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Formula 18 World Championships hotly contested

by Bernard Schopfer on 18 Sep 2012
The Hydros team with Billy Besson and Jérémie Lagarrigue won the bronze medal at the Formula 18 World Championships 2012 at Long Beach (USA). Rich Roberts
Formula 18 World Championships have concluded at Long Beach, USA. The team which will represent Switzerland at next year's Little America's Cup, comprising Billy Besson and Jérémie Lagarrigue, made the best possible start to its preparations by winning a bronze. 'Our aim was to get into the top 20', explained Jérémie Lagarrigue. 'We weren't really building towards these championships and our aim was to sail together, find our rhythm and get back into the mix at international level. So we are extremely happy with this result, which far exceeds our expectations.'

The Formula 18 World Championships were hotly contested with 119 teams from 13 countries taking part. Billy Besson and Jérémie Lagarrigue who came ninth in the 2010 world championships, performed extremely well in the light winds; they also found the right tactics for the challenging conditions at Long Beach. However they lost some ground in the more technical and windy regattas. 'There were only three points between second and fifth coming into the last regatta', said Lagarrigue. 'We could have finished second overall but we were controlling each other and... we all sailed to the less favoured side of the course. We ended up in third place and we made a lot of progress during the championships. We know now that we have a strong team.'

The SUI 1 team took part in these championships as preparation for the Little America's Cup, which will take place in England in September 2013. Two catamarans bearing the Hydros colors will represent Switzerland at the event. They are currently undergoing construction at the Décision SA shipyard near Lausanne and will be the first ever boats built in TPT – Thin Ply Technology. A Class C Swiss wing mast model is also undergoing construction.

Billy Besson and Jérémie Lagarrigue will sail the first catamaran, and a team selected by Daniel Schmaeh, the helmsman and skipper of l’Hydroptère.ch, will sail the second one. The selection process has already begun for the second team. The first catamaran will be launched on 30 November 2012 and the second in January 2013. Intensive training is scheduled this winter in Switzerland before the teams move to milder waters.

The Hydros project has three main components: a yacht flying the Swiss flag being entered for the Little America's Cup, the 'Défi des Grandes Ecoles' (university challenge) and the catamaran l’Hydroptère.ch, which recently broke the one-hour record on Lake Geneva and achieved the best time since 2007 on the Blue Ribbon course, smashing the record by covering the stretch from Geneva to Le Bouveret in 1 hour 44 minutes.

Switzerland has the necessary skills to win the Little America's Cup; our aim is to bring them together to achieve this ambitious Hydros website
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