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5.5 Metre Swiss Open at Cercle de la voile de Grandson - Overall

by Robert Deaves 18 Aug 2023 21:14 PDT 17-20 August 2023

Caracole wins in Grandson sunshine

Caracole (SUI 214, Bernard HAISSLY, Daniel STAMPFLI, Nicolas BERTHOUD) has won the 2023 5.5 Metre Swiss Open at Cercle de la voile de Grandson, on Lac de Neuchâtel, Switzerland, after an amazingly consistent performance that left them two points ahead of Day 1 leaders Aspire (POL 17, Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ, Przemyslaw GACEK, Edward WRIGHT). However, Artemis (NOR 57, Kristian NERGAARD, Trond SOLLI-SÆTHER, Anders PEDERSEN) made the best of the day to move up to third overall.

In soaring temperatures, light winds and under sunny skies, it was a great day for sailing with the race wins going to Caracole, Artemis and Shaolin (SUI 226, Philippe DURR, Hans von WERDT, Andreas KINDLIMANN). 14 5.5 Metres from six nations were taking part.

After a difficult first day, Artemis came out of the first start at the boat end and dominated the right to lead round the top. However, Caracole sailed a better second upwind to take the lead and cross first while Aspire moved up to second on the final downwind.

Artemis again led at the top in the second race, but this time lead all the way round to win from New Moon III (BAH 25, Mark HOLOWESKO, Christoph BURGER, Peter VLASOV) and Ku-Ring-Gai III (AUS 66, John BACON, Terry WETTON, James MAYJOR). Aspire looked like they had picked up some week and had speed problems and dropped through the fleet.

It all came down to the final race, but again Aspire struggled to keep up, dropping to eighth, while Caracole crossed in fourth to take the title. Ku-Ring-Gai III rounded first and held the lead to the gate, but then Shaolin moved in front and extended for the win from Artemis and Ku-Ring-Gai III.

For the crew on Caracole, renowned for their light wind speed, between them they have amassed over 20 Swiss titles between them.

On the last race, Haissly said, "I'm not sure we had a plan. We just tried to go to the right place with the maximum speed. It's just sailing nicely around the course and with good spirit, good fun and enjoying the moment and not doing calculations. For us it's a pleasure."

Berthoud, "The wind is so shifty here that when there is a big gain on the left side you want to follow it. But on the right, Nergaard went all the way to the right and made a big gain The right was right that time."

Stampfli, "It's just a question of having fun, and sailing smoothly with as few problems as possible."

Nergaard said, "Today was much better than yesterday. I felt we were a little more attacking, had better starts and were more confident about everything we did. We tried some lighter jibs and adjustments on the rig and that helped. That's why it's important to be here to get some time in the boat and test some equipment. It's nice to win of course of but more it's more about learning.

"We're very happy to come here and happy to see there is wind on the lake given the high pressure and temperature we have here.

"A lot of the guys are here because it's one of the few regattas before the worlds in Sardinia in about a month, and we are quite excited about that."

Racing continues Saturday and Sunday with the Joran Cup.

Swiss Open Results:

1 Caracole (SUI 214, Bernard HAISSLY, Daniel STAMPFLI, Nicolas BERTHOUD) 10pts
2 Aspire (POL 17, Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ, Przemyslaw GACEK, Edward WRIGHT) 12pts
3 Artemis (NOR 57, Kristian NERGAARD, Trond SOLLI-SÆTHER, Anders PEDERSEN) 16pts
4 New Moon III (BAH 25, Mark HOLOWESKO, Christoph BURGER, Peter VLASOV) 18pts
5 Ku-Ring-Gai III (AUS 66, John BACON, Terry WETTON, James MAYJOR) 18pts

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