Published on 2020.11.03

Newsletter 5

  • - Winners in the shadows -

    Edouard Kessi: The BOM is a demonstration platform for new technologies

    Edouard Kessi and his latest development: Inflated Wind Sails © all rights reserved

    Sailor, innovator, designer, entrepreneur… Edouard Kessi notably invented and patented 3Di sail technology. Among his numerous hats, he wears the Lake Léman celebrity one particularly well. He no longer counts his Bol class victories, but he remembers the three times he won the overall scratch. Two stand out in particular. “The 1994 one, where we set a new speed record with Triga IV (which has yet to be beaten!) and my first win with Le Matin,” reminisces Edouard. “I left the hospital the evening before the race, where I’d just spent a week due to a serious head injury from capsizing. This was a particularly amazing victory because we managed to round the Bouveret ahead of Dennis Connor and his revolutionary catamaran, Stars and Stripes, with which he just won the Americas Cup (they weren’t officially in the race because the sailboat was too big for local ratings). They got lost at Villeneuve!”

    Kessi is well positioned to talk about the race’s evolution. “The Bol has always been a demonstration platform for new technologies from the around the world. Lake Léman assembles investors and sailing lovers who together support new technologies. For this reason, the BOM has an international following. Other races may have many more participants, but at the BOM, new technology prototypes are presented each year. It’s an inland body of water, which allows experimenting to extremes beyond levels that would be dared elsewhere. Many designers, racers and architects come to see what’s going on. It’s an advanced technology showroom year after year. Everybody comes here for inspiration! For example, Joe Richards, designer of the magnificent RS, comes each year to learn about what’s been developed here. We are very lucky!”

    Edouard remembers some of the many novelties presented in the context of the Bol:
    •    Superlight monohulls
    •    Innovative multihulls
    •    Wing-shaped masts
    •    Use of gennakers and inclinable masts (both developed by Kessi)
    •    Use of lightweight materials such as carbon

    “Besides technology, the BOM remains a popular event. It mixes the elite with amateurs. It’s as stimulating as it is interesting! Many races separate the two categories whereas here it’s one big party for all.”
    As for the future of Léman sailing, Edouard imagines it will be powered by kites. “In 1989, following my first victory, a journalist asked me how I saw the Bol evolving. I replied that future winners will be foil boats, powered by flying rigging (kites). I still think that! We have mastered foils but flying rigging systems lag behind. It’s only a matter of time. At the speed at which we develop boats, in ten years we’ll be sailing with flying rigging!”

    - People -

    Montandon – a family affair!

    © Marc Fries

    Some 200 volunteers work for the BOM each year. We can never thank them enough. Among them are certain pillars, committed to their post each year. Jean-Luc Montadon is responsible for onshore logistics for which he travels from Villeneuve each year. “I take care of all the land-based infrastructure. I’m responsible for synchronizing the starting cannon. I join the journalists and photographers at the beginning of the race. Then I return to the water to welcome the finishers. I also organize everything going on onshore during the night.

    And all that for the last eleven years! “It started during the presidency of Michel Glaus, who asked me to come. I accepted, out of friendship, and it went very well. He took me under his wing. I am one of the few committee members to have an overall view of the entire event! History continues now with Rodolphe Gautier, the current president. With the same philosophy and the same pleasure! They can count on me. I like being useful for such events.

    The smiling sailor from the eastern sector of the lake has also seen the BOM evolve these past years. “We use to mostly feature the series winners. Certainly, they’re the ones who are most interesting to the media, but what really makes the BOM are local people. We have become more conscious of this in the last few years since when we’ve tried to give local sailors more visibility. Mr. and Mrs. Anybody. We talk about them, we feature them, trying to take into account all participants. This way, we’re restoring the Bol’s image from the early days.”

    The BOM has grown these past years, leading to expanded responsibilities. Regarding the 2019 storm, “I have the feeling we have more responsibilities than in the past. It’s no longer the little race where everybody takes care of themselves, but a bigger event for which the committee has increasing responsibility. The regatta has taken on a new dimension.”

    Jean-Luc isn’t the only one in the family to work as a volunteer every year. His son Bryan is responsible for the Bouveret barge starting this year. “My son, who also sails, wanted to lend a hand to the regatta. Like me! We live in Villeneuve so it was logical for him to be in charge of the Bouveret mark. He recruited some other local kids to form a team and brought fresh ideas to make rounding the mark more festive for competitors. It’s very encouraging to see youngsters get involved.

    - History -

    Sponsorship: a turbulent history

    Up until the beginning of the 80s, sponsorship was a bad word at the SNG. An intolerable part of the business world in the den of a prestigious club. In 1981, Tri Honda was the first sponsored sailboat on the Léman. It was also the first to be launched via helicopter, causing quite a sensation. The scandalous name of the boat gave rise to numerous letters, petitions and uncountable discussions at the bar and in the committee rooms.

    The crew poured gasoline on the fire by renaming the trimaran Tri-Onda, dropping the H. Tensions mounted. Nicknamed “The Unnamable”, it was finally excluded from the Bol d’Or and all other SNG regattas.

    Philippe Divorne, president of the club from 1978 to 1984, then created the Bol d’Or Committee, starting its mutation toward a professionally organized event. It’s also at this time that the club delegated organization of the event to the Sailing Circle.

    It wasn’t until 20 years later that all the big multihulls were launched via helicopter, in the public’s admiring view, and one starts to see advertisements on the sails and hulls of numerous racing boats as well as in the hallways of the club.

    Successively financed by two banks and a watchmaker - Crédit Suisse, Banque Edouard Constant and Rolex - since 2007, the Bol d’Or carries the colors and the name of Banque Mirabaud. A partnership was built and strengthened over the years, one that very significantly contributed to the professionalism of the organization, and evolution of the race to a major lake festival! 

    - Partners -

    Gunboat accompanies the BOM since 2018

    You’ve surely dreamed of a cruise aboard a magnificent yacht. Gunboat makes its clients’ dreams come true by building magnificent sailing yachts, combining performance, comfort and luxury. Based in La Grande Motte, Gunboat is a BOM partner since 2018. Why? “Because Switzerland is a land of great sailors,” replies its director, Benoit Lebizay. “The type of boat we offer corresponds perfectly to a certain slice of BOM participants. It was therefore logical for us to come to this race each year. The primary objective iwass to meet people, and that’s been achieved! During the two editions we had the chance to attend, we had enormous pleasure meeting sailing lovers. Having a stand at the Nautique during the BOM weekend facilitates nice encounters and creates fond memories. It’s extraordinary to be able to participate in this race. We look forward to 2021.”

    Creating the fastest and most comfortable catamaran ever built will be the goal of Gunboat in 2021. High-tech construction without compromise, innovative design and luxurious interiors make a lasting impression. The experience acquired over seven different models push us to continue to innovate and to progress in the luxury / performance catamaran sector that Gunboat created.

    - Boats -

    A new contender for the 2021 Bol de Vermeil

    © Team QFX/Vincent Gillioz

    The new TF35 flying catamarans attracted a lot of attention this year, but monohulls also have some new technology to brag about. The QFX, developed by engineer Thomas Jundt, could steal the stardom from the other monohulls in the next Bol d’Or Mirabaud. 

    Launched this Spring, it hasn’t yet been tested against competitors due to the lack of regattas in this most strange of years. Until then, we invite you to discover the QFX in an excellent article from Le Temps, written by Vincent Gillioz: QFX, the Newest Monohull on the Edge of Technology”
    QFX by numbers*
    LOA: 10.7 m
    Beam: 4 m (5.2 m at the outer edges of the foils)
    Displacement (light): 850 kg
    Ballasted keel: 300 kg
    Mainsail area: 38 m²
    Jib area: 19 m²
    Genoa area: 45 m²
    Lake genoa area: 75 m²
    Spinnaker area: 115 m²
    Crew size: 1 to 5
    *Source: Le Temps

    - 2019 Winners -

    Michel Glaus, Yasha Samuraï - TCF1 winner

    2019 winner in the TCF1 category, Michel Glaus and his Yasha Samuraï, also finished third in handicapped time. Aboard his Melges 32, he and his crew prioritized safety. And it payed off.
    “We learned Friday evening that there would be 60 knots of wind,” he remembers. “We knew that the boat becomes unmanageable at 40 knots. Before the start of the race, Saturday morning at 8:00, we decided to go for it, but the rules were clear: when I say stop, we drop all the sails and wait, leaving the competition aside.

    My crew and co-owners agreed to these rules and we applied them. When we saw the storm in the distance, we dropped all the sails and waited. Of course, boats were passing us left and right, but we didn’t have a choice. To lower the Melges 32 mainsail, it’s necessary to be bow to wind for fifteen seconds. If we’d waited for the storm, it wouldn’t have been possible. The crewmembers are all in their sixties, so we didn’t want any problems. Safety first!

    At first, we were disappointed to be alone after the squall, but then we realized that all those boats that passed us with full sails flying wound up abandoning because of various accidents. It’s only when we arrived in Geneva that we realized that and were able to savor victory in our category.”
    President of the BOM for eight years, Michel continues to enjoy the race as a competitor. I loved being president. Being close to the racers, evolving the event, bringing in the media, digitizing, makes me proud today of the seed that I planted and that continues to grow! I will keep sailing as long as I’m in good health, as long as possible. It’s more for pleasure than for winning, even if victory still tastes good.”
    Michel’s only regret about the BOM is in the Surprise class. “I tried to win this competitive class for ten years, without ever doing better than second place. I’m disappointed.”

    “It’s happening on social media!” 

    Welcome to CAP or PAS CAP, our sailing tactic simulators in the BOM Facebook and Instagram “stories”. Based on real-life situations, such as: crossing the finish line on a D35 in the 2018 BOM or sailing on a Grand Surprise just before the 2019 storm… the BOM invites you to test your skill and technique on different boats during key moments of the race. The next one’s coming soon on social networks. So, CAP or PAS CAP?

    Credit 4AM


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