Saturday, 18 June 2011

Rounding Lakes and Islands...

The Bol d'Or Mirabaud presented by Corum, Rund Um, Zwitserleven Ronde om Texel, JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island and Tour de Belle Ile Races 2011

Yann Guichard is co-helmsman with Dona Bertarelli on the D35 Ladycat this year. He finished as runner-up to Dona in the Bol d'Or in 2010. Guichard was on the D35 last weekend and this image is taken during practice. Image copyright Chris Schmid/

by Anne Hinton

The Bol d'Or Mirabaud presented by Corum on Lake Geneva

The 73rd Bol d'Or on Lake Geneva, Switzerland, this weekend will see 500+ competitors set off from the Société Nautique de Genève's starting line at 10am on Saturday and sail to the other end of the lake, at Le Bouveret, near where the Rhone river flows into Lake Geneva, and back again to Geneva.

Last year's Bol d'Or was won by Dona Bertarelli in the D35 Ladycat. Second place went to Yann Guichard sailing a Ventilo M2. This year, Guichard is joining the Ladycat team, whom he also sailed with in last weekend's D35 racing on Lake Geneva.

The team competing in the Bol d’Or this week-end for Ladycat will be:
Dona Bertarelli – helmswoman /barre
Yann Guichard - co-helmsman/co-barreur, mainsail trimmer/regleur GV and performer/performeur
Christian Wahl –tactician/tactique
Justine Mettraux – trimmer/regleur
Thomas Mermod – trimmer/ contre-embraque
Elodie-Jane Mettraux – nr 2
Morgane Gautier - nr 1

Ladycat, winner of the Bol d'Or 2010. Image copyright Loris von Siebenthal/

In addition to Guichard joining the mixed crew on Ladycat, Loick Peyron will helm the D35 Okalys-Corum, on which he has previously won the Bol d'Or. Peyron has sailed several seasons on this boat, belonging to Nicolas Grange, and also raced the first two days of the regattas last weekend with them. They had the misfortune to have a collision with Artemis Racing on the third day, after Peyron had left them, but both boats will be competing in the Bol d'Or this weekend.

Loick Peyron has another sailing appointment in another country on Sunday. The Bol d'Or was a very slow race last year. If the same happens this year, it appears that Peyron may well have to swim for the shore and nearest train station to catch his Sunday morning plane in order to skipper Banque Populaire V in Le Record SNSM from 1500 in Saint-Nazaire, Brittany, northwest France.

Loick Peyron may have to go for a swim, as he did in the Mediterranean earlier this year, if the Bol d'Or proves to be a slow race. He has an appointment sailing Banque Populaire V the following day in northwest France. Image copyright Loick Peyron/Jean-Pierre Dick - Virbac Paprec 3.

Ernesto Bertarelli is expected aboard the Alinghi D35 for the Bol d'Or, Michel Desjoyeaux on board Foncia D35, and the young team led by Jérôme Clerc on CER Carrefour Prévention will be joined by Pascal Bidègorry, former skipper of the D35 Banque Populaire, which won the D35 series overall last year. In addition, Paul Cayard will be on Artemis Racing, currently lying second in the D35's season championship, the Vulcain Trophy, and Philippe Cardis, brother of the builder,who has been runner-up at the Bol d'Or before, will helm his own D35. Société Nautique de Genève Commodore Pierre-Yves Firmenich's boat Ylliam is also amongst the entries. In effect, the D35s will have all-star casts for the Bol d'Or in 2011, and it is highly likely that the winner will come from this fleet.

A variety of methods area available on the event website for following the race. There is also a virtual race game, which had 27,000 participants in 2010.

Rund Um on Lake Constance

A Swiss entrant in the Rund Um 2010. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann/

Rather unfortunately the Rund Um race around Lake Constance (Bodensee) at the eastern end of Switzerland, and sharing its waters with Austria and Germany, is to be held on the same weekend as the Bol d'Or in the west of the country this year. The 61st edition of this race starts on Friday evening, so for some it is just a night race. There are currently 350 entries for this event, run by the Lindauer Segler Club, and surprisingly only eight entries to date in the multihull class, which is likely to produce the event winner. The 2010 winners, on Sönnenkönig, are not returning to defend their Rund Um title this year.

Live tracking is available for both the Bol d'Or and the Rund Um on the event websites.

There is a similar clash of events the following weekend, when, in place of sailing around lakes, it is races around islands that will gather the crowds of sailors and boats. However, essentially the small cat sailors will congregate in the Netherlands, while everyone else will head to the Isle of Wight in England...

Zwitserleven Ronde om Texel, the Netherlands

Water depths around the Friesian Island of Texel, in the Netherlands, can be just knee deep in places, so this race is only suited to light cats with boards. However, the Ronde on Texel is the largest cat race in the world, and over 500 entries are expected.

Herbie Dercksen and Mark Bulkely crashing their Extreme 20 cat at Eurocat Carnac 2011!

This year, organisers have introduced a mixed multihull class for the first time, in response to the decision to include the category in the 2016 Olympics. In 2008, Carolijn Brouwer and Sebbe Godefroid (BEL) were the only mixed-multihull team at the Olympics in Qingdao, China. Brouwer is sailing with Wouter Samama (NED) for the Zwitserleven Rond om Texel race this year. The pair will race a 16-foot Viper and is favourite to win the mixed multihulls. Favourites to win on handicap are top F18 sailors Mischa Heemskerk (NED) and Bastiaan Tentij (NED), winners of Eurocat Carnac 2011. The round Texel record holders, Herbert Dercksen (NED) and Mark Bulkely (GBR), will sail their "Extreme 20" (M20) and hope to be first to finish the Zwitserleven Round Texel Race this year.

JO Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, Cowes, UK

Idec is the record holder for the JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race. Now skippered by Francis Joyon, she is seen here on her way to line honours in the 2010 edition of the race. Image copyright Anne Hinton - all rights reserved.

Whilst the Ronde om Texel is in its 34th edition, the Island Sailing Club's Round the Island Race around the Isle of Wight, starting and finishing from Cowes, is celebrating its 80th birthday this year. Nearly 1,900 boats are signed up to participate in this race!

The Hydroptère passing the Needles as she enters the Solent. Image copyright Christophe Launay/

At time of writing the Hydroptère, which has been based in Cowes attempting to take the record time for the fastest rounding of the island, has had its race entry declined. IDEC, in her former guise as Playstation, under the helm of Steve Fossett, currently holds the speed record for the rounding of the Isle of Wight.

Jean-Pierre Dick's JP54. Image copyright Christophe Launay/ de Belle Ile.

Amongst the many competitors, Jean-Pierre Dick, winner of the Barcelona World Race with co-skipper Loick Peyron on the IMOCA Virbac Paprec 3, pictured above, will be taking part on his co-designed JP54. The crew for the JP54 includes Alex Picot, organizer of the famous French equivalent of the round the island race - the Tour de Belle Ile in Brittany. The fourth edition of the Tour de Belle Ile was held in early May, with 486 boats competiting, and line honours went to Seb Josse's Gitana 11.

Gitana 11, line honours winner, Tour de Belle Ile 2011. Image copyright Christophe Launay/ de Belle Ile.

Alex Picot and Fred Eagle seem surprised to see each other... Image copyright Morris Adant

Some slightly larger islands are currently being rounded. The IMOCAs PRB and Safran set off to defeat the record of Dee Caffari's Aviva for racing around the British Isles (Great Britain and Ireland). Vincent Riou's PRB has just pulled out, due to damage, but Marc Guillemot's Safran is still in the hunt.

Bol d'Or Mirabaud presentée par Corum
Rund Um
Zwitserleven Round Texel Race
JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race
Tour de Belle Ile