Swiss boat, Safram, a Ventilo M1, led by Rodolphe Gautier and helmed by Christophe Peclard, raced the Kekszalag this week, Hungary’s equivalent to the Bol d’Or. Despite a strong start in light airs and relentless sunshine, the team tore their gennaker in the opening stage of the race and were forced to settle for fifth.
Balatonfüred, Hungary, 7 July 2017 – Swiss sailing team Safram finished fifth this week at the Kekszalag, a famous Hungarian regatta equivalent to Switzerland’s Bol d’Or Mirabaud. An impressive 525-strong fleet gathered on Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Europe, to compete in the 49th edition of the 155-kilometre race.
Racing got underway at 0900 on Thursday 6 July in a light 9-12 knot north-westerly which soon fizzled out as the heat increased. Unfortunately for the Safram team, led by Rodolphe Gautier with Christophe Peclard on the helm, they broke their gennaker shortly after the start in an unexpected wind shift. With ambitions of repeating their 2015 victory, they fixed the damage and the repair held long enough for them to catch the fleet and begin the fight for first place.
It was not to be however. At the midway mark, the temporary repair gave way and the sail ripped in half in a gust. The Safram crew did their utmost to hold their own and fought on to finish after 12 hours in fifth place.
The D35 Festipay won the race ahead of the event record holder, a 50ft two-masted boat called Fifty-Fifty and the SL33 Black Jack.
Safram is scheduled to fly the colours of the European transport company of the same name on Lake Garda, Italy, in September where they will race the Centomiglia on the next stop of the team’s European tour.
Rodolphe Gautier (skipper) : It’s a bit frustrating because we could not fight properly. Every time we caught the leading boats we had an issue and fell back again. But those are the rules of a ‘mechanical’ sport and we nonetheless enjoyed ourselves sailing on this beautiful lake. Congratulations to Festipay!
Christophe Peclard (helmsman) : It is beautiful here, the lake is magnificent and the landscape is unique. We didn’t have a great start due to our breakage, but fought our way back to the front of the fleet before the sail broke again. After an amazing Geneva-Rolle-Geneva and Bol d’Or, it is a shame that we broke something during this race.
Kékszalag crew :
Safram 2017 programme :
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