Sunday, 18 October 2009
Plenty of wind for the first day of the Bentley Geneva Match Race. Image copyright Bentley Geneva Match Race/Jeff Hervo.
A young Geneva team leads ahead of the stars of Match Racing
by Laurence Clerc (abbreviated in translation)
Ten of the best helmsmen in the world took part in 45 match races on the bay on Lake Geneva today. The event is organised by the Cercle de Voile of the Société Nautique de Genève.
At the top of the classification today is a Geneva-based team from CER (Centre d'Entraînement à la Régate - Race Training Centre), led by Jérôme Clerc. He lies ahead of Frenchman Bertrand Pacé in the results.
Close racing in Geneva. Image copyright Bentley Geneva Match Race/Jeff Hervo.
A breezee of 16-18 knots, weakening in the afternoon, greeted the competitors on Friday afternoon. After 30 matches in the Round Robin, Bertrand Pacé was in the lead. His experience of many America's Cup campaigns (French, Kiwi and with BMW Oracle Racing) showed, as he won 5 races out of 6.
On Saturday morning the competition continued and to the surprise of everyone, the Geneva team of the Centre d'Entraînement à la Régate (CER) found themselves at the top of the classification after 45 matches. The helmsman, Jérôme Clerc, couldn't believe his eyes. "We are surprised and delighted with this result. Ranked 542nd by ISAF, we commenced as complete outsiders at this event. Our aim was, above all, to have experience against other boats to assist with our preparation for the Tour de France à la Voile.
It's cold going upwind in Geneva at this time of year. Image copyright Bentley Geneva Match Race/Jeff Hervo.
"We were invited to take part at this event because we obtained the wildcard, which was available at the qualification held in Geneca last weekend (Match Race Grade 3, with 8 teams). Little experienced at this type of discipline, we tried to seek boatspeed and not play with the Match Race rules. We decided to simplify our sailing as much as possible, so that the boat, which we know well [SailRaceWin: the boat, both last weekend and this, is the 'Surprise'], coudl be sailed at top speed. And it is precisely this that paid off!
"For tomorrow, we will try to keep the same spirit. We are certainly the team under least pressure, and it is possibly also that that has permitted us to obtain so many wins..."
Downwind in the match racing. Image copyright Bentley Geneva Match Race/Jeff Hervo.
On Sunday, the four best teams will compete in the semi-finals and finals. According to the rules, the leading team from the Round Robin is able to choose its opponent in the semi-finals. The petit-final will consist of a best-of-three matches. The final is a best of five matches affair.
Note from SailRaceWin: The other two semi-finalists are Keith Swinton (AUS) and Staffan Lindberg (FIN).
Bentley Genève Match Race