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2019 5.5 Metre French Open at the Régates Royales Cannes - Day 1

by Robert Deaves 25 Sep 13:35 NZST 24-28 September 2019
Otto - 41 Régates Royales 5.5 mJI © Robert Deaves

Otto (SUI 209, Bent Christian Wilhelmsen, Lasse Berthelsen, Luka Strahovnik) got off to a perfect start at the 5.5 Metre French Open at the Régates Royales Cannes on Tuesday with three wins from three races. Prettynama (GER 79, Max Mueller, Wiebe de Witte, Kim Chabani) are in second with Shaolin (SUI 226, Cyrus Golchan, Hans von Werdt, Andreas Kindlimann) third.

It was a typical Cannes Autumn day with a sea breeze building from midday and through the afternoon, with clearing skies late afternoon for a fantastic sailing day on the warm Mediterranean. Racing got under way after around an hour delay waiting for the breeze to build.

While Otto romped away to win every race, Prettynama and Shaolin shared second and third. Shaolin got the better in Race 1 with a second, while in Race 2 it was almost too close to call. Prettynama ended the day with a 3,2,2 with Shaolin getting a 2,3,3.

Wilhelmsen explained their day. "In the first race we got an OK start and went right and led at the first mark. It was pretty much like that every race. It's a good wind for us. We like this kind of wind. The wind kept on building so that was good."

"In the second race, getting to top we went to the right and had to do a little bit of maneuvering to get there, but we were first again. The guys chasing us were quite close, with some fighting going on but we managed to get away from Shaolin who was very close. But then Shaolin and Prettynama had a bit of a fight and that helped us."

"In the third race the wind really started to pick up so we had to change sails, and also we have this heavier spinnaker, and again we went right again."

"The wind peaked at 16-17 knots and then came down at the end of the race. It was very up and down all day. We managed well I think."

Otto is a regular competitor at the Cannes event. "We like the atmosphere here. We like the wind. I am from the coast of Norway and so I love the sea, and sea breeze is the same as we have there, coming in the afternoon. I love that. And here it is warm, so that's always nice."

For Shaolin, this event represents training ahead of the upcoming world championship in Australia in January. The boat will be shipped in a few weeks.

It is their first time in Cannes. Kindlimann said, "It's a nice event, the sun is here and we have to train for Australia."

"It was interesting conditions, a bit shifty, but the breeze picked up, went away and picked up again. The race committee did a fine job. It's a great place. It is completely different here from our usual events, especially with all the other boats here. It's a very nice regatta they organise here and we are looking forward to the party tonight."

Racing continues until Friday with some stronger breeze forecast for Wednesday.

Results after Day 1: (top five, 3 races)

1 Otto (SUI 209, Bent Christian Wilhelmsen, Lasse Berthelsen, Luka Strahovnik) 3pts
2 Prettynama (GER 79, Max Mueller, Wiebe de Witte, Kim Chabani) 7pts
3 Shaolin (SUI 226, Cyrus Golchan, Hans von Werdt, Andreas Kindlimann) 8pts
4 Alibaba (GER 84, Wolf-Eberhard Richter, Beala Kallkowski, Jodhim Fohn) 13pts
5 Oro Nero (GER 55, Henning Ueck, Jesper Boskamp, Ilse Boskamp) 15pts

Full results available here.

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