This weekend saw a fitting finale to the 2nd edition of the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series of regattas organised since 2014 by the Yacht Club de Monaco on the initiative of Valentin Zavadnikov (Synergy). The aim is to give experienced professional and amateur teams a chance to train for the big meetings of the season, alternating races with training sessions.
Following the success of the first edition which was only for Melges 20, the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series 2014-2015 was expanded to embrace nearly fifty J/70s.
Taking full advantage of its new building and facilities, the YCM is now better equipped than ever to bring life to the harbour during winter with these monthly regattas. For the five Acts of this series, the YCM hosted a total of 91 one-designs (47 Melges 20s and 44 J/70s) which had set up their winter headquarters here in the Principality and have competed in 28 and 25 races respectively since October.
For the fifth and final Act this weekend, competitors enjoyed sunny skies and the 12-15-knot tail-end of a Mistral which meant a total of nine races could be run by the two race committees, with Thierry Leret heading one for the 28 Melges 20 competing for the Pirogovo Cup, and the other by Olivier Roinson for the 29 J/70s.
In the Melges 20, Guido Miani (Monaco Racing Fleet), third in the last Worlds, confirmed his supremacy by winning Act 5 and the overall ranking for the five Acts.
He had a battle on his hands this weekend with Vladimir Prosikhin (Nika), always hard on his heels and proving particularly strong downwind. Guido Miani fought hard to maintain his consistency, managing always to be in the top four to conserve his position as leader that he held from the first day. Vladimir Prosikhin finished 2nd in Act 5, just five points adrift, with Mirko de Falco (Peccere) completing the podium this weekend.
“The Winter Series is a great test for the team before we start the championships. I was born here and have been sailing here most of my life, so I am really attached to this race area and know it well. It is very interesting, often with lots of chop, so we are used to sailing in difficult conditions which means we progress and are more at ease on typically easier venues. I think Monaco is a place where one can improve,” said the winner, Guido Miani.
A special mention too for the 2nd place achieved in the final overall ranking of the season for the International Class President, Vianini Manfredi Tolomei (Maolca), who won this title in 2014. Corrado Agusto (Customly) was 3rd. He was pleasantly surprised to be congratulated by Pierre Casiraghi, President of the YCM Racing Fleet, and to become part of the Yacht Club de Monaco’s elite group of racers who compete under the YCM burgee in ISAF classes.
Today being International Women’s Day, Pierre Casiraghi also had Ekaterina Skudina, double European Champion and World Champion, on board for the final races of the day in the Melges 20. Ekaterina was in the Principality to coach Russian J/70 teams.
The J/70s really put on a show over the weekend, with all boats jostling for position on the start requiring all their talent and determination to catch that extra breeze and pull away from the crowd.
Throughout the weekend, the leaders battled it out round every mark, proof of how tight the races were being that all competitors crossed the finish line in less than four minutes.
Jacopo Carrain, 4th in Act 5, won the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series 2015. “I am very satisfied, as the general level in the J/70s improves every month across the fleet. It’s a great opportunity for the 17 Monegasque boats to compete with the best European teams who were there in force from Germany, Italy and England,” said a delighted Monaco Class President.
For this last Act, it was the foreigners who dominated the podium led by Ferdinando Battistella (Diva) in first place, with Geoff Carveth (Joyride) and Yannick Heffner (Led Zeppelin) sharing points for 2nd and 3rd place.
It was a result that was enough to put Geoff Carveth (Joyride) on the third step of the podium for the season, just behind Stefano Roberti (Aria).
Alongside the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series, nine Smeralda 888s were competing for their Spring Challenge. Victory went to Roberto Tamburelli, a newcomer to the class, with his brand new Forest Gump. He beat Peter Grut (Gryphon), who lost his lead due to equipment failure on the eighth race. Class President Charles de Bourbon-Siciles completed the podium.
The next regatta at the YCM is on 28th to 29th March when the first J/70 Italian Championship will be held with around 40 boats expected. It all bodes well for the J/70 European Open Championship, here in Monaco from 12th to 17th October 2015.