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Bol d'Or - Marwin sailing team makes remarkable recovery

by Maurus Strobel on 17 Jun 2013
75th Bol d’Or © Juergkaufmann.com / Mirabaud LX 2011
Bol d'Or 2013 - Marked by tricky conditions, the 75th edition of the famous Swiss regatta had bad luck in the first half and a remarkable recovery in the second part of the 85-mile long race on Lake Geneva. Marwin sailing team, skippered by Swiss Olympic sailor Falvio Marazzi, found itself in the early afternoon stuck with no breeze on the wrong side of the lake but didn’t give up. Cleverly positioned between two early-evening storms that came down the valleys of the French Alps, the Swiss GC32 catamaran flew over the lake and came back from the abyss to finish 24th.

To claim that the 2013 was a test for the 330 participating yachts and their crews would be an understatement. A strong southwesterly breeze that was blowing in higher altitudes didn’t come down to the surface early enough and then battled the northerly thermal breeze that also failed to gather full strength due to the overcast skies. That resulted in constant shifts and huge windless holes spread all over the lake. It didn’t hurt to be lucky on Saturday in Geneva!

Marwin Sailing Team got off to a good start among the multihull fleet, staying in phase with the constantly changing breeze for a good part of the initial stretch. Sailing grouped together, the fleet would switch back and forth from the French side of the lake the Swiss side in search of better breeze, a number of times until the transition zone between what locals call the 'small' and 'big' lake, approximately off the Swiss city of Gland.

Entering into the transition zone, Marwin Sailing Team was in the leading pack, sailing very close to the Swiss shore. That’s when the usual wind patterns failed to apply. Although the French side is shorter, the Swiss shore generally benefits from considerably stronger breeze. However, that scenario didn’t play out on Saturday. Part of the fleet found much better winds in France and took the lead, while Marwin Sailing Team got stuck into a windless hole off Lausanne



Giving up wasn’t an option though! Even limping at half a knot Flavio Marazzi and his crew made it to the halfway point, off Le Bouveret, and rounded the big barge nearly in 50 Th place. Their tenacity paid off. As the leading D35’s and M2’s got stuck in another hole on their way to Geneva, the Swiss GC32 was positioned between two strong storms that were coming down the valleys of the French Alps. That fresh breeze brought the best of the GC32 and Marwing Sailing Team powered towards the leading pack with a top speed that reached 27 knots!

The last five miles of the race were marked by intense gybing duels with the M2 fleet and if it weren’t for the late-night lull off the Société Nautique de Genève, Marwin Sailing Team could have clipped some more spots on the leaderboard. Flavio Marazzi helmed his GC32 to a 24 th place overall, crossing the finish line after 15:30 hours of racing, a mere hour more than record-holders Alinghi.

As Flavio Marazzi commented, 'racing on Lake Geneva is not for the faint-hearted. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy as we haven’t sailed a lot together on the boat, let alone in such a long race. Nevertheless, we have shown we can be competitive and when the breeze got stronger we were the fastest boat of the fleet.

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