sail-world.com -- Bol d’Or Mirabaud - 500+ battle on Lake Geneva
Bol d’Or Mirabaud - 500+ battle on Lake Geneva
Thu, 20 Jun 2013
The 75th anniversary of the legendary Bol d’Or Mirabaud, one if the biggest inland regattas in the world - which takes place every year on Lake Geneva, was a special one. There were some 500 boats from the fast Decision 35 to the weird and not so fast Puissance 4. With more than a 100 boats taking part, it was quite a showing of the most popular boat on the lake, the Archambault Surprise.
Weather was as predicted, SW filling from the start transitioning to a south wind coming from the Alps, which turned into a fast and freak storm with gusts close to 40 knots and heavy rain for 15 minutes. Some did get soaked but not the fastest boats that where already on the way back. Then it was the long wait in the night with no wind until some thermal breeze filled the spinnakers on the way south back to Geneva for those still in the race.
Alinghi form Ernesto Bertarelli of America’s Cup fame took a good start and led at the only mark going towards the other end of the lake. The wind coming from behind led to several restarts with a lot of boats in the same area, but later the new Ventilo M1 Zenith Fresh took the lead at the turning point not to be rejoined until it got in Geneva in 12h28 minutes.
So, it is the first time since the beginning of the Decision 35 era in 2004 that a different boat has claimed the race.
This only Ventilo M1 is a grownup Ventilo M2 of which there are some twenty boats built already. It was launched last year and now after some adjustments seems to be in top form. The main differences between the Ventilo M1 and the Decision 35 are the weight, 750kg vs 1200 and the hull shapes. That weight difference was probably the deciding factor in a race where the wind was light for most of the time.
For the monohulls it’s the libera Raffica from Hungary that wins a second time in just over 15 hours. These guys do deserve our respect, there were sixteen of them, of which more than a dozen dangled on trapeze lines to maintain the giant dinghy from capsizing. They come from far away in two buses, one trailing the hull and the other their support rib and the mast, quite an expedition, cook included! We do hope they have the means to show up next year.
And for those who wonder, we took part for the fifth or sixth time on our faithful trimaran, a Dragonfly 800 SW that is 23 years of age. We got back to Geneva in over 25 hours obtaining a better result than last year, so our contract was met, for which I do thank my crew.