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Highlights of the 84th Bol d'Or Mirabaud

by Bol d'Or Mirabaud 12 Jun 2023 02:45 PDT 9-11 June 2023
Christian Wahl wins the Bol d'Or Challenge for good © Yves Ryncki

Swiss sailing's flagship regatta took place this weekend from the Société Nautique de Genève. It was won by Christian Wahl and his crew, including the Sailing Squad, aboard Double You Team. Here are the highlights of the race.

Winner of the Bol d'Or Mirabaud, Christian Wahl has definitively conquered the Bol d'Or Challenge, awarded to the skipper who wins three editions of the race in five years. Wahl is the fourth owner to win this prestigious Challenge over the history of the race. He joins the prestigious lineage made up of:

  • 1963: Horace Julliard, aboard the 8m JI Marie-José II, now known as Le Tigre, helmed at the time by Henri Copponex.
  • 1984: Altaïr XI, owned by Philippe Stern, helmed by Phil Durr.
  • 2001: Alinghi 'Black', owned by Ernesto Bertarelli and co-skippered by Pierre-Yves Jorand.

A double for Swiss Medical Network, Second overall

SMN, skippered by Victor Casas, won the Bol d'Or Mirabaud in its class, a week after its victory in Geneva-Rolle-Geneva. The experience of helmsman Didier Pfister, combined with the talent of young sailors from the Centre d'Entraînement à la Régate (CER), enabled the team to challenge - and beat - all TF 35s aboard his smaller catamaran designed 19 years ago. Patrimonium, helmed by Loïc Preitner, finished less than a minute behind, second in the M2 class and third overall.

Raffica, the undisputed dominator of the Bol de Vermeil

Already the winner in 2019, 2021 and 2022, the Libera Raffica, designed by the legendary Bruce Farr in the 1980s, remains unbeatable. It has won its eleventh Bol de Vermeil since 1996. With a length of 12.70 meters, a weight of 1.5 tonne and 400 sqm sail size, she is as impressive as ever with her fifteen crew members, including ten on the trapeze.

Second in the monohull ranking, the Psaros 40 Cellmen Ardentis is also an 'old' boat, designed in 2002. She shone throughout the weekend and led most of the race before giving in. Cellmen finished ahead of Jean Psarofaghis, who made extensive modifications to his Psaros 40 over the winter in order to be in a position to challenge Raffica, alas without success. Finally, Thomas Jundt finished a very fine fourth on his QFX.

Outstanding performances

A number of lesser-known crews distinguished themselves during this Bol d'Or Mirabaud, including Patrick Ducluzaux's Toucan Gaston 3, 49th in the overall ranking on a boat from the 1970s. During the first half of the race, the 6.5m Coriace (Coriolan Rousselle), the Grand Surprise Little Nemo (Bertrand Porter), the Luthi 34 Perchette (Serge Patry) and the Tiolu Ypso (Edouard Kessi) even took the lead in the monohulls ranking off Lugrin thanks to their understanding of the lakes' intricacies.

One-designs in the spotlight

The most represented class in the fleet, the Surprise one designs (102 boats), was dominated throughout the weekend by Jean-Pascal Chatagny's Twist Again, 70th overall, ahead of Kalhua (Cédric Pochelon) and CER - Naef Immobilier (Morgan Lauber).

Mea Huna (Christian Haegi) was the overall winner of the Grand Surprise category, which featured 22 entries. He beat Morpho (Mechelany) and Apsara (Lagneux).

The ten-strong Psaros 33 class was won by Luc Munier's Carpediem cube, 22nd overall.

Christian Monachon (Ondine) wins the elapsed time ranking aboard a 1932 yacht

Christian Monachon, from Montreux, has won the overall elapsed time ranking (ACVL classification) after 26 hours and 15 minutes of racing. He beat Stéphane Fallot's J 24 5th Element and the Surprise Twist Again (Chatagny).

Ondine, the winning yacht, is a mahogany 6m50 S.I. built in 1932 and one of the most successful 6.50s in the series, which dates back to 1906 and was an Olympic class in 1920.

A very positive outcome

Yann Petremand, President of the Organising Committee, shares his views about the 84th edition of the Bol d'Or Mirabaud. "Even if the wind was light, this edition was extremely challenging from a sporting point of view and exciting for both the competitors and the observers. We also validated the new concept of the Official Race Village, which was a great success with the competitors, the public and our partners, despite the unfavourable weather.

"The Société Nautique de Genève enjoyed a weekend of festivities, with top-quality concerts, live coverage of the regatta with expert commentary and splendid images of the race, not to mention entertainment and stands that were much appreciated. The public's involvement would have been greater if it hadn't rained on Friday, and especially if the race had finished more quickly - factors we can't control.

"I'd like to thank all the competitors for their participation, and all our partners for their loyal support over the years."

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