Capricorno fights back at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez
Once again, the race committee of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez showed the patience of Job as they and the 46 maxi yachts competing waited for the wind to defy the forecast and fill in on the Golfe de Saint-Tropez. Finally a light easterly from 070° arrived and, after almost an hour and a half’s wait, racing got under way for the maxi fleet’s four classes, ranging in size from the Swedish-owned Swan 115 Yasi to 60 footers from manufacturers such as CNB, Nautor’s Swan and Mylius.
Week two of Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, run by the Société Nautique de Saint-Tropez with assistance from the International Maxi Association (IMA), is the final event of the IMA’s 2022 Mediterranean Maxi Inshore Challenge. Leader going into this event was Alessandro Del Bono’s Capricorno. The 27-year-old ILC maxi further asserted her position in this today by winning the Maxi 3 class ahead of Terry Hui’s Wally 77 Lyra, a past winner here.
“We sailed a good one – we are quite happy with our sailing today,” said Capricorno’s tactician Flavio Favini. “This boat is good in the light, but you have to deal with your handicap.” The Reichel/Pugh-designed former Morning Glory is also narrow and therefore good in the light and on windward-leewards, which today’s race was closer to than yesterday’s course. “Today was more leftie with a bit more breeze – properly an upwind and a run. Unfortunately there was no wind…! But everyone likes to be here.”
Showing that their win yesterday wasn’t an aberration, Walter Pizzoli’s Swan 601 Les Amis was fourth today, leaving her just one point behind Capricorno and Lyra, which are tied on points at the top overall.
The most star-studded class is Maxi 2, in which there is a unique fight between the ‘hot 100s’ – such as the trio of Wallycentos, Leopard 3 and Claus-Peter Offen’s Y3K (plus the highest rated in the class, George David’s Rambler 88) – and the grand prix racer former Maxi 72s – Cannonball, Jethou and North Star. Yesterday owner Dario Ferrari, afterguard Michele Ivaldi and Vasco Vascotto and the crew of the 75ft Cannonball gave the fleet a light wind racing masterclass. Today, in a fraction more pressure, the winner was Peter Dubens’ Judel/Vrolijk 72 North Star.
“We’re really pleased,” said North Star tactician, 470 Olympic medallist Nick Rogers. “Today was down to the trimmers and boat speed. Tactically a lot of it was about lanes and not getting covered. We found it difficult with other boats in front of us, but we were very quick downwind – in fact all of our lead we took on the downwinds. We have changed how we sail the boat – a lot of it is technique and we have a new A1.5 spinnaker which helps.”
North Star beat second-placed Cannonball by 2 minutes 52 seconds under IRC corrected time with Sir Peter Ogden’s Jethou third, so for a second day the ex-Maxi 72s filled the Maxi 2 podium.
Next were the 100s and today it was the turn of David M. Leuschen’s Wallycento Galateia to prevail over Magic Carpet Cubed and Tango. “We made a bit of a meal of start,” admitted Galateia tactician and birthday boy Kelvin Harrap. “We started down the line and got tangled up. It was quite different from yesterday when the right was very favoured. We got pressure and a lift on the first beat, which got us across Magic Carpet Cubed. If you got in a lane of pressure you were gone. The boat is going better in light airs with our new sails and the way we are setting up the rig.” Galateia has also been sailing with the minimum number of crew – still more than 20…
In Maxi 1 Jean-Luc Petithuguenin’s Wally 107 Spirit of Malouen X came out on top, winning by a massive 17 minutes under IRC from the Swan 115 Jasi. This came as considerable relief for tactician, Volvo Ocean Race winner Laurent Pagès: “Yesterday was a bad day for us, mostly because I made really big mistakes and wrong calls. Anyway today we were able to sail properly and make the right calls and we overcame yesterday’s mistakes. It worked really well today starting as usual in the sea breeze, winning the right and heading into the right hand shift and pressure. Fortunately our helmsman Cédric Chateau was able to realise our plan and the boat is very slippery in these conditions. We will see how it goes for the next days.”
History was made in Maxi 4 with a first bullet going to the legendary Kiwi Magic – KZ7, Chris Dickson’s 1987 America’s Cup challenger. Previously owned by Bill Koch and donated to the US Merchant Marine Academy, the famous 12 Metre was very recently acquired in immaculate state by Danish metre boat sailor Johan Blach Petersen. Petersen is a 12 Metre class fan, who has followed his new baby since she competed in Perth. Petersen’s crew is largely from his native Aarhus, where he has been involved in the renowned match race centre.
After yesterday receiving a ‘French Kiss’ from his rival 12 metre here, Petersen’s ‘plastic fantastic’ avoided contact from the French 12 metre today, to beat her on the water by a massive 19 minutes. Kiwi Magic also came out on top under IRC, ahead of yesterday’s winner, Juerg Schneider’s Swan 65 ketch Saida. “We had some fantastic tacks and we have a very good local tactician,” said Petersen, who is looking forward to an expanding program for 12 metres in the Mediterranean over the coming years.
Tomorrow is layday at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez with racing set to resume on Friday and Saturday. The forecast for both days is light but more promising.
by James Boyd / International Maxi Association
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Full results here
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