Skipper Dona Bertarelli, Yann Guichard and the crew of Ladycat powered by Spindrift racing, won a thrilling victory on Saturday in the 76th edition of the Bol d’Or on Lake Geneva, leading home the 518 boats entered. It is a magnificent triumph for the Spindrift racing team and its partners Mirabaud, Genes-x and Zenith and a second great feat for Bertarelli, following her first win in the Bol d’Or in 2010.
Tension, concentration, suspense, attack, audacity, victory and joy were just some of the words uttered by the Ladycat powered by Spindrift racing crew on their arrival at the Société Nautique de Genève (SNG), where the wind was still blowing around 25 knots. That gives some idea of the conditions Ladycat powered by Spindrift encountered for this express return journey across Lake Geneva in 5 hours and 38 minutes, the second fastest time in the history of the Bol d'Or Mirabaud.
The 500 boats race began in challenging conditions, crossing the startline of the Bol d'Or Mirabaud on Saturday morning at 10.00hrs (French time) in 20 knots of wind. In the middle of the fleet, the 11 D35 one-designs, prepped and ready for battle, put a reef in the mainsail. After a cautious start, Ladycat powered by Spindrift racing quickly found itself among the D35 fleet. “The strategy was to stay in contact with our competitors and not to take extreme options, so that we could seize every opportunity and keep some cards up our sleeve," Bertarelli explained. The first part of the race was long and difficult with an upwind climb and lots of manoeuvres and transitions to manage, as Yann Guichard reports: “We suffered a bit upwind,” he said. “We made the choice to set the boat up for very windy conditions and we didn’t benefit from this option for the first few miles. The goal was still to be in the leading pack at the halfway mark and we managed to take the lead 150 metres from Bouveret.”
After the first sprint, the wind dropped a bit. “We knew the wind was going to soften at the halfway point and that it would return again strongly ahead of us. We had options in terms of the choice of sail so we could better anticipate the last part (of the race), which always promised to be tough.” Christophe Espagnon said. There was no rest for the Ladycat powered by Spindrift racing crew, who went into this final section of this course, elbow to elbow with Realstone and Veltigroup and touching speeds of 25 knots. “In the end, it really hotted up, we were at full speed in a neck-and-neck finish with Realstone and Veltigroup,” Guichard said. “We managed to overtake them 300 metres from the finish line and they finished 50 metres behind us, so there was suspense until the very end. We had a good strategy and really great teamwork. We had made some configuration choices on the boat (with the sails and settings) and they paid off. This is the first time I have won the Bol d'Or Mirabaud. This is for me a legendary race, an event that I dreamed of winning one day in my career. I'm so happy.”
At the end of 66.5 miles covered in 5 hours and 38 minutes, the D35 Ladycat powered by Spindrift racing and the 5 crew members, crossed the finish line of the illustrious Bol d'Or Mirabaud as winners ahead of Realstone and Alinghi, who made up the podium. “We were very focused throughout the race because the conditions were really difficult and we were always on the attack and so racing on a knife-edge the whole time,” Bertarelli said. “I’m very proud of my team who sailed well from start to finish. It’s also an enormous pleasure to win the 76th Bol d'Or and the race for the second time. This edition has a special flavour because Ladycat powered by Spindrift racing is wearing the colours of Mirabaud. I’m proud and excited to share this victory with all my partners, Mirabaud, Genes- x and Zenith. Now we have to win the next edition too, as you have to win the race 3 times in 5 years to keep the Bol d'Or “forever”.”
Congratulations to Dona, Yann, Jacques, Christophe, Xavier and Francois for this outstanding performance and for doing the double by winning the D35 class and the race.
"Thank you Dona, Yann and all the Spindrift racing team for fulfilling the dream which we have all had since the beginning of our partnership. I hope this victory heralds more great success to come. I know that at Mirabaud we believe in them.” Antonio Palma, Partner at Mirabaud.
“Zenith is particularly proud of winning the Bol d'Or Mirabaud for the second consecutive year, this time alongside Ladycat powered by Spindrift racing. We are happy to celebrate this new partnership with the victory of a crew who gave a brilliant demonstration of its talents after a very close and exciting race.” Juliette North, director of Marketing and Communication at Zenith.
“Genes-x is extremely proud of the wonderful performance today by Ladycat powered by Spindrift racing. By winning the Bol d'Or Mirabaud, the crew demonstrated their professionalism and their ambition for this season.” Fabio Cavalli, CEO and founder of Genes-x.
Crew onboard Ladycat powered by Spindrift racing for the Bol d'Or Mirabaud :
Nicolas Desbordes (Boat Captain)