Régates Royales - Trophée Panerai : A classic invasion
Wednesday, September 21, 2016 8:30 AM
One needed to be everywhere at the right time to watch the multiple fights of the 38th edition of the Régates Royales today. The 75 classics and the 6 Tofinou criss-crossed the bay to cover the big triangular coastal course. The three 12 Metres, all once owned by Baron Bich, had their first ever encounter since 1970: France designed by André Mauric, Chancegger created by American architect Britton Chance and Sovereign, the Twelve representing the UK in 1964. And finally, 50 Dragons had two intense races close to the peninsula of Juan les Pins, where international crews tried to break the Russian monopoly on top of the scoreboard.
The big fight
It was not easy, even for the cunning and experienced international crews in the Dragon class, to find the best tactical call today to disentangle from the group and get into the lead in such a light and shifty breeze. After yesterday's Russian domination, today it was yet another Russian crew to shine on the water: Convergence skippered by Mikhail Senatorov. His compatriot Vasaliy Senetorov on Even Better took third, behind Finland's Christian Borenius on Thouban. The overall results, as a consequence, were considerably shook up with yesterday's leader Dmitry Samokhin on Melody Nelson falling down to 32nd and Denmark's Soeren Pehrsson on Blue Lady getting a disappointing 30th.
The fourth race (the second for the day) changed the leaderboard once again with Estonia's Vitamine-One (Mimkel Kosk-Niklas Jansson, Viljo Vetik) in first place, followed by Germany's Smaug (Nicola Friesen, Vincent Hoesch, Michael Lipp) and France's Ar Youleg (Christian Guyader, Gwen Chapalain, Erwann Le Chat). At the end of the day, the Russians on Even Better were back on the saddle with 9 points, in front of the Germans on Smaug with 10 andfollowed by two more crews from Russia: Melody Nelson at 13 points and Annapurna at 16 points. With three more days and at least six races to go nothing is carved in stone.
Slightly more offshore in the Juan gulf, the 12 Metre racing had an air of nostalgia to it with the three boats once owned by legendary baron Bich meeting for the first time since 1970: Chancegger, Sovereign and France. The three crews fought hard, alternating at the lead and looking for every shift and puff. After three matches Sovereign, the oldest boat on the water, came out on top with two victories, followed by France that won the last match of the day and Chancegger in third.
Young guns on top
The 75 classics raced on a big triangular course in the bay of La Napoule for the joy of the many spectators on the beaches and at sea. In about 10 knots of shifting easterly to south-easterly breeze, the bigger boats sailed twice around and the smaller ones once. Not an easy race course to read, but apparently the best tactical option was to keep inshore and close to Cannes. It was hard work for all the crews, hoisting and taking down huge spinnakers, balloon spinnakers, genoas and jibs...
At the front, a real match-race between Cambria (23 metres long, design William Fife III dating from 1928) and the huge Elena (55 metres, a replica of Nathanaël Herreshoff 's original from 1910) took place, but this year the “Big Boats” series was revived by the newcomers Puritan, Sincerity, Sumurun and several more. Behind them gaffers clashed with classics, one-tonners, Admirals' Cup boats or Marconi rigged boats, designed by the some of the biggest stars of all times: Nathanaël Herreshoff, Charles Nicholson, Olin Stephens, Clinton Crane, Arthur Tiller, Sparkman & Stephens, François Camatte, William Fife, Eugène Cornu, Henry Rasmussen…
The full results are being computed and will be available later today on the official website www.regatesroyales.com.
The weather conditions are expected to be favourable for the whole week. Today, Tuesday, the sky remained sunny, partly cloudy around noon but with summer-like temperatures and flat seast. The Easterly wind was generated by a low pressure active on the gulf of Genoa, that is expected to deepen tomorrow and get lighter on Thursday. This could cause some rainstorms on Wednesday night (TBC). Today the light northerly breeze veered to the East half-morning, increasing to a good 10 knots, continuing to rotate to the right and becoming a South-easterly of around 5/6 knots in the late afternoon, enabling the fleets to have ideal sailing conditions.
Today the 5.5 fleet had its lay-day and will come back to the race course tomorrow, Wednesday. Today will then record the debut races of the 12 Metres France, Sovereignand Chancegger on the “Bravo” race course, placed in the Juan gulf, just off the Lérins islands. Further inshore, the 50 Dragons will be tackling their third race, with a good chance to have more, given the favourable weather conditions. And finally, the Classics and the Tofinou will be sailing in the La Napoule bay, starting from noon on a coastal course spanning from the Lérins islands,Théoule sur mer and Cannes.