NauticNews

Régates Impériales 2006

06/2006 –

Wednesday May 24th: 1st race
Is this really the Mediterranean?

Under a leaden sky, the sea dark as ink, with cool showers, the quay of
honour looked more like Brittany, but the preparations for the first
race were well underway, though much like the weather, things seemed
somewhat slow and heavy due to last night's welcome party for the
crews.

At around 10am, Georges called all the skippers together for his annual
briefing on the rules of the race. The start was to be in two stages,
starting with the eight gaff rigs, which are heavier and more difficult
to manoeuvre, followed by the easier to steer Marconis.

The start was planned for 11.30am but delayed by an hour and a half due
to the less than compliant weather. In the end, the Marconis left first
from the Saint François beach, followed by the gaff rigged ketches ten
minutes later.

Suddenly, the wind turned and transformed the race. By around 4.30pm at
the Barbicaggia buoy, Zéphyr appeared to be leading the "Tradition"
category whilst White Wings had the lead in the Marconi class. But in
the end, the wind, or rather the lack of it, had the better of them all
and the organisers decided to call off the day's race for most of the
crews.


Thursday May 25th

Victory against the wind

At around 11am, the mist lifted, the sun appeared and a promising breeze picked up.

The race began at 12.30pm on circuit no. 4. A damaged helm forced the
unfortunate Outlaw to withdraw, as the breeze turned in to a superb 15
to 20 knot wind for the rest of the race.
These great ladies of the seas then entered a magnificent battle, with
first Zephyr and Aldebaran going head to head, followed by the Blue
Peter
and White Wings. Moonbeam IV, Lelantina and Radha were also a
spectacular sight. In the end, it was Moonbeam who took home the
Aurique (gaff rig) class, whilst The Blue Peter came through victorious
for the Marconis and Radha for the classic group.

But for all the crews, the greatest victory of all was against the wind!


Friday May 26th

Spectacular

Things boded well for the race on circuit no. 6, with a 12 to 14 knot wind.
On the quay of honour, Irina VII was running late due to a minor hitch
that was soon resolved. Outlaw, after yesterday's absence, was back in
the game and the race was absolutely spectacular as these fine sailing
yachts fought it out on the Mediterranean, with their crews calling out
to each other and with Ajaccio basking in the sun in the backdrop.
Four hours of pure happiness!
White Wings and The Blue Peter, and Pesa and Moonbeam battled it out in style, and Radha came home after a fault-free race.
From the Sanguinaires Islands to Isolella, the spinnakers waltzed in the sun like elegant young ladies in their ball gowns.


Saturday May 27th

Moonbeam IV triumphs

With a 15 to 20 knot wind, the 4th regatta was another exciting race,
with some fine sporting highlights when the runners deployed their
spinnakers. The staggered start meant that the competitors all reached
the finish line within a short period of time, which made for a
magnificent view.
Moonbeam IV was the winner, followed by Zephyr, just 50 centimetres ahead of Lelantina.
In the overall enthusiasm of the moment, a second, more "relaxed" race
was decided upon and once again, the victory went to Moonbeam IV.


Sunday May 28th

In the end, the final race was held on circuit no. 2.
At the start of the race, the leader Moonbeam IV had  Zephyr and
Aldebaran close on her heels upon reaching Ricanto. White Wings and The
Blue Peter
fought it out once again, with the kind of technical skill
that had not been seen in a long time.
At first the wind held at 6 to 8 knots, but later picked up to 12 or 14
knots as the changing winds forced the sailors to give their all in
order to keep to the race.
At the end of this majestic battle, Moonbeam IV was victorious, her
first win at this race since 1923. Outlaw and White Wings were the
other worthy winners.

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