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12 June 2005, 09:00 am
Record Breaking - But For The Wrong Reasons
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Bol d'Or Rolex 2005
Geneva, Switzerland

Those who race yachts regularly on Lake Geneva, Switzerland, expect conditions to be light usually. As a result local boats have adapted into some of the most lightweight, high powered sailing craft afloat. However yesterday on the lake even this has not been enough to bring salvation for the 500+ strong fleet of yachts competing in the 67th Bol d'Or Rolex.
Starting in Geneva yesterday morning at 0900 hours local time and running the length of Lake Geneva to a turning mark off Bouveret before returning to Geneva, the Bol d'Or Rolex was late this afternoon turning into a record breaker - but for all the wrong reasons.

Rather than being merely light winds, this year's race will be remembered for it's almost complete lack of wind. While the 11 year old record for the 93 nautical mile course stands at 5 hours and 1 minute, this year the first boat arrived at the Bouveret turning mark - the halfway point in the course - after a painstaking nine hours. After nine hours in last year's race the first boat were just mooring back in Geneva and 400 yachts had passed Bourveret and were on their way home.

Somehow ghosting along in a flat calm it was Loick PEYRON (FRA) at the helm of the Decision 35 catamaran Okalys that rounded the barge off Bouveret at the mouth of the Rhone river at 1804. She was followed at 1813 by Axiom and two minutes later by the third Decision 35 Ferrier Lullin.

The third of the new breed of 28 foot M2 catamarans, Banque Raiffeisen, rounded in the middle of the Decision 35 fleet at 1825 in fifth place overall. Ellen MACARTHUR (GBR) on board Guy DE PICCIOTTO's Zen Too rounded in seventh at 1830 ahead of Russell COUTTS (NZL) at the helm of Banque Gonet at 1835.

Normally by the Bouveret turning mark the multihulls are miles ahead of the monohulls, but on this occasion the first monohull, the Psaros 40 Syz & Co, rounded just 41 minutes astern of the multihull leader.

'It has been a long time since the first roundings were this late,' admitted Alex TOURNIER Secretary General of the Bol d'Or Rolex's organizing club, the Societe Nautique de Geneve. 'It is very difficult for all the boats and we think that all the people from Lausanne will go straight home.' Speaking from Geneva, TOURNIER said that there was a light southerly breeze blowing at his end of Lake Geneva. 'We think that the return will be much much quicker,' he said.

The final deadline for finishing the Bol d'Or Rolex is 1400 local time today. For a majority of the fleet it will be a long night.

Bouveret mark roundings (local time):

1 - Okalys - 1804
2 - Axiom - 1813
3 - Ferrier Lullin - 1815
4 - Banque Piguet - 1820
5 - Banque Raiffeisen - 1825
6 - Cadence - 1826
7 - Zen Too - 1830
8 - Banque Gonet - 1835
9 - Syz & Co - 1845
10 - Team Seven - 1845
11 - Oyster - 1850
12 - Star Logistique - 1902
13 - French Connection - 1920
14 - Alinghi - 1921
15 - Flam Gestion - 1935
16 - Full Speed Rayf's - 1935

Event Media. Image, The fleet at the starting line:© Daniel Forster/Rolex
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