The three first boats winning in real-time had co-ed crews: a rare happening that’s worth noting! Overall winner of the event, Alinghi was helped by Coraline Jonet, a confirmed racer who’s already won the Lake Léman D35 championship four times, as well as the Bol d'Or Mirabaud in 2011. The second boat in the real-time ranking, Ladycat Powered by Spindrift Racing is Dona Bertarelli’s crew, and she was aboard. Finally, the hydrofoil catamaran GC 32 Realteam, helmed by Jérôme Clerc, took advantage of Olympian Nathalie Brugger, who was in both the 2008 and 2016 games.
Arnaud Psarofaghis, who helmed the Alinghi catamaran, winner of this 79th edition of the Bol d'Or Mirabaud, is the nephew of Jean Psarofaghis, who won the monohull category in real-time (the Bol de Vermeil) aboard Sys & Co.
Born in 1954, “King Jean” spent his youth hanging out at Corsier Port boatyard, tinkering with dinghies and rebuilding Moucherons, learning the boatbuilding trade. Occasionally tolerated aboard the 6m JIs of the Firemenich family, he discovered racing as a “handyman”, before becoming the formidable yachtsman we know today. Jean Psarofaghis won his first Bol d'Or in 1978 at the helm of Toucan Pharos, which he built by hand. He went on to win in 2007, 2011 and 2014 at the helm of Pharos 40 Sys & Co, also built by him in his Pallanterie boatyard. His victory in 2017 is thus his fifth. Very moved during the winner’s celebration, he dedicated his victory to his recently deceased father, and honored Pierre-Yves Firmenich, “the true inspiration of a generation of Lake Léman racers.”
His nephew, Arnaud Psarofaghis, was born on September 1988 in Corsier. He is among the best sailors in Switzerland. Previously member of Team Tilt, he joined Alinghi in 2016. Arnaud benefits from significant multihull experience, having already sailed D35s, Ventilo M2s, Extreme 40s as well as AC45s and GC32s. He also established a reputation by participating in numerous hydrofoil Moth championships. In 2014, Arnaud was crowned “Swiss Sailor of the Year” at the Swiss Sailing Awards.
With 567 boats on the starting line, and 437 rated sailboats, this Bol d’Or Mirabaud beat all contemporary participation records, although still far behind the 1990 record of 684 registrants. However, the record of 125 Surprise one-designs registered in 2010 was beat with 132 this year! The last boat to cross the finish line, Sergio CooperTeixeira’s Déluge, finished at 8:20:17 after twenty-two hours and twenty minutes of racing. This is probably a new record for the last boat in.
Nicolas Mirabaud, member of the the Mirabaud & Cie SA executive committee, points out that “the Bol d’Or Mirabaud once again offered an exceptional edition with magnificent conditions and a breathtaking final between Alinghi and Ladycat, two crews we’re used to seeing on the podium. As far as I’m concerned, I experienced a fabulous adventure because my crew and I were rewarded by winnng first place in the Surprise class. Incredible!
With its 132 competitors on the starting line, the Surprise class was once again the most numerous represented class at the Bol d'Or Mirabaud. Beside Mirabaud 1’s victory, which dominated for most of the race, Frank Reinhardt’s (president of the Surprise class) Petit Tabac took second, ahead of Velasco, sailed on the lake and the ocean by Arnaud Machado.
Their “big sisters”, the Grand Surprise, numbered 33 on the starting line. Little Nemo won. Superb performance by Bernard Bprter and his crew, who overcame their lag on Apsara, largely dominating the first half of the race, during the downwind spinnaker run back toward Geneva.
Member of Alinghi’s crew, Pierre-Yves Jorand won his seventh Bol d’Or, allowing him to join Philippe Stern and Philippe Durr in the very select club of septuple winners of the Bol d’Or.
Rodolphe Gautier, president of the Bol d’Or Mirabaud, had many reasons to be relieved at the conclusion of this aggressive Bol d’Or Mirabaud. “The race went well despite aggressive conditions, especially during the night. Several crews were impacted; there was some broken equipment and a few scratches, but fortunately nothing serious. The whole organizing team places great importance on safety and it’s always a relief to know that all participants returned safely to the port, thanks to the solidarity of all.
Sailing aboard a Diam24od catamaran, the Bol d’Or Mirabaud ambassador was in his element with this strong “bise”. Fourth in his class, he said he was delighted with the experience, and happy to simply have participated for fun, without pressure, with his friends and the preparers with whom he competed in the Vendée Globe.
The J 70 CDE.CH, helmed by Marcel Stern, won the ACVL ranking ahead of Surprise Mirabaud 1 helmed by Nicolas Anklin and another J 70, Frederick Hedlund’s Agera 3. The ACVL ranking is based on handicapped time; each boat is assigned a coefficient based on its characteristics, which is multiplied by the actualrace time. This allows small sailboats to compete with big ones, although that certainly wasn't the case this year with this terrible trio of seven meter boats.