Published on 2016.06.03

High Society in the 2016 Celebrity Race

  • The Celebrity Race is held each year in anticipation of the Bol d’Or Mirabaud, and it allows guests to experience the regatta in a friendly atmosphere at the heart of the action. This Pro-Am style competition is open to crews made up of an experienced sailor, an athlete, a VIP and a journalist, aboard a fleet of six Mirabaud Surprise monohulls.

    The 2016 Celebrity race will take place Friday, June 10 at 13:00 at the SNG, with the following participants: Pierre Ruetschi (Tribune de Genève), Cyrus Golchan (sailor), Antonio Palma (Mirabaud), Dominique Wavre (Mirabaud), Xavier Colin (RTS/Bilan), Nicolas Mirabaud (Mirabaud), Jean Luc Lévêque (sailor), Sandra Jean (Le Nouvelliste), Benjamin Luzuy (entrepreneur/chef), Mike Aigroz, Nelson Mettraux (triathlete), Yann Lambiel (comedian), Cynthia Racine (Léman Bleu), Azania Noah (singer), Chantal Mathez de Senger (Bilan), Pascal Monnet (Bol d’Or Mirabaud), Thierry Meyer (24 Heures), Fanny  Smith (skier), Nils Palmieri (sailor), Sébastien Chevalier (beach volleyball player), Benoit Morelle (sailor), Yannick Preitner (sailor), Nicolas Rolaz (sailor), Elodie Jane Mettraux (sailor), Jacques Valente (sailor), Patrick Girod (sailor).

    Learn about some of the participants below:    

    Sébastien Chevalier:
    I’ve never been in a sailboat before but I’m really looking forward to the experience. With my competitive spirit, I think it could turn out to be very interesting! ;-)

    Pierre Ruetschi:
    Degreed in political science from the Graduate Institute of International Studies, he began his career as a journalist in 1984 with the Associated Press, before joining the Tribune de Genève and 24Heures where he was Washington correspondent from 1995 to 2000. In 2006, he became editor-in-chief of the Tribune de Genève.

    Xavier Colin:
    A graduate of the Centre de Formation des Journalistes in Paris, he worked for Europe1 for 13 years, notably as Beirut correspondent. He then joined the international desk at RTS, which he went on to direct from 1996 to 2004. Since 2008, he produces and hosts “Geopolitis” on RTS. In addition, he regularly writes columns for Bilan.

    Sandra Jean:
    A graduate of journalism and social communication from the University of Fribourg, she has been, among other things, political correspondent at the Bern parliament, producer and host of Grand 8 on RTS and editor-in-chief of Le Matin. Since 2014, she holds the position of editor-in-chief for Le Nouvelliste.

    Benjamin Luzuy:
    A graduate of the Ecole d’Hôtellerie de Lausanne, he’s hosted the culinary show “Descente en Cuisine” for two seasons on RTS. A serial entrepreneur, Benjamin Luzuy has already opened no fewer than 5 establishments in the canton of Geneva and has other projects simmering.

    Yann Lambiel:    
    Host of “La Soupe” for 13 years, he’s known for his numerous one-man shows, his celebrity impersonations and his musical comedies. His last show, “Get Up!” drew more than 40,000 spectators in French-speaking Switzerland.

    Cynthia Racine:
    With a master of political science degree from the University of Geneva and a graduate of the University of Sydney, she is devoted to her passion for media. Prior editor-in-chief of Lancy TV, she is now anchorwoman for “The Journal” news program on Léman Bleu.

    Azania Noah:
    With roots in Sierra Leone, this multicultural singer was born and raised in the USA and Switzerland. Her captivating voice, her energy and her positive charisma make her an exceptional artist. She has given more than 800 concerts around the world. The most famous stages around the world, such as the famous Blue Note Jazz Club and the legendary Apollo Theater in New York City aren’t unknown to her.

    Chantal Mathez de Senger:
    A graduate of the Hautes Etudes Internationales of Geneva and recipient of a master of media and communication from the University of Geneva, she began her career at Radio Lac. In 2010, she joined Bilan magazine as SME specialist. A lover of wine and gastronomy, she is also responsible for the “Au Fil du Goût” supplement dedicated to fine dining.

    Thierry Meyer:
    A graduate in political science from the University of Lausanne, and prior UK correspondent for Le Temps, and political correspondent for the same, Thierry Meyer is editor-in-chief of the 24Heures daily since 2006. He also co-authored, “Voyage au Bout du Froid”, an illustrated book on Frederik Paulsen’s quest to the eight poles of the earth.

    Elodie Jane Mettraux:
    Elodie Mettraux is the oldest of a family of talented sailors. She trained at the Regatta Training Center, before participating in the prestigious Volvo Ocean Race around the world with the all-women Team SCA in 2014-2015. She pursued her international career with the Magenta Project all-women crew.

    - A prognostic of your performance in the celebrity race? It will all depend on my crew! We’ll see if we can leave the other 5 teams behind. I hope to lead them to victory!

    Patrick Girod:
    This Geneva sailor is experienced with lake races: solo, duo and full crew. Patrick Girod first went to sea in 2015 when he crossed the Atlantic solo on a 6m50 boat. An achievement made during the Mini Transat in which he finished tenth among boats in the class. I’m going to create a relaxed atmosphere so my crew can enjoy a pleasant team experience with a competitive spirit.

    Jacques Valente:
    Jacques is an organ donation ambassador. Following a kidney transplant, he crossed the Atlantic solo last year, and is planning new projects in order to spread his message. He also sails on Lake Geneva and participates in the main regional regattas.

    - A prognostic of your performance in the celebrity race? I won it 3 or 4 year ago :) My objective this year: sail WELL, and bring my good humor and the pleasure to be on the water to the team.

    Yannick Preitner:
    Yannick Preitner knows Lake Geneva like the back of his hand: from Morges, he’s raced around the lake many times in the 5 Jours du Léman and the Bol d’Or Mirabaud. He won the 2015 Bol d’Or Mirabaud in the Ventilo M2 class.

    What should your crewmembers do to be useful onboard? Be in a good mood to start… and motivated and awake too. Not only for sailing, but also to tolerate my sense of humor! :) I always try to create a good atmosphere onboard to do well without being unpleasant.

    Nicolas Rolaz:
    This young sailor of 16 years made us dream in 2014 – As Optimist world champion in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he’s the first Swiss to have won this world title. Since, he’s been sailing on the duo crew 420 dinghy.

    For the prognostic: a prize.
    They need to be organized (not step on each other) and alert to instructions in order to be the best.
    I think I’ll be able to provide them the knowhow to win.

    Nils Palmieri:
    Nils Palmieri helmed the M2 catamaran TeamWork in 2015 – a successful first season in which he won the annual class championship. Member of the Regatta Training Center, he’s participated in numerous Tour de France à la Voile, as well as the Transat Jacques Vabre in 2015.
    A prognostic for your celebrity race performance? I’ve been preparing to win this race for a year. I’m more trained than ever. It all depends on the crew’s performance. ;)

    Nelson Mettraux:
    Youngest of the Mettraux family, Nelson represents the Regatta Training Center in match racing around the world. He learned on Lake Geneva at the Training Center then notably the Tour de France à la Voile. Today he’s a skipper and head of the Geneva Match Race Team.

    Your objective in this celebrity race? I hope to be on the award podium and I’m delighted to spend this pre-Bol d’Or Mirabaud moment with a friendly crew, and show that the Regatta Training Center is the best :) To be useful and to perform, my crewmembers need to bring their good moods, and be ready to get wet!

    Benoit Morelle:
    Benoit founded Axon Racing, a proven sailing stable on the shores of Lake. He finished second in the prestigious “Little America’s Cup”. He presently sails on Flying Phantom hydrofoils.

    A prognostic on your performance in the celebrity race? Beyond competitive results, my performance will be judged by creating an unforgettable experience for the VIPs, to get an article from the journalist that will be broadcast by CNN, and to enjoy maneuvers along with the mystery 4th crewmember!

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