A windy spectacle
Sunday 12 February - After the first weekend which saw five one-design series in action (Dragon, Surprise, J24, Star and Platu 25), Monaco bay provided similar challenging conditions for the three series registered this weekend - Longtze Premier, Smeralda 888 and the IRC class cruisers participating for the first time.
Over 100 teams from all over Europe braved the unusually wintery conditions for the 28th Primo Cup–Trophée Credit Suisse, with a cold but dry wind getting up over the three days. At the opening, the Yacht Club de Monaco’s President HSH Prince Albert II praised all the competitors’ determination.
Over the two weekends the wind came from all directions, like for example on the last day where the morning races set out in a stiff easterly breeze and finished late afternoon in a steady south-westerly.
Race Committee Chairman Thierry Leret set a challenging pace for the 240 competitors and 60 volunteers, with a succession of starts and alterations to the course to adapt to the changeable wind conditions. With races lasting under an hour and staggered, a total of four races could be held back to back.
The Smeralda 888s went to the wire on the final leg round the buoy in the last race. A slight delay in dropping the spinnaker on Mascalzone Latino gave victory to Bear Essentials, with François Brenac on tactics. This French-English crew sailing under the YCM flag achieved a rare double. Already victors the weekend before in the J24s, they clinched victory ahead of another YCM member. Already the European champion in the Melges 20 class, Guido Miani is definitely totally at ease whatever the series.
The most international class of the second weekend was the Longtze Premiers which again provided a fantastic spectacle whatever the conditions.
“It was a great regatta with different teams winning the races and newcomers to the circuit. It was very interesting to see some of them clinch their first victories here in Monaco, reflecting the energy driving this class to get it going again,” observed Pierre Mas, initiator and coordinator of the class.
Proof of how tightly fought some of the battles were on the water, a single point separated second placed Ettocinque helmed by Alain Marchand, a Longzte Premier newcomer but six-time winner in the Primo Cup, from Tchikk in fifth helmed by the Brittany sailor Hugues Moulin, winner of the third race.
The overall winner was Laurent Abignolli, a first on the circuit for the man from Marseille who said at the prize-giving: “Despite the wind conditions, I am very happy to finally win a stage in the championship, after several months of hard work.”
Invited to take part for the first time in the Primo Cup, the IRC class cruisers did not hesitate to take up the challenge. “It is a rare opportunity to meet and compete against our neighbours and I would like to congratulate Monaco for this initiative, where the geographical position is a real asset,” said Jean-Claude Bertrand, responsible for the IRC in the Mediterranean for the UNCL.
For this first attempt, the experts in this series had answered the call, sailors like Beppe Zaoli on the GP42 Sweawonder 007 or Alberto Scapolo’s imposing Neera, not to mention Jean-Claude Bertrand and his A40 Tchin Tchin who had the bad luck to lose his mainsail in the first race.
Final victory went to the Saint-Tropez team on Midivoiles helmed by Marc Pajot, with his three daughters Zoé, Lea and Eve on tactics for the first time, having been in the vanguard throughout the weekend neck and neck with Cyril Baillie’s First 40 Sayann Madraco, helmed by a regular and past winner of the Primo Cup, Sylvain Chtounder.
Adrien Follin on his highly efficient Farr 30 Give me 5 took third place, making it a 100% Francophone podium despite the Italian armada.
Once again this year the first three crews in each series received items of clothing from SLAM’s Advanced Technology Sportswear line, with the winners in each series receiving a pair of waterproof binoculars with compass from Bernard Optic. Another highlight was the lucky draw for the gold ingot donated by Credit Suisse which was won by the crew on Vamos, a consolation prize for this three-time winner and Primo Cup defender in the Smeralda 888s.
The rendezvous for 2013 has already been set for the 29th edition which will take place 1-3 and 8-10 February. Significantly, the regatta will be registered as part of the IRC Mediterranean Championship with the target being to have 50 vessels on the water, and preparation for the J24 European Championship which will be organised in Monaco from 6 to 12 October 2013.
Congratulations to a well-deserved Monegasque win in the double-hander Transquadra by Blandine Médecin and Jean Rodelato aboard their Sun Fast 3200, between Cascais (Portugal) and Le Marin (Martinique).
Longtze Premiers after 5 races (4 counted)(11 registered)
1 – Laurent Abignoli, Tendrisse, France, 8pts
2 – Alain Marchand, Ettocinque, Switzerland, 12pts
3 – Jarmo Wieland, Shensu, Switzerland,12pts
IRCs after 5 races (4 counted)(16 registered)
1 – Michel Delsemme, Midivoiles, France, 8pts
2 – Cyril Baillie, Sayann Madraco, France, 9pts
3 – Adrien Follin, Give me 5, France,11pts
Smeralda 888s after 5 races (4 counted)(11 registered)
1 – Bear Essentials, Monaco, 5pts
2 – Guido Miani, Fire, Monaco, 9pts
3 – Achille Onorato, Mascalzone Latino, Italy, 15pts