The International 8-Metre World Cup
For the second time, the Société Nautique de Genève hosted the 8- Metre World Cup. Since 1998 things have moved on in Geneva, with the powerful performance of Team Alinghi the Swiss Yacht Club is now the holder of the America’s Cup. The Club house was undergoing major surgery which unfortunately was not completed for our World Cup but the sailing conditions were good, in my experience much better than in 1998 and that alone compensated for any inconvenience ashore. With 29 entries, the 2004 World Cup ranks among the best attended Championships in the past years. As usual the World Cup is also the event that brings out the best in owners, crews and yards as old boats are restored to former glory and moderns are updated and prepared with new keels and rigs.
First of all there was Norseman, Ced Gyles shipped her over from Toronto as an ambassador for the 2005 World Cup at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club. She had a prominent mooring right next to the terrace and bar and was undoubtedly the single most crowded boat at the event. Jean-Claude Marchand had his Glana (1946, Knud Reimers) restored and she looked absolutely stunning. Fitted out with new wooden spars, a new deck and shiny new hardware this
famous light air flyer was among the prettiest at the event. Another stop & stare boat was Froya (ex. Turid), owned by Peter Groh. Froya (1938, Bjarne Aas) was restored at the yard of Josef Martin on the shores of Lake Constance. Josef has probably restored and refitted more 8-Metres than any other yard in the world but in his shed there is no such thing as routine or compromise, with every project the bar is raised and Froya is again another masterpiece, not just very pretty but also dangerously fast. Emily came over from Portugal and sported new spars from Alaskan Sitka Spruce. David Vieira had redesigned the rig to allow a shorter boom and easier handling. The new rig improved her perfor- mance but retained the amazing grace of this famous William Fife 1924 Olympian. For the first time ever we had an entry from Japan as Yutaka Kobayashi chartered the Fauroux designed Dora. Yutaka has commissioned a new Johan Anker desi- gned 8-Metre at Absolute Restorations and Dora was a great way to get a feel for the sailing and fleet.
The Winning Team
The World Cup and Coppa d’Italia was won by the team from Holland on Jos Fruytiers Lafayette. Despite the fact they didn’t win a single race, Lafayette lead the overall score from day two until the end but with extremely tight margins and a highly competitive fleet she never had a dull
moment. Philip Crebbin was in top shape but favourite Fleur de Lys was on their heels and often ahead in the race. However, despite Fleurs three 1st places, she failed to sail sufficiently consistent to take the silver home. Aluette, helmed by Peter Groh was fast, very fast. Peter took two firsts and kept on breathing down Fleur de Lys and Lafayettes neck. How extremely tight and competitive.
The winnig team: Lafayette crew (Owner Jos Fruytiers holds the World Cup)
titive between these three boats it was is very visible from the score, Lafayette won the championships with 15 pts, and Fleur de Lys and Aluette tied with 16 pts for second and third. The new keel designed by Ian Howlett under Lafayette was ready just 2 weeks before the event, a great credit to her designer goes to the excellent performance and indeed to Phil Crebbin for tuning the new con- figuration in record time. The first local boat from Geneva was Gitana Sixty. Sailed exceedingly well she was the surprise of the event for me. Sporting her conventional keel she didn’t give away any points to local rivals; Yquem, Gefion and Sarissa. Spazzo was again the beauty of the modern fleet but couldn’t find her way up front and ended 7th. Could we have a World Cup without Ron Palm? Guess not and yes he was there again with his Mystery, she is not known for light air performance and suffered in the days with thin winds.
The Coupe Cartier was sailed for the last time under the current rules. The inspection of the boats has become too complicated and time consuming and admittedly arbitrary. With an amazing quality fleet all boats ended up racing scratch and the victory again went to Bona from Italy. Giovanni Mogna and his crew were never threatened apart from race 5 when Fred Meyer got a bul- let and Bona finished 5th. Fred won a well deserved second and Carron II finished third overall. Elsinor was chartered out to the Gstaad Yacht Club and had a great start with a second on day one. Unfortunately they couldn’t hang in there for too long. Other contenders were Angelita from Germany, Suzette from France, Ali Baba from Italy, Emily from Portugal and Glana from Switzerland.
Sira Cup winner CUTTY TWO form France
The Sira Cup went to France. Cutty Too performed exceedingly well and took the trophy home with a second for Froya, a third for Sphinx from Finland, a fourth for Norseman from Canada and fifth for Peter Wilsons If from England. In La Trinité it was decided to separate the Coupe Cartier from the Sira Cup as a one year trial. This meant that the vintage boats racing for La Coupe Cartier did not score for the Sira Cup In hindsight this was probably not a wise decision although it opened up the chances for other boats to win the Cup. The downside is the weakened competition and potential dividing of the classic fleet which has always been (and should remain) the core of the fleet.
The Rule One fleet consisted of Edit (Mylne, 1911), Silhouette (Fife, 1910), Elfe (Rasmussen 1911), Sposa (Von Hacht 1912) and Folly (Nicholson 1909). These boats are the publics favourite, with their beautiful gaff rigs and bowsprits they carry some 120m2 sail to windward while displacing just over 6 ton. German Frers came over with his Folly and was probably one of the extreme examples. All these Rule One boats are real light air flyers but perfor- mance wise in troubles when the wind fills in. The Trophy went to Willi Wagners Edit with Silhouette coming second and Elfe taking third.
Looking back the event provided good sailing with light to moderate winds on most days. The scoring
First Rule boats SILHOUETTE, FOLLY (front) and ELFE II (back)
for the Sira Cup and the First Rule Cup was initially mistaking causing confusion when it was corrected shortly before the prize giving. I hope this has not cast a cloud over the event for those affected. Personally, I can’t help looking back through rose coloured glasses as winning the World Cup and the Coppa d’Italia was fantastic. We had a great crew of good friends who often stayed up way too late. No doubts Phil Crebbin was the best possible man at the tiller, he certainly knows the ropes on an Eight and was in top shape. This was his fifth time winning the 8-Metre World Cup, a record hard to beat. Lafayette is known to perform well in strong winds but again suffered in light airs with some 5 to 10m2 less sail area than the local boats. Winning the championships without winning a race says it all and for the defence of the World Cup and the Coppa d’Italia a new 8-Metre is build to the design of Doug Peterson and Ian Howlett. Lets see how the Lion from Amsterdam does next time around in Flensburg and Toronto !
Eightm@il No. 31 – October 2004