La Société Nautique de Geneve started the 8 metre action in Hankø with the Régate Annuelle en Mer today.
Today´s races were the first two out of four, and took place in near perfect conditions.
A southwesterly 12-18 knots in heavy seas, gave the 28 classic metre boats plenty, of action and indicated what the sailors could be up to for the next few days, including the World Cup starting Monday 14th.
While this is an important regatta, necessary for the Swiss club to maintain their position as a potential America’s Cup challenger, the sailors regard the competition, which ends tomorrow, as a tune up for the Worlds. King Harald came 5th with «Sira» in the first race, but considered he had seen what he needed and retired early in the second. For the 80 year old monarch these regattas are part of his birthday celebrations, and he probably wants to save his strength for when it really counts.
Yet we saw some very interesting sailing out there today. Both «Pandora», ex «Raven», and «Wanda», both in the «Sira» category for yachts built before 1960, provided a strong challenge for the almost brand new «Miss U». Former olympian Dag Usterud steered «Wanda» to second place in the first race, following «Miss U» like a shadow all of first round. In the second race of the day, «Pandora» with Olympic Finn sailor Dan Slater trimming the main, managed to beat them all.
Of the first seven boats, six will be competing for the «Sira Trophy» in the World Cup, and judging from todays racing, the competition among these ageing beauties will be fierce. The World Cup will be starting Monday and finishes Saturday 20th August.
Results after day one of Régate Annuelle en Mer de la SNG:
1 «Miss U» Avia WILLMENT, GBR 1, 2 3 p
2 «Pandora» Werner DEURING , AUT 3, 1 4 p
3 «Wanda» Lars INGEBERG, NOR 2, 3 5 p
4 «Silja» Thomas HALLBERG, FIN 8, 4 12 p
5 »If» Tom KNUTSEN, NOR 4, 10 14 p
6 «Luna» Harri ROSCHIER, FIN 9, 5 14 p
7 «Bangalore» Terry McLAUGLIN, CAN 6, 9 15 p