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Consistency delivers victory for Realteam Racing at TF35 Mies regatta

Yacht Racing Podcast

Esteban Garcia’s Realteam Sailing, helmed by Jérôme Clerc, was the top-scoring boat on a testing day of shifting, light breezes on Lake Geneva, Switzerland, for the final of the TF35 Mies. The defending champions sailed to first, third, and second, while closest rivals Sails of Change 8 were caught mid-pack in fourth on the final two races, putting them into second overall.

“It was a very intense weekend with the fleet getting increasingly close,” admitted Clerc, looking happy on the dock after racing. “I’m proud of the team’s work this weekend. It was a tough battle with Sails of Change 8, but we found the small points where we could improve our coordination and speed to win.”

The light, northerly breeze was fading fast by the time the fleet was ready for the day’s first race. With every team vying for the committee boat end of the line, and only 8 knots of wind to play with, a good start was vital but there was drama with Ylliam 17 pushed over and called OCS, and Sails of Change 10 shut out as the start horn sounded.

Clerc kept Realteam out of trouble – using the space at the pin end to build speed and sail in clear air early on – and, at the windward gate, they held a comfortable lead over second-placed ZEN Too to take their third victory of the weekend.

In the second windward-leeward contest, Sails of Change 10 was determined not to repeat the same mistake. With a clean start and an excellent first beat, they led around the windward gate ahead of Realteam, only to suffer a penalty that dropped them to third. Downwind, the two Ylliam boats broke from the pack, heading right to the French side of the lake. Finding better pressure, Ylliam XII – Comptoir Immobilier took the lead. As the breeze went soft and the race was shorted to finish at the second windward gate, Bertrand Demole, at the helm of Ylliam XII, held on to win ahead of Julien Firmenich’s Ylliam 17 in second and Realteam Sailing in third.

In the shifty, streaky breeze of the final race, ZEN Too started on port, ducked the fleet, and, in clean air, perfectly lined up the starboard layline to make the best gains on the first beat. They held their lead through to the finish of the shortened race, with Realteam in second and Duncan Späth’s Sails of Change 10 in third. “Our goal is a podium position at the end of the season, so we are happy to take a good step in that direction,” explained ZEN Too trimmer Nicolas Berthoud. “Thanks to Guy [de Picciotto] for believing in the team. We’ve worked hard to build our performance, and being in third on the podium today is our reward. A first for ZEN in Grand Prix racing” added helm Loic Forestier at the prize giving.

In the annual ranking, Realteam Sailing and Sails of Change 8 are tied on points at the top of the leaderboard. But with a win in the first of two long-distance races after yesterday’s Geneve-Rolle-Geneve, Sails of Change 8 helm Yann Guichard is enjoying the challenge. “Well done to Realteam for their win and to ZEN, who had a great regatta. It’s so nice to be racing now that the boats are much closer together and the competition is hotter.”

“We’re looking forward to the Bol; the game has already started, and I know each team is already wondering which set-up to use depending on the conditions. We can’t wait,” Guichard adds.

The TF35 Trophy 2024 season will continue next weekend when the teams take part in the Bol d’Or Mirabaud, the world’s largest inland lake regatta.

TF35 MIES RESULTS:
(After five races)
1. Realteam Sailing (SUI 7) – 2 3 1 1 2 – 6
2. Sails of Change 8 (SUI 8 ) – 1 2 3 3 3 – 9
3. Sails of Change 10 (SUI 10) – 4 1 2 4 4 – 11
4. ZEN Too (SUI 4) – 5 6 4 5 1 – 15
5. Ylliam XII—Comptoir Immobilier (SUI 12) – 6 4 6 2 5 – 17
6. Ylliam 17 (SUI 17) – 3 5 5 6 6 – 19

TF35 TROPHY OVERALL RANKING 2024:
(After two events)
1. Realteam Sailing (SUI 7) – 2 1 – 3
2. Sails of Change 8 (SUI 8 ) – 1 2 – 3
3. ZEN Too (SUI 4) – 4 3 – 7
4. Ylliam XII—Comptoir Immobilier (SUI 12) – 3 5 – 8
5. Sails of Change 10 (SUI 10) – 5 4 – 9
6. Ylliam 17 (SUI 17) – 6 6 – 12

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