Alinghi racing at Bentley Geneva Match Race

Bentley Geneva Match Race
Alinghi turns its hand back to monohull match racing this weekend in Geneva where the Société Nautique de Genève is hosting the 6th edition of the Bentley Match Race, an ISAF Grade 2 event …

Day 2

A light day and only one race on the lake leaving the round robins incomplete; after some careful mathematics guaranteeing a fair event, the top four boats go through to the semi finals and Alinghi is to race Gian-Luca Perris…

It was super light on the lake today, with barely a 3knot zephyr, the race committee struggled to get one match in this afternoon and had to call it a day leaving round robin two incomplete. The single race of the day was between Gian-Luca Perris and Alinghi, and the latter filed a protest when the committee shortened the course during the race without consulting with the umpires. While the committee agreed that this was a mistake, it wasn’t considered to have affected the results and the protest was denied (see Rodney’s more eloquent explanation below).

Tomorrow is also expected to be very light and so the committee is drawing a line under the round robins and after some careful mathematics guaranteeing a fair event, the four top boats go straight into the semi finals on Sunday. As we go to press, they have just held the draw at the Société Nautique de Genève and Alinghi is to race Gian-Luca Perris tomorrow…

Quote from the race boat. Mainsail trimmer Rodney Ardern describes a frustratingly light day; an anti-climax after such a great first day yesterday: 'It was pretty light today, the race committee understood from the weather guys that the best breeze was to be in the morning, so they sent us out there and unfortunately there wasn’t enough to race, so to their credit they sent us back in. Later in the day, they attempted to have a race in something between 1-3knots – obviously the pressure is on, because they have only managed to hold the first round robin and we have only sailed the first two races of the second; so they were trying to complete it.

Can you talk us through that race?
RA: 'We got a good start and we were in a good position off the line, we split tacks and ended up a little behind Gian-Luca at the top mark. Just as we were approaching, they fired some guns on the committee boat indicating a shortened course; so basically a race straight down to the finish. However to shorten the course – from our understanding of reading the sailing instructions – they have to consult with the umpires, which we didn’t believe they did. So we filed a protest and we had a short hearing and while they agreed there was a mistake, they didn’t believe it really affected the race, even though there were big gains and big losses; pretty much anything can happen in those conditions.

But we had to accept their decision and while we were waiting for it the breeze died totally, so that was the sum of our racing today.'

So how did the race play out; did Gian-Luca finish, did you finish?
RA: 'We were preparing for the second lap, because – as far as we were concerned – they couldn’t shorten the course during the race, so the other boat crossed the finish line and we started doing our second lap and then the race committee pulled up the top mark and so of course we couldn’t complete it.'

Are these weather conditions typical for the time of year?
RA: 'Talking to some of the locals, it seems that there are better times of the year to have a regatta; when there is more of a thermal breeze due to the difference in temperature between the water and the land. In the autumn as we are now, with the water cooling down, there is not much of a difference so we are not seeing that breeze being generated.'

And what is the plan for tomorrow, the final day?
RA: 'As there is not much breeze forecast for tomorrow, they have decided to finish the round robins there even though we haven’t completed the second one, but we still end up with our points making us the top qualifier in to the semi finals, so we get to choose who to race in the semis, if we get to race tomorrow!'

Semi finalists
Alinghi, 6pts
Philippe Presti, 6pts
Eric Monnin, 5.5pts
Gian-Luca Perris, 4.5pts

Ed Baird Bentley Geneva Match Race
DAY One interview with Ed Baird

Ed Baird, Rodney Ardern, Lorenzo Mazza and Curtis Blewett raced round robin one and two races of round robin two on Lake Geneva today in a stunning 8-14knot breeze…

Helmsman Ed Baird hadn’t set foot on a monohull in a match racing situation for over a year, in fact since the America’s Cup match in June/July last year. At the end of day one and the end of round robin one of the Bentley Geneva Match Race, the team is sitting one point ahead of last year’s champion Philippe Presti with seven points to his six.

Ed Baird comments on a great day on the lake. 'Geneva provided us with an incredible day, it was a beautiful sunny day with a northerly 8-14knot breeze – very stable in direction; it was a perfect day on the water with some great racing.'

Can you describe today; what happened out there on the race course?
EdB: 'There are eight teams and six boats and the organisation is trying to do a double round robin to then determine the four semi finalists. We finished one round and got two matches into the second round before they had to call it for the day as it was getting dark. They’re hoping to finish up the round robin tomorrow during the early half of the day and then hold the semis in the second half, and then Sunday will be dedicated to the finals.'

Were there any surprises in the fleet; a word on your competitors?
EdB: 'The fleet is very strong, there are clearly a couple of teams that are little bit new at it, but there is a lot of skill generally; Philippe Presti is here and Eric Monnin; there are a lot of good guys and it is clear that they have been working together well on these boats.'

You and your team have been entirely focussed on the multihull training this summer on the iShares fleet racing circuit – which you won. How is the transition back to monohulls and match racing going?
EdB: 'Well there are definitely a few things to remember! You have to develop that comfort level of what’s going to happen next and what the next move is. Generally, we have got the idea, but sometimes it takes us slightly longer to remember what we are supposed to do, so we’re trying to improve.

It’s really fun to get out and match race again, it has been a really long time and it’s definitely very different to be spinning these little boats around in tight circles. It’s a totally different kind of sailing to the multihull sailing we have been doing all year.'

And a look forward at tomorrow, what can we expect?
EdB: 'The sunshine is set to remain, but my understanding is that the breeze is going to start to drop, so we might see more like 5-8knots tomorrow. We hope it isn’t the case and that it’ll be more like today, because it was really incredible. But whatever it is going to be, it’ll be the same for all of us; we’ll just go out and enjoy the lake.'

Round robin one results
Alinghi, 7pts
Philippe Presti, 6pts
Eric Monnin, 5pts
Gian-Luca Perris, 4pts
Pierre-Antoine Morvan, 3pts
Alexis Littoz, 2pts
Ian Ainslie, 1pt
Nicolas Dénervaud, 0pt