Presti wins Bentley Geneva Match Race

Photo credit: / JF Hervo. Copyright - Bentley Geneva Match Race 2008
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Philippe Presti wins the Bentley Geneva Match Race 3-1 against Alinghi.

Conditions on the lake were light to very light again today forcing organisers to drop the semi finals altogether and go straight into the finals between the top two teams; last year’s winner Philippe Presti and Alinghi…

Ed Baird, Rodney Ardern, Lorenzo Mazza and Curtis Blewett – fresh from a summer of multihull training and racing – were back on a monohull and match racing for the first time since winning the America’s Cup in July last year. Unfortunately for the eight teams – having had a fantastic first day on Friday with stunning 8-14knot conditions – the weather went downhill from there. Saturday saw a 3knot zephyr and just one race and there was hardly more today with a high of 5knots.

Alinghi won the first race against Philippe Presti, but lost the following three to the Frenchman and his team. Hear from Ed Baird, helmsman, about how the day went:

EdB: 'We had a very light morning with no semi finals, so we went straight into the finals with Philippe Presti, who was the second team out of the round robins. We got a race in just after 15:00 this afternoon and Presti was able to beat us three races to one; they sailed well and had a good day.'

Can you talk us through the racing?
EdB: 'It was very light and in nearly every race the boats went to opposite sides of the first windward leg and the boat that was ahead usually stayed there; there was no race where there was a lead change except once downwind to the finish and that was actually the race that we won. We split starts with Presti and each time, when we came back together he was able to be just ahead, they did a great job of getting the better side.'

Was it good to get back into some match racing after so many months of multihull fleet racing?
EdB: 'It’s great to be match racing again and the teams here this weekend have been very strong; we had beautiful conditions on Friday which was a lot of fun. It has been interesting and challenging; it didn’t go our way this time, but I definitely enjoyed it!'

Was this event part of preparing for all eventualities; both the multihull discipline and the monohull match racing discipline?
EdB: 'We certainly came here expecting to do well and hoping to win, but the reality is that we haven’t been training for it and if this is what we want to do more of, then we need to pay attention and we need to do more practice and that is why we are here.'

What comes next for you and the Alinghi sailing team?
EdB: 'We are working on a sailing schedule at the moment; we have a number of sailing opportunities for the winter which we have to choose between and some plans for next summer that we have to make firm. We are also obliged to continue building the DoG boat in Villeneuve for a possible DoG match.'

Congratulations to Philippe and his team.

Philippe Presti

Petite finals
Eric Monnin
Gian-Luca Perris

Alinghi team
Ed Baird, helmsman
Rodney Ardern, mainsail trimmer
Lorenzo Mazza, foresail trimmer
Curtis Blewett, bowman