Geneve - Rolle - Geneve

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OUT95 on tour

Swiss debut for new British design

The Geneve-Rolle-Geneve is typical Swiss lake race, which attracts over 270 entries and serves as a warm-up for the lake racing classic, the Bol d´Or. Neal Pawson reports from one of the leading British entries, the OUT95 ‘Eris´.

The second leg of our European tour - the race for the Geneve-Rolle-Geneve - began straight after the finish of Round the Island Race on Saturday June 3. With just a week between the events, getting the boat out of the water, packed and onto the trailer following our debut was a mission in itself. Then we had to ensure we had the correct paperwork and added Seafrance to our vital sponsorship list as our official ferry company. Technical partners Lewmar, English Braids and Helly Hansen all managed to fit in last minute deliveries (including the vital trailer straps to hold the boat in place on the road!), to allow us to make the Tuesday morning Seafrance ferry from Dover to Calais.

Our arrival in Geneva was greeted with enthusiasm, and with the assistance of our Swiss sponsors the Gstaad Yacht Club and Wings Project Art Space all language barriers were overcome. The boat was launched with the Cercle de Voile Society Nautique de Geneve`s (current home for the America`s Cup) club crane and a berth was found in the marina.

The Geneve-Rolle-Geneve is the traditional warm-up for the Bol d´Or, Switzerland’s answer to the UK’s Round the Island Race. Like its bigger relative the Geneve-Rolle-Geneve starts from Geneva, but rather than running the full length of Lac Leman (Lake Geneva to you and I), the turning mark is at the town of Rolle on the Swiss (North) side of the Lake about a third of the way down. The start spreads right across the width of the lake from the Yacht Club Geneve, split in half by a barge with 28 multihulls starting on the north side and the 258 monohulls towards the yacht club on the south side.

There was an all-star cast in the multihull class for this year’s event, including Russell Coutts, Ernesto Bertarelli, Alain Gautier and Loick Peyron in Decision 35s, while the swift new Ventilo M2 cats mustered 17 entries - these boats make the VX40´s look tame and manage to fly a hull in as little as 5 knots of wind.

In the monohulls the lake regulars include a trio of Psaro 40s (which feature water ballast, a swing keel and trapeze!), ‘Taillevent 2’ the Briand-designed 60 per cent America´s Cup class boat, along with a wide assortment of custom lake furniture from classic wooden 30sq m boats to various carbon modernist pieces of architecture. The consistent British attendees, Stephen Fein in ‘Full Pelt’ and Bungy Taylor in his much modified 5.5 ‘Ballerina’ (featuring a trim tab, high aspect ratio keel and Carbospars swing rig), were joined for the 2006 race by the OUT95 team for the second race of their European tour. ‘Full Pelt’ had discarded her stanchions and added three trapezes in addition to her swing keel, whilst the OUT95 was sailing with trapezes and lowered stanchions in a transition mode from the previous weekend’s Round the Island debut.

The race start was in the early afternoon - a typical time on the lakes, to allow for a thermal to build, not for the hangover to dissipate (although it’s a great help!) - in under 5 knots of wind with the fleet barely able to make the line on starboard.

Whilst ‘Full Pelt’ cruised above the line and somehow found a spot to duck down into amongst the umpteen Surprises, on the OUT95 we found ourselves locked out and trying to warn in broken French about the 30 degree arc of our mast through a low speed tack. By the time we pulled through and found some air to breath a large number of the bigger boats had gained a big jump clear and the leading multihulls already were becoming specks in the distance.

We hoisted our code 0 and gave chase down the Petit Lac steadily ticking off competitors until the breeze faded to nothing before briefly coming behind but finally settling from the NNW giving us a fetch to the turning mark off Rolle. The first monohulls around the mark were closely intertwined with the multihulls, the drop in pressure had compressed the fleet and they all headed back under spinnaker as the breeze again died before filling in directly from the mark. As the boats ahead scooted off down wind we were left with a short but infuriating beat to the mark.

We rounded the mark about an hour behind the leaders and happily hoisted the spinnaker. Here we made big gains with good speed pulling us through into the top five monohulls and causing more than one boat to curse about that "bateaux bleu". Whilst trying to consolidate on our gains we were rolled by ‘Taillevent’ carrying a huge spread of sail which promptly dropped us in a hole, where we had to bear the ignominy of a train of 10 boats carrying the breeze 200 metres to weather and off down the lake as the light faded. Then the wind switched off leaving us pulling our hair out as we shared images of the lead boats carrying the breeze all the way back to Geneva and enjoying a wonderful meal and a glass of wine instead of the second round of jambon and fromage baguettes with a can of Red Bull!

As night settled a slight breeze picked up and with spinnaker down and our trusty code 0 back up we managed to pick our way back through the boats that had slipped by on the peripheries of the lake to finally overtake the last one just a boat length before the finish line. It was enough to give us second in class, and 13th place overall

Results: Monohulls: 1st  ‘French Connection’, One off Vulliez/Batal 9h07, 2nd ‘Tilt’, Psaro 40 Schneiter/Firme 9hr09, 3rd ‘Syz & Co’, Psaro 40 Psarofaghis 9hr09; British monohulls: 7th (6th in Class 1) ‘Full Pelt’, Richards 36 Fein 9h37, 13th (2nd in Class L) ‘Eris’ OUT95, Preston 10h21, 58th (2nd in Class 6), ‘Ballerina’, Taylor 11h50; Multihulls: 1st ‘Okalys 2’, D35 Grange/Peyron 6h41, 2nd ‘Raiffeisen du Vig’, Ventilo M2 Team Brv 6hr48, 3rd ‘Team New Wave’, Ventilo M2 Geiser/Stamm 6hr49.


Notes for editors:
The OUT95 is designed by Neal Pawson and built by Out and Out Solutions, a partnership between Neal and the boat’s build manager Alex Ashworth Briggs. Inspired by Pacific Proas (narrow single-hulled craft with an outrigger to windward), and built fully of carbon, the OUT95 is rather like a catamaran with one hull and a deep bulb keel, while buoyant ‘wings’ providing a wide platform for the crew to keep the boat sailing flat. The rig is a rotating carbon spar supported by Navtec rigging.

For more information on the OUT95 see contact Neal Pawson on 07968848340 or Alex Ashworth-Briggs on 07770608287. High resolution photos available on request.

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