Wednesday, 27 April 2011

SNIM: Sea, Sun and SNIM

Racing on the final day off Marseille. Image copyright Piérick Jeannoutot.

by Maguelonne Turcat

Those racing in the International Mediterranean Nautical Week battled all the way to the end in Marseille’s harbour, where today’s races were coloured by sunshine and around 10 knots of WNW’ly wind. Beyond the delight of going sailing one last time, the final manœuvres proved decisive for the ranking at times. And what a magical sight it was as the boats licked the rough calcium of the islands of Riou. Suffice to say that the advocates of revenge certainly won’t want to miss out on the 47th Snim next year!

The 1,500 crewmen and women racing in the Snim were kept on tenterhooks for all of the 4 days of competition. Indeed there was still everything to play for before the coastal course and the windward-leeward courses were launched late morning. All the boats went in search of breeze in the southern harbour, leaving the locals with some unforgettable images right the way along the Corniche. “The weather conditions were very varied over the four days. We had strong wind, light wind, rain and sunshine. As such the winners can only be confirmed sailors”, congratulated Bernard Amiel, President of the Société Nautique in Marseille.

In IRC 1 and 2, the nocturnal race provided a fine battleground: 32 boats raced from Marseille to Porquerolles and back overnight on Saturday. “It’s very different when you sail at night. It’s a return to the spirit of adventure”, says Bernard Amiel, who reintroduced the idea of the nocturnal race which had disappeared from the programme back in 1997. Aboard his First 40.7 Spirit of Adhoc, Thierry Bouchard finished ‘his’ Snim at the top of the leaderboard in the IRC 2 category. Meantime François Pailloux recalled the first Snim he won back in 1976. With his united team and the notable addition of his daughter Marine, he took victory again today at the helm of the Farr 46 Belladona in IRC 1. “The size of the boats has grown a lot in thirty years”explained the Marseille skipper. The desire to win is still just as strong as it ever was. This was especially true in the 9.50 Class, where it was Romain Vidal on Jason who just had the edge over Alain Bonnot, Class President, aboard Cinq Sens.

“It was a very close run thing and undecided on the points front. At times like that every mistake costs dearly”, explains Jean-Claude Bertrand, owner of the A 35 Tchin-Tchin, who ultimately ranked 3rd in IRC 3. It’s the X 37 Arundo, who took first place in this category. “We saw new boats in this year’s competition” says Pierre-Alain Tocci, a member of the sports committee at the Société Nautique in Marseille, who was sailing on his First 35 GTE Tahina. “Most notable of these was Arundo, who came 2nd in the Spi Ouest- France last year. The level was very high”. Another newcomer to the Mediterranean was the A 35 Prime Time which finished second in IRC 3. “We’re happy with the development of the IRC Trophy in the Mediterranean”, adds Marc Alperovitch the owner, who forms part of the management committee of the UNCL (National Union for Offshore Racing). On the small craft too, races were often very closely fought. In IRC 4A, it was Axa 102° Sud which topped the rankings. At the helm of the First 34.7 GTE, Yves Ginoux scored his tenth victory out of thirty participations in the Snim! In IRC 4B, the J92 Jin Tonic saw first place slip from its grasp in extremis today, with the advantage going to the Dufour 34 Architeuthis. The Soling Paggo – without an engine if you please – took victory in the Day Boat category, as Sagaï did in the First 31.7.

On shore, the iSea3d system enabled the races to be ‘replayed’ at the end of the day. Thanks to a simple application downloaded onto racers’ smartphones, the positioning data for the boats was rebroadcast onto a 3D interface. “The tacticians came to see me at the end of the day to view their races on the big screen. The aim is that is serves as a debriefing for them” explains the creator of the tracking system, Emmanuel de Bressy, who also works with the FFV (French Sailing Federation). “This often enables them to understand certain elements they don’t see on the water”. Just what it takes to stir up the spirit of revenge then as the teams await the 47th Snim. “The Snim is the main regatta of the Trophée IRC Méditerranée (Mediterranean IRC Trophy), says Jean-Claude Bertrand, who very much hopes to add this regatta to his list of achievements one day. “The racers from the Snim are sportsmen and women who come here to win, not to walk the walk of happy people!” concludes Bernard Amiel.

The SNIM is also about...
80 dynamic volunteers who participated in the organisation.
150 boats, 1,500 crewmen and women
10 countries represented, including Russia
350 spectators embarked by the Office de la Mer to view the racing.

Groupe CLASSE 1 : 6 courses (5 retenues)
1/ Belladonna
2/ Speedy
3/ Dralion

Groupe CLASSE 2 : 6 courses (5 retenues)
1/ Spirit of Adhoc
2/ Kaya
3/ Glen Ellen V Le Marseillais

Groupe CLASSE 3 : 7 courses (6 retenues)
1/ Arundo
2/ Prime Time
3/ Tchin-Tchin

Groupe CLASSE 4 A : 10 courses (8 retenues)
1/ Axa 102° Sud
2/ Jet Lag
3/ Jeanne

Groupe CLASSE 4 B : 10 courses (8 retenues)
1/ Architeuthis
2/ Jin Tonic
3/ Fantome

Groupe DAY BOAT : 10 courses (8 retenues)
1/ Paggo
2/ Jasmin
3/ Rollmop's

Groupe FIRST 31.7 : 10 courses (8 retenues)
1/ Sagaï
2/ SNCM Chantier Bizzani
3/ Nicolaïs