Elite sailing competition will return to Lake Geneva this weekend (May 8th-10th). The Grand Prix d’Ouverture for the D35 Trophy 2015, organized by Société Nautique de Genève, will take place on one of the narrowest parts of the lake, on a splendid, highly technical section of water. It will be Dona Bertarelli's ninth season aboard the catamaran 'Ladycat', which was rechristened 'Ladycat powered by Spindrift racing' in 2011 when she created the racing team with Yann Guichard. Dona finished third in the 2012 and 2014 championships and won the Bol d'Or Mirabaud in 2010 and 2014. This year, she and her team will once again look to finish on the podium, but will face fierce competition, with her rivals striving to reach new heights in the shadow of the Alps.
Back in Brittany, the team is preparing for the upcoming launch of the maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2, the largest racing trimaran ever built. Spindrift 2 will be used for a crewed around-the-world record attempt this winter. The sailors, however, are busy competing in regattas on various boat types, including the D35, one of the most extreme lake-racing multihull boats. The D35 championship in Switzerland is very important to the team, as well as to its Swiss partners: Mirabaud, Genes-x and official timekeeper Zenith.
Helmsman Dona Bertarelli will be joined by Yann Guichard (tactician), Xavier Revil (mainsail), François Morvan (trimmer), Jacques Guichard (trimmer) and Christophe Espagnon (bowman). "We’ve been sailing together for a few years, both on Ladycat and offshore on Spindrift 2," explained the 2014 SUI Female Sailor of the Year. "We've worked together in different capacities, not just in our D35 roles. They know I'm not a full-time sailor, and that there are other aspects to my life. When I board Ladycat I become a skipper, and we are there to push each other to the limit. The rest of my life stays on terra firma and I go into professional sports team mode. As a team we strive for excellence, which motivates me a lot. When you have such a skilled crew on board, it gives you a huge boost, especially for me. They spur me on and I challenge myself to be at the top of my game."
Strong from the outset
On Friday, the 11 participants will compete on 25-30 minute windward-leeward courses just a few feet away from the shore. The format is a wonderful spectacle, but it is also very demanding for the crews, who can expect light, unstable winds this weekend. "We've trained over the past few weeks so that everything comes naturally when we return to official competition in the D35 Trophy," said Dona Bertarelli. “Until a few years ago, the crews would start slowly and peak at the end of the season, but now, we all continuously prepare, train and move forward. You have to be on the pace right from the very first Grand Prix."
There are eight events in the D35 Trophy: six Grand Prix and Open events, with short, exciting races, and two long-distance classics, the Geneva-Rolle-Geneva and the Bol d'Or Mirabaud.
2015 Calendar | D35 Trophy
May 8-10 - Grand Prix d'Ouverture - SNG
May 23-24 - Open de Versoix - CNV
June 6 - Geneva-Rolle-Geneva - YCG
June 5 and 7 - Open de Versoix - CNV
June 13 - Bol d'Or Mirabaud - SNG
September 5-6 - Grand Prix Comptoir Immobilier - YCG
September 12-13 - Open de Crans - CNC
September 25-26 - Grand Prix de Clôture - SNG
2015 teams engaged
SUI 1 – Alinghi (E. Bertarelli)
SUI 2 – Okalys (N. Grange)
SUI 3 – Oryx (E. Delaye)
SUI 4 – Zen Too (G. de Picciotto)
SUI 5 – Tilt Team (Alex Schneiter)
SUI 6 – Ylliam–Comptoir Immobilier (B. Demole)
SUI 7 – Realteam (E. Garcia)
SUI 8 – Racing Django (J. Eckert)
SUI 9 – Mobimo (C. Wahl)
SUI 10 – Ladycat powered by Spindrift racing (D. Bertarelli)
SUI 11 – Veltigroup (M. Simeoni)
Ladycat powered by Spindrift racing team
Dona Bertarelli, skipper/helmsman
Yann Guichard, tactician
Xavier Revil, mainsail
François Morvan, trimmer
Jacques Guichard, trimmer
Christophe Espagnon, bowman
Nicolas Débordes, shore crew