Bona, the Italian in ambush.
A big day for the 8M IC which raced today in the Bay of Quiberon, the first race in what looks like a very promising World Championship. Things looked exciting from the very start. Fleur de Lys (Modern series), current titleholder from the 2002 edition in Finland, took the lead of the provisional overall rankings, although Gaulois (Modern) and Lafayette
(Modern) gave her cause for concern in the first few miles. More surprising still : Bona (Vintage series), designed in 1934, upset the cookie jar a little. Not only did she finish in the lead eleven minutes ahead of the second placed yacht, she took second place in the provisional overall rankings, just behind the championship?s current titleholder.
The fleet set out at 10h 36 to be precise, in a light steady breeze and under a slightly veiled sunny sky. For this first start, the competitors played things safe and made sure they positioned themselves well in relation to the start line ? in light airs tacticians have to keep a sharp eye on proceedings. Lafayette (Modern) rounded the windward mark in the lead, followed by Fleur de Lys.
The downwind leg to the leeward mark was raced on a reach vent an with the spinnaker up. The second leg close-hauled was a little clearer but the easterly wind soon showed sings of fading. Racing Committee President, Jean Paul Vallégant decided to reduce the course and to set the finish line on
the last leeward mark.
1h35 minutes into the race, Fleur de Lys was first across the finish line, before a small group comprising four boats (Fleur de Lys, Bona, Lafayette, Aluette). Behind them, two minutes later, there was still everything to fight for. It was finally Cutty, who came out tops in a spectacular jousting match of gybes against Sposa II, Yquem and Vision. A mere 17 seconds separated these boats.
This first meeting demonstrates how homogenous the fleet is in light air. All three series are represented Modern, Vintage and Classic, in the first five boats of this first race. Just one round was raced today, the first day in the Championship. The second event of the day was cancelled at 15h50 as the wind was too unstable.
Close-up on Bona
Built by Baglietto in Italy in 1934, this Vintage yacht is driven splendidly by a crew who knows her inside out. Perfectly well maintained, judiciously suited to the top level of her rating, this fine Italian boat has a number of assets which explain the magnificent performance she gave today.
A perfectly smooth hull, steering gear which has been the subject of a great deal of research, pushed to the extreme (the measurement rules provide no details as to rudder form), a particularly well-designed mast, with a full core from top to tail (19 m) covered with four laminate components.. A number of horizontal holes have also been drilled to lighten the spar in neuralgic places which respect loads and stress points. (The measurement rules impose a minimum mast weight of 145 kg and a position for the centre of gravity located 6.46 m above the deck).
Fleur de Lys dominates in the one and only leg of the day
Only one race was run by competitors today, the second day of the competition. The easterly wind was too unstable by far and the Race Committee was unable to give the start this morning. In the beginning of the afternoon, the wind veered west, and the breeze gradually established and so the competitors were able to take the start of this second round at 3 p.m.
The first upwind leg, in what was still a rather badly formed breeze, was very tricky to negotiate indeed. Those who headed over to the left hand side of the course were soon in trouble as the wind died down, whilst those to the right had picked up a good breeze. As if by chance, Jacques Fauroux’s Fleur de Lys, was part of this second fleet. She rounded the windward mark, with Yquem hot on her heels, just two lengths behind. The wind settled later on in the second part of the race, but the participants had to take account of what remained a variable wind and the fairly strong current of the incoming tide caused by the somewhat high tidal factor (96).
In these conditions, Fleur de Lys flew gently towards a regular victory, increasing her little gradually as she did so, followed by Lafayette, making it to the finishing line with a 6 minute lead. Raced in light air, the old Sphinx showed her bows for a moment, like Sposa II, two magnificent varnished boats. Vision of Sebago, for her part, realised some truly fine runs downwind flying her spinnaker, winning one place after another. That said, she was unable to hold off Cutty Tou who made an incredible comeback head to wind on the left hand side of the course. The Minos brothers boat finished fourth, three tiny seconds ahead of Mystery. In doing away with her engine this year, Cutty Tou has lost on her waterline length, which means she has gained little sail area and is more powerful.
Accumulating the two rounds raced thus far, Fleur de Lys easily holds onto her lead. Lafayette takes second, Cutty Too is third, followed by Yquem who has a new mast a new keel with winglets.
At last a fine breeze blows in at La Trinité sur Mer
A north-westerly wind blowing at 15-17 knots at the start of the day, developing westerly in the afternoon, enabled the Race Committee of the Société Nautique de La Trinité-sur-Mer to fire the starting shots of the 3rd and 4th rounds of the World Championship 2003 in the Bay of Quiberon.
Modern : Yquem gives Fleur de Lys cause for concern – Classic : victory for Vision of Sebago
Given ideal race conditions and the 8M IC remarkable head to wind ability, this morning, the 20 competitors raced in an apparent wind of more than 20 knots when close-hauled, giving spectators a demonstration of what these yachts can do at full power. A far cry from yesterday’s light winds.
The Modern soon moved into the lead in the first round of the day. Half an hour into the race, a 25° shift in the wind favoured the left hand side of the course. Yquem, with Mystery and Gefion in her wake, rounded the first mark in the lead, relegating the overall leader Fleur de Lys, to fourth position. In the Classics, Vision of Sebago, helmed by Tanneguy Raffray, lead the dance with brio on the first leg, with the Italian Bona hot on her heels.
But there was still everything to fight for. Jean Fabre, helming Yquem withstood the pressure from Jacques Fauroux (Fleur de Lys) for a while but the championship titleholder took the advantage once again at the end of the second upwind leg. Lafayette, Mystery, Gefion and Aluette were still in the running at the time, but the two leading boats gradually pulled away. 1h 46 into the race, Fleur de Lys took lien honours, clocking up a third win in a row in so doing. In the Classic category, Vision pulled away a little, cutting out the work for Bona, Cutty Tou and Gaulois through to the finishing line. Finishing seventh overall on this round, Vision of Sebago dominated the Sira series 1 minute and 53 seconds ahead of Cutty Tou, her main opponent. Tenth overall of this 3rd round, Bona held onto the lead of the Coupe Cartier, ahead of Catina VI.
Eighteen boats at the start, eleven at the finish
The westerly breeze rose to 18 knots in the afternoon, offering tough sailing conditions for this fourth race, conditions which were largely behind the afternoon’s events. The fleet set out at 14 h 06, upon which the canon could be heard announcing an individual recall. Five boats had crossed the line before the starting shot had been fired (Yquem, Bona, Cutty Tou, Catina VI and Aile VI). None set their mistake right, they continued the race and were consequently all disqualified by the jury. Several minutes later, at the end of the first upwind leg, the German yacht Ayana and the British yacht Amorevita collided. The British boat lost two tiers of her spreaders in the process, and the German boat lost her jumper strut and mast head wind vane. Fortunately, both spars stayed up. Out of 18 runners (Silk and Enchantement did not race and Lafayette did not finish the round), just ten boats were classified in this 4th race.
In the lead, Fauroux’s crew on Fleur de Lys pulled out all the stops and won yet again. Gefion, decidedly at ease in a breeze, finished just two minutes behind. In the Classic category, Vision of Sebago confirmed her fine potential by taking sixth overall and first in the Sira series.
In view of the protests lodged at the end of the fourth round, overall ranking may be subject to one or two amendments.
Wednesday was originally intended to be a rest day. The race committee has finally decided that one round will be raced (the 5th) with a start at 15h30.
The overall leaders, Fleur de Lys in the Modern category and Vision of Sebago in the Sira category, confirm their supremacy at the end of the fifth round
Once the race committee was sure that the wind was well established, it gave the go-ahead for the fifth round of the World Championship 2003. A wise decision as conditions were ideal : a 12 knot westerly breeze, brilliant sunshine and a slightly choppy sea. Silk stated that she would not be racing and so at 15h 36, 19 competitors set out on a fifth windward-leeward loop of around 10 miles.
The helmsmen no doubt had yesterday’s false starts in mind and managed their eagerness better on the start lien today. There was no question of taking too much of a risk. Only Mystery got away too early and had to come back and cross the line again to repair her mistake. She never the less succeeded in rounding the first windward mark placed fourth, after having made her way back up through the fleet.
Once again Fleur de Lys soon moved into the lead, followed by the Swiss Aluette. In the Sira category, Vision of Sebago, helmed by Frank Munier from Arcachon confirmed his previous day’s performance. In stable weather conditions, Fauroux’s crew (Fleur de Lys) sailed worry-free right through to the finish, clocking up her fifth win in a row after 1h 45 on the race course, tow and a half minutes ahead of Yquem. A fine race performance also on the part of Aluette and Lafayette who finished third and fourth just 11 seconds apart.
By finishing seventh (after having been 5th for a while), Vision of Sebago wins the Sira category for this fifth round. A last-minute crew, comprising people from Arcachon and Brittany, it would appear that the Nicholson yacht, designed in 1930 was quick to find her feet, as confirmed by today’s performance.
Finishing eighth overall today, Bona finishes 2nd of the Sira category and 1st in the Coupe Cartier. But the outcome of the jury’s deliberations have to be heard before final places can be confirmed.
Two days before the end of the World Championship, whilst this event has confirmed which are the leading boats in the overall rankings, Sira and Cartier, it has brought about one or two changes for the following boats. Aluette moves into second place overall after her fine 3rd place this afternoon.
The Coupe Cartier
There is nothing that surprising about seeing the name of a jeweler associated with as prestigious an international event as the 8 M IC World Championship. Already back in 1905, Louis Cartier used to sail on Lake Geneva, leaving in his wake the sign of a passion for pleasure yachting which is all about freedom, but further still about this way of life to which Cartier has remained particularly attached.
Founded in Geneva in 1998, the Coupe Cartier is awarded to the winner of the Vintage series in the 8M IC World Championship, reserved for yachts which have been conserved as closely as possible to their original construction (wooden mast, sails made of classic materials) and which have undergone no major modification.
The Vintage 8 M IC are exceptional yachts, built in the 1920-1940’s, telling the long story of this class, built on passion and elegance. Among those present in La Trinité for this 2003 Championship, are Bona (1934), Catina IV (1936), Amorevita (1939), Enchantement (1923), Suzette (1930), together with Aile VI (1928), Virginei Hériot’s legendary yacht.
On Friday evening, the winner of the Coupe Cartier 2003 will raise the silver trophy at the end of a day under the special patronage of the jeweler, a trophy decorated with the three famous rings, symbols of freidnship, fidelity and love. A cup desgined for the occasion in Cartier’s creation workshops and for which the event is raced every year.
In the Modern category, Gefion wins ahead of Fleur de Lys
In the Classic category, Bona reinforces her position as leader.
A dead calm sea for today’s sixth race. A few beams of sunshine shone through the cloudy grey sky every now and again. The steady ten-knot north-westerly wind strengthened in the Bay of Quiberon as the clouds passed overhead.
A clean start for all 20 boats. But a fierce battle took place out on the water, as rounding some of the marks proved to be pretty tricky for the boats which were often in contact.
At the windward mark, the Modern yachts pulled away, led by Fleur de Lys, the leader. It began to look as if she would fly off to win once again. Behind her, Yquem, Mystery and Gefion gave chase. In the Classic category, Cutty Tou was first to round the mark, but very close to Bona and Vision of Sebago.
The rounding of the first leeward mark was very exciting. Up in front, Fleur de Lys gybed at the mark, lowered her spinnaker then hoisted her jib for the beat head to wind found herself with a knot in the sheet. Which prevented her from hardening her genoa. It took her more than a minute to cut her sheet free and replace it. In the end, she had slipped down the rankings to fourth position by the next mark. The Swiss boat Gefion took command a few lengths ahead of Mystery and Yquem.
In the Classic category there was a superb battle between Bona, Gaulois, Vision and Cutty gave each other no favours. The leeward mark was rounded in the twinkling of an eye. Bona had taken a little distance, but Vision and Cutty overlapped.
In a fine last beat upwind, Fauroux’s father and son crew, managed to make up a little of the time lost, overtaking Mystery and Yquem but had to concede a four second lead to Gefion in what was a fine win indeed.
In the Classic category, it was not until the last few metres that the outcome became clear. Following a superb final beat upwind, Bona won the round, winning the Sira Cup and the Coupe Cartier into the bargain. As for Cutty Tou, she crossed the line, overlapping Vision on her windward side with a lead of just one tiny second.
Only withdrawal, Aile VI who had to return to harbour following damage to the helm.
Overall rankings including all rounds : Gefion should have taken second place in the Modern category after the sixth race. But in so far as the competitors are able to cancel their worst round, she finishes fifth. With a second place in the sixth round, Fleur de Lys holds onto her first place overall. In the Classic category, Bona keeps her first place in the Sira Cup and the Coupe Cartier.
Saturday 21st June. Trophée Franck Guillet.
At 11 o’clock on Saturday 21st June, the starting shot of the Trophée Frank Guillet will be fired. The name of the trophy belongs to the skipper from La Trinité who was famous in the 1960’s, owner of many racing yachts, including the 8M IC Cutty Tou, which will be taking part in the parade. To close the Championship, the organisers of the SNT have drawn up a course along the channel forming the entrance to the harbour. The start will be at the entrance of the river in La Trinité. After having rounded the offset mark out to sea, the boats will head for the channel up to Les Presses (on a level with the Multipôle shipyard centre ). Then they will return towards the exit. A second round will bring them back in direction of the harbour where the finish will be judged from the end of the Eric Tabarly mole. Spectators will be able to watch the boats from the shores of the channel, from Saint Philibert or form the other side (the Men Du beach).
La Trinité-sur-Mer has been the theatre for a superb World Championship won by Jacques Fauroux on board Fleur de Lys.
Absolutely glorious weather reigned over the Bay of Quiberon as the 20 yachts raced the closing round of the World Championship this morning. Five minutes after the start of the seventh and last race, the overcast skies gave way to brilliant sunshine and a steady light 6 to 8 knot breeze blew in from the east.
As soon as the last race had got underway, Vision (Sira series) crossed the lien too early and had to come back and cross it once again. She never managed to make her way back up with the leaders of her category. Cutty Tou won ahead of Bona. At the end of this 7th and final round, Bona sailed to victory in the Coupe Cartier 2003.
In the Modern category, the French boat Fleur de Lys and overall leader, pulled too far over to the right hand side of the course in the first beat to windward allowing Yquem, Aluette, Lafayette and Mystery escape. The Swiss Yquem managed to hold onto the lead and finished first, in fornt of her compatriot Aluette. Fleur de Lys crossed the line in third place.
With the exception of Vision of Sabago who had crossed the line before the starting shot had been fired set out too early, the favourites held the places of honour in this last race. Following up the rear, lying in ninth and tenth place, the two magnificent varnished 8 metres – the Finnish Sphinx and the German Sposa II – put in a fine performance in this championship which fulfilled its promises thanks to exceptional weather and a top notch line-up. The wind enabled a quality sporting organisation to be maintained (orchestrated by the Société Nautique de la Trinité sur Mer), indispensable at this level of competition. Throughout the six days of this summit meeting, the race committee demonstrated great clairvoyance in its decisions, largely due to its knowledge of the course and local meteorological phenomena.
Once again, Fleur de Lys , who was here to defend her 2002 title, is World Champion of the 8M International Class. Only the Swiss Gefion and Yquem, were able to restrain her somewhat in her triumphal march to victory by winning a race each. This takes nothing away from the superb performance put in by Jacques Fauroux, helmsman on Fleur de Lys, a yacht which is not that much faster than her closest opponents, but helmed with masterly skill. The Championship crew has trained every Thursday since the month of January off the coast of Cannes. Which is no doubt one of the reasons which explains the supremacy of Jacques Fauroux, architect and helmsman of the boat, which he sails with his two sons, Nicolas (naval architect, mainsheet) and Bruno (bowman, in charge of spinnaker manoeuvres). Jean-Luc Durosne on the runner (hauls in the genoa sheet), together with Isabelle Rinsoz. Pitman (controlling the halyards) is Yves Desprès. Fleur de Lys belongs to Gaston Schmatz, who also owns the 8M France. Fleur de Lys was built by the Caparros yard in Antibes and has a keel with winglets and sails by North.
The other winner of this 2003 Championship, the winner of the Sira Cup as well as the Coupe Cartier, is the amazing Italian yacht Bona. Built and designed in 1934 by the Baglietto yard, she was renovated and very cleverly optimised with a great deal of skill in 2000 at the Mario Lavazzayard, on Lake Maggiore. The builder’s son was part of the crew for this championship. Driven by 8M professionals, Giovanni Mogna, a racing yachtsman who generally sails on Lake Maggiore was at the helm of this old yacht, with her superb Hood sails.
Behind these two winners, are the Modern yachts, Yquem who often troubled Fleur de Lys, pushing her as hard as they could. But others were also in their wake, Lafayette, Gefion, Aluette, and the Canadian yacht Mystery who all finish very close together indeed.
In the Sira Cup, Bona’s consistent performances paid off, but not without the odd worry now and again. Cutty Tou and Vision of Sebago were often seen carrying out lightning attacks. Among the very old boats in the fleet, the fine varnished hull of Sposa II was greatly admired, and the boat finished fourth in the Sira category.
The Coupe Cartier covers six yachts this year, is won by Bona who is streaks ahead of her fellow competitors. Today she will receive the silver trophy created by the famous French jeweller in 1998, today being a day specially devoted to Cartier, one of the sponsors of the World Championship. This cup is intended to encourage the 8M to be identical, in order to preserve their original characteristics.
Reminder about the Coupe Franck Guillet.
On Saturday, tomorrow, from the shores of the Channel entrance to the harbour, the public will be able to admire the parade of the 8 metre yachts. From 11 o’clock in tomorrow morning, the fleet will be sailing between the entrance to the channel and the Eric Tabarly. A wonderful sight lies in store.
source : Alfio Lavazza