It is also a symbol of Switzerland!

Been awhile since we read new reports Elena Tekinay and haven’t seen her wonderful pictures. And now – wait!

© Elena Tekina

Last weekend it was my first time to visit the largest and most prestigious lake in the world regatta – the Bol d’or Mirabaud. Has become a real symbol of Switzerland, along with chocolate, banks and watch, the race is held since 1939, and this year has started 81 times!

According to the President of the organizing Committee of the regatta Rodolphe Gautier, Switzerland ranks second among the sailing Nations of the world in the number of yachts per head of population, immediately after New Zealand, and every year the Bol d’or Mirabaud are not only attracted new participants but also spectators. The surge of interest in sailing in Switzerland occurred after the victory of Ernesto Bertarelli and his Alinghi team in the America’s Cup and since then, more and more Swiss have been sailing.

Geneva is always something going on, the audience here are spoiled for cultural and sporting events, but at the start of the Bol d’or is going almost the entire city to look like five hundred yachts and 3,000 sailors to leave the Bay. In fact it is the biggest sailing festival with live concerts and parties. In the days of the race one of the most secretive and prestigious yacht clubs in the world – Société Nautique de Genève opens the doors to all comers. As a stage for concerts and the awarding, use the deck of the historic ship “Neptune” built in 1904, special moored at the club on the occasion of the regatta.

Distance is a 66,5 miles with the start in Geneva, following sign in front of the town of Bouveret at the other end of the lake and return to Geneva. The record of the race is 5 hours and 1 minute and is set by the trimaran Triga IV in 1994. But like 80 years ago, some boats have to get out on the water for about a day, before finally finishing.

In different years the participants and winners of the regatta became world stars of sailing as Eric Tabarli, Dennis Connor, Frank Kamma, françois Gabaret, Russell Coutts, Michelle Dezhuayo, Ellen MacArthur and Leuk of Paron.

Since 2005, the regatta sponsors banking group Mirabaud, which is very close to the values of sailing and the challenges that puts the sail in front of a man. Some managing partners of the group themselves are enthusiastic yachtsmen, and employees regularly participate in the regatta in the team Mirabaud in the most popular local lake class Surprise. The same Mirabaud, let me remind you that awards annual prizes for the best photos and videos taken during a sailing competition – the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image and Mirabaud Sailing Video Award. This year the group is celebrating its bicentennial and in honor of this event even awarded a special prize for 200th place!


The proximity of the mountains dictates the complex wind rose: it is impossible to build long-term weather forecasts, and predictions of meteorologists often not justified. The wind here is a very interesting and unstable, he can go narrow strips from several directions, and often two Board-on-Board boats are going in different winds, making the tactic especially difficult. This year it was feared that the race will be completely calm and a few days before the launch of its already jokingly called lake Doldrums, but contrary to the expectations of the current regatta has turned into a real Armageddon and enter into the history of lake Geneva as one of the most striking and dramatic episodes of his sailing life.

Last 24 hour weather forecast promised a light breeze at the start, and then to five in the evening, the vast storm front with the wind in 30+ knots was to overtake the participants. All crews were alerted, the rescue services are ready, but the reality exceeded all expectations!

After a gorgeous Friday party open regatta with great sunset, live music, mountains of food and rivers of wine, morning start 15 June, it was cloudy – rain wall and the lack of wind. However, by the time of the launch of the latest 24-hour forecast started to come true right away. After the starting signal, the sun came out and climbed the South-West breeze at 5-7 knots, which allowed us to launch the full course. The spectacle of hundreds of boats going dense crowd under the bright spinnakers was spectacular, for the first time I have seen a number of yachts on the lake! There was, it seems, all kinds of sailing ships over the last 30 years. In addition to hundreds of historic yacht lake class Surprise, among the participants were the historic boats and modern sports yachts including the J/70 and Melges, and even Mini 6.5 and also carbon flying catamarans.

Russia was represented by Principessa Libera project c a member of the Presidium of the WFTU Lanfranco Cherillo on the steering wheel, tactician Daniele De Luca, and also known Russian riders – three-time world champion Finn-Masters Vladimir Krutskikh and members of the Olympic team of Russia Arkady Kistanov and Daniil Krutskikh. As part of a large international crew of 15 people was also a large Swedish businessman, the famous Explorer, famous polar Explorer and the honorary Consul of Russia in Lausanne Frederik Paulsen.

482 all registered participating yachts are divided into 10 classes, started simultaneously on a signal from the gun. Before the starting line single-hull boat was fitted with a separate line for mnogoyarusnyi.


Immediately ahead rose a-class catamaran Décision 35 (D35), which after 16 years of participation in the Bol d’or has made this year one last time to next year to give way to polovym brethren. The three leaders turned out to be Alinghi, Ernesto Bertarelli, Realteam Jerome Clair and modified D35 Ladycat Powered by Spindrift Racing, Dona Bertarelli with Jan Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on the wheel don which in 2010 became the second female winner in the history of the regatta. Once it was a pink boat with a female crew, but then the catamaran Ladycat was completely rebuilt and became part of the project Spindrift, which don co-founded with her husband, the famous French offshore racer by Ian Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

Closer to three o’clock, the leaders of the fleet reached the sign Bouveret, and the first managed to obernutsya catamaran Guichard, followed by Realteam Jerome Clair. According to Jan, being the first on the sign was for the team’s first major task, this gave a further advantage. Among odnomandatnikov dominated both yacht of the project Libera: three times winner of the Bol d’or Raffica, the Hungarian and Russian Principessa.

The storm came in right on forecast, but was much stronger than expected with a long ragged waves, winds 50+ knots and heavy rain with hail. Visibility was zero, the boat one after another lost a mast and sails. The weather service recorded in the area of Bouveret gusts of 60 knots. Thanks to good organization and efficient work of the organizing Committee, emergency services and volunteers without casualties, materiel but many were injured very seriously.

212 boats dropping out of the race, about 40 lost masts, including coming second Realteam, numerous MOB, and several yachts sank. According to the Russian Maxim Fedorov, who was on Board speakers under the Swiss flag Seascape 24 Olga, they were starmobile about an hour, and then came out of the race. The team managed to take the reefs, but the twist of the headsail failed, the sail unwound and broke. “When we entered the Marina Thonon, I realized that lightly. Around already had a few boats without masts, and the police gathered on the lake boats, lost its way. Experienced members say, that this lake has never seen. We also had a boy 9 years old, for him it was the “baptism of fire”.

While the Raffica, the Hungarian managed to remove all the sails and to avoid a coup, though she had much to go off course, the Russian Principessa experienced a complete overkill. According to Arkady Kistanov, when you flip the pillow on the top of the mast, which was to provide a buoyancy, has not worked – and the upright mast went under water, but luckily not broken. Command boat caught the crew out of the water and helped to put the boat. The boat was out of the race and made it to the nearest Marina. The team members all the way kept a stiff upper lip and not lost good mood even during extreme swimming, and the damage Principessa only got a stone chip on the centerboard.


Having survived the storm, Raffica was able to quickly make up for lost time and won the prize for the first to the finish among odnomandatnikov THE BOL DE VERMEIL CHALLENGE. The winning team receives a silver replica of the Cup and could retain the Cup from her forever, but only if the same owner or the same syndicate wins the regatta three times in the last five years. Raffica have been able to do it in 2016, and now opened a new account cups.

The first finish line among the fleet crossed the D35 catamaran Ladycat Powered by Spindrift Racing. He received the main prize of a regatta – THE BOL D’OR CHALLENGE.

According to Jan Guichard, the storm came very quickly, the wind reached 52.4 per node, and it was extremely difficult to keep the catamaran from capsize; over streams of rain and wind in the face was impossible to look ahead, so steer it had, looking back. The hardest part was to Wade through coming towards the fleet. “I’ve never been in such a storm, even in the ocean!”, – told members of the four attempts the conquest of the Cup of Jules Verne.

“When the storm began, we were not able to clean up the grotto. The guys began to take reefs, but I realized that we’ll never make it, and was told to reset the staysail. We stopped the boat and 10 minutes expected the worst. The wave was very high for lake — five feet, and very short, was very difficult. Then another 20 minutes we waited for the wind will fall at least 30 knots before again raised the staysail, and got back on course. We were very close to the coup, was literally on the edge”.

After the storm, the wind fell, and at the end of the race the team almost caught up with the two closest rivals – D35 Ylliam Comptoir Immobilier and Alinghi. The last mile was given to Jan Team is very difficult, the wind was less than 5 knots, and the situation was unpredictable, but still Ladycat could three minutes ahead of Ylliam Comptoir, completing the race in 10 hours and 36 minutes and 21 seconds.

Yan Guichard won this prestigious award for the second time, and for Dona Bertarelli this is the fourth victory in 13 years of participation in the Ladycat Bol d’or and the third win in the last five years. Now the team won the right to keep the trophy to themselves for a possession. Last time did it dawn famous brother Ernesto Bertarelli in 2001. and his Alinghi.

After the race don told me that it was a very emotional moment when her yacht was victorious in his last season, and in such difficult conditions. “It was a great story that now came to an end, and I look forward to a new story next year, with new boat and new adventures!”

 Elena Tekina,

photo by the author.

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