by Soazig Guého
In the 35th Edition of the Régates Royales Trophée Panerai, with weather, blue skies and a gentle breeze, one could not ask for more ideal conditions to salute Mauritius, official sponsor for the Dragons racing today. The Classics enjoyed the moderate conditions that allowed for one race to be completed whilst the Big Boats battled it out on a longer course.
Régates Royales Trophée Panerai
Midway in the 35th Edition of the Régates Royales de Cannes, weather conditions have definitely become milder: after some stiff breeze yesterday, topping 20 knots, today the wind has not exceeded 10 knots. There was enough however for the Race committee to launch a coastal race of around 13 miles for the Classics. The Big Boats Class, which includes Altair, Elena, Eleonora, Mariquita, Moonbeam of Fife III, Moonbeam IV, Mariska, Hallowe’en and Cambria had a ten mile longer course set especially for them. In the overall results for the class updated to last night, Moonbeam of Fife III is leading Altair and Moonbeam IV but everything could be different tonight because the trio is even on points and well distanced from the rest of the competitors, so it looks like the will be a three-boats close fight for the lead overall.
Among gaff cutters, where Nan of Fife and Oriole who are separated by just one point, today's light conditions may well reshuffle cards whilst success looks nearer for world renowned Argentinian designer German Frers sailing on Sonny, who is literally dominating the Marconi class. 'The first two days it was more like a submarine than a sailing boat... but this 1929 yacht designed by William Fife, is more at ease on windward/leeward courses with real upwind and downwind legs, less on reaching.' says French skipper Lionel Péan, sailing on Nada.
'Today we had between six and 12 knots, so it was less tricky, but our rating is very punishing. Our aim is to have fun, and with my crew there is no problem with that. The human factor is almost more relevant than winning, no matter what. And I try to help people enjoy racing. There is a Turkish sailor, an Irish guy, a Scotsman and some French and we are more used to racing in class championships, but sailing here in Cannes is great. We are going to change crew for Sunday's delivery race to Saint Tropez and will have all-female team. We will try to win it again, as we did last year.' declared Alexia Barrier, also sailing on Nada.
The Dragon crews, docking out today, had a set goal: be the most consistent, the fastest, the best. As a matter of fact, the best crew on today's two races would have been awarded with a trip to Mauritius offered by Beachcomber, main sponsor of the day. One more drive to do well for the sailors, who have been pushing hard from the beginning, and in pretty rough conditions. The wind was lighter today, never stronger than 12 knots, but excitement on the water was running high. With a second and a third, it was finally Italy's Giuseppe Duca with his crew Jean Sébastien Ponce and Patrick Aucour on Cloud, to win the exclusive prize. The trio looked very happy to receive the special prize, but also to have bounced back in the overall standings. The scoreboard has been reshuffled with the first discard caming into the play, allowing Anatoly Loginov on Annapurna to jump to the top of the leaderboard, followed by another Russian skipper, Mikhail Senatorov on Integrity. The provisional podium is completed by Martin Payne's Bear.
The weather forecast for tomorrow, Friday and second to last day of the Régates Royales de Cannes, is for even lighter wind, but hopefully enough for the Race Comittee to continue to set the race courses.