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North Sails 2021 Innovation - LEADERBOARD

2022 5.5 Metre Swiss Open Day 1

by Robert Deaves 16 Aug 2022 15:42 PDT 16-17 August 2022

The 5.5 Metre class is famous for going to nice venues, but no one was really prepared for how nice the first day of the 2022 Swiss Open turned out. Aspire (POL 17, Mateusz Kusznierewicz, Przemyslaw Gacek, Edward Wright) took three race wins to lead overnight with Caracole (SUI 214, Bernard Haissly, Nicolas Berthoud, Daniel Stampfli) winning the third race to sit in second on equal points with Ali Baba (BAH 23, Flavio Marazzi, Max Salminen, Gregoire Siegwart).

With the forecast for the next few days looking less than pleasant, the race officer took the decision to run four races on Tuesday and with 8-12 knots and searing temperatures it was a day of tropical sailing in Switzerland. The two-day Swiss Open is being hosted by Regattaverein Brunnen, on Lake Lucerne, followed by the two-day Rigi Cup. The fleet consisted o 16 5.5 Metres from six nations.

There were a couple of new, though familiar, faces sailing today. Former Finn world champions Max Salminen, from Sweden, and Brit, Ed Wright were competing in their first 5.5 races.

Aspire has been absent all season due to injury and had to pull out of the recent world championship, but they returned to the circuit today with Ed Wright replacing Simon Fry at the front and put on a good showing, winning three races and coming a close second in the third.

Swiss lake sailing seems to suit multiple former champions Caracole in second place, with a race win in the third race. Ali Baba in third also has some crew changes for this event with Marazzi taking the helm and bringing in Gregoire Siegwart and Max Salminen.

Also, first time on the water today was New Moon III (BAH 25, Mark Holowesko, Christoph Burger, Hervé Cunningham), sitting in fourth place overall.

Salminen has stepped in to sail on Ali Baba. He said, "First time on a 5.5 for me. I've been sailing Etchells this winter so that has been good preparation, and it's first time I have been sailing with Flavio. I've been sailing against him a lot of times, but never with him.

"But it's been really good. The race committee did a good job getting four races in, though some were quite short. It's an interesting lake. It's the first time I am here, and there so many different wind directions on the lake at the same time, but it's interesting and really challenging. We are a very inexperienced crew together, so let's see if we can get it going better tomorrow."

On sailing the 5.5 Metre he said, "I said to the other guys it's like Etchells on steroids. It's a really cool boat with a lot of cool systems and reminds me a lot about the Star again. It's really good racing. I really like it."

Wright said, "We had quite a good day today, winning three and a very close second in the other. It was my first day in the 5.5 so quite happy with that really. And it's lovely to be in Switzerland, great scenery, lovely conditions, can't ask for much more."

"I've been doing a lot of Etchells sailing this year so all the fundamentals are similar. We did a good job getting round the course with Mateusz doing a great job calling tactics and we came away pretty much unscathed.

"I feel there are quite a few Finn sailors in the class at the moment. It's quite rewarding because the size helps with hiking out hard and then having the strength to pull the sails up and down and quickly also helps.

"Great fun. Loved it today. Can't complain at all."

The 5.5 Metre Swiss Open concludes on Wednesday, with the Rigi Cup then running over Thursday and Friday.

Results after Day 1: (four races)

1 Aspire (POL 17, Mateusz Kusznierewicz, Przemyslaw Gacek, Edward Wright) 3pts
2 Caracole (SUI 214, Bernard Haissly, Nicolas Berthoud, Daniel Stampfli) 7pts
3 Ali Baba (BAH 23, Flavio Marazzi, Max Salminen, Gregoire Siegwart) 7pts
4 New Moon III (BAH 25, Mark Holowesko, Christoph Burger, Hervé Cunningham) 10pts
5 Marie Françoise XXII (SUI 232, Jürg Menzi-Schmid, Jürgen Eiermann, Andreas Honegger) 14pts

Full results available here.

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