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Selden 2020 - LEADERBOARD

Second day of warm-up racing for Six Metre World Championship 2023 competitors

by Fiona Brown 2 Sep 14:10 PDT 31 August - 8 September 2023

A second day of warm-up racing for the thirty-four strong fleet preparing for the International Six Metre Worlds in Cowes saw two final practice races run by the Royal Yacht Squadron. With the wind in the south-east and ranging from 7 to 14 knots the course was set up over the Bramble Bank to avoid the worst of the very strong spring tides and the fleet got under way on time at noon for two great races.

In the Open Division Hugo Stenbeck's Sophie II was the top performer adding a third and then a first to yesterday's fifth, giving them overall victory in the warm-up series. Jamie Hilton's Scoundrel was the other race winner, but an eleventh in the third race added to yesterday's third put them into third overall. Meanwhile yesterday's race victor, Jeremy Thorp's Battlecry, had a mixed day, but a tenth followed by a third was more than enough to give them second. Others who showed serious potential but only completed two races apiece included Basil Vasilou's Jane Ann with a sixth and second, and Jan Eckert's Ginkgotoo with a pair of fourths. Defending World Champion Dieter Schoen's Momo was OCS in the third race but counted a second and an eighth and were very happy with their performance to date.

After racing Dieter Schoen commented, "Yesterday we finished second, so it was a good race, today's first race we were I think ninth and the second race we were OCS, we won it but we were disqualified. It's difficult for us to sail on the Solent and it will be interesting going forwards. We have Jules Salter on board, he's a local navigator, I sailed with him a few years ago in a few long-distance races so I know him very well and it's good to have him with us. The fleet is stronger than last year, and boats are closer together so it will be good racing. I think there will be six or seven boats that could win the Worlds - Junior, Ginkgo Too, Junior, Battlecry, the two US boats, Stella, so it's a strong fleet."

Andy and Lisa Postle's Nirvana topped the Classic rankings overall, but top Classic performer today was Peter Hofmann and Rainer Muller's Llanoria with a fourth followed by a win, which puts her in second place overall. Patrick Sandman's May Be VI was the only other classic to complete all three races and rounded out the top three. Of the boats that only completed two races it was clear that reigning Classic European Champion Bribon, skippered by His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain, was on flying form with second and third place finishes. Debutant Six Metre sailor Géry Trenteseaux, racing the defending World Champion Dix Août, won race two and then took a fifth in the final race firmly declaring himself in contention to defend his boat's title.

Explaining how he came to lend his beloved Dix Août to Géry Trenteseaux and to be racing Classic Six Metre Fun himself, ISMA Chairman Louis Heckly said, "Before the Worlds last year, I knew I was going to lend my boat, because my late father would have loved this champion to come to the Six Metre Class, but he wasn't able to make it happen. So, I rang Gery a couple of months before the 2022 Worlds and I said 'next year the Worlds are in the Isle of Wight at your club [the Royal Yacht Squadron] so I'm going to bring the boat up there and you are going to try the Six Metre Class, and maybe you will have a title to defend.' As a matter of fact, we were lucky enough to win that Championship and the evening we won I called him and said - 'You have to defend the title now!'."

Asked about how he was feeling about this momentous challenge Géry Trenteseaux said, "I have no challenge I am just here to sail the best with my crew, but I have no pressure and I am just very proud to sail on Louis' team. The boat is a good one, we won the first race today so it's a good boat, but the best is to be in Cowes, it's the main place in the World for racing and we are both Squadron members so it's important to be here."

The camaraderie of the Six Metre Class is renowned, and we have seen a wonderful demonstration of this over the past 24 hours. In the pre-start of Friday's first warm-up race Pierre Geux and Rainer Mueller's Saskia was involved in an altercation that saw her loose her mast. The team rapidly got the broken rig back aboard and returned to the marina, uncertain whether they would be able to race in the Worlds or not. But Six Metre sailors never like to see a fellow crew in trouble and as the rest of fleet returned to shore plans were already being hatched to mount a rescue.

Pierre Geux takes up the story; "These things happen on the water, but the true asset of our class is being able to bring together people from different crews to find a solution when one of the teams needs help. Our thanks must go to Violeta [Alvarez] who had a spare mast in Lymington that she was able to offer us. We have crews from several other boats helping us re-rig the mast, including Andy Postle and some of his team from AllSpars. Another problem for us was finding a big enough RIB to be able to bring the mast from Lymington to Cowes, and I must thank His Majesty King Juan Carlos who most graciously lent us Bribon's RIB, which he was happy to make ready for us at 7am this morning so that the mast could be here in Cowes by 9am. It will be two days of hard work for the Saskia team and our many helpers, but thanks to our wonderful friends we will be ready to race again in the first of the World Championship races on Monday."

Sunday is a day off from racing, but the Six Metre owners will be attending the International Six Metre Association AGM during the morning and then in the late afternoon there will be a World Championship briefing by Race Officer Peter Saxton. In the evening everyone will come together to officially declare the championship open at the Regatta Opening Reception at the Royal Yacht Squadron.

Racing will commence on Monday 4 September with a first warning signal scheduled for 11:25 and a total of eight races are planned between then and Friday 9 September.

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