Regates Royales 25.09.2017

A war of nerrves

So much that at mid-afternoon most of the fleet were still out on the water looking for the slightest puff of air to get to the finish, despite a shortened course.

Aeolus was not co-operating much today on the Bay of Cannes. A very light wind, a flimsy 3 to 5 knot-strong south-westerly was all the 80 plus classic yachts were given to complete a triangular coastal course. The original triangle thus became a V-shaped course, with an upwind beat and a downwind leg sailed under spinnaker. After a nerve-wracking race, patience paid off for the 23Metre Cambria, that was able to escape from the rest of the fleet on a shortened course and cross the line, positioned just off the Saint-Marc, in first. Behind them only the 15 Metre Mariska and a few other, whose patience paid off , who were able to sail around the first mark.

One race only
In the Golfe Juan weather conditions were similarly complicated, and the Dragon crews too had to rely on patience, with the Race Committee forced to launch several procedures and have several general recalls before getting a good start, with Estonians on Otium disqualified for being over the line with a black flag. The boats hardly moving, the RC opted to shorten the course. Once again it was a duel between Russian skipper Annatoly Loginov on Annapurna and UK’s Yvan Bradbury on Blue Haze, consolidating his overall leadership after three races, and France’s Alain Lathioor on Révolte. More races, and discards, will be needed to define the final scoreboard, but it looks like only the top fifteen boats can aspire to the podium.

The 5.5 and the Tofinou could also race one round today. It was Switzerland Andreas Dyhk Petersen on Otto to get the 5.5 series’ first win, while Régates Royales’ veteran Edward Fort on Pippa also scored a victory in the Tofinou 9.5 class.

Weather conditions are expected to improve tomorrow, with clearer skies and slightly stronger winds.

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Serial sailor – Alex Pella
The multi-talented Spaniard

They may be America’s Cup, Volvo Ocean Race, Mini Transat, offshore or Olympic sailors or maybe all of the above. Many can be seen on the dock in Cannes for the Régates Royales-Trophée Panerai, and one is the man-of-many-talents Alex Pella.

Alex you won the Route du Rhum on a Class40’, the Jules Verne Trophy with Francis Joyon, you’ve raced the Mini-Transat several times, how is it to be racing a classic yacht?
“It’s a family boat, an old racer-cruiser called Galvana. With my three brothers we often sail her, it’s a boat built in 1974 in Barcelona on a Sparkman & Stephens’s design. We cruise in the Med or we take part in regattas like the Régates Royales de Cannes. Since it is older than thirteen years, we can also do the classic yachts circuit, and with some good results too! I’m quite busy and I can’t go to all the events, I’ve saved some free time to be here and have some fun with my brothers.”

A family boat
“We did some works ourselves in 2003. It’s a very solid boat, built in the 70’s by a small shipyard that produced some 120 boats: Galvana is very good, with an American flavour but really comfortable. It crossed the Atlantic but didn’t race much because it’s really a racer-cruiser with a high freeboard. Anyway, it is quite fast compared to the new boats of the same size.”

Here in Cannes your race in the Bermudan Vintage class?
“Yes exactly, we race against other IOR boats like Ganbare, Resolute Salmon or the maxi Il Moro di Venezia, against the 12 Metre like France or Chancegger… We haven’t got the best rating but at least Galvana is very comfortable. We try to do like four races every year: I’ve done a short offshore race in Spain, we were in Mahon, we’re here for the Régates Royales, and we’ll close the season with the Voiles de Saint-Tropez… »

But then you’re starting for another transatlantic race!
“Right, I will not be in Saint-Tropez because I will join Lalou Roucayrol on his Multi50 for the Transat Jacques Vabre. As a fact, I’m taking over from Karine Fauconnier who hurt herself. It’s a new challenge for me because it’s only a month I sail with Lalou: it’s fun, the boat feels like a kart! It’s small, uncomfortable, but less physical than IDEC Sport and very fast with the new foils.”

Technical specs Galvana :
Design: Sparkman & Stephens
Shipyard: Astilleros Caravela (1975)
LOA: 16,65 m
LWL: 12,46 m
Beam: 4,33 m
Draft: 2,80 m
Displacement: 20 000 kg
Sail area: 110 sq. m
© Guido Cantini / Panerai

Boats and classes

A class on its own
When Nathanaël Herreshoff conceived the Universal Rule in 1903, it was immediately adopted by the New York Yacht Club (NYYC), giving birth to the majestic J-Classes that made history in the America’s Cup between 1930 and 1937. But the rule was also used to design nine other classes, such as the P-Class, that is represented at the Régates Royales de Cannes-Trophée Panerai by Olympian and Chips

This new international rule would soon take over from the Seawanhaka Rule adopted in 1883 by the NYYC and was, in fact, the answer by American architect Nathanaël Herreshoff to the existing America’s Cup rules. The designers were creating bigger and bigger boats in an effort to increase performances, as it happened for example with Reliance, the most extreme of all the Defenders, winner of the1903 edition on Sir Thomas Lipton’s Shamrock III , designed by William Fife. An extraordinary boat that also featured the first ever two-speed winches, measuring 61,26 meters overall (201’) but only 27,43 meters of waterline (90’)!

A classic format
The new Universal Rule by Nathanaël Herreshoff was intended to put a limit to the excesses of the early 20th century: it took into consideration the boat’s overall length, her beam, draft, freeboard, hull shape, the mast height and the total sail area. Herreshoff adapted the rule to create ten different categories among which the I, with an handicap lower than 88’, the J not exceeding 76’ but also the Q, set at 25’ or the P class having a rating inferior to 31’ like Chips and Olympian.

The American naval architect signed his first P-class in 1907 to defend the Canada’s Cup. Seneca owned by M.P. Pembroke was later bought by Royal Canadian’s Commodore Jarvis, thus being the leader of an eight-boats strong fleet based in Toronto. Whilst, only two boats flied the flag of Rochester Yacht Club, on the American coast of Lake Ontario: Olympian owned by Paul LaLonde and Alleode owned by Lorenzo Mabbett, who won the prestigious Fisher Cup in 1927.

Yet, Nathanaël Herreshoff was not the only one to design P-class boats. Chips was conceived by Starling Burgess, who also built her in 1913 at the shipyard bearing his name and based in Marblehead, that is the very same year William Gardner’s designed Olympian, which saw the light in Chicago and was built by Mc Clure. All in all, some twenty P-class yachts were created before their decline, due to the Metre Rule becoming more and more popular among European owners and being used for the Olympic Games.

Technical specs Chips (ex-Onda III) :

Designer: Starling Burgess
Builder: W. Starling Burgess (1903)
LOA: 15,67 m
Waterline length: 10,70 m
Beam: 3,17 m
Draft: 2,25 m
Displacement: 16 000 kg
Sail area: 170 sq. m