Régates Royales 2010 - Tag 2-4


Régates Royales 2010 - Tag 4

Battle under a grey sky
A tricky day for the 120 plus boats competing in the 32th edition of Régates Royales with an ever changing wind direction that made the skippers’ and the tacticians’ work hard.

Yesterday’s shining sun gave way to dark grey clouds, fat raindrops and strong gusts that could but not spoil the pleasure of the thousand plus sailors competing in Cannes.

A true ship portrait
The show was impressive and resembled an old, faded ship portrait from the 19th century. Fifty-eight big boats and the huge three masts Atlantic, their large white sails a sharp contrast to the grey horizon, crossed the Bay of Cannes for the pleasure of the many spectators who defied the weather to see them sail. Despite the light air the Committee was able to set a coastal course of around fifteen miles with the beautiful scenery of the city of Cannes and the Iles de Lerins in the background.

Shifty, shifty...
The Classic Yachts divisions started racing in the early afternoon accompanied by a sweet northerly breeze. But while the first group enjoyed a stable wind for the first hour or so on the coastal race, the rest of the fleet faced a much more troubled time. When the northerly was blowing, pouring rain was covering the bay, but when it veered north-westerly later, sky cleared and sun almost shined...and finally, the day ended with a north-easterly breeze in late afternoon! Not an easy task for tacticians and skippers indeed.

Tomorrow’s the day
Among the Classic Marconi, Chaplin representing the Italian Navy, looks to be well positioned to repeat last year’s success in Cannes despite the fact that today they had to give way to their countrymen on Emeraude. A similar fight is to be seen in the bigger Classic Marconi division where Florence Urrutti’s Sagittarius has one point lead on the Spanish Guia. In the Marconi B group nobody seems to be able to stop Jonathan Greenwood’s Rowdy to get on the highest step of the podium, the British flagged boat having a good seven points advantage on Oiseau de Feu and nine on Mercury. From the UK is aso coming the Marconi C group leader, that is to say Brad Swain’s Leonore, that will have to be particularly wary of the German crew on Anne Sophie and the Italians on Cholita, who follow at one and two points respectively.
Among the Gaffers Olive Pelham’s Kelpie got a precious second place today that place her on top of the rankings but surely tomorrow’s fight with Francis Van de Velde’s Oriole and Giuseppe Giordano’s Bonafide will be decisive. Despite a poor fifth place Moonbeam of Fife skippered by Erwan Noblet is still leading among the Big Boats, whilst the two 15M Mariska and Mariquita are tied in points and well ahead of Yacht Club de Monaco’s herald Tuiga.
Among the Spirit of Tradition Speedbird has a clear 1,1,1 score and a huge lead on Pitch and Ilhabela.

Dragons to the last tack
The sixty Dragons left the harbour the Vieux Port, in perfect time to reach the race area under torrential rain and a very shifty breeze. The Race Committee nonetheless managed to set a course hoping to have three races. As it happens for the first one (the seventh) the wind was steady enough for the crews to complete, while for the second and third attempt the continuous shifts forced the PRO to hoist the A flag.
As usual for the class, racing was very close and the crews fought to the last tack to get precious point for the final scoreboard.
The provisional leader is still the Russian crew of Annapurna, skippered by class specialist and reigning champion at the Régates Royales Anatoly Longinov who, despite a seventh today, managed to fend off the attacks from a couple of very dangerous competitors such as Ivan Bradbury on Blue Haze and Lawrie Smith on Alfie, both from Great Britain. But nothing is for sure yet as the three hoping to jump on the podium are separated only by 12 points. In fourth tied at points are Austrian Carlos Loos on Happy Island and Swiss Ulli Libor on Sui Generis.

Racing will resume tomorrow, both for the Classics and the Dragons, that hopefully will be windy enough to celebrate a much deserved grand finale of the 32th edition of Cannes Régates Royales.

Régates Royales 2010 - Tag 3

A beautiful autumn, sunny, spring day
As soon as the wind started to blow on the Bay of Cannes, sweeping away the remains of the morning haze, the 120 plus yachts competing in the Régates Royales started to cheer up. The multi-coloured Dragons spinnakers and the Classic Yachts majestic rigs creating a nearly perfect picture. A racing day to carve in stone and to keep for the future to remember...

Classic Yachts have been sailing all the summer, their hulls gliding gently in the water, their masts singing in the wind, their ropes whining on winches.
But on this first autumn day, the sun was still shining for the seventy-three Classic Yachts sailing off the Lerins islands, from La Napoule to La Fourmigue, in a steady southerly wind of around 8 knots. The wind later veered to the west as a forewarn to the upcoming low pressure that should hit Cannes tomorrow night. From the shores of Saint Honorat and Sainte-Marguerite to the beaches of Cannes, people profited from the beautiful day so very similar to spring, to watch the show of Mariquita’s crew taking down her huge balloon jib to round the mark in a perfect slow motion movie. No less magnificent was the performance from the two 15M Tuiga and Mariska, with their hundreds square metres of sailcloth, duelling to get around the mark first. For the smaller boats, sailing upwind to the so called Monks’ Mark - la balise des Moines- proved to be much harder, as they were struggling in stiffer breeze and choppier seas.

Today’s 15 miles long coastal race strengthened the provisional leaders’ position. Among the Big Boat, Moonbeam of Fife skippered by Erwan Noblet scored another first, leading on the 15 Metre Tuiga helmed by Bernard D’Alessandri and representing Yacht Club de Monaco. Jamet Huddleston’s Speedbird, was particularly fast today, got an impressive victory in the Spirits of Tradition class on powerful Nicolas Ryan’s Shamrock. In the Classic gaffer division Kelpie’s win was not enough to contrast Francis van de Velde’s Oriole general leadership.
Among the Marconi, the coastal race saw the comeback of Anne Sophie Hanns Georg Klein, who crossed the line in front of Marilinda Nottis’ Cholita and Brad Swain’s Leonore. For the smaller Marconis, Rowdy skippered by Graham Walker took the provisonal lead, followed by Michael Sparks’ White Wings and Blaise Bernos’ Oiseau de Feu. Finally, Spanish crew on Ramon Roses Batllo’s Guia third place now place them behind Florence Urrutti’s Sagittarius and Maria Giovanna II owned by Jean-Pierre Sauvan in the Classic Marconi Class, while Italian Navy’s Chaplin led by Bruno Puzone and Fabrice Payen’s White Dolphin switched places.
The battle will surely be fierce tomorrow.

A very unfortunate collision took place on the Classic Yacht racecourse: while rounding the last mark before the finish, gaff ketch Thendara’s bowsprit crushed into Moonbeam’s boom, causing extensive damage to the mainsail and a big scratch to the wooden boom itself but, luckily enough, not hurting anyone on board. Hopefully both boats will be able to be on the starting line tomorrow.

Régates Royales 2010 - Tag 2

"As sweet as good wine" - First coastal for the seventy seven Classic Yachts of the Régates Royales and three races in a row for the sixtythree Dragons, in ideal wind conditions.

Wind is like grapes, it needs time to get better. This is why the teams had to wait to see this 32nd edition of the Régates Royales – Trophée Panerai start. Sea breeze set in around noon allowing Dragons and Classic yachts to race in nearly perfect conditions: a southerly eight knots, flat sea, summer like temperatures. As it happened yesterday the Dragons sailed much contested races and the Committee was forced to hoist the black flag (any competitors over the line at the start is disqualified) on all the starts. The classic yachts’ start was also pretty cluttered, and the tension palpable, until the Race officers finally fired the cannon.

It’s thanks to a good breeze, of around 8 knots and increasing during the afternoon to reach a solid fifteen knots, the crews were able to use all their weapons: mainsails, mizzens, gennakers, ballons jibs, spinnakers, stay sails and many others were displayed between Cannes and the Pointe de l’Esquillon. Despite the magnificent show it was a real battle on the water. In the Classic gaffers C class in was the Italian Bona Fide to cress the line in first, but had to leave the victory in corrected time to Oriole (Francis van de Velde) shortly followed by the oldest boat in the fleet, Marigold (Jason Gouldstone).