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North Sails Performance 2023 - LEADERBOARD

2022 5.5 Metre French Open at the Regates Royales in Cannes - Day 3

by Robert Deaves 22 Sep 2022 20:06 PDT 17-24 September 2022

Aspire (POL 17, Mateusz Kusznierewicz, Przemyslaw Gacek, Flavio Marazzi) has made it four wins in a row at the 2022 5.5 Metre French Open at the Regates Royales in Cannes after two more race wins on Thursday, with just one day left to sail. New Moon III (BAH 25, Mark Holowesko, Christoph Burger, Peter Vlasov) move up to second with two second places while Otto (NOR 68, Bent Christian Wilhelmsen, Herve Cunningham, Lasse Berthelsen) drop to third with two third places.

The third day in Cannes was a glorious day for sailing, with more wind and sunshine than forecast and three great races. A third, non-counting race was a Tour des Isles, a coastal race between the islands of Ste Marguerite and Saint Honorat, that lie just off the Cannes coastline.

Aspire had the upper hand in both points races, extending away for a comfortable win in the first and then a much closer win in the second. New Moon challenged for a while in the second race but the final beat put them back in fourth at the top, and they had to pull out all the stops on the final downwind to regain second, all down to the last approach to the gate, which they got spot on.

The fleet then joined with the Dragons for the Tour des Iles race around the islands, which proved more interesting than many expected. New Moon, helmed by Christoph Burger, led to the first mark, only to lose the lead to Aspire, helmed by Przemyslaw Gacek, but regained it while sailing down the channel between the islands. Then, on the final leg back to a finish line off the port entrance, Aspire went slightly higher and benefitted from getting the puffs first and slowly regained the lead, crossing the finish line ahead by little more than a boat length.

Kusznierewicz explained the day, "We are really enjoying Cannes, Regates Royales, it is such beautiful racing here. Actually it's also quite physical because we had a nice breeze from the east from 14-16 knots, but the wind is changing so it makes the racing interesting. The fleet sometimes keeps very close to each other and sometimes separates.

"We had two up and down races today, which we had the great pleasure to win then we sailed round the islands, which is something new to us. But we enjoyed it, but this was the first race where Przemek was steering. Actually, we as team Aspire have a programme to bring Przemek on the helm. So far I was steering and he was learning and now he was steering. It was a very tight race with the New Moon team and just at the end we won! So for Przemek it will be a big celebration today."

Bellagioia II (SUI 175 Frédéric De Rutté, Matthieu Mac Gillycuddy, Frédéric Saudan) is in seventh place, the second of the three Evolutions taking part this week.

De Rutté said, "I am enjoying Cannes very much. I was here several times in the 1980s and back then we only sailed metre class boats here, 12 metres, 6 metres and a lot of 5.5s. So this year I came back to enjoy the atmosphere of Cannes. We had a very nice day today. Yesterday we did not sail because it was too strong and today we had a lot of waves. We don't get so much on our lake, but it was quite OK. In general we are very happy to be here.

"We have been sailing the boat since 2007, and before that we had a Chance boat from 1976. I've been sailing 5.5s for 45 years."

Built in cold laminated mahogany in 1992 by Chantier Naval Kolly near Geneva, Bellagioia II is a Philippe Meier and Sebastien Schmidt design. "The boat was designed more for light winds because it is a little bit smaller, but today we were quite happy with the performance of the boat."

After five races Aspire has a three-point lead with just two races to sail. Racing in Cannes concludes on Friday with light wind forecast.

Results after Day 3: (top five, 5 races)

1 Aspire (POL 17, Mateusz Kusznierewicz, Przemyslaw Gacek, Flavio Marazzi) 4pts
2 New Moon III (BAH 25, Mark Holowesko, Christoph Burger, Peter Vlasov) 7pts
3 Otto (NOR 68, Bent Christian Wilhelmsen, Herve Cunningham, Lasse Berthelsen) 10pts
4 Pungin (SUI 213, Hans-Peter Schmid, Gilbert Dürr, Walter Dürr) 17pts
5 Ali Baba (GER 84, Wolf-Eberhard, Richter Beata Kallkowski, Oliver Weiss) 18pts

Full results available here.

Photo gallery available here.

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