After 14h 22m 19s of racing on Lake Geneva, Frédéric Jousset's Team Sailfever is the first TF35 to finish the 83rd Bol d'Or Mirabaud and second boat overall to cross the finish line at 00:20 this morning.
Leading the fleet off the Société Nautique de Genève start line at 10:00 CET yesterday morning, Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard's Spindrift had the early lead, with a good distance between them and the chasing pack. Guichard's team worked well in the light breeze to keep ahead and seemed to be fully recovered from their dramatic capsize last weekend in Mies until just before the Bouveret turning point when a technical problem with the flight system meant, disappointingly, they had to abandon the race.
Alinghi Red Bull Racing momentarily took the lead at the Bouveret halfway mark. However, the ultra-light breeze had compacted the fleet, and, after six hours of racing, Ernesto Bertarelli's team rounded the gate with ZEN Too, Ylliam XII - Comptoir Immobilie and Team Sailfever just meters from their transom.
With Spindrift out of the running, the race ultimately started again for the return to Geneva as the teams coxed their TF35s forward in no more than four knots of breeze.
Passing Lausanne, Team Sailfever's tactician Loïck Peyron found his break. Keeping further south and finding a little more pressure, the French crew were able to avoid the wind hole in the centre of the lake, in which the rest of the fleet came to a near standstill, and extend away following the pressure on the French side of the lake close to Evian.
"We decided at Meillerie, under this famous and magnificent cliff on the French coast, to keep our gennaker which forced us to sail a little higher, a little slower," explained Peyron. "We found ourselves separated from the other TF35s and then came this small left in Evian, which allowed us to take the lead."
On the entrance to Le Petit Lac the lead that Team Sailfever had painstakingly carved out for themselves looked threatened as they came to a stop in no wind, and the fleet started to close the gap. But it didn't last, as the sun set and the mirror-flat conditions on the lake showed no sign of improvement, the TF35s barely reached more than a knot of boat speed. Ultimately the fleet could not catch Team Sailfever, who ghosted across the finish line in the early morning hours.
"At the end of the race, the wind completely died, and our progress was slow. We knew that we were not first in the race but that there was also no one behind. So then it became a game of patience," Peyron added.
An hour later, Guy de Picciotto's ZEN Too finished in second place, followed by Realteam for Léman hope ten minutes after them.
Alinghi Red Bull Racing was fourth, with last year's winners Ylliam XII - Comptoir Immobilier in fifth.
After a long day on the water, TF35 Class Manager Bertrand Favre concluded: "It was a typical long Bol d'Or with almost no wind which was challenging for the TF35s. We can foil in 6-7 kts and be fast, but when there is no wind, the foils generate too much drag. There is not much we can do about it.
"Congratulations to Christian Wahl and his team of young and talented local sailors. They have been in the leading pack all race long, and it was a well-deserved victory," he added.
In the overall standing for the TF35 2022 season, the combined result of the Geneve-Rolle-Geneve and Bol d'Or Mirabaud sees Jousset's Team Sailfever jump up the leaderboard to third overall behind first-placed Alinghi Red Bull Racing and defending champions Realteam for Léman hope.