leaders like Bertrand Pacé who we saw on television when we were very young. A dream..."

President of the organising committee, Loïc Fuhrer declared: "A weekend that was memorable from the weather conditions and the level of the competitors alike. The aim is clearly to evolve the Bentley Genève Match Race into a Grade 1. We are aware that that will require important financial and organisational investment, but we are very motivated, above all after an event like the one that took place this weekend."

Staffan Lindberg's Team Alandia finished third overall. Image copyright BGMR/Jeff Hervo.


1. Keith Swinton (AUS)
2. Staffan Lindberg (FIN)
3. Bertrand Pacé (FRA)
4. Jérôme Clerc (SUI)
5. Alexis Littoz (FRA)
6. Eric Monnin (SUI)
7. Pruemeck Tarnacki (POL)
8. David Chapman (AUS)
9. John Sheehy (IRL)
10. Jore Orel (SLO)

Keith Swinton and crew: winners of the 2009 Bentley Genève Match Race. Image copyright BGMR/David Carlier.

Bentley Genève Match Race

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