Geneva, June 20, 2019 – If Ylliam – Comptoir Immobilier did not win the Bol d’Or scratch race. Bertrand Demole’s crew is still very proud to have won the D35. The crew is also proud to have finished second in the race. They finished ahead of top seeds like Mobimo (2018 winner), or of course Alinghi or Zen Too, his two direct competitors in the overall 2019 championship.
Despite a not very encouraging weather forecast announced the day before, the fleet of this 81st Bol d’Or Mirabaud benefited from very nice wind conditions. The airs, although timid, were very present on the water. The D35s were able to glide quickly towards Versoix and then the Grand Lac, where the Rebat was also well settled.
The start of the race was not particularly favourable for Ylliam – Comptoir Immobilier, which emerged from the small lake at the rear of the fleet. “We didn’t necessarily sail very well at the start, it was a bit tough” said Bertrand Demole. Pierre Pennec, project manager and member of the team noted: “We knew that a storm was coming, and that the cards were going to be reshuffled at that moment. So we didn’t attack hard at the beginning, the goal was simply to stay in the pack, in contact with the other competitors. ”
A strategy that paid off, as the crew overall managed the climb to Le Bouveret well. It positioned itself favourably between Rolle and Morges to slip towards Meillerie. The boat was able to play with its competitors along the French coast and passed the barge that marks the halfway point in fifth place. Ahead of Alinghi and Okaly Youth Project.
Part of the race was played out in the upper lake, while the water was mirror smooth. Ylliam – Comptoir Immobilier handled this passage well and headed back to Geneva in pursuit of Realteam. The latter had been leading from the start, alongside Eleven Sailing Team, Alinghi and Zen Too.
The storm, which darkened the sky then hit the head of the fleet, which was between Evian and Lausanne. The gale, although announced and clearly visible, literally picked up the boats. For this reason, they had to put the race on hold at the height of the disturbance. It was the worst squall I’ve ever experienced,” said Bertrand Demole. It was really difficult to move forward, we had to manage safety, and stay attentive to our route. “
Pierre Pennec, for his part, noted how well the crew behaved at that moment. “The teamwork was remarkable. Everyone went above and beyond the call of duty: we saw how important our preparation was, particularly in terms of communication. Bruno Barbarin had worked well on the situation, and that was very beneficial. “The big difficulty for everyone was to keep control of the boat. This was to avoid being carried away by the waves, across the wind.
“We lost control twice, and regained it by hoisting the jib a few seconds. It may have been at that point that we tore it up. In such a situation, you have to find a good compromise to keep going without damaging the boat. We could have done 12 knots, but we would have broken everything. I learned and experienced a similar situation with Loïc Peyron in the Atlantic. You have to keep your head down while remaining present and move forward with caution. “
Ylliam – Comptoir Immobilier ultimately handled the situation very well. He managed to get out in front of the D35s when the wind died down, approaching the small lake. Once again, a choice had to be made between attacking the leader Ladycat, or ensuring the D35 ranking by controlling Alinghi. We couldn’t keep up with Ladycat in terms of speed,” said Pierre Pennec. Moreover, the wind refused, which put us at a disadvantage. There was no real opening to attack, the chances of getting through were slim. Any attempt would have represented a risk of letting Alinghi go, so we secured by controlling. “
In the end, the choice paid off as Ylliam – Comptoir Immobilier crossed the finish line of the Bol d’Or Mirabaud 2019 at 20:39’38. 3 minutes and 17 seconds behind Ladycat but 2 minutes and 57 seconds ahead of Alinghi. The crew of Bertrand Demole, Bruno Barbarin, Alexis Rochat, Téva Plichart, Thierry Briend and Pierre Pennec won the D35 class. Ylliam – Comptoir Immobilier retains its second place in the overall ranking of the 2019 D35 Trophy.
Thus, he is getting closer to the leader who is now only two points behind. This classy win is a real reward for Bertrand Demole and his men. Indeed, they have been progressing for four years on this particularly elitist circuit.
It is now time for the summer break, and the D35s will meet again at the end of August in Versoix for the fifth stage of the D35 Trophy, which has 7 stages. The closing event will take place on September 21 at the SNG.
Photos © Loris von Siebenthal