In an impressive show of skill, skipper Jérôme Clerc, tactician Sébastien Col and the crew of Realteam Sailing have clinched the sixth and final event victory of the 2023 TF35 season and the overall season title.
After picking up trophies and the winners Omega Seamaster Professional Diver 300M watch, a jubilant Jérôme Clerc explained: "What a fantastic year for Realteam. We won every event this season, but it was tough on the water. We fought with Spindrift and Ylliam XII - Comptoir Immobilier for every place. We wanted to finish the year on a high, and we managed it, but just in the final races.
"I'm proud of the team; they have done a great job, and they have great team spirit," Clerc adds. "But I am also happy for the TF35 fleet because everyone is increasing the level. The final race today was proof of that, as all of the boats finished in less than 30 seconds of each other."
For the final day of racing at the TF35 Malcesine Cup 2, ominous cloud cover and a heavy haze covered the lake. However, after a 45-minute delay, the race committee took their chance and started the first race of the day in a patchy 8-knot breeze in the hope that it would fill in. By the second downwind, the fleet was flying, and four tactical races were sailed to complete the event.
Realteam's closest rivals on the water, Yann Guichard's Spindrift, started today with a shocker. Late off the start line and caught in dirty air, they had to put two tacks in on the first beat when the wind was at its lightest, which cost them heavily, and they finished sixth to Realteam's first with Marie Mazuay impressively bringing Alinghi Red Bull Racing home in second.
In race two, both Spindrift and Realteam were caught mid-pack on the first beat and unable to climb any higher than fourth and fifth, opening the door for Guy de Picciotto's ZEN Too, helmed by Loïc Forestier, to take their first win of the regatta, Ylliam XII - Comptoir Immobilier in second and Alinghi Red Bull Racing in third.
For the final two races, the leading boats recovered their composure to finish the event on a high, with Realteam finishing first and Spindrift finishing second in both the TF35 Malcesine Cup 2 ranking and the end of season 2023 TF35 Trophy ranking.
Spindrift's mainsail trimmer Duncan Späth explained: "We know we have a lot of potential as a team, especially in the second half of the season when we proved that we could beat Realteam in very tight conditions. The first half of the season wasn't as good as we had hoped, but we can improve on this. It gives us a goal for the next season, and we are looking forward to it because the fleet is getting tight; it's good fun to be part of. "
The standout team today, however, was Alinghi Red Bull Racing, who stepped it up a gear and posted an impressive 2, 3, 3, 2 scoreline, raising them to third at the end of the TF35 Malcesine Cup 2, their first podium of the 2023 season.
"We are a new crew, so as the days have gone on, we have got to know each other better, grown more confident as a team and been efficient onboard," admitted helm Mazuay. "It's such a good feeling to get a podium. Our trimmings and settings before racing were better in tune today, so it was easier to helm and do the manoeuvres we wanted to do."
In the overall season ranking Bertrand Demole's Ylliam XII - Comptoir Immobilier misses out on second by a single point but takes third place after impressively finishing on the podium in five out of a possible six events.
Alinghi Ref Bull Racing are fourth and two points behind ZEN Too are fifth, with Julien Firmenich's new team Ylliam 17 in sixth.
To recap the 2023 TF35 season visit www.tf35.org